The Contest

Check out Ellen Sandbeck's papercuts of the Buddha on the Facebook page "A Buddha A Day." Choose your favorite image, then send a wonderful piece of your writing, one page or less, on any topic, to You may win the original papercut of your choice!

Winning entries will be posted on this page.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Winning entry from Glenn Gordon

Ellen Sandbeck’s Buddha No. 30

A man who thinks there is no murder in his heart is lying to himself. On the third day of January 2008, a woman whom I loved betrayed me.  Rage, bitterness, nausea, and a desire to avenge the waste made of my trust have been my close companions ever since. “Let it go,” people say, “Put it behind you; move on.” No doubt there is a limp wisdom to what they tell me but actually, no one puts anything behind -- ever. Everything goes into the sack of woe you’re dragging to the grave.

Against this, there is art -- this paper cutout, for instance, of a blossom resting in the Buddha’s palm. The graceful contours of the cutout’s segments, the curved pads of the fingertips, suggest an infinitely tender sense of touch, the Buddha’s and the artist’s both. I can feel the palm feeling the very slight weight and soft dampness of the petals it cradles. There is something slightly comic about the petals –- they’re a little floppy.

Last year, Ellen, seeing how miserable I was, invited me to choose a single work from the procession of Buddhas spilling from her scissors. Right away, I fastened upon this one -- my heart, not to put too fine a point on this, lunged for it, seeing in it something it was starved for.

Her cutout is one of those rare works the sight of which can calm one’s breathing. I have only to look at it to feel the tension and grief drain from my body. I am grateful to Ellen for the gift she made of it to me. It soothes the beast pacing inside this cage of who I am.  It tells me not to kill. It tells me not to die before my time. I have it hung in a place where it’s the last thing I see at night before I turn out the lights.

Glenn Gordon, March 2010