Writing for the Purpose of Remembering


The two times I’d gotten that strong urge to write, they both happened at the start of the summer, and I was sitting in a darkened airplane both times, and both times, I’d had to deal with the sudden departure of someone I loved, and a member of my family.

I’d turned on that small light over my head, took out the pen and paper pad I have in my knapsack, and, as my tears quietly, rolled down my cheeks, I’d written down all the memories I have of them on this earth.

not my photo…

Once, was fourteen years ago, I’d flown back from the American West, to help set up the funerals of my youngest brother-in-law’s family of three who’d all died in a plane crash, that time, I was filled with that unwillingness to see them all go, and gained an understanding of how quickly life can change; another time was how I was on the way to go see my daughter graduate from university, my mother died, after her long-term illness, and I’d felt the waves of sorrows and loss washing over me.  A pen, accompanied a tear-stained handkerchief, my heavy sorrows slowly, diluted and dissolved as I wrote on.

Like how after my mother was gone, I’d decided, to get close to the Buddhist teachings she had been following, and, it’s as if, she’d, guided me, onto this path of writing too; the days that followed, “I will keep on writing”, kept circling in my thoughts.

In August, after my mother had died for a hundred days, I’d caught an ad for a writing class ono the UDN Papers, and without any hesitation, I’d, picked up my phone and called to register.  At the start of September, I sat, in the huge auditorium, and just, absorbed what the lecturing instructor spoke on like a sponge.

not my photo still…

And, all of the writers who had already made themselves known in the writing world had, shared with the students, the process of how they wrote in class.  Yu-Hui Liao who spoke brilliantly taught us to live life like a “bystander”, to write down our thoughts and feelings at any time of the day, and, as the timing is writing, we would be, writing those articles soon enough; the gentle and mild Mr. Hui-Zhi Hsu told us, that the prerequisite for writing is the writers’ use of language, their styles of writing, and their attitudes too, and, there can be the duality of conflicting ideas such as beauty and dissatisfaction in the essays we’re writing out.  The poet, Yi-Zhi Chen said, that writing isn’t always on what you desire to disclose to the rest of the world, you can also write, to understand the world too.

Ms. Yong-Dai Wang, who’s witty and wrote very intelligently taught us the keys to writing, using her twenty plus years of experiences as a newspaper editor that we must feel with our hearts, to get that keen sense of observation, and cultivate our own imagination too, to read more, see more, think more, and to write more too.  She’d encouraged us to submit our writings to magazines, newspapers, to test out our writing abilities, she’d given us the “Tips to Getting Your Work Accepted”.  The former classmates’ articles got published one by one, had become, the primary inspiration to us all.

I’d not wanted to miss a single class session, fearing that I’d missed out on what the lecturers had to share.  As the course was over, the big challenge of actually putting something on paper is one I was working on conquering, the pupils from various backgrounds had different writing styles and different levels of writing skills, the only thing we all shared was our passions for writing.  I’d turned into my very first piece, something I wrote, to remember my own mother, Ms. Liao who was on the committee of lecturers gave me positive feedback, it’d made my confidence boost, and I’d worked up the courage, to find three of my friends whom shared the same interests of the class, and signed ourselves up into a writing school, so we can, “keep on writing”.

not my photo…

As I’d gotten into the stage of actual writing, I’d realized, that “wanting to write” and “being able to write”, are not the same thing, the enthusiasm of a new writer, in the practice essays, slowly, saturated.  In these two years, although I’d run dry on my inspirations, and whenever the deadline approached, I’d gotten so agitated, but as I started at the writing desk, focused down on writing, the tips shared by the writing teachers helped me, on this long road of creation.

Yu Wen Zheng, the instructor told us, “Words can kick start the memories”, and that, “the things will all disappear one day, only the words will stay, leaving that permanence of memory”.  And now, writing for me, it’s not only to help me recall the faces of life, but just like Professor Hsiao-Ping Weng had stated, “in order to write, you must love it, and constantly think about it, like it’s natural as breathing, that it’s everywhere around you, at any given time of day.”

So, this, is how this woman started writing, she’d wanted to help her get through the loss of her own mother, so, she’d started writing, and, in taking the writing courses, she’d learned not just the techniques of writing, but also, the lecturers had given the tips and pointers to the pupils, so the pupils can put what they’d learned to work.


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