My love for writing started with a bear. A transgressive one. But before I tell you that story, let me tell you that reading was a passion that for me started as soon as age five. It was my mom that planted such love in my heart by buying me books as a reward. Well, thank you mom for all the pain I have to go through writing my books!
Oh well, the bear… I remember clearly when I first started dreaming to become an author. I was 8 and I had to have some antibiotic injection as a result of an ear infection. I hated it but I knew, after that, I could get a new book because there was a small bookstall in the doctor’s office for children. That day, I picked up a book named “The Bear Who Wanted to Be a Bear” by Jörg Steiner. The book, I can say, was overly realistic and dark to be a children's book but well, that’s how I started loving dark depressing realistic stories under the cover of fantasy and fiction. As the first blog post on my website, I decided to write about the 5 books that inspired me to become a writer as a way to push myself blogging again.
So, here we go:
1) The Bear Who Wanted to Be a Bear by Swedish author Jörg Steiner
This book is about a bear who wakes up from hibernation finding himself in a big change right over his den: A big ugly dirty modern factory. His confusion only grows when a factory guard thinks he is an unshaven human (factory worker) and forces him to get back to work. Failing to prove his identity, the bear is forced to become a factory worker. This book is simple with an amazing illustration by Jörg Müller that highlights “issues of environmental protection, human identity, and the pursuit of self, this remarkable modern fable brings philosophical subjects to the forefront through humor and imagination.” Tashlin creates his children's book Der Bär, der ein Bär bleiben wollte as an adaptation of this book. I know, too much for a 8-year-old.
2) The Bear Went Over the Mountain by American William Kotzwinkle
Here’s another bear that inspired me to read. This can be the transgressive one. I guess I had a thing about bears. Who knows? Well, this book was the main reason that made me imagine myself as a writer. The name of this bear is Hal Jam. He is a big black bear, looking for food in the Maine woods, and finds a suitcase instead under a tree. Hoping that it’s food inside he dragged it into the woods, only to find that all it has inside is the manuscript of a novel. As he couldn't eat it he decided to read it. Yeah! Why not? Well, at that moment I imagined myself being him, sitting under the tree reading a strange manuscript. He thought wasn't bad, so he borrowed some clothes from a local store, and gave himself the name Hal Jam from the labels of his favorite food and then he headed to New York to find his way as a writer. This is a rebellious, magical thriller that shows “Hal Jam leaves the quiet, nurturing world of nature for the glittering, moneyed world of man.” The perfect humor and an eye for social satire, William Kotzwinkle explains Hal's hysterical journey to New York and Los Angeles where money-hungry executives see not a hairy beast with a stolen novel, but “a rough-hewn, soulful, media-perfect nature guy who just might be the next Hemingway.”
3) The Little Prince by French author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Well, this one is not a bear and it’s quite well-known translated to several languages. This book is simply written through the eyes of the narrator who begins with a discussion on “the nature of grown-ups and their inability to perceive especially important things.” The narrator becomes a pilot, and, one day, his plane crashes in the Sahara, far from civilization. He has 8 days of water supply and must fix his airplane to be saved. In the middle of the desert, he is unexpectedly greeted by a young boy with golden hair, an adorable laugh, and will repeat questions until they are answered. He nicknamed him “The Little Prince”. Over the course of eight days stranded in the desert, while the narrator attempts to repair his plane, the little prince recounts the story of his life. The story has a somber measured tone in memory of his small friend. According to one analysis, "the story of the Little Prince features a lot of fantastical, unrealistic elements... You can't ride a flock of birds to another planet... The fantasy of the Little Prince works because the logic of the story is based on the imagination of children, rather than the strict realism of adults." The theme, as usual with my taste, is about loneliness, friendship, love, and loss.
4) Toshishun by Japanese author Ryūnosuke Akutagawa
This book is about a character name Toshishun. He used to be rich, but now he was poor and homeless in a big city in China. He has no food to eat and no hope to sustain himself, he thinks about jumping into a river and die. But an old man who is a wizard and lives on Mt. Gabisan, appeared from nowhere and gave him so much gold. Toshishun became rich again. But soon, he became poor because he wasted too much money. Then the old man appeared and again, gave him gold again,but Toshishun did the same thing over and over again. Until he got tired of people because when he was rich people ware kind to him, but if not, they wouldn't look at him. Toshishun says “I'm not tired of luxury. I'm tired of people. People don't have feelings - not true feelings. When I am rich, they are kind to me. But when I am poor, they don't even look my way. So who would want to be rich again?" So he decided to be Tekkanshi's follower and in order to become one, he has to go through pain, tests, and torture. I guess this story is somehow showing how we are failing in freedom and having “Negative Ideal” that are commonly shown in Japanese History and Literature. Such negative ideals blind us from seeing the true meaning of freedom, love, and trust.
5) Pinocchio by Italian author Carlo Collodi
I know you were waiting for me to talk about Winnie the Pooh but here I am with another dark story about a character going through hell to discover themselves. The original Pinocchio is not all fun as what you see in Disney. It is about the mischievous adventures of an animated marionette named Pinocchio and his father, a poor man named Geppetto. The story begins in Tuscany, Italy. A carpenter found a block of wood which he plans to carve into a leg for his table. When he begins the log cries out. Frightened by the talking log, he gives it to his neighbor Geppetto, a penniless man who plans to make a living as a puppeteer in hopes of earning "a crust of bread and a glass of wine." Geppetto starts to carve the block into a boy and names him "Pinocchio". As soon as Pinocchio's nose has been created, it begins to grow with his inherited untruthfulness. Once the puppet has been finished and Geppetto teaches him to walk, Pinocchio runs out the door and away into the town. He is a selfish little brat, aggressive and violent, and constantly defying authority. Well, Pinocchio, again is another story that shows the main character endures the consequences of his bad behavior which are laziness and rebellion. Unlike many other kids, Pinocchio is not just scolded, he also repeatedly suffers physical and emotional pain and torture through the story. From turning to a donkey to witnessing Blue Fairy’s faked death and being blamed to be the cause of her death on the gravestone: “Here lies the Little Girl with blue hair who died of grief for having been abandoned by her little brother Pinocchio.” Well, the theme perhaps is about loyalty, family, and parenting but as the TALKING CRICKET says in p. 447, this is a book "So as to teach you that in this world we must be kind to everybody, whenever we can if we want to be repaid with equal kindness in times of need."
Well, I hope you enjoyed reading my first post. I plan to post once a week talking about Creative Writing tips, how to become a writer, how to write fiction, what inspires a writer, creative writing styles, reviewing fiction books, and authors. I also plan to share a section of YA fiction I’m working on the name “Insects Circus”. I also plan to start YouTube but I’m not sure when will be that.
Let me know if you want me to talk about anything specific.