The Story Capsule

from the writer of this article, taken off of UDN.com…圖/阮光民

Saving the inspirations for later, when you’re, mature enough, not throwing anything away, because it can be used again, how someone becomes inspired to create, translated…

Actually, All Those Old Buildings Have This Ability, to Not Say a Thing…with the Present and the Past, Coexisting in the Same Space & Time, and the Past is Able to, Have Conversations with the Distant Futures.

The Train Station that Stayed Still in 2007

Toward these broken, misshaped stories, I’d, swallowed them all down like those cold medicine capsules, down into my throat, like how those passages in the mountains swallowed the trains whole too.

That, is how those box trains were, with a group of people, wrapped inside, standing or sitting until it’s their stops.  As the train pulled into the station, people get on, people get off, some with stories that they carried, some were, taking their stories elsewhere.  Every capsule served its purpose, all the trains contained, many stories.

With the tourism blooming in Neiwan, Hsinchu, the local governments kickstarted the plans to make the routes, built up those comic-book railroads, with the comics summer camps too, and there were comic drawing contests, with Neiwan as the subject matter too.  In the summer of 2012, I’d gone there, to get the inspirations for my art, and for the very first time, I alighted the Neiwan Routes.

The route had the originally mountain surrounding sights, the orange-yellow colored trains passing to and from Zhuzhong, Ronghwa, Zhudong, Henshang, Jiuzantou, Hexing, Fugui, and Neiwan stations with the stations about two kilometers apart from each other.  All the stations are, silent, other than the holidays and weekends, there were, no visitors, the wooden tracks were covered with a layer of dust, like the piano which hadn’t been played in a long time.  Some of these nine stations were already listed as a C class station, without the attendants, with the numbered passengers, it’s hard to imagine, how this was, once, a major tourist attraction.

My favorite station was the Jiuzantou station, those older steel mills still stood tall, and I can imagine how when it was still working, how the smokes rose out, that scene resembled that in the Miyazaki animated feature fills like Nausicaa.  Even now, as it rained, or in the winters when there was fog, that scene was still playing on.

From the ticket booths, the station like an island, surrounded by the oceans, the trains looked like they were, trekking across the seas, and, the passengers who got off needed to walk down the steps, after the train got to the shores, to walked on the cement steps, to get to the other side, and there was only a sign that stated, “One hundred people in and out at our highest”, with the second highest number of cargoes across all of Taiwan.

Other than these storylines my mind has, the reason why I loved this station was that as time keeps on moving forward, but these building seemed to have halted by time.  Stopped, in the year 2007, with the present, and the past, together as one, the past can hold conversations with the futures from far, far away.  Actually, there’s this, silently telling story natures of these old buildings.

The Same Wind Doesn’t Blow Twice

Staying at the B&B in Neiwan, if you’re driving, then, you’d needed to, take the longer way, but if you walked, you can turn left at the Guanji Temples, passed through the tracks, followed that hill upward, and you’d bump into that wooden lamppost, passing through that passage covered with trees, then, you’d, arrived at the bed and breakfast.  But, the owner of the B&B discourages the visitors to go this way when it rained, he worried, that the visitors couldn’t steady themselves, and turn the passageway into a water slide.  This B&B is located in a higher place, you can look down and see the former streets, and in the evenings, you’d get a great view of the lights down below, after the rains, you can see the mistiness across the mountains………luckily, I was able to experience all of these in my time here.  The B&B is run by this younger couple, with an elder in the home, if the guests had ordered supper or barbecue, everybody in the family works together in the kitchen, I’d sat across the bar, looking, and every scene that happened can be used as an inspiration in my art.

I sat in the trains, watching the scenes flash by, summer, the nature used the most relaxing colors: the blues, the whites, the greens, I’m thinking, for the sake of maintaining balance with the heat of the weather.  Hmmmmmm!  I should tell you a story of summer then, and this story will, hopefully, connect all the stations together.  I took out my pad, listed all the names of the stations, and assigned the characters to get on at certain stations, the points they met up.  I’m used to drawing stories where the characters enter from some place, and this sort of a multiple location arrangement is stressing my brains out, gladly, the Neiwan Lines are quite simple.  The process of coming up with a story line was like swallowing a huge pill, the moment the storylines connected was like the pill that’s stuck in my throat, finally gotten, washed down by that gulp of water, and, if it got stuck too long, then, it’d, blocked up my windpipe, and I would’ve, died.

Finally, I’d finished, “The Marriage Dress Brought by the Summer Breeze”, and won an award for it.  In this comic, I’d selected the seasons for the names of my two characters, and so, I’d thought about how the three other seasons in Neiwan would be like?  Well, maybe, I should, do it, for ALL four seasons. But back then, I was still doing my “Heaven Diner” columns, so I was limited with my ability and time, so I can only save the scenes into my mind, as a rough draft, then, slowly, allowing everything to come into being.

In a seminar, someone asked, if I thought of a storyline, and as I drew later, found that it didn’t connect, would I, discard it?  I’d answered him, that in the past, I had, discarded, but I’d felt regrettable, and after that first time, I’d, kept everything.  As an inspiration comes into mind, it’s like a breeze blowing through, it won’t happen again, that we needed to, jot it down.  If we weren’t able to use that inspiration at the moment, it’s because we were capable enough, to make a story out of it, to develop it.

In 2017, I had the chance to sort through those pipelines inside my mind from 2012, gladly, the time capsule was still unscathed.  And as I’d held that conversation now with the past, now, I am, more apt, to make the scenes I thought up more connected, and so, came the “Railroad Sonatas”.

And, I’d used “maybe”, because perhaps, in a few more years, I may be even more capable, of developing the story line better.

Creation is like the trains, passing through, a station at a time.

So, this, is how you were, inspired, and on your trip, some of the things you felt moved by you didn’t get to use it right away, but, you’d, saved it, and, as you become more mature, things fall into place, and, those items you’d saved in your portfolio or memories, became ideas you can, extend on.

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