Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Lou Ta You--Love Story 1980

Once you told me,
you will love me forever;
I understand what love is, my irl,
but what is forever?
Things that you said
is just your courage;
But don't cry, my girl;
We are still together
and no beautiful execuse is needed
when time comes to part

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Things worth thanking for--CAETANO VELOSO 2007, Luo Ta You, Bob Dylan

Saw Caetano's performance in Nokia Theater 2 days ago. His song in Talk to Her, a film I watched years ago, signifies a start of significant phase in my life. So his voice, is always special to me.

He sang that song tonight, and said, when people say "I hate you" tenderly, it sometimes means the deepest way to say I love you.

That kind of passion I knew.

There are two other song writers, Lou Ta You and Bob Dylan, whom I believe in their own way, similar to Caetano, have the same zeal, variety of styles and cultural influcence, once the rebelious and angry youth in leather jacket, the tenderly lover, now the wise and humours men, but innocence at heart, children forever.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Encounters with Mastery Story Tellers

My grandfather died long before I was born. He starved to death during the early 60s leap foward time in China, one out of millions of victim of man-made disaster, mostly peasants.

He could have told me lot of stories if he lived longer, for although he was illiterate, he was the story keeper of the village. He was the one who keep the village people entertained at night, after a day's of hard work. So I believe he must be smart, and with good memories, he better be funny too to keep the listeners coming back.

And his sensitivty with story somehow carried to my father and me, genetically. My father became a journalist and editor of news paper, I have had my obession with books and stories and book stores.

And becuase I enjoy good stories, it so happens that I also found them, with luck, along the way.
I have meant to write about these encounters for a while, but work get in the way, sadness of loss get in the way, and I stay mute, with no words.

But they have been there, with me, in time of bright yet sad summer weekend, in time of cosy winter nights, or breezy and colorful walks in the fall, touching my heart, keep me alive, strong and amused.

These are not the dead masters, those larger than life existence, those whom you believe still live and breath somewhere in this world, for their voices and words are here. But new ones, those that I know are living and breathing, some of them are probably my age, they write stories at years when it meant something in my life as well.

I have determined that I prefer the master of short stories, I worship the elegance and stucture of a simple verse, a story with much unsaid but all being accounted for. A life time condensed in a day, a night, and the sorrow or laughter of a million people shared in one instant. I found power in those stories.

Although I kept my awe to Tolstoy and Victor Hugo and like, it is Chekov and Borges, that makes me want to sit down and say, tell me you story now, I am ready for it again.

Some time most powerful words are not long or plenty. They need to be well chosen and well arranged, yet flow like water. And a good story can be told every night, for the one thousand and one night. It shall not bore you.

Maybe because I am reading these words in a foreign language, I prefer simple, concise, clean, but weighty.

Tell me a story, so that I won't behead you. Remember that Arabian King. If he has an ear and heart for good stories, he can not be a bad person.

Authors of following books have gave me much strength and hope, for they reveal the pain of the duplicity too well in their characters, so that I feel while reading them, that finally, I am not a stranger to myself.

Some of them are not short stories collections, but they are shorter than the long and heavy ones (I say it in a way like I am buying a table)

You Are Not a Stranger Here

I read these stories, one in a long while, since they are too powerful, and weighty on my soul. But after reading each one, I re-live or re-deem. I identify with the struggles of the characters in them. They are as if from the home town of my own. And it is not only becuase that in everyway, it also connected me with the man I love but have since lost even as a friend. In the universe of pain and loss, we are not strangers to one another.

I started Old School on my returning trip from Copenhagen. At night, other passenges were alseep. I am reading it alone, becoming a teenage boy. I hope the plane keep on flying, I hope New York is another 6 hours away so that I can enjoy it fully. I have moved on to "This Boy's life". His words are simple and unexpected.

A chinese woman who came to the States to study medicine. Then she began to write short stories. She is influenced by primarily William Trevor. She said: when she write in English, she feels reborn, she can be someone different and new. I shared that feeling, and sense of liberation, when I live and die by this new langage and culture, only in her adopted new voice, she told the stories about China and Chinese so much more boldy and touching. So sometime, we need a new voice to tell the truth, if the other voice was used for lying or hiding for too long.

Can't put the book down. For a week, it haunted me. The movie is not as good, although very moving. I admire Sean Penn,but believe the film or documentary would be better done by Werner Herzog. I share that love of solitude and the amazement to moutain climbing and challenge to the extreme. Only I am traped in a fragile and unable body and life of obligation to really go into the wild. I am afraid of darkenss too and wolf, camping is not my thing, unless with able companies, thus reading and dreaming. Now I know maybe love of adventure stories or other people's bravery is a reflection of my own limitations.

Sometime the fall is way better than the safety of putting up with the cover and lie. We all secretely waiting to be exposed or punished. Great to find Coetzee. Needless to say more.
Until nex time, I will still be missing your words.