Testing Shodo

A little over 2 years back I started shodo with my daughter. On the surface, it was all about helping her get over a slump at school. She had gotten a bad test grade in kanji, and she needed a boost. Or maybe it was about making it fun, or maybe she could teach her dad a thing or two. Cause that would be a morale boost there, too. Whether that was the reason or not, all of those things were true.

For me, I had been interested since I studied Chinese in the late 80’s. It was a good excuse to pick it up again. In retrospect, I was looking for something. A creative outlet, something not just to occupy my time, and give me an excuse to spend creative and fun time with my little one. Since then, it has become perhaps the longest hobby I’ve ever had, and a creative endeavor.

An endeavor. That word came to me naturally as I write, and yet it is a bit of an epiphany. Words are important, and an endeavor is “to exert oneself to do or effect something; make an effort; strive” or “to attempt to achieve or gain.” So what am I trying to effect? Or achieve, or gain? It could be excellence. It could be a gold star that tells me I’ve progressed. Or just a sense of accomplishment, that I’ve learned something. The truth is a combination of the above, in what measure, I don’t really know.

I find myself striving, like the definition says. I must admit, there’s still a big part of me that is perhaps less evolved, the part that wants recognition. The normal way is to just submit on a monthly basis. It turns out, however, that lots of folks take tests, to level up. It happens twice a year. So I’ve missed the opportunity 4 times now. This time, I’ll take the test, though. Below is what I have to write, exactly as is.

And here is my first attempt.

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Not bad for a first try. I’ve got a month to refine it and submit, so I’ll give it a bunch more tries. Maybe I’ll level up. Maybe not. But for certain, I will endeavor.

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