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Monkey reaching for the moon

August 21, 2017


monkeyreaching for the moon

Last October I had the pleasure of assisting the American author, Anne Mazer, deliver a creative writing workshop in Johnson Art Gallery at Cornell University in upstate New York.

As I wandered around the gallery this woodblock by Japanese artist Shosan Koson (1877-1945) kept drawing me back to take another look. I couldn’t stop gazing at the monkey reaching for the moon.

I was drawn by the intensity of the monkey’s expression as he hung on fragile branch of a tree and reached out a long arm to the reach the moon.

Has the shiny reflection beguiled him? Has the bright light lured him with a false promise?

Did he know it was only a reflection of the full moon? A trick of the light.

What will happen to him next? Will he shake off this moon madness or will he dive into the water?

Has he been distracted, as we all are from time to time, by shimmery shiny things? Or is his determination to ask for the moon to be admired?

A line from Shakespeare’s play, Othello springs to mind,

‘It is the very error of the moon; She comes more nearer earth than she was wont, and makes men mad.’

Is this the end or the beginning of the story? Or perhaps it is the tricky mid- point of a story. You decide.


4 Comments leave one →
  1. Megg Nicol permalink
    August 23, 2017 12:31 pm

    Lynda I love this picture too. Your comments made me look even more carefully and I think your ‘thinking’ process for me screams …please write this as a new children’s book. It certainly had me hooked and in the ‘story’ immediately.

    • Nikki Bielinski permalink
      August 24, 2017 10:56 pm

      I agree that you should write this as a new children’s book. The painting is powerful and evocative.
      And you know how to ask all the right questions…

  2. August 23, 2017 2:42 pm

    I love the idea of constructing a story around a frozen moment in time.

  3. September 6, 2017 5:44 pm

    Loved this painting of the monkey – somehow it’s very appealing.

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