It's a fair weather Sunday, and the master ambles out of his study, lays out brush, inkstone, and paper, and plops down onto his belly beside me, intoning something all the while. These strange sounds, I imagine, are some prelude to creative writing, and sure enough, after a bit, he sets down the words "a single stick of incense." Well now, I wonder, is it a poem, or perhaps a haiku? Though for the master, "a single stick of incense" seems overly stylish. As I'm still pondering, he abandons his stick of incense and moves to a new line. "I've thought for some time now to write of Natural Man," he dashes out. His brush stops there and moves no further. He grasps it firmly and tilts his head, seemingly to no avail. Then he begins to lick the brush tip. Having blackened his lips, he moves back lower on the page and draws out a circle. He draws two dots in the circle - eyes. In the center comes a nose with flared nostrils, then one straight line pulled sideways for the mouth. This is neither prose nor haiku. Apparently done with his face, he hurriedly blots it out. Again to a new line. He seems to be drifting, hoping the fresh new line will inspire some poem or eulogy or phrase or record, or anything. Finally, reverting to colloquial form, he scrawls out, in a single flourish, the following muddled text. "Natural Man ponders the infinite, reads the Analects, gorges on roasted potatoes, and is not immune to a runny nose." The master reads his text out loud, is uncharacteristically amused, and enjoys a hearty laugh. "The runny nose is a bit unflattering. Best strike it out." So saying, he puts a line through the words. Where a single line should suffice, he draws a second, then a third, neatly and in parallel. Not caring that he's encroaching into the next line, he keeps going. After eight lines, and still no inspiration, he sets aside the brush and twists at his mustache. Determined, it seems, to prove that he can wring prose from it, he twists and untwistly intently. As he continues working his mustache, the wife comes out of the living room and seats herself in front of his nose.