The two great minds are, colliding again, translated…
I’d Often Told My Students, No Matter How You May Look Stupid, There’s One Place in This World, that You are a Genius. Go Out, Seek that Place Out, to Find the Genius that Heaven Endowed You with. Go There, Because, You are, the KINGS & QUEENS of that Realm………
The Thought Processes that Revolved Around the Novels
All my friends who knew me well knew that I loved that thin volume by Haruki Murakami, “If We All Spoke in the Language of Whiskey”, that was a journey, of finding the origins of whiskeys. But, we’re not talking about alcohol today, nor traveling, besides, I’m not that “infatuated” with whiskeys yet.
The elegance of literature, how should I describe it, it’s, too, abstract, but, my idol, Murakami, was always able to, make those already complicated questions, into even MORE complicated, or more trying for me, to understand.
In one of his essay volumes, he’d stated, “The language we used, are still, language, we live in this world, guided by language. And, we can only, transcribe everything, into something that’s, awake to describe it, and only live, in the limitations of that. But, there are, exceptions too, in those, limited moments of, bliss, our language gets turned, into whiskeys. And we——— at least, I————still, dreamed to live those moments of being, surrounded by dreams.”
He’d turned whiskeys into a metaphor of language, it’s easily, understood by those in his same industry. Another skill that the professional novelists had, is to interpret everything using one’s own beliefs. Changing the world, to make it unbound, by language, a sort, of an universalism that belonged solely to the novels.
I’d still attempted, to transcribe the differences of language, to the spectrums of creativity, what if, we’d, turned the language we used, into novels?
Don’t know if Rong-Je share the same troubles, when things interesting happen around you, our cerebral cortex, upon receiving the information, automated itself, into thinking in terms of noveling, I’d loved thinking using this mode, this is, already, an incurable condition for me.
And, naturally I’d described the events, of retold of the conversations over again, to bring the characters in my stories to life, plus an unexpected, ending…………I’d gotten two sorts of responses, the writers are all, exaggerating, but that wasn’t what I just, said.
I’m not complaining how hard it was, getting along with those with an engineering degree, who were, guided by, solely logic, after all, they’d not minded, that I lived, in Martian time zones, you’re probably, luckier than I am, because your better half is also, a novelist too.
Sometimes, I’d, become more toned-up, to not use the overly dramatic language, to not go overboard. I’d told other people more than once, if you lived with Rong-Je Hsu, you wouldn’t think, that I’m, exaggerating anymore. But, I’d never wanted to, change my life, that’s, filled up, with the ways of the novels, after all, if I’d done that, then, I wouldn’t, be me anymore.
And, how do we, use the simpler, more easily understood language, to get closer to the truth, and yet, with the powers, to, exceed what is, real, that is, the challenges of a novelist’s life, like those boundaries in the movie, “The Maze Runner”, with the uncertainties, no logic we can go by, and, even IF we kept, bumping into the walls, we’d needed to, use methods that our readers can understand, to guide ourselves, out of that, labyrinth.
The “limitations” of language, it’s boundaries, I’m still, attempting, to get across. As I’d used the images not related to life as metaphors, perhaps, other than those who’d read the book, but not seen the movies, or even, those readers who’d, never watched any movies, the languages used in the novels appeared to be, bourgeois.
But, another way of interpreting the languages used in novels, is that it’d must, exceeds its, limitations, like how Murakami had gone to interview Jim in the distillery of Islay, and found the answers to the kegs that breathed that the kegs had, breathed in the sea breezes in the rain seasons, and in the dry seasons, “the whiskeys kept pushing from inside the kegs. And in this back and forth, it’d, made the whiskey brewed there, to have that special taste. And this special taste had, calmed the hearts of the drinkers.”
The novelist, Murakami only wanted to take this trip, and just gotten drunk on the single-malts, don’t know if at this time, he’d felt, that same earthquake as I am doing, and the origin of that earthquake was himself, who’d, set at his writing desk. And, the whiskey that Jim spoke of, was that precision of writing that novelists are seeking to write with. Alcohol is nonliving, but, from the lips of the brewers, it’d, gained a brand new life, can breathe, with the particles moving around, and about, soaked in the kegs, enduring through the long season of rain, fixing oneself up, waiting, for that dry season that will come soon.
The language of novels, is nothing, but the whiskeys in the kegs, going through the repeated impact against the kegs, to make that best smooth, taste, to try to, get closest, to the cores of the novel, to attempt to, go deeper, than the surfaces of the human skins, then, to pull out, that heart of darkness, that’s, covered up, hidden too deep.
Making things up is not the original intent of novelists, more importantly, to turn what’s unreal, into what’s real, to the point, that the words became, surreal to the readers, to make a bigger, better frame of things, to put that center inside the novels for the readers.
Most of the times, as I’d written to my wits ends, I’d gotten reminded of some people I’d known, some were, my best friends from my distant adolescent years, some were, those students who were once, strangers, but I’d, gotten to know, how did we, make the connections, and, break it again. I’d loved imagining, what had, happened, to them?
In my second year of middle school, I’d often gone to a classmate’s home, her family owned a small diner, her mother knew more or less, that I was, staying at another student’s home, and, she’d felt, empathy toward how I was, living under, someone else’s roofs.
And, I’d started, helping out at the shop that my classmate’s family owned, anything…the dishes, making the drinks, making the plates of shaved ice, anything, sometimes, when the customers came so fast, I’d become, like a busy little bee, buzzing around the shop, and aunty was always, grinning ear to ear. And, would from time to time, stuff my hands with the Chinese herbal remedies, said it was, good for us, and, had given me the apples and the pears, told me to come and get more after I’d, finished. I can’t tell you, how much, I’d, longed for this kind of gentleness and kindness, and I’d, forgotten about the hardships of living under someone else’s roofs, and forgot how my parents were, separated, and forgotten how I’d felt, like I was, a luggage that someone had, forgotten about.
Back then, I’d not realized, that my classmate didn’t like me very much. Every time I’d gone over to her home, she’d pretended like she didn’t have anything against me, still chatted, and, she’d, squeezed in to the kitchens, to tell me things. Until once, after the heights of the dining in time, she’d told me she was going upstairs to listen to some tapes, back then, we were into the Japanese singers, she’d collected many tapes, as well as, posters too. Later on, someone called her from downstairs, he’d gone downstairs, but, there was, a box of cassettes missing, I’d wanted to ask her about them, and, as I was, about to, turn downstairs, I’d heard her tell another classmate. “I really hate her, why does she come over every day, so shameful, she’d even, invited herself in for the meals too.”
I’d forgotten how I got out of her house, perhaps, I’d, found me an excuse, and excused myself, quickly, and I’d stopped, going to her house, and, made myself invisible in her presence also. From that day on, I’d started, slouching over and, as someone showed goodwill to me, I’d, started thinking that it was, fake. Why are you, faking your kindness, when you don’t like me one bit? We’d not spoken another word, until we’d, graduated.
Murakami once said, “If a story can’t make the readers into better people, then, there’s, no point, in writing that story.”
If the language of the novels are limited, then, I must, try my best, to describe the story, and this, is the only thing that novelists can, accomplish. That girl longed for the feelings of family, that was why, she’d, come closer to that place, but, she was, the one, hated by her classmate, for her mother’s diverting her attention away from her, and, she’d, lost the connection to her friend, whatever happened to them both?
If, our language is the novel, then, this supposition only, benefitted the minority of people, for me, in the trying moments in my own life, reading and writing daily, it’d, helped me find the meanings of my own existence, or maybe, letting the time pass through myself, becoming, a better person than I can, imagine.
And so, there’s, ALWAYS truth in the fictions, and, that is why, reading those fictitious tales, can hit that part in our hearts, make us connect, so well, with the characters, because, the characters are, alter egos of the writers themselves.
The Trial by Fire of the Stories
I’d agreed to your saying of the novelists worked their whole lives to “try to get the language closest to reality, and, exceeds the reality”.
It’s that this same technique, is term by some as “exaggeration”, and “twisting the facts” by others.
At the very start, I’m a story teller who’s “seventy-percent truthful, thirty-percent fabricated”.
This nature of mine made it especially hard, as I was doing research in engineering, I’d researched on the “operations of the reservoirs”, when to keep the water, when to release it, there’s, set rational data to follow, there’s, NO room for romance or things that are, made up.
But, you can’t be someone you’re not, I’d still, told my share of stories working as an engineer.
On the surface, I’d gotten so exaggerated telling those tales, but deep down, I was, so scared, if I wasn’t careful, I’d caused everybody to not have enough water to drink, and, on the bigger scales, I’d, caused the reservoirs to overflow, and, everybody is, drowning.
And so, I’d, changed to working in theatre, to writing novels.
The same talents, in operating the reservoirs, it’d become, stumped, I’d felt, like I was, a loser every day; but, as I’d, used the same techniques in script writing, and writing, I’d felt in my element, and felt like a genius every day.
And so, I’d told my students, no matter what sort of a loser you are, there’s, that part of you that’s, genius, go seek it out, that realm where you ruled.
“Seventy-percent factual, thirty-percent fictional” this is all the talents that we’d needed, to tell a story, but, it’s not quite enough, to tell a good story.
Back then, as I’d, dipped my toes into script writing, the person who’d, influenced me the most was, Shinji Nojima, his most famous work, “101 Times Proposed”, “Under the Same Roofs”, and “High School Instructor”.
His stories are all out there, but they’re all, very high in popularity.
In “Love Knows No Tomorrow”, in order to help cure her younger sister’s blindness, the female protagonist married a rich man whom she doesn’t love. In her wedding gown, the female lead sat in the helicopter operated by the rich man she married, they were going to some private island for their honeymoon. At this time, the man the female protagonist loved showed, and he’d, stood on the ground, staring up at the female protagonist who’s, flown up in the air.
At this time, the story took the viewers into a memory, the blind younger sister once asked the female lead a question. If the world comes to an end, which animal will you take onto Noah’s Ark? (1) Sheep, (2) Horse, (3) Peacock, (4) Tiger.
Back then, the female lead looked at the blind eyes of her younger sister (it was during their childhood years, that the female lead, out of jealousy, had poked her younger sister’s eyes out, made her blind), she’d said sorrowfully, “if the world comes to an end, I’d, end with the world”. The older sister did not only not choose, and, she’d managed, to make a fifth option for herself.
Then, returning back to reality, the female lead turned her head toward her rich husband, then, gave her a sorrowful smile, then, pushed open the helicopter door, leapt downward, in the end, she’d become, a vegetable. She’d become, a self-fulfilling prophecy from the personality test: to get destroyed with the world.
There’s no one option, that was, more precise, than the one that the female protagonist had, created, for herself.
And, the playwright, Shinji Nojima had taught me, to adjust the makeup of my stories, “Fifty-percent truth, fifty percent fictional”.
Thirty-percent of the storytelling was my original talent, and, the fifty-percent added, was the strengthening of my storytelling.
What if my readers felt, that it’s, too overly exaggerated, that it didn’t, fit logic?
Then, let them all go! You need to select your own readers, the stronger the styles of the writers, the stronger this showed, like Haruki Murakami.
In my classifications, Murakami had, gone one step further, his stories were “forty-percent nonfictional, sixty-percent fictional”.
Murakami mentioned how this was how he’d, begun his writing career:
The year he’d turned 29, on an afternoon in April, he’d gone to a baseball game, of which he was a fan of the team, Yukult. On the outfield bleachers, he’d drank the beers, and watched the games, at which time, his team hit the ball to second base. At that very moment, he’d gotten that strong feeling, “hey, maybe, I can write novels”.
And, who was it, that’s hit that baseball, got to second base? What inning was this? What batter was he? How did the Yukult team do that year? All of that, were seemingly, unrelated to how “Murakami began writing novels”, but, it’s, completely, related.
Back then, the man who’d hit the baseball and ran to second base was Dave Hilton, he was a player who’d just been traded to Japan to play. Without any fame, he’d gotten on base in that first hit, and he was, the very first batter.
That year, Team Yukult was there, to make the other teams shine, the owners didn’t have that much money, there were, NO star players on the team. But in the end, Team Yukult was the miracle, not only did they become the champions of the central leagues, they’d beaten the Pacific League’s champions.
If this s a movie, I’d, totally turn the second base hit into the start of the movie.
First inning, first batter, a foreigner who was, unknown to everybody, his second base hit, opened up that deepest, darkness, and took Team Yukult who’d not been expected to perform well at all, ALL the way to the championship games.
It was amazing that, Murakami had, selected this story, as the backdrop for his own fictional creations. When he’d felt most lost at people’s lives, this is the sort of stories we want to hear.
I’m sure, that Murakami knew well, but he couldn’t explain, because if he had, then, it would make the story lose that scent of magic, and there wouldn’t be, the Murakami-ness of the story anymore.
Would my above descriptions be, a bit, too narrowminded?
Fine, let’s tell it, in a more gentler way:
This wasn’t Murakami’s plan all along, it was his language, every word he’d written had, made his readers exclaimed, “it’s our god, Murakami”. Then, the readers rehashed the miraculous act of Murakami to someone else, because the readers wanted to see someone else’s jaw drop too.
And so, how to become, a good story teller is the center of this article, and, how to become a good story teller, truth, mixed in, with fiction, but the proportions of truths and fictions, is up for grabs, because everybody has a difference of interpretation, it’s all on the writers’ methods of conveying what they want to say to the readers.