Thursday, 24 January 2013

An Unforgettable 'Poetical' Day for Changming & Allen

we started today happily in the morning: both of us got an acceptance message from Two Thirds North, a Norway-based literary magazine. in fact, this month, Allen has thus far gotten 5 acceptances (including Quill's Canadian Poetry, Blast Furnace, Estuary, Ascent Aspirations), more than ever in a month (he usually gets 1-3 monthly in the past year), and Changming gotten 19 (including CURA, Off the Coast, Estuary, RipRap, After Hours, Impeachable, Spirits, Quotable and Mas Tequila Review), as in most other months (he has been getting 12-30 acceptances monthly in the past few years).

However, our visit to our family dr Ronda Low turned out really anti-poetic: we waited there for more than 2 hours totally in vain. when she finally came to see us, she refused to 'see' or listen to us as soon as she knew we had decided to switch to a different doctor after she leaves for a private medical institution. Allen had an important test on economics, directly related to his application to university, which began at 1:40 pm, and Changming was trying to be nice and considerate as usual. however, waiting there in hunger and anxiety  for nearly three hours until 1:10, we had to leave her office in frustration without even getting a single piece of medical advice: she refused to do her job for nothing but a groundless, blatant, un-professional reason. her attitude made C so angry that C wanted to file a formal complaint against her...

i am still hesitating; i do not want to do this nasty thing, since she has been our family doctor for almost 20 years.  although we have seldom visited her in the past 10 years (because of our relocation), we have always wanted to maintain this relationship. even before my wife had Allen in her womb, we had begun to see the doctor. however, probably because she has been too busy or too successful with her career, she became bullish and less caring,which i noticed a few years ago. i understand that all doctors are humans, who may be stressful, occasionally grouchy and self-interested, caring much about how much they can gain, like everybody else; however, since they have chosen the profession, they should be at least  trying to be professional. dr Low seemed to have been carried away, a bit too far away. for her own benefit (who knows that her attitude may cause her big trouble someday, sooner or later), as well as for other patients, i still want to go ahead with a formal complaint, just to give her a warning signal.

doctors represent one of the few noblest professions in the human society, but there are doctors and doctors everywhere. while there are bound to be many good, nice, genuinely caring and medically helpful doctors in vancouver, there are doctors who are just bullish, arrogant (they may believe all other people are just stupid patients), hypocritical, too money-oriented, and professionally helpless in the lower mainland. based on my personal and others' experiences,  i have written and published a few poems satirizing such medical professionals. it's too bad that i am not lucky enough to have found a really good and helpful doctor. to defend our dignity and right as patients, i will write and hopefully publish a series of poems against the fact that many doctors in today's society simply do not live up to their titles: their profession is noble and highly prestigious (and profitable as well), but some of them are just too low-minded.

so, poetically, it has been an unforgettable day today after all. -c

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Anniversary: Yuan Hongqi in Poems by Changming ©

Yuan Hongqi (袁宏启) is my father who died of heart diseases at my mom's arms in Jinzhou Central Hospital around 5:00 pm on 2 January 2012. Last Wednesday was his anniversary, when I was too busy teaching, helping students or communicating with PP's contributors to do something here. Now I am posting every poem I have written in commemoration of him since his death. Luckily, all these and other poems pasted below have been accepted or published by literary magazines, such as MOBIUS, PoetsWest, Asia Literary Review, CHEST, Fairy Tale Review, Grain, Istanbul Literary Review, Byword, Tower Journal, Syndic Literary Journal, Media Virus Magazine, Fortunates, Prairie Journal, Pyrokinection, Black Magnolias Literary Journal, District, Writers Abroad, Mixitini Matrix, Cynic, Lit Up Magazine, Literary Underground, Dialogist, Spirits, Red Fez and Westward Review.

These are the flowers I mean to put in front of his tomb in my native village (I have translated some of them into Chinese so that my father could understand when he reads/hears them in heaven)::

My Dates


[Actually, these dates are my fathers]

The Day Yuan Hongqi Passed Away

That was the day when my father died
Before finishing the longevity noodles
Mom’s trying to feed him below our feet
On the other face of the planet, where
He had persisted long enough to allow
Us to celebrate another new year’s day
In Jingzhou as well as in Vancouver
When my brother’s only son managed to
Travel all the way to Grandpa’s dying bed
To report how he was doing in New York

This was also the time when I and Hengxiang
Felt like making love again after another
Cold war, when Iran successfully testfired
Two long-range missiles in the Persian Gulf
To deter the invasion to be led by Uncle Sam
And his running dogs, when the very first
Plymouth Neon was made in 2000, when JFK
Became a senator in 1960, when a stamped
Took 66 human lives after a soccer game
At the Ibrox Park Stadium in Scotland
Even earlier, and when God was taking
A long overdue nap, since he knew
All was well with this wild wild world

On that day, I became the oldest male
In my entire family, ready to take my turn
To deal with death in a masculine manner

Tomb Visiting: For Yuan Hongqi

Last year, before burying your ashes
Right beside Grandma’s grave site
(To guard her Buddhaship, as you had
Wished), I opened your urn for a peek
And found your biggest bone chip
Glistening against the January wind
As pink as a piece of charcoal

Now, too far to attend your anniversary
Like every other good Confucian son
Burning joss sticks and fake money
Lighting a huge pile of firecrackers
Before your tombstone, on Big Wok Peak
But I did make three loud kowtows
Towards the east, and in so doing
I saw a little rosy cloud drifting around
Like an inflated bird beating its wings
Along the horizon, amid evening glows
And wondered whether that’s your spirit
Still lingering between earth and heaven

What was it tightly holding in its beak:
A heirloom, or simply our family name?

[Although the poem was written early in 2012, it was round 10:30 pm on Saturday evening 30 December when my mom was conducting a traditional commemorating ritual in Jinzhou, China that I led my family actually to kowtow towards the east]





Recalling: For Yuan Hongqi

Wait a while!’ Mother would shout, ‘they say
There might be more showers this afternoon.’
So I recalled, from time to time
How he would turn a deaf ear to her
And continue, dragging out quilts
Sheets, pillows, blankets, padded coats
One pile after another
Like moving forests
Hanging them on thick ropes
Tied to deformed poplars or lamp posts
Not again! This old man of mine just wouldn’t
Want to waste a single ray of sunlight.’
And remembered, for nearly half a century
My dad had tried each time to empty the whole house
And sun-wash everything, more like a grandma
Than like a father, even during the Cultural Revolution
Now realizing how I have been haunted
By his stark image, smiling, in blue, ever since
He nodded his head to Mother for the last time
About 5 pm on January 2 last year
I find myself choked again with gratitude:

It was my father who gave me so many a chance
To smell fresh sunlight in my boyish nightmares

Kinship: For Yuan Hongqi

Yes, we are father and son, but so often
Did I doubt this simple small biofact:
We could never say more than three short
Sentences to each other when we met, nor
Did we meet more than three times per year
Before I managed to flee a thousand miles
Away from you, and later ten thousand away
From your village on this world’s other side

Like other Chinese fathers, you never said
You loved me, gave me a hug, or touched me
Unless it was a cutting pinch in the arm
Or a heavy hit on the butt, (always in surprise)
While my peers kept bragging aloud
About their great fathers, grandfathers
I looked down upon you, not because of
Your slight stature, but because of your
Smaller personality, constantly calling you
A Buddha outside, a Devil at home’
(Of course behind your back), so I used to
Feel guilty, fearing I could never shed
Any teardrops when you die, just as every
True Confucian son is supposed to

Unlike me and my son, with a big store of
Co-memories ready to share, to cherish
We were born enemies, karma-determined
In our former lives, just as you had explained
To my mother, (who would be busy filling
In each new crack on our wall, with a big pail
Of muddy mixture every time we met)

Yet ever since your death at the dawn of 2012
I have been haunted by your image, kindly
Smiling, and even sobbed my heart out
While dreaming last night: are you there, Dad?




她总是拧着个大桶, 随时在你我之间的


Family Reunion: Once, and Forever

Yuan Hongqi, may your spirit, Dad, come
And join us from Pure Land in this poem
(Conceived in and dedecated to Vancouver)
With Liu Yu, my mother, who is paying us
A visit from the other side of the world
Let’s gather together behind these thin lines
Where I and Hengxiang Liao, my old girl
Have prepared a big dinner according to
Our own recipes. Please, sit here with Mom
Above my central metaphor. First, take a sip
Of Luosong Soup, our only family specialty
George Lai and Allen Qing, my two sons
Always love to drink, even Hyunjung Lee
(George’s Korean wife) finds it agreeable --
By the way, the young couple has finally
Decided to buy a condominium in Sunnydale
Now, try some consonance, and this assonance
Fried with Tofu, a course you never heard of
In your lifetime. Look, right beside you is
Julian Han Yuan, your most favored grandson
The pride of our family who’s doing his PhD
In New York, and across the table are Liu Yun
My brother and his current wife Chen Jing
Still working far away in Jingzhou, China

Dad, since you were a vegetarian, a Buddhist
Let’s have internal rhyme instead of wine, let’s
Celebrate our grand family reunion. Cheers!

[Towards the end of 2011, we had our first and last family gathering when my father was still alive. In terms of health and finance, this was a highly costly reunion, as George and Hyunjung had to travel from San Francisco, Julian from New York, and we - my wife, my younger and i,  from Vancouver all the way to Jinzhou in Hubei Province. Because of this trip, Allen's disc problem got worse and has never recovered, while I began to suffer from dramatically obvious symptoms of heart diseases such as HCM (?)]

Here are all the pieces I have written with my father in mind since I began composing poetry in English, which have all been published as well:: 

Well, Well, the Well
(for Yuan Hongqi)

In the lowest terrain of
My father’s native village
Used to be an old well
As deep as the memories
Of last century, around which
Boys would be running
At noon in summer
And girls dancing under the willow
At midnight, where my father
Often sat, listening to his sick mother
Telling stories about his unknown ancestors

The well finally ran dry
After God knows how long, and
Since electricity came across the hills
And ponds, nobody has returned to it
Except mosses and lichens that have colonized
The whole territory, where only my grandma’s ghost
Shines down from time to time
Trying to guard its walled-in secrets
Now as dry as its mouth

[This is a parallel poem based on an imagined experience.]


In my line of people, especially on my father’s side
There never seems to have been ample blood
Running within the arteries behind our Chinese chests
No matter how warm-hearted we actually are

As in the case of my father, who used to
Accuse me of being an ill-hearted teenager
My heart muscle is imbalanced
As one side is less infused with blood
Than the other, thus causing palpitation
Short breath, and a strong sense of
Tightness, heaviness or tiredness about life

To diagnose my cardiovascular defection
Neither an echo nor a stress test is needed
For I am keenly aware of my own doomed
Arteries that have been clotted
With too many syllables
Voiced or voiceless
And to make all these sounds flow out of my heart
Is already stressful enough
Nevertheless, I will keep pumping out these words
Be they ever so blood-soaked

[This is a parallel poem based on a puzzling health-related experience.]






Curse in Verse: An Ischemic Tradition*

As if this had been a family curse
You have all the symptoms of ischemia:
Palpitations, short breaths, irregular heartbeats
Although no test results show you
Having a physiological cause of the problem

While your family doctor keeps wondering
Why you do not have enough blood
Flowing around behind your Chinese chest
You know your heart muscle as a sponge
From which you have squeezed out
Too many of your blood-rooted words
Like your father, like your son

[While my dying father Yuan Hongqi has never been able to get his poetry published, my 16-year-old younger son Allen Qing Yuan, who suffers greatly from disc problems, has already had his poems appearing in a number of countries. ]





Like A Lamp

in Vancouver west
from time to time
you just cannot help yelling, yearning
for your father's humming
you fumble into musical halls
in pursuit of tunes
soft/hard utterances
you need this feeling
you need this contact
with origin
guiding your heart
like a lamp
along a forlorn road

[This is a parallel poem based on an imagined experience.]

Making Tea

Without a famous name
These little shy leaves
Coming afar from my fathers farm
Deep among fluffy hills
Like sleeping giant pandas

Sowing a few in my crystal glass
I see them budding
Blooming in boiled water
Taking a slow sip
I fall drunk as if in a stupor
With a tiny taste of
All the freshness of spring
And a whole morning glow Making Tea

Without a famous name
These little shy leaves
Coming afar from my fathers farm
Deep among fluffy hills
Like sleeping giant pandas

Sowing a few in my crystal glass
I see them budding
Blooming in boiled water
Taking a slow sip
I fall drunk as if in a stupor
With a tiny taste of
All the freshness of spring

[My father enjoyed drinking thick green tea, but this is a parallel poem based on an imagined experience.]


Never have I been a handy man
With my hands so too clumsy
Even to hold a hummer right
As my wife often jokes about them
But from my old man I did learn
How to make my home hygienic
By taking all bed clothing outside
On a good sunny Saturday
Opening all the doors and windows
To replace the abused air
Or even to remove the whole roof
If removable
So that my sons can dream
A sun-fresh dream at night
Just as I used to be so crazy
About the golden smell of sunlight
[My father would never wasted a singly ray of sunshine, as my mom often says: whenever it was sunny, he would put everything outside to enjoy some sunlight. I used to hate this addiction when I was a boy.]

Name Changing

Confucius once said
If the name is not right
Language will carry no might
So my father created my name
By rearranging the sun and moon
Vertically and horizontally
To equip it with all
The forces of yin and yang
Dispersed in the universe

Since I became subject
To a totally different grammar
All people have complained
Or made fun of my name
So harsh and awkward
They conspire to seduce me
To adopt a familiar one
Like Michael in the powerful speech

But to retain the subtle balances
In the wild wild world I wander
To hold my fathers sunbeam
With my mothers moonlight
I fiercely refuse to change it
Even though I often feel lost
When the sounds I hear
Do not sound like my name at all

The White Goose

My grandfather was younger than my son
When he died of an undiagnosed disease
Somewhere in the Mid-South of China
So we have been told since childhood:
He did nothing memorable or forgettable
Left no picture of his or any handwriting
Not even one impression on my fathers senses
Since he was born after he passed away)
But he had bought a big white goose
To protect his infant son in his place
And a single-syllabled family name
Copyrighting every little poem
I have composed
In a foreign tongue

Twilight Hanyang County

Twilight Hanyang County
My father was eight
Yes, as young as eight
Maybe only seven
Burning with sweat
On his way to nowhere

In front of him a wild fellow dog
(He was a dog according to Chinese zodiac)
Was grumbling angrily with hanger
While dry grasses and leaves
Were swept from field to field
And rain clouds too heavy with dusk
Sacking down towards bald hills

Dying of thirst and heat
Both caused by an unknown fever
He dragged himself close to a pond
Smelling of rotten reeds and water buffalo shit
There he drank to his full
Wrapping his legs with fresh mud from the bottom
To keep himself cool for the night

The next morning he would continue
Wandering around outside his fatherless home
Like a premature vagrant

[When my father was orphaned at 13, he became a homeless boy travelling from Hanyang to Badong, Sichuan Province and then back to Shashi, Hubei Province, trying to find a job to make a living until 1949.]  

Ancestry Worshipping

No, we never planned it that way
But it so happened this seventh summer
I took my twelve-year-young son
To my fathers native village among hairless hills
In the far east end, the other side of the world
Which he had left as a starving orphan
And returned with me in the Mao suit
Like a magic-toyed boomerang
When we were both at Allens age
For the first times in our lives

Last time, my father forced the Little Red Guard in me
To kowtow, burn joss sticks and paper money secretly
For his parents, whose dialect had survived
Though I understood it only half-heartedly

This time, I cajoled my boy to grasp a handful of earth
From the grave of my grandma worshipped by villagers
(Her humaneness has supposedly made her a local deity)
And smuggle it to the backyard of our home in Vancouver
Like some foreign seeds prohibited at the customs

As we departed, again, our clan elder chanted:
Under the shade of a new highway
This old grave will soon be erased...

Masculine Haiku: A Poet’s Family

Head and heart both bald
He’s not pulled out one single line
Except his surname

Using no poet’s lathe
He shaves off his young manhood
With an e-razor

Like son, like father
His voice has begun to break
All for poetry’s sake

To his great credit
He’s published two finest sons
Among his fine poems

The Death of a Chinese Widow
            (For Li Juying)

In a remote Chinese village
On a forgotten winter night
A 38-year-old poor woman
Tried hard to sit up noiselessly
Put aside rather than on her padded clothes
Crawled out of her frameless bed
And resolutely drowned herself
In a broken wide-brimmed water jug

Behind herself she left neither worth nor words
Except three teenagers who had been
Bullied and looked at with slanting white eyes
By their fellow villagers
(who bore the same family name)
Ever since their father died
Of an untreated disease
13 years before

Years later, her children understood
Why she killed herself
In a water jug on that night
Many years after she had been suffering
From a painful
But not fatal disease

Years later, her only son told me
Why my grandma
Chose to drown herself almost naked
On that cold night

[My father was choked with tears every time he said he was never able to perform a son's loving duty, since his mother committed suicide to save family resources when he was only 13 years old. So, he insisted in having some of his ashes divided to be buried beside her tomb to do so. We honoured this wish of his, and to express my feeling, I wrote the above poem to commemorate my grandma.]

While most of the above poems are based on literally true experiences, my father and family have a rich store of interesting stories or experience and even legends, which I wish to write into something narrative in the future. Here I just want to mention 4 important biographical facts about my father::

1) He was born after his father's death to a very poor peasant family in a hilly remote village called Shisanbao (十三堡) in Hanyang County, Hubei on 15 November 1934 (Chinese calendar). If he had been unable to survive the first week after birth, his mother would have killed herself readily together with his two elder sisters, since a family without a male would be bullied, looked down upon or made to suffer in every possible way. Luckily, my father survived because it was believed that my grandma followed a Daoist fortune teller's advice by keeping a big goose to guard my father's spirit. For this reason, none of my family members is allowed to eat goose meat. 

2) My father received only about two years of intermittent private education. When he began to work as a secretary for the Organizational Department of Songzi County, he had great trouble writing a report or drafting a document. When his superior used a red-inked pen to correct every single sentence he had written, my father cried hard in private, not because his superior treated him harshly, but because he felt deeply shameful of his writing skills. Since then, he began to study as hard as possible. Once he stayed in a filthy public lavatory three hours, forgetting to stand up and get out because he had been trying to memorize Chinese characters. 

3) During the Cultural Revolution, when I was in grade 6, I happened to read a official document one day, which I thought was so well written that I memorized a few phrases from it and told my father about the article later. To my great surprise, and to his great amazement, the author turned out to be no other than him. That was the only time and only thing I felt really proud of him about.

4)When he was young, my father had a secret dream to become a writer. He spent a lot of time finding a good pen name for himself - Bi Ying, meaning something like 'a firefly in the blue,' but he was never able to use it, because he never got anything, even a single poem or story published. He never revealed this to anyone of us, but my mom found it out. In order not to hurt him, we never mentioned this to him when he was alive.  

This is the place in Shisanbao, where my grandfather's house used to be, but now it has become a pond, where there are a lot of frogs calling at summer night. Photo taken by Changming in the summer of 2007.

Add caption
My father was burning paper money in tribute to his beloved mother in front of her tomb stone. Local legend has it that my grandma became a Buddha because of her kindness and goodness, shortly after being buried at Rabbit Mouth Ridge, a place where, according to a travelling fengshui specialist at the time, one would, if buried there, have highly talented writers among one's offspring. Ironically, my grandma happened to be  buried there simply because no one was willing to carry her body further to a more decent place then without anyone to pay for the funeral service. Now the Ridge has become the most popular burial site for the whole village, although so far the village has never produced even a college student, not to mention Canadian and American Masters and PhDs as in the case of our family. Photo taken by Changming in the summer of 2007.

My father's graveyard in Lianhuadang Village, Gong-an Country, Hubei Province. (This is the place where Changming grew up and attended junior high school.) My father said his mother-in-law treated him like her own son, so he wanted to be buried beside her tomb to carry on his filial duties. Picture taken by my cousin Liu Youming in the summer of 2012. 


Yuan Hongqi 袁宏启(1934-2012), author of Changming Yuan and Liu Yun, also known as Debao 得宝(nickname), Dan Qi 旦启(Buddhist name), and Bi Yin 碧螢(pen name), was born in an impoverished hilly village in Hanyang, Hubei Province and received fewer than two years of private education. Orphaned at 13, he worked as a shop apprentice until 1952, when he became a civilian government worker. Married to Liu Yu in 1956. Positions held included: a secretary at the Organizational Department, Secretary of Babao District, Deputy Director of Educational Department, Deputy Director of Agricultural Bank of Songzi County; Senior Accountant and Chief of Accounting Section of Jingzhou Agricultural Bank.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Allen - New Poetry Acceptance, New Start in 2013

What's good all,

On January 3rd, I had my first poetry acceptance for 2013 - one of my poems is to appear in Vancouver-based print poetry magazine called Quills Canadian Poetry Journal.

Not bad for a beginning of an end, isn't it?

As school resumes, I am eager to give it my all in this last half year in high school. It is certainly a challenge dealing with different annoyances and various sources of pressure. While some may already start to become tired, I am trying to hold on even more tightly. It is really a thrill like no other to have your dreams right in your sight. Good luck to all other senior high school students of 2013 and I will blog again once my workload lessens. Until then.

Allen Yuan

Allen Yuan - Self-Imposed Creative Writing Test

Hello all,

Just thought I should have shared this. Back in November 2011, I tried to see how much I could write within an hour. My father wrote me a prompt and from there it was all me. I did it two times and it was certainly a tough experience on the finger joints.

Prompt:: However, at this juncture, XX just could not help indulging himself in his little secret habit again, that is, setting his mind free and letting it work on its own for as long as it likes. Had his mind been a tamed horse or a contained geyser? He did not know, nor did he care. He was aware that he would enjoy such thinking pleasure only when he could not fall into sleep soon enough after going to his hard-boarded bed at night, but now he seemed to need it more than ever before. [94 words]

Written from 4:00 pm to 5:00pm, nov 20, 2011 Sat

Like a fountain of free flowing thoughts and wonders, his brain releases every single memory and idea to cross his mind during the idea. The boy travels through the day’s events: from waking up to this very single moment. Often he wonders about the capabilities of the human mind. Was Einstein’s brain this uncontrollable? It seems so uncontrollable like a wild tiger roaming a privatized room of prey. In front of him, there is a limitless and boundless supply of things to choose from and explore. On his left, the boy remembers the things that cannot exist in the real world. On his right, the boy remembers all those logical deductions he made, whether they were one word or sentences. Now instead of trying to have himself fall asleep, the curious boy is not restless. Knowledge he said to himself. Knowledge is the food that anyone can have. It is the very fruit of mankind that was made for itself. Much more significant and useful than bombs and bubble baths, knowledge, he thought to himself, is the very trait distinguishes and categorizes mankind as the human species. The boy rolls over on to his right side and begins drawing exotic shapes on his sheets. He draws the obvious profile of a human person and roughly sketches the silhouette of an ape. What is the difference? Obviously one has more hair and the other has more brains. But are we truly not animals? Are we not more savage than animals? For god’s sake the boy shouted in his mind. We developed weapons to kill ourselves and blow pieces of the earth into smithereens. Do you see elephants splitting the land as they walk and birds dropping bombs onto birds that are feeding? No that is nonsense, so why would we do such things. One day we have a squadron of high speed planes that forever change the earth’s once beautiful face. On another day we have the same species killing each other off. The boy does not understand. This is one world, and all our problems are the same. But to hell with that! The boy goes back to his imaginative little world. Logical deductions are what any educated person can do. But can any educated person create seven worlds, four galaxies, and two universes? In this boy’s imagination, there lies things that are beyond not imaginable. New species with completely new functions roam the so-called planets. The boy flips over to his left side. His brown hair is still wet from his shower and his pajamas keep his body warm. His heavy blanket cuddles his little frame and the boy feels safe and at rest. People complain that there is never any time to rest besides the end of the day. But for this one boy, sleep is the busiest. No longer having the energy to keep those heavy blinds up, the boy falls into deep sleep and his eyelids fall like hammers hammering a nail. Now he finds himself in a place where people would go fishing. Why is he here? New knowledge enters his brain. “You are the one left out of five.” Apparently he is in some kind of competition where the only escape is death; or to win. Others have special abilities but the boy has none that he knows of. He turns around to surprisingly find a swimming pool. There are people, families, and other children there having a wildly fun time. He has no hesitation and dives in. As he swims through the calm waters, he see a few of his friends. Then a new thought suddenly appears. He must leave the pool and a trainer. He runs out and a black sheet covers his vision. Next he finds himself in normal clothing and in some sort of aquarium or futuristic structure. He turns left and right but he has no idea what to do. The competition has started and he starts running. He is afraid and dares not to look back. However, he does hear the shouts of his name. He knows that anyone and anytime could kill him. And when he dies, the boy knows that he will wake up in the regular world. So he pushes himself and continues to sprint through the round hallways to only find himself before a girl that he knows at school. This is another survivor he knows! He also knows that the girl has some power. As he comes close to her she looks at him and the boy finds himself back at the fishing area. Now he training to understand what kind of power he has. In front of him there is a vast deep blue lake. Then suddenly and huge whale bursts out of the waters and he sees a great black pupil. Is this my power? “No” The whale says. There is more. The whale tells the boy to leap onto his bumbpy back. The boy has no hesitation and takes a leap of faith. The first time he fails so instead he just climbs on through the water. He grips on the whale tightly and then they plunge into the ocean. A funny looking turtle swims with them. The turtle has spiky armor and looks like it can talk. And it can. The trio have a sort conversation. The boy quickly finds that his power is incredibly great. The sea life is his life. And the water is his domain. They plunge deeper and deeper into the ocean until they see a white glow… And then clouds. They are falling through the sky with all the other sea life in the world. There are giant squids, swordfishes, sharks, and other exotic creatures. In the distance the boy even sees supposedly extinct dinosaurs and monsters from the early eras of earth’s birth. Then a great explosion engulfs everything and the boy is thrown into the conclusion of the dream. The boy escaped the competition and used the sea life to destroy the united states of America. By doing so, the boy was able to free the country from evil rules. In the aftermath, only a small section of the great nation remains. From his judgement, the boy reckons it’s the state where Seattle is. He feels happy and victorious. In this action packed dream he feels more daring than he does in real life. Then realizes something: that he would much rather jump into unknown waters than from a plane or a cliff. He feels at ease in the waters. Perhaps he really does have the power to control this particular feature of earth. Then his brain bounces back to Seattle. It’s a city very close to his hometown, Vancouver, and houses his favourite singer of all time: Jay Park. This singer was born and raised in the states and did not speak a word of Korean until he was casted by an Korean entertainment agency. The boy loved dancing, b-boying and singing. With his mom’s encouragement, he auditioned and entered JYP Entertainment. There he learned Korean and other fundamentals of performing. After becoming the leader of 2PM, Jay was very successful until he was kicked out after some controversy. Then he decided to go solo and then came back to Korea as a new person. With no envy or jealousy, Jay was able to clean off his slate and come back better than before. With his return, Jay was able to make himself the great singer he was before. The boy is inspired by a singer who is determined and able to get back up from any fall. The boy remembers something. In his thoughts, a particular idea surfaces. The boy wants to write an English cover to one of Jay’s songs. But can he do it? A young lad with no musical talent and has never tried his hand in the world of music. But music is something that everyone has in common. So tomorrow, he thought, he would definitely try writing some lyrics despite not knowing any proper terminology. The boy also realized that he’s hungry. What time is it? It’s been a while since he has fallen asleep and has spent a long time thinking about various things. 2:30 am. The boy thoughtlessly opens his door and stumbles into the kitchen. Opening the big white doors that resemble the gates to heaven, the boy retrieves a golden halo, otherwise known as a bagel. He carefully dissects the specimen and spreads a thick layer of cream cheese onto one half, and then on the other. Then he closes the bagel tightly and takes a greedy bite. Just like that, a fifth of the bagel has disappeared. A spectacular and yummy taste floods his taste buds. The great flood is coming! And his tongue is Noah’s ark. It surveys that great waters and lets many things pass it. But when the flood is finally over the tongue is back to normal and the boy’s stomach is quite full. The boy then walks over to his room. The lights are off and the boy stubs his toe on the bed frame. Crying out in pain, the boy shouts loudly and falls onto his bed. But he does not land. Instead he just keeps falling, infinitely through space and time. He reaches out his little hands to grab hold of something. It is in vain, and he keeps falling. He turns around to at least look at what he’s going to fall onto eventually. All he sees is darkness. Darkness, darkness, darkness… And then a big pink slab of meat. His dog’s tongue whips the boys face one, twice, and a third time. The boy’s poor face now has slobber, that is not his own, all over and has a funky odour. He lifts the cute little corqi puppy and sets him on the floor. Then he walks to the hallway to fill the dog’s food bowl up. While he’s at it, he fills the water bowl up as well. The dog, hearing the sound of his food hitting the tray, dashes over and begins his breakfast. The boy on the other hand, rubs his tired eyes. The clock reads eight thirty a.m. It’s time for school except for the fact that it’s a Saturday morning. The boy goes and takes a shower. When he’s done, he flops onto the couch and turns on the TV. His favorite Saturday morning cartoons are being broadcasted so the boy is sure to keep his eyes locked to the channel. These images drawn by another human being appear as revelations to the viewers. The boy is entirely captivated and finds his hunger ignored. The dog, now full, runs over and claws at the boys leg. The boy pays no visual attention but makes the effort to grab the puppy and set it on his lap. The dog is snug in this position and takes a small nap.The boy strokes the dog’s soft fur. His hands travel to the dog’s pointy ears and then back to the underside of the dog’s warm belly. During a particularly boring commercial, the boy falls asleep. Before the boy is an array of TV screens that show moments in his brief life. In the top right TV there is that time where he let a red helium balloon drift freely into the stratosphere. In the middle, the boy sees a TV screen that shows the time where he lit his birthday candles when he was ten. On the far left there is a screen showing him drink a pepsi and coca cola fusion. Ah, that one he recalls. That was probably the best cola he’s ever had. A fusion he repeats. Fusing is a wonderful thing if you think about it. Potentially you can take multiple great or favourite things and put them together. But unfortunately, that’s not how the world always works. You cannot fuse a dog and a cat, or a flower and clothing without some form of scientific intervention. You cannot combine cars and planes, meat and fruits, chairs and lights, aquariums and sand pits, deserts and clouds, and hands with feet. There are many things in life you cannot do the boy sighes. Perhaps aliens have a better way. If he were an alien he would definitely give humans whatever method or technology that makes absolute fusion possible. If he were an alien, he would have different facial features and different knowledge. Perhaps he may have already traveled throughout the galaxy. The boy wakes up and observes that it is noon. The dog has already woken up and has just been lying there on his lap. The boy sets the dog back on the floor and strolls into the kitchen. He is not greeted by the luxurious smells of his mother’s cooking. Instead he finds nothing. Opening the gates to heaven once more, the boy takes out another bagel and does the same procedure. If only his parents were here he sighed. He could go out and not watch the house. He could go outside carefree. Of course, he does not mind looking after his little corqi puppy though. The boy goes back to his room and throws himself under the covers. And then he wakes up. It is 8:00 am and time to get up. It is a schoolday and the boy has just experienced a dream within a dream many times. The boy declares that those dreams were very varied. Variety is good for a change. Without variety, life would be dull and boring with no sense of creativeness. Individualism is what helps people create things. And as an individual, the boy strives to do something of his own. He dresses himself hurriedly and gathers his belongings. This time when he walks into the kitchen, he is greeted by his mother’s toast and eggs. Finishing his meal quickly, the boy feeds his puppy, which is not fictional. He grabs his backpack an jumps off the stairs. Then he wakes up in his bed again. How many times is this going to happen the boy explains? He is sick and tired of these dreams and cannot handle so many thoughts anymore. He grabs his pillow from underneath his head and tries to strangle himself without. To no avail, he remains lying there in his bed. It is still Saturday so there is no school at least. Boy, he could do this all day. Experience a dream, realistic or not, and wake up to only find himself in another dream. The boy thinks back to about what may have triggered such a thought process. The boy remembers that new viral movie, Inception. Inception was a movie that circled around the idea that you could put ideas into people while they are sleeping. Perhaps all the boy has to do is travel to the deepest depths of his soul and discard whatever is distracting him. Determined with a fresh mindset, the boy stands upright and walks out of his room. Now going out the house, he walks to the bank. Wouldn’t one want one’s deepest secrets and ideas kept safely? He bursts through the doors of the bank, leaps over the counter, and approaches the safe. Spouting gibberish from his mouth, the boy opens the safe. Inside is dark. But the boy goes in and grabs at whatever may lie in there. He grabs nothing but a firm hand that he knows all too well. “Are you okay honey?” The boy has truly woken up this time and finds his mom at his bedside. The boy has been sick for over a week with a high fever, chills, and coughs. He’s also had a terrible series of weird dreams. Day and night his mom is by his bedside, worried sick about his condition. In fact, the boy is so strangely ill that he is residing in a hospital. He grips his mother’s warm hands with whatever strength he can muster and asks to pull his mom closer. He whispers to the usual “I’m hungry” “I’m tired” and whatever more complaints he has. He then starts to describe his dreams. He says that he was victorious and brave until the end. He says that he gained wisdoms that he could never have in school life. He said he was able to remember and enjoy the simple pleasures that he has. He remembers the human functions that we have, from eating food to making music. But most of all, he tells of the dream where he saw his life in a series of TV screens. He recalls all his memories clearly and lucidly. At this point, the boy’s mother has started to cry and shouts for both the boy’s doctor and father. There is a sudden rush and a mass of people come into the hospital room. They start to move the boy out and to the operating room. But before he lets go of his mother’s hand, he keeps her close to say some final more words. “I love you mom”, and all becomes darkness. He is engulfed by whatever thoughts his brain can generate and greedily accepts his fate. [2,862 words for an hour:: 47.7 words per minute]
second exercise::

Written from 4:10 pm to 5:10pm, nov 25, 2011 Friday.] Now his mind begins to meander around again, not unlike a stream flowing freely down from an unknown mountain. In fact, he often recalls stream of consciousness, a concept he finds quite intriguing, though he tends to believe the human mind is more like a bog, or a cauldron where there are myriads of bubbles of thoughts that keep propping up and bursting all the time.

Am I awake or daydreaming? I do not know, nor do I care, for being awake is just another pain for many people on the earth. In places like Africa, living is just a suffering and perhaps death or help from countries is the only salvation. Daydreaming can also be suffering, where a person who has just been traumatized may have a reoccurring experience over and over… I’m positive I do not want to awake or daydream. Instead I would like to have a higher existence: a celestial being. It’s funny that I use this phrase because there is an anime which I quite like that uses this particular phrase. In Gundam 00, the group of protagonists is recognized as “Celestial Being”, and is somewhat of a terrorist group that is trying to unite the world by having all nations team up against Celestial Being. As I was saying earlier – oh, have I been talking to myself again? Yes I always enjoy doing this, what I would call the enjoyment of inner or spiritual freedom - the reason why I do not care about being awake is that life is too restricted. Every day one has chores to do and must follow the guidelines of time. In my opinion, I believe that if mankind did not create this measure of time, we would have as much time to do whatever we desire. We are not restricted to one day, one week, or one year. After all, many people often complain about the lack of sufficient time when the problem is actually caused by our own doing. On the other hand, if we had no measure of time, then our lives would be much more chaotic and less successful. Daydreaming, in contrast, is a waste of time and is simply a mass of useless thoughts to idle the brain. The brain is like swiss clockwork; the more you use it, the better it becomes. And vice versa, the less you use it, the more rusty it’ll become. I find the human brain to be something incredibly amazing. It’s probably the sole thing distinguishes humans from animals, but then again, we only distinguish ourselves because we say so. In truth, we are just the most sophisticated animals on the planet. Many recall one of the greatest scientists of all time, Albert Einstein. Researchers say that Einstein was only using around 15% of his brain capacity while the rest of us are only using around 10%. Such a small difference in numbers causes such a significant change in thinking ability! I often think about the possibility of someone using 20%, 50%, or even 100% of their brain capacity. Surely the brains would not explode? Of course, we are designed this way after all, so why can we not us this 100%? It is simple; it all comes back to time. With time, we can understand ourselves, our thoughts and our thinking process. I’m sure in the future, scientists will be able to develop a method with which anyone can become a genius. An opinion imposed on me by my father, although I do agree, is that everyone is really more or less the same in terms of intelligence. It is a matter of effort and thinking. When I say thinking I do not necessarily mean brain capacity, but rather just taking the time to think things thoroughly. In this way, I am sure many failing students or C students will be able to achieve more in life. Another major factor I believe is extremely important for accomplishing something is motivation. Recently in marketing we have learned about three motivational theories which I find quite interesting. What really causes humans to go out and do something? By definition, motivation is the biological, emotional, rational and/or social force that activates a certain behaviour to make a person to do something. In that order, I believe the most basic motivation is biological. For example, our body tells us that we are hungry, thirsty, or sick and so we do things that will satisfy our body. Next we have emotional force. As a shopper, a person will definitely engage in impulse buying, or see others engage in impulse buying. They are not thinking things through when they purchase products based on impulse; they purchase it because they want it. Similarly, there are many times where people act out on their emotions. A good instance is when a person protects a significant other due to love. As for rational motivation, it is about doing something because it is logical. For example, anyone can relate to the path of education. People take part in education because they will learn more things, have a brighter future, and be more successful. This is simple logic, and one that everyone can understand. So therefore, there are people trying to gain a decent education. Social force can sometimes be a deadly force; often it is the influence of others and can sometimes described as peer pressure. Peers may pressure a person to study harder, play games, do drugs, and to do many other things.

But now I do not feel like talking anymore. Let’s move onto a different topic shall we? Something that I have pro-longed interest all my life is music. I am not really musical person so to say, because I do not play any instruments, or play them well, and I do not know how to dance our sing. But what really interests me about music is the deeper meanings, the lyrical content, and the feelings being conveyed to the listener. Recently I have started to listen the rap genre much more and I feel that it is something I can do too. At school, I have a small group of friends who hold “free style Fridays” which is when you just rap whatever you have on your mind; in other words, you free style it. With all this rap music flowing into my ears, I took shot at writing lyrics, and to my surprise, my friends said that I have potential and that my lyrics were pretty good. After that, I was motivated to keep writing, to let this small potential to grow further. I have written a full cover to a song, several other small covers to instrumentals and sections of other songs. However, I have never recorded because my voice poses a big problem. My “rapper voice” often fluctuates and sometimes becomes incredibly dull and fake. As for singing, my voice is much too deep. But hopefully in the future, I want to record with my friends a small mixtape. I have some really fun raps that I want to show off and put on the internet and see what other people think. Of course there will be haters and people who dislike my music but I won’t mind at all. I am an amateur and it would be great to see what kind of feedback I get. With this feedback I can continue to nurture my “rap talent” or I can completely because it would be a waste of time. I think of this of a fun and creative pastime, but I definitely do not wish to pursue a rap career. A good opportunity is coming up at school since they are holding a Churchill’s Got Talent. It’s basically a competition where people display their various talents. Were I to join with my friends, I wouldn’t be sure about the competition and the expectations seeing that I have not observed last year’s competition. But one of my friends can do very nice beat boxing and the other is a much better rapper than I. Perhaps we can get together in our free time a prepare for an audition; or not. Whatever happens though, I will always love music, for it is something that almost anyone can enjoy.

Now I was supposed to have a stream of consciousness describing a collage of memories. I’m not really interested in my memories, instead I am much more interested in dreams. In the past, I have had a reoccurring dream three times. The first time, I find myself on a sandy park where on my left side there is the rooftop of a building. First I head towards to the building and pick up various coloured balls. Then I walk back to the beginning and the dream is over. In the second dream, I avoid the rooftop and decide to walk on the bridges of the park. I simply walk as I would do in real life. In the distance I can see the setting sun. I walk straight and then take a right turn and the dream is over. In the third version of the dream, I do the same thing again except I keep walking and come upon a door. I open the door and inside I find a white room with a table and more doors. It looks like a integration room one would see in a movie or TV show. And that’s where the dream stops and I never have the dream again. I do not know if it is regular but I have had a few dreams that occur twice over a long period of time. For example, I had a dream, which I no longer recall, a few months ago and then just a few days ago. It is strange and I cannot think of any significance because I do not remember the dream anymore. I only remember that is was the same. They say that dreams sometimes reflect the opposite reality of your real life and I find this to be true. Often I have wants or things to do that are completely opposite in my dreams. People also say that flying in a plane or driving a car means that you may be progressing or going somewhere in life. I often have these kind of dreams but they bring no such fortune. I also have dreams where I have the ability to think and control my actions to a limited degree. Perhaps this is something a lot of people do not have. I believe that many people see themselves in first person or third person but feel like they are watching from afar and that they have no controlling of their actions. However, I am able to think in my dreams and move around a little bit. Usually there is no thinking in dreams. Perhaps dreams are a reflection of a different dimension? Another thing that really intrigues me is dimensions. Theoretically, there are many options we choose from in life. Each option splits off into a different timeline and that world follows from that decision. For example, I have the choice between riding on friend’s car home or another friend’s car home. From here, two dimensions will be created. In one, I will have taken the first friend’s offer. In the second, I would have taken the other friend’s offer. In these worlds, everything may be extremely different. A small action can change the world, just like the butterfly effect. I often think about what would have happened were I to make a different decision? We could try and see so far into the future but the future will just keep changing. In theory, there could be infinite time lines because there are infinite possibilities, and that is truly amazing. If one could just imagine it visually: one line dividing into two lines and then four lines and finally sprouting an infinite mass of lines spreading all over an infinite black map.

What is even more interesting is extraterrestrial life. Often I read up on government conspiracies or simple space observations. Do we really have alien abductions? Do we have aliens and their weapons in Area 51 in the United States? I would love to journey to an alien planet, or just into space itself. Some people say that it is dangerous for mankind to have alien contact because they may try to colonize our planet. I hope this is not so, because a war against aliens would certainly mean death for. If they are able to travel through space, their technology must be incredible. At the moment, we are still using missiles and nuclear weapons. Who knows what extraterrestrial beings are using for weapons? They could have laser cannons, mini black hole generators, teleportation devices and various things that can annihilate our civilization into smithereens. By then, will we still see them as celestial beings?

Now I begin to restart my thinking engine and take a different route. I remember in my childhood where I used to run in the back alley with my Caucasian friends and scavenge raspberries from someone’s bush. I also remember that I would get nosebleeds so I could not go outside anymore. During my childhood there were not many fun things which I could do so I had to go to other people’s houses to enjoy some of their fun activites. I do regret though not developing good study methods earlier. I did not really care about school until grade seven. I remember it clearly, when I actually started doing homework and studying for quizzes and tests. School was so easy to me because all I had to do is try. I had much more earlier opportunities to make my school record look nice but I did not bother. I also remember the deep regret and disappointment when I found that I was two percent away from principal’s list. It would have been one of my greatest achievements. Although is not a very nice or descriptive collage of memories, I am remembering what has left a deep impression on me. I also regret not developing any hobbies when I was young. When I was young, I had never heard or seen dancing or b-boying, or even learning how to sing properly. Now that I want to, it is too late and I cannot. Finding about these things now makes me angry and regretful. Why did I know about these things earlier? There is a voice screaming in my head and deep greedy desire to learn and master these things. I have no particular skills that dazzle people and that makes me feel insignificant and useless. But now, I have rap, and I won’t give that up unless I have to. It’s fun to throw out metaphors and rhymes, to make references to things people know or do not know about. It’s also fun to loose yourself in the music and let whatever words come to your mind flow right out. How often is it in society when a person can speak whatever’s on his mind? The answer is almost never. Society gives us restrictions and guidelines we must follow. We must speak to please and to understand. In rap, I enjoy being able to talk things that I would not talk about otherwise. Sometimes I gain inspiration from what other people say, sing or rap about. I love taking the time to write it out and then rapping it against the beat. It is a form of poetry I like to think although not as complicated and beautiful. Rap is much more simple but at times can convey much more feeling. My friend has taken up producing beats that we can listen to. He’s also got a decent amount of knowledge about making music so in the future I really hope that my friends and I can do a successful collaboration. Unfortunately, none of us of a good microphone for recording so I hope we can find one we can use. One my friend’s has one but seeing that he probably won’t be a part of our collaboration means that he is less likely to lend it to us. I think that with practice and time I can overcome my bad rapper voice because I would definitely not enjoy being a ghost rapper. You write things you want to tell the world, but only to have other people say it. There’s really no point in such a thing. In recent times, I have started to slowly listen to more genres of music including rap, r&b, and hip hop. I usually do not listen to western music but now I have started to sample some of that too. *******[2,682 words or 44.7w/m]