Happy Valentine’s Day! As history and memories and community converges and culminates and catapults into the next stage of life, allow me to share with you once again words from my heart. Last night, I surely had this opportunity in front of many friends, family, readers, fellow writers, hearts and souls at the book launch event. It was unreal and unforgettable. There are more thoughts below and the full video coverage will be uploaded asap. But first I have to go through a few news items. Here is the official Trailer PV that was released a few days ago with some hard work on character illustrations by yours truly, “Aoi” Piano OST Theme Music by talented friend and cell phone novelist, Andy aka KleptoPenguin and voiced by Berry, the manager of 4TE, the j-pop girls band with whom we will be collaborating to put together the ballad version.
Official PV Trailer feat. “Aoi” Piano OST Theme Music
Official Book Release (Now Available on Amazon)
After six years of memories and history-in-the-making, originally serialized and made popular online, the beloved pioneer English cell phone novel is now finally and officially released and available as ebook and a massive 6″ x 9″ 558-page paperback print book with stunning anime cover illustrations, interior formatting and graphic design as of Feb 14th, 2015 via Amazon, Sakura Publishing and more locations. Be sure to grab a copy or a few as keepsakes, fond memories, seasonal gifts or for inspirational reading pleasure. It’s quite incredible to see my own book up on Amazon finally. It is a season about love, but there are many different forms of love, and I believe unconditional, persevering, agape love is the greatest of them all. It’s a good time for Secondhand Memories to be officially released, as it is very much about learning how to love, what sacrifice, loss and perseverance is. Thank you to the many who have already pre-ordered (and probably received) copies of the print book! It is a vital pivotal point of the movement, stepping into the real industry. Stay tuned for lots of news and information coming up! Reviews on Amazon and Goodreads will help a lot as it might just decide the future of the book in the market. http://secondhandmemories.net
Podcast Audio Interview
I was also a part of a great hour long interview/chat with an old acquaintance who runs the AniManga Podcast. On this episode which is 2.5 hours long, we talk about cell phone novels, Secondhand Memories, Espresso Love, philosophy, anime and literary culture and onwards.
Espresso Love – Wattys Award 2014
Espresso Love has won a 2014 Watty award on Wattpad for being on the most reading-lists! An interesting surprise for sure – never knew it was that circulated. I’m glad to have the privilege and honour to inspire, enlighten and bless the lives of many who’ve read the novel. Thank you for your support and joining me on this journey. My most recent work is a literary novel of Haruki Murakami Franz Kafka, George Orwell vision: In Tokyo, Japan, where identity, thoughts, memories and emotions decay, a strange clairvoyant and a literature student embark on a paranoiac escape against Kafkaesque system, oppression, mindless agents, civil unrest and reality itself, in a mind-blowing soul-searching journey for love, for what had been long lost and what it means to be human. Yet all that remains is a peculiar coffee shop order. The literary novel delves into the human condition, subjective perception, our socio-political system, capitalist mechanism and consumer culture, incorporating philosophy, surrealist dreamscapes, cosmic visions, circular symbolism and shifting parallel realities, with profound discussions of coffee, art, literature and music.
First Book Launch Dinner Event, Thank You’s and Reflections
Even now as I’m typing, I feel the drain from the book launch dinner last night. My mind is empty, my heart is empty. It is a strange feeling. Likely the crash on all fronts – physically, mentally, emotionally – after pouring out myself to the world. This climax of the journey surely means there is a fall and a settling down, a submission to gravity, in its violent aftermath. It was truly an unforgettable evening of history making, shared visions and dreams, heartfelt tales, cross-global conversation, stunning visuals and images and videos and memories, words of the soul, passion, inspiration and encouragement, atmospheric and ambient air and lighting, beautiful people and delicious cuisine. There were many first times for me. Of course I had never done a book launch before, nor often spoken to a crowd about my writing, nor read so many excerpts, signed so many books or taken so many pictures, nor set up my own merch table, nor publicly aired my documentary and trailer, nor presented with Skype callers, nor brought together so many friends from different places.
I laid my heart bare, spoke the themes in my work, my reason and purpose for art, the lives I’ve impacted, the achievements and numbers and opportunities that people may only dream of, the imprint of each person on my life and my imprint on theirs, the message to the world that there is a greater destiny and purpose and greater current we are all part of, no matter what struggles we must overcome. I spoke of future plans, of multimedia cross cultural international collaborations and past adventures ups and downs shared with people all around the world in a new age of technology and consciousness. I spoke of my writing, philosophies and worldviews old and the new. I read from my books, I felt a charismatic persona take over, I applauded and laughed and willed positive energy into the world. I watched and heard the talent in the room during the mini cell phone novel writing contest and again was in awe of the pure sophistication and beauty and transcendental capability of capturing life and moments and memories and emotions and the heart by the cell phone novel form – even for first timers in the room newly introduced to it. I felt proud listening to my cell phone novel community writers with their unique and breathtaking disembodied voices echoing around the cafe, almost like being proud of my grown up kids as they took time to share across the world to us in Toronto via Skype. We listened to beautiful piano artistry by Andy played live from the UK. We were educated by our Masters of Communication guest speaker on cell phone technology and culture in Japan. The fact is, no one had ever experienced something like this before. This is the pioneering not just of cell phone novels, or of international Skype sessions, or of a door opened by Murakami, or of the meeting of the East and the West, or the coming together of friends and strangers from different places, different experiences and onwards, but of all elements coming together to make life, and make life beautiful. We made history, we were making history, we are making history.
I felt empowered. I was empowered with enormous energy and a sudden ability to speak fluently and eloquently, with confidence and without faltering, I felt a current rushing out from within me wishing to bless and inspire and reach the hearts of each person. I was empowered not by my own ability but by something greater than me, the vision, the divine, the passion, the strength, the memories that we all share in, I was empowered by the community and people. The collective of souls that all vibrate and resonant together and forge connections and ties with one another moment to moment. It was the entire history, all the six years and my entire life, every step of the way whether I fell or bruised or got up or laughed or cried or cowered or stood up to fight the near impossible, every moment came to fruition and gathered into one shaft of light that spearheaded the rise into its pinnacle. It was everything flowing into me and converging into one place. Even at the end when I felt compelled to read from the stranger and abstract later bits of Espresso Love, the cafe was saturated with something unique and special. I was empowered and driven forward by all that is beyond me and beyond words and beyond my control. But moreover, I can’t see myself as the star of the show, I had the spotlight so to speak, but it is my urge and desire and conviction to share the light with you and with everyone. I do not deserve the spotlight, for I am a vessel which was filled with light, and this light and fire which is to be passed on to you. In the same way, without you, I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing and there would be no meaning for what I do. There is no meaning to art if there was no one out there to share in it and to perceive it. It simply wouldn’t exist. Onwards, what I do is not for myself, nor only is it to speak light into lives, but to create a future, to spearhead a movement, to build a platform, to lift up my fellow talented souls who have a story to tell, a message to say, a cry of the heart for the world.
So I was truly moved and blessed by each of you who made it out, who allowed this to be possible, nothing would be possible without you. The true stars of the night were you, who carry the torch of a little of my dreams, and the memories and moments we each leave with one another. Thank you truly.
But on the flip side, I wish to continue to reveal my heart as I always wish to do and reflect on my current state of mind. And I must say every person who shines and who carries the light or who is driven and energized and standing so strong and firm and with vision and conviction and seemingly erupting a whole movement and igniting massive momentum… is still human, and is so so weak. I know my words last night and all that I am about has time and time again breathed life for people and many have felt the aura and passion and excitement and determination that I may exhibit but we as creators and innovators and imaginators are so limited. There are many times where we fall and lose heart over and over. We lose all energy and inspiration and reason suddenly just like that. It takes a tremendous pure force of will to keep going sometimes and dragging our feet even when we are tired and entirely crushed and depleted. It takes tremendous courage to survive the waves again and again to be honed into a weapon sharp enough to even stand in front of a crowd or even to write a single word and say to the world we have something to say. I admire the professionals out there who are on the front lines and in the spotlight all the time. I am not at the level of those who I highly admire and respect yet, musicians, writers, thinkers, dreamers. But they have gone through what I’ve gone through. I think only certain kinds of people who share in the same experiences will truly understand. Even now, as I write this, I am so depleted and nonsensical and incoherent and empty in mind, I am at a loss for words. Not only from the overwhelming heights of where I had been with the culmination of the beauty and passion climaxing with the book and the launch and the potential which awaits onward but also from the sudden depths to which I plummet.
Last night I was tremendously stressed. Well, the stress didn’t begin last night, it had been ongoing for weeks on end. Planning, last minute preparations, contacting and RSVP, logistics and equipment and promotions and social media and graphics and discussions, to-do lists and notes as long as novels, and all kinds of things; just like the heights of where I had been, these things are also just as inexpressible by words. Ultimately, reaching the cafe an hour early under a beautiful winter sun but scaldingly extreme cold temperatures, I was still scrambling for my hat. Wires, cables, devices, cameras, papers, books and boxes and files and youtube videos and all. I regret that I didn’t have time or ability throughout the evening to talk to each friend, each supporter, each guest as much as I wanted to individually or that I couldn’t eat anything all evening. And unfortunately, the live stream didn’t work out and despite all the planning ahead and promotions, it wasn’t something that could be controlled until we got to the scene. I apologize to the many worldwide viewers and I was quite disappointed it didn’t work out. However, we do have full video recordings which I will upload as soon as possible. There are so many things that were astonishingly brilliant, radiant, beautiful, and unforgettable, but where things become so beautiful, the little things that try to threaten perfection and amazing experiences become so much more powerful as well in contrast.
On the other hand, I doubted and worried about who would show up and who wouldn’t. I was and still am always wondering if I am actually alone in this and that the support and the community is only my subjectivity and delusion. If I am just a spectacle that people watch and cannot quite relate to. If everything I do and am driven and passionate about seems like just my own story and not the business of others, if my desire to share memories and visions and my heart’s cry, is only my selfish desire. It is in the moment of the frontlines, when all the stress and complications and worry and fear and tremblings, where all the more, each of you mean even more than ever. When I truly realize that I, or us as dreamers or artists, really are nothing without you who hold us together and hold us up. There are many whom I admire and respect and wish to share with, many who I value so greatly and without you, I falter and doubt. Motivation, determination, conviction, courage, passion, all of those kinds of things only go so far, and they are not always with us. Without you who came out to the event, without you who leave comments and messages of encouragement, without you who offer a hand when I need it, I fall. The higher we aim, the higher we climb, the more we are community and the more I need your company. Fighting alone becomes more and more difficult. I feel like I’m at the point of transition between a hobbyist and a professional, from the hidden secret subculture and the personal virtual world to the public industry, this massive sea of competition and resistance and doubt. I have to fight and do everything alone. Last night, I panicked and luckily a few friends helped as much as they could. Each smiling, warm, listening face who seemed to hold much respect for me there, held me up and prevented me from shaking in my shoes. But there is so much I had to and still have to do alone. I desperately need your help and I know how each person last night especially had strengthened me or weakened me. I felt it to the core. It’s a scary path onwards. A narrow gate and a narrow path. It’s easy to wonder why I’m even trying and why I’m doing this. Why is it not easier and why shouldn’t I just turn tail and run back. Why can’t I just be normal and live without dreaming. As I continue on in this journey, it only gets more and more difficult. The powerful passionate front I may put on, may not be the end of the story. There is always another side to it. And we all have a deeper story and a tougher struggle. Life and reality is always bittersweet, a clash between the yin and yang, a battle for light and darkness, forward or backwards – which is what I often express in my stories. But in the end, there is always light to fix our eyes on and we are part of something much greater. And we are part of each others’ lives.
Thank you for coming last night. I hope my heart was laid bare for you to see and that the light I see will also shine in your life. You don’t know how much it means to me and how much you empower me. Right now, I admit I have mixed feelings, and am not entirely comprehending the heights of yesterday and the miracles that transcended my ability, and the sudden doubts that I am confronted with and the withdrawal into being alone again and away from smiling, warm faces that told me we are family. But again, thank you, and look forward to what is to come, as soon as I regain my energy to blast our way forward.
There’s so many pictures scattered on different cameras, devices and with friends, and for the first time I wasn’t the one taking pictures, so perhaps I will have to update the gallery with more when I see them! Thanks to my friend Wasa for getting a few clips after the event as well! Stay tuned for the full video coverage and again apologies for the live stream failure!
The Intro to Cell Phone Novel Documentary