What Rocky Balboa, Sophia II, and the Daruma Have in Common

The world isn’t all Sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place. It will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently IF YOU LET IT. You, me, or nobody is going to hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you get hit, it is about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward, how much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!” – Rocky Balboa

I read this quote in an E-Mail from Sophia Act II last week.  It haunted me.

Rang in the hollow places inside my head.

And it made me keep going.  Even when I wanted to quit.

Even after a promoter tried to triple a fee.  Even after he tried to squeeze me out of an art show once I’d given him a lot of local promotion.  (Forty or so of seventy-five others did quit). 

Then we woke up late on the morning “of.”  Our assistant locked the keys in the car. GM couldn’t activate the ON-Star.  You get the picture.  Bad Karma?

But all of the time Rockey– via Sophia — was there, tapping me on the shoulder — not letting me quit.  Dangling that belt from the end of the round in my mind’s eye.  So I moved forward — into the punch.  Let the chip(ed teeth) fall where they may. 

The quote was hauntingly familiar, though…then I saw it…

“‘If you knock me down seven times I must get up eight”‘– the mantra of the Daruma” has highlighted the signature of every email I’ve sent for many years.  

Daruma are hollow and round Japanese wish dolls. Featuring no arms or legs, they’re modeled after Bodhidharma, the founder and first patriarch of Zen.

Because of their low center of gravity, they return to their upright position after being tilted to one side, like a Weeble. This has rendered the Daruma the symbol for optimism, for persistence, and for strong determination — a lot like Rocky Balboa

Only one doll is owned at a time, and they’re purchased in or near Japanese Buddhist temples.  Little ones cost about 500 yen, but larger ones can cost up to 10,000 yen. If the doll was purchased within a temple, the owner often returns at year’s end for purification burning. They’re specially marked so there won’t be any confusion later  — temples don’t want to burn those which don’t  exhibit their own mark. This special ceremony places kami (spirits) on notice that the faith has not been forgotten — but another path is being pursued to make achieve success.

As for NoMoWally — we left the Art Show rockin’ — even through Hurricane Hannah and being cut short an hour.  One of the best ever.

AND — smack in the middle of the Hurricane — I was approached by a handbag designer.  She said “Come over after the show.  I have a garage full of stuff you may want.”  Did she ever!  Rich modern-style fabrics that will add a new dimension to our inventory — and a nice group of items to bring to our local Senor Center for their craft projects! 

At the very bottom of it all was one little well-worn swatch.  It was quite out-of-place — a Commemorative Portrait from the early turn of the century, the fold and wear lines still evident where someone had carefully tucked away this reminder of their beloved ancestor  into their breast pocket.  There it rested until whomever owned it themselves faced the guard depicted there.  Now, thanks to the  generosity of this lovely woman, this piece will find its way to a central collection destined for Boston’s Peabody Museum.  The collection will also include other Chinese Commemorative Portraits, Polo players carved upon Ivory from the turn of the century, rare porcelain lamps gilded with 24K gold, and rare books documenting Commemorative Portraits.  The Peabody is the only museum in the US with an exhibit dedicated to Chinese Americans — and to preserving their heritage.  (Although China, BTW, has complained many of the works there were “stolen,” the Chinese Government was the one who SOLD them under the Mao regime.  Their own museum lacks the resources to properly preserve them). 

(A subsequent box revealed house ware and clothing samples.  They were cleaned and repaired and dropped off to a homeless shelter for teens in the Greater Providence area.  A set of sheets of your own.  Your own towel.   When you live in a “permanent temporary” space, a small comfort like that can go a long way.  How nice it came at such an unexpected time)!

HoMoWo

HoMoWo

 

Tribesmen of Greater Accra, Ghana “Hoot at Hunger” during HoMoWo — a festival celebrating their own survival during the past famines. 

 

Feasting upon steamed cornmeal and okra with Palm Nut Soup, the GaMashie (Tribe) is memorialized during the Great Feast of Kpokpoi, which includes songs, dances, and a marked procession in CELEBRATION of their VICTORY over their fiercest enemy…

….hunger

For more information about the celebration call (202) 686-4520

PUBLISH YOUR Cup of FLASH FICTION HERE!

  Check out the story of “The Hole in the Bag.”  As it turns out, that’s not fiction.  But it could have been.  Todd is real — and so is the story about the how the hole gets in a coffee bag. 

  But it’s a great example of the format and storytelling power of FlashFiction! 

  So submit your coffee-themed, 100-word-or-less, pieces today! 

Once-a-month NoMoWally will dedicate this space to a items of Flash Fiction with a Java-based theme.  Dig out your cyber pens, conjure up your best work, and rack up those publication credits! 

Flash Fiction is noted for its extreme brevity (100-2000 words) and its powerful storytelling capability (IE: Hemingway’s Six Word Story “For Sale:baby shoes, never worn.”).   Each piece must contain all standard story elements, including a Protagonist, conflict, obstacles, and resolution. 

Send Submissions by the 10th for publication for the following month to: nomowally@hotmail.com.  Include the word SUBMISSION in the subject line. 

You can also find us here:

http://members.bluegoosenews.com/nomowallysinthebag

Submit YOUR Flash Fiction, Hunt for the Daruma Doll!

Have a quick cup of Jo and no falling down on the job! 

Best submissions are selected and names remain posted on-site for one month.  Rack up those publishing credits!

Every month NoMoWally will dedicate this space to a three Flash Fiction pieces with a coffee theme.  Dig out your cyber pens, conjure up your best work, and rack up those publication credits! 

Flash Fiction is noted for its extreme brevity (250-2000 words) and its powerful storytelling capability (IE: Hemingway’s Six Word Story “For Sale:baby shoes, never worn.”   Each piece must contain all standard story elements, including a Protagonist, conflict, obstacles, and resolution. 

Send Submissions by the 10th for publication for the following month to: nomowally@hotmail.com.  Include the word SUBMISSION in the subject line.

FIND US:

FIND US:

Fall Out of Summer Fest (FOOS)

   SUNDAY – SEPTEMBER 21, 2008

   THE ARTIST EXCHANGE

Rear lot

      50 ROLFE SQUARE

CRANSTON, RI 02910

 

      FAMILY-ORIENTED   — FOOD     –MUSIC      

–FUN FOR EVERYONE!

      UNIQUE ITEMS JUST RIGHT FOR GIFT GIVING

      ITEMS FOR CHILDREN AND TEENS

      WELL-CRAFTED AND HAND-MADE GOODS

      ONE-OF-A-KIND TWINS SETS

 

DON’T MISS IT!!!

 

PROVIDENCE OPEN MARKETPLACE:

SATURDAYS —  SEPTEMBER6, 13, 20, 27 11AM-5PM Lippit Park — where Hope Street & Blackstone BLVD Meet

WHERE WE’VE BEEN:

WAKEFIELD BALLOON FESTIVAL — JULY 17-20

TIVERTON ARTS FAIR — JULY 18

CLASSICAL ARTS FAIR, SAKONNETT VINEYARD — JUNE 14

APEIRON FAIR FOR SUSTAINABLE LIVING — COVENTRY — JUNE 06

 

 http://members.bluegoosenews.com/nomowallysinthebag

http://members.bluegoosenews.com/nomowallysinthebag

http://nomowallysinthebag.blogspot.com/

Fair Trade Certified

Fair Trade Certified is a powerful logo.  It’s come to represent empowerment for farmers and for farm workers from around the world.  Fair Trade offers farmers once surrounded only by poverty a chance to develop skills necessary for competition in a Global Marketplace.

The products YOU buy today are directly connected to your future.  They effect how we will all live tomorrow with clean air, clean water, and with renewable resources. 

Fair Trade Certified products not only offer fair wages for farming families, they uphold rigid environmental standards, and offer consumers a higher quality end product. 

All of this is very good news for all of us — we receive high quality, sustainable products — and the standard of living for millions of people is raised simply because we made a great choice! 

When you see Fair Trade on the label you know:

  • Farmers and Farm Workers have been paid a fair price
  • Environmentally-Sustainable farming practices have been used
  • Respectful living conditions have existed
  • investment has been placed back into the community

Fair Trade products are harvested as:

  • Coffee   
  • Tea
  • Cocoa
  • Sugar
  • Vanilla
  • Rice
  • Fruit
  • Herbs

That, BTW, is the Fair Trade logo on the NoMoWally bag in the photo above.  (Crummy limits of size for the page).  See a better photo in the Media Library.

The Story of the Hole in the Bag

  “That’s how you know you got a great product,” Todd said.  The passion pooled up in his eyes like latte’.  He ran his fingers ran over the hole and poking through one layer of the bag.  It stirred up the jute in the sun and made its sweet scent drift past my nose. 

“The buyers,” he said a little more excited, “they have this…tool — kind-of like the guys who buy wine do when they’re going to test a keg.  It’s a long metal thing.  They stick it into the center and pull out a sleeve of beans.  If they’re any good, they buy them, if not, they pass.  Right then.  Right there.  Before they’re ever even roasted.” He gestured with his hands when he said “right then.  Right there.”  I knew he meant it.

  “What makes a ‘good bean?'” I asked.

  “It all depends.  Soil.  Temperature.  Water and sunlight have a lot to do with it, too.  They have to be just the right size so they’ll roast evenly, have just the right amount of oil so they’ll produce the right aroma.  They have to be ripe.  The ‘pick’ has to be clean — no stones, or leaves, or branches.  And they have to be the right variety in the first place.  When we say ‘Arabica,’ we can’t have something else floating through the cup, now can we?”

I shook my head, humbled by my ignorance. “I’d wondered what that hole was.  But I had no idea.  I just took my morning coffee for granted.”