Writing Each Novel Was Like Destroying My Own Body, and Building it Back Up Again

How getting ill was this writer’s realizing that he needed to change his way of writing, on discovering the self, from the Front Page Sections, translated…

From his twenties, to now, the writer Yi-Jun Luo had weathered through depression and long-term insomnia, in the past three years, he was overcome with three serious illnesses, and last year, he thought he didn’t have long to live. As he was called that he’d own the writing awards, he said it was, “shocking” and “confusing and moving”, “This was the never-before happening moments in literature, with the good novels coming out one by one, I’m glad, to be in this time of literary growth, I hope to melt like a cube of sugar into the era, to share my knowledge with those who shared my love for writing.”

Lo who is an Aries, described himself as a Neanderthal, with the primal instincts, starting at age twenty, he’d started to worship the trends of western modern novels since the 80s and 90s. And yet, those who’d, “grown up drinking the poisonous western modern novels”, a lot of his generation had, committed suicide, or died with illnesses, like his best friends, Yuan, Huang, and Chiu, and many others.

Lo said, in recent years, he’d fallen ill many times, and slowly, come to understand, that he’d needed to prepare the materials from outside his own areas of expertise in writing of the novels, it’s like how the athletes, being engaged in long-term extreme sports, it would be, damaging to the physical health. And yet, he’d, burned out his brain repeatedly, and, causing his nervous system to be in a feverish state.

As he’d spoken on the highly remarked “Western Summer Hotel”, he’d admitted that half way into writing it, he had a relapse of his depression, and when he returned, he’d forgotten, the structures of the story, and as the volume became a book, there were, regrets. For the decade that followed, he’d been taking sleeping pills to help him rest, and felt, “I think my I.Q. is a lot lower compared to ten years ago.”

Last year, Lo suddenly passed out while walking, after being taken to the hospital, he’d learned there were, damages to his cardiac muscles, and, other than thinking about his own loved ones when he fell, he thought, “I still owe myself a very good long novel.” Later on, his instructor, Yang suggested he look at some eastern paintings, to see how they’d, kept themselves steady, when their world is collapsing, to find that method, to keep himself steady. And now, as Lo looked at the paintings, the chinas from the Song Dynasty, touching the rock with the natural marks, he’d felt, at ease and calm, and found, that “the eastern of what he’d, ignored, was like the roots of the soul”, and stopped battling death using the western methods anymore.

Lo said, the three novels that the critic, Wang commended on, each one he’d written it with the mind of destroying himself, then rebuilding himself back up again. And now, he’d hoped, to find a milder method of writing, and continued laboring in literature using the heartfelt, genuine ways, to bring back the terms that modern day man overlooked, such as “respect” and “forgiveness”.

And so, that, is this writer’s journey, to finding a better way to write, in the past, he’d, written using that brute force, which worked, back when he was younger, because he had too much energy to burn out, but, he couldn’t, write like that anymore, as he’s, older, and, it’d, tried his mind, made him sick, and so, he’s, slowly, learning a brand new way, to write…


Let Me Take Your Pictures for You

查看來源圖片one taken, like this???  Photo found online…


“Do you need me to take a photo of you?”, I’d asked my fellow travelers a lot. After I’d gone to war at work on the weekdays, I’d, enjoyed my single trip, packing in my cell phone, my camera, and my tripod, then, I’m, off.

I’d not liked the selfie rod, with the limited angles, but, using the tripod, it’d, given me a wider view; finding that location I want to stand at, put something there, set up the time, run to that spot and pose, click, then photo taken! And, I was even able to, take shots of me, leaping up in the air too, the only photo I couldn’t take of me alone, was the kind that is, draped in the mysteriousness, and I’d, needed someone to help me with these.

Looking at the cameras taking the selfies, just looking over at the display, then I’d know if I needed to reshoot, and sometimes, as passersby saw how I’m having so much fun, taking selfies, they’d even hollered aloud, “1, 2, 3”, or, “are the melons sweet”, and, made me crack up, but, I was able to, get that youthfulness of my self, looking so happy too.

And, as I’d wanted that mysteriousness in the shots, I’d, asked the passersby to help me focus my lens, and, as I’d found various people to do it, I would have breathtakingly beautiful photos too!

A lot of people are like me, enjoy traveling alone, but most would use the selfie rods, some people saw I was, fully equipped with everything I need, having a grand time, taking my own selfie, they’d come and inquired, “Can I be in it too?”, I’d be more than happy to oblige, one horizontally, one, vertically, one close up, one, in the distance, and if I’m not going anywhere in a short time, I’d, get the pictures to perfection for my “clients”.

And so, as I’d seen those trekkers, walking around with the selfie rods, I’d always gone up and asked them, “Do you need me to take a shot of you?”, seeing how radiantly the individuals smiled on, I’d feel, very blessed.

And so, this, is how although we can do things on our own, we would, prefer someone else’s help, because we are a social animal, and, thrive on social interactions, and, even IF we are able to do things by ourselves, on our own, we wouldn’t mind, having someone else to help us out, would we? Nope!

Wall & Bridge

What are we supposed to write about with this essay topic, there’s NO directions that the teacher gave us, so naturally, we’d gone on what we knew, and we knew very little, we were only in the middle school years, translated…

In my earlier schooling days, on the essay tests there wouldn’t be a series of explanations of topics that we’d be writing on, or a sample essay of what they’re looking for from us. But, “not writing on topic gets you a ZERO for the score” had, never changed.

In my last year of middle school, we’d taken at least ONE mock exam per week for all of our classes, and, naturally, for the Chinese courses, an essay. Once, the topic was “Bridge & Wall”, as I saw the topic, I’d hollered inside, what sort of a topic WAS this? There were nothing but walls made of mud, bridges from bamboo, were we, writing out a piece of country music? Or, were we, supposed to write about the direction of the bridges, up and down, horizontal, should we, write on how bridges can be metaphors of our characters? The thick bridges, the unsteady bridges, do we, write about loyalty?

what the students were asked to do in school…查看來源圖片what we were given to write on…image from online…

I couldn’t figure it out, and so, I’d, written about my parents, on how my father was the wall that I could lean on, that my mother was a bridge, that made me open up in communicating: my Chinese teacher gave me a 65, the LOWEST for my essay grade records, but, nobody got the point of the topic out of the whole class either.

So, what was, the answer? The walls on our hearts, the bridges across our hearts, this essay topic had stayed with me, to my fifties.

And so, this essay topic was way out of the students’ level of comprehension, and perhaps, the instructor was looking for something that related to the entire country, because of the era in time, and yet, this was the writer’s lowest essay grade, which was probably why it’d stayed with her her whole life!

The Builder of Bridges

The job of a translator here, translated…

Translations are nitrogen, I’d first, swallowed it, then, gotten to know it better.

The very first time I’d had translated materials was “Doraemon”, back then, it was called, “the mechanical cat”, the main character, Nozomu Oya, lived in Taiwan. Because of the setting, as I was younger, I’d believed that the comics were Taiwanese, until my teens, and I’d found out, that a lot of the things I’d thumbed through earlier were, “translated”, before it came in our language for us to understand.

The translators are the selectors, also, the transporters, the original texts that were selected by this group of people, are good enough, for the rest of the public’s eyes—I’d once believed, and set my goal of becoming a translator myself, and later, I’d realized, that the translators didn’t have the right to choose what they translate, sometimes, they don’t even have the rights to turn down a job.

The translators aren’t filters, and those with the decisions of whether or not the work lives or dies are up to the market economy, and the readers. The translators were merely a bridge that helps people cross the barriers, but, there are, more than one bridge, as there were, many who chose to swim across instead of trekking across the bridges. All I can do, is to NOT lead the readers into the realms of darkness, where the original writers don’t intend their readers to go.

illustration from the papers online…圖/Silvia

The Conversations without Names

I’d once translated a Japanese webpage game, the contents were about how the generals of the Japanese warring era were turned into cards, and entering the cards into a game of duel with other players (on another note: all these general characters were all made into females). These sorts of games, you only needed the basic knowledge of the Japanese warring era, and, it’s not that hard to work with, but, I was responsible for the dialogues between the characters, and the original text provided to me, I couldn’t see the speakers, just long lines of conversations.

This was hard, the characters in the games wouldn’t take turns talking like they were well-behaved, instead, they’d chimed in into one another’s conversations, talked at the exact same time. But, without the clear instructions, it was too risky, to deduct who the speaker was. Thinking on it, I’d, just, downloaded the game to play it myself, played it to the place where I was supposed to translate, to see who is talking with whom, then, I’d, found my peace of mind, and started translating.

查看來源圖片a man, working as a translator…photo from online…

This form of giving the translators fragmented documents to work with, is quite common in the gaming industries, and maybe, it’s more efficient, but without the needed items, it can easily be troublesome. Not each and every time I have enough time, to successfully find the original texts, and if the translators translated based off of what they thought the story lines were about, then, things may get mixed up, and, became the guilty one who’d, destroyed the original intents of the writers, and, needed to carry all the blames. What’s tragic is, this is still an ongoing situation now. If the industries don’t change their ways, then, the only thing that’s hurt would be the conscience of the translators.

The Real Existence of “Hard to Verbalize”

“Hard-to-verbalize” actually exists in reality.

To be more precise, it’s “how difficult it is, to describe it in this particular language”. Language is the starting point of culture, and culture helped shape the languages, and the two are closely tied together, if you’re NOT living in this culture, then, certain terms, phrases couldn’t have meaning for you. And because of this, translations for me, wasn’t “transferring”, but instead, it’s, “mimicking”. Culture was like the materials, and, without the same materials of shared language, the translators would have it hard, recreating the same product, and we can only use what we have, to create something that’s closely resembling to it.

First person in Japanese is a classic headache. Based off of the differences of gender, age, location, or era, there would be, various way of forms of expression. In the works of Japanese language, usually, the first-person perspective is used, to shape up the characters, or using this way, to find out who the speakers were. In a comic I’d translated before, there was a character, with what seemed to be multiple personality disorder, and would use two separate terms to refer to the self under two different circumstances. And naturally, there’s just the “I” for it in Chinese. At first, I’d, used the subtext method, to show how the character was shifting from one personality to the next, but later, the personalities changed more often, I’d, needed to change the tone of the speakers, and hoped, that the readers can note the differences.

The more I’d worked in translation, the more I’d felt, that I can find materials in my own culture, to resemble the foreign works, but, there’s just, NO way of duplicating the picturesque or the colors of the original. And because of that, translation is merely a bridge, not the end. The translators built the multiple bridges, and tell readers that there are better things that they can expect after they’d crossed over the bridges, but, in order to know what’s in the “unknown realms”, only the readers can venture to find out.

If there’s one day that you get the chance, to swim across this bridge yourself, then, you will find there to be, many shiny treasures, hidden, on the opposite of the shore where there are no bridges to cross from.

And so, the job of the translators, is to make materials easily accessible for those who don’t speak the language, to get the wonderful texts out, so people who don’t speak the language the works were written in can read it, and yet, there may be things that gets lost in translation, because, a word or expression in this language, you may not be able to find the words that closely describe what the original writers meant.

So, I Can Write

It’d taken you, a bit longer, to tap into your talents in writing, after you’d, wrote out of the boundaries, and gone off the “grids”, so to speak, translated…

In the third grade, our teacher gave us an essay topic: Our Class. Before this, my essay writing is ordinary, not worth anybody’s time, and, as I’d lacked that inspiration, and interest too, with the teachers pressing me on, I’d, squeezed out those squiggly, barely legible, words that don’t make any sense.

That day, I’d, written in the manners as I had taken to writing the essays, “There are, forty students in our class, a teacher………”, then suddenly, “There are so many fun characters in class, why not write about them?”, and so, I’d started using that lively, exaggerated techniques, to describe the assortment of classmates I had.

And, this essay that’s well-written, peaked my teacher’s interests, not only did she read it aloud to the class, she’d given it great commends too, like, there’s, a bright and shiny new star, coming up the horizon in the writing industries. The grade of A++, it’d, awaken my self-confidence that’s been, dormant for a long time, and, the writing classes became the ones I’d looked forward to the most.

Turns out, I CAN write! And, my road to writing took a turn, because of this.

Sometimes it only takes a shift of your state of mind, to do things not as you’d done them, to have this more interesting outcome, and, you’d learned, that you CAN be a good writer, you just, didn’t know it yet!

Only Here, to Borrow Some Inspiration, the Relativity of Literature

My Writing Style is Similar to Haruki Murakami’s

Rong-Je Hsu


As I’d started my lectures, the students always asked me where I got my inspirations from?

And, I’d liked to ask you that, where, does your inspiration come from? And, are good inspirations, guarantees, for good novels? Can you give me some examples from your earlier works? I believed, that the earlier the work, the lacking of techniques in writing they’d all had, and back then, inspiration became, the most important thing.

On inspiration, I’d always recalled Marquez’s “I just want to borrow the phone”.

The female protagonist, Maria’s car broke down on her way home. She’d looked for a phone in distress, to tell her husband, and, she’d gotten on a torn up bus, with women of various ages, shapes, and sizes, the only common thing they all had was, that they were all, very, quieted, wrapped in blankets, and, all, asleep.

Maria had, ignored this, odd sight, she’d wanted to find a phone, and so, she alighted the bus, and, started on a weird journey.

In the end………Maria was, institutionalized forever until she died.

A very, shocking story, a wrong choice, and, it’d, ruined Maria’s life forever. The first time I’d read this novel, I’d thought, if I were Maria, and this broken down bus appeared before me, I would’ve, reached, for the only driftwood around, meaning that…………I would also, certainly, end up, in a mental institution too.

And, writing a novel, we’re, on the same journeys, if we hurried ourselves to write a novel, I couldn’t even tell, if the enormous amounts of inspiration that I was having, would it, send me into the nut house, or the garden of Eden?

At the start of my writing, I was, more easily, inspired, by things that are, quite abnormal.

Take for instance, my first award-winning novel, “Why Doesn’t Anyone Believe Me”, once as I’d talked to a friend, don’t know what we were talking about, the person told me mysteriously, “As the dog went into the tunnels, it will, never come back again”, actually, this wasn’t that special, as I’d, already, heard it before, but what hearing it at that time meant different to me, back then, all that was on my mind was writing, and so, it’d, hit me hard, then, following, I’d, started this journey of writing from my mind.

My writing style is, more like Haruki Murakami’s.

Once, as the Japanese writers, Takashi Murakami and Haruki Murakami were having a conversation, they’d talked about how they wrote. Takashi said that his style of writing was more like painting, that he’d had a nearly completely picture in his mind, and, writing was, merely, slowly, painting that picture into complete. As for Haruki, he’d, belonged to the opposite end of the spectrum, he said he’d, written a first character, then, the second, then, used the first two characters, linked to a third.

For instance, the first word, “you”, second, “are”, third, “so”, fourth, “full”, fifth, “of”, sixth, “it”.

Yeah, I’m, calling someone a bad name, without calling him straight, of course, Murakami was, bullshitting, but, I’d, loved these, exaggerations that get passed around.

And, my writing style was, closer to Murakami’s, I’d written a first, then a second, paragraphs, then, used the first two paragraphs, to write a third.

For instance, after I’d written, “as the dog entered and passed through the tunnels, he could not return to before”, I’d made the dog go into a journey inward of sorts.

I’d often stated, egotistically, I don’t’ need inspiration, but thinking back, everything came back at me: I………lied!

For a very long time, after I woke in the morn, I’d, headed over to the 7-11 to flip through the newspapers, to sort through the headlines quickly, only knowing the headlines, and none of the details, is suited well, for someone who’d, drained out her brains.

Often, as I’d read some keywords, my mind would, concoct up a whole storyline, and yet, after I’d read the complete reports, I’d come to believe, that my stories were, way better, than what had been, reported or written down, and so, as I retell it to someone else, I’d, naturally, added, my own embellishments.

This had, troubled me so, a lot of the stories I thought I’d read up, I couldn’t find the sources of their origins anymore, because they…never…existed.

Like the incurable illnesses those protagonists of horror stories get.

Drifting too far already, now, back to what we were talking about, “Why Nobody Believes”.

My inspiration of this novel was from here say of how “after a god went into a tunnel, it won’t, ever get back again”, as I’d written this first paragraph, the second paragraph came out immediately right afterwards, “The dog was fine, so why would it, head into the tunnels?”, as this thought came up, my childhood memories, all flooded back to me again.

When I was a young child, we had a female dog, later, as she became in heat, she’d, attracted, a ton of males. Several days later, this young female puppy disappeared for good. My father told us, that the female puppy ran away with the males, and, we’d all, believed him.

Reason why we’d believed him wasn’t because we were naïve, nor because we were, too stupid, but because, we didn’t, love her anymore.

Back then, we’d gotten, really bored with having her, she’d disappeared, and, it’d made us, feel alleviated. And yet, we’d still had to, fake it, called that young female bad, how she could, desert her kind young owners. At this time, my half-drunk father told the truth to us. At first, the three of us, brother and sisters, believed every word he’d told, that we would, love that young female puppy, as if she were our own young, but in the end, it’d been my father, who’d, held his straight face, caring for the pup.

Later, the young female was in estrus, and, she’d, attracted the entire population of male strays, and my father could no longer take it anymore. He’d gone against our backs, and drove his pickup, and, took our young female puppy, and, drove to some unknown spot, then, acted like a kidnapper who’d not gotten the payments, and just, dumped her somewhere.

And yet, that young female, would find her way back to our home, after two, three days, of walking through the lands. Until my father’s heard, “After the tunnels, no dogs can find their ways back”, and, had driven her past the tunnels, and that time, she’d, never returned back to us again.

After I’d learned the truth, we’d all, fallen silent, because we didn’t know who to blame, and the young bitch wasn’t there, for us, to scapegoat.

Four years later, I’d started, writing, and the story of that young bitch made its way into my tales.

“Why nobody believed”, was the very first novel that I’d written which won an award, I’d cherished it especially, because that was, the starting point, of how I’d, started out writing, how I’d, deserted something I should’ve, loved.

Lastly, let’s, get back to “I’m only here, to borrow the phone”.

As I’d read this short story a second, a third time, I’d unknowingly, switched my perspectives, from the protagonist, Maria, to her husband.

Her husband was the only one who could, save Maria, but why did he not, help her?

The name of the husband was, Santano, the third man Maria had, ever had, once after they’d made crazy love, Maria disappeared suddenly. But, as Santano had, gone through the distances to finally track her down, the reason she gave for leaving him was merely, “there are long-term and short-term loves, and what we had was, short term.”

Such an awful answer, and, Santano admitted to defeat, and left her, but, after a year, Maria suddenly returned, in a bride’s gown.

Turns out, Maria was, dumped by her fourth man—at the Catholic church, at her wedding, with her soon-to-be-wedded husband, never shown up.

This time, Maria admitted to defeat, and came back to Santano. Santano asked her, “How long can you last with me this time?” Maria gave a very vague and very pretty answer, “However long love lasts, that, would be, our eternity”.

And, if we must find a source of Maria’s tragic end, I’d wanted to point toward her husband, at least, the driver, of, how the entire country had, worked, but, the end of the end, I can only say, that this, is a story that showed how personalities had, altered her destiny.

And now, that is, how I see inspiration, not as something that appears suddenly, the reason why we have it, is to recall those, long forgotten, memories—so I can, atone, for the sins only I know I’d, committed, inside my novels.

The young master of “Why Nobody Believed”, after learning the beginning, the middle, and the end, also passed into that same tunnel, and lost forever, and became, crazy, and can’t get home again, just like Maria, who never, found the telephone she’d needed to find.

Live Well, and, Experience the Good and the Evil to the Fullest Extents

Ming-Yu Ling


If inspirations truly existed, then, the beginning of every story would be, closest to the moment where, inspiration, first hit.

Those dreams we’d, revisited, the familiar scents or sounds, appearing, so, suddenly, the lights, captured, in the miniscule of seconds, everything writing, and, as I’d written for twelve hours straight, I’m still, battling my inspiration, and, normally, it’d not, ended well, and there were, only files, of incomplete, writings.




I don’t believe it to be problematic, if you’d, stolen, or, borrowed the inspirations, the point is after you’d, stolen or borrowed it, how does that magic bean grow to become that tall beanstalk, that took Jack to an alternative magical world.

As I’d reread “I Only Want to Borrow the Phone”, you’d stated how Maria had, made her husband distrust her love, and I’d wanted to talk about how as the bus entered into that mad space of the nut house, of the goings on in her mind. She’d lost the only value of existence of her self as a human being, no matter what she did or said, it wouldn’t be, correct now, in the caste system of the hospital, the paramedics and the managers are like those hooks with the thorns, lured out Maria’s original ego, or superego even. In this closed in space, she’d slowly, lost herself, and finally, turned into someone, that the world forgot.

I’m sure, that reason why Maria was in pain, must be because, she’s, too awake, as a madden world didn’t need order, or feelings anymore, and comparing to the other aspects of life, this seemed, a lot, easier.

The best thing about novels is, how it can, wrap up a tragedy, with the weird structures, like metaphors of life, and, the readers can, guess the parts that the writers hadn’t written down, that was, always, the gains I’d received, other from being inspired from reading the works of others.

Lastly, I want to talk about something that’s, unrelated to inspiration.

As I’d part-timed through school, I’d worked a ton of entry level jobs. One year, I’d delivered the materials, managed the warehouses, as the quality control of an electronics factory, and, of those posts, I’d gotten to walk around, and there were, a couple of months I was, assigned to the production lines of the parts, and, I could, no longer walk around, and being set at working on the production lines, with the only movements, happening in my hands, that was, too hard.

Back then, I had, yet to, figure out, what writing was, all about, and how fictions are, made up stories out of, reality.

Or maybe, what saved me back then was, that ability to fictionalize things, how I’d, stubbornly, believed, that writing can, make me happy. And later on, as I had my writer’s cramps, I’d always, envisioned, that silvery white, mechanical arm.

If, we can, live this life, and truly, experience the good AND the evil here on this planet, that would be, the most amazing, kind of inspiration we can, ever get.

And so, the inspirations comes from, everyday things, the things you come across daily in your lives, can become a source of inspiration for you, to create something that’s, completely, different from the source of your inspirations, you just have to, open up your minds, and, let it take you wherever it is that it’s headed to…

If We’d Used Novels as Our Means of Communication, the Relativity of Literature

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

Ming-Yu Ling:


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

Rong-Je Hsu


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”.

For instance:

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.