Yi Xiang

A Young Writer in Search of His Voice

When Logic Become Insufficient

I've studied symbols.

The whole point of symbols is to capture what cannot be expressed in words.

Some symbols are even said to represent what cannot be comprehended by the human mind.

As much as I'm fascinated by symbols, I was drawn more towards logic and reason, they're definable, definite, and predictable.

In computer programming, for example, a variable is either true or false, but never both true or false. Also, under the same condition, a program will always get the same result.

Symbols and metaphors, on the other hand, are up to interpretation. Or should I say, they need your interpretation to convey their meaning? Concepts like love, justice, can't be defined and, while universal, need the individual to give them meaning. Some believe to love is to give, and some believe to love is to control, others see love as a perfect justification to whatever cruel things they've done.

Utterly unreliable tools for communication.

So I opt for reason. Define a problem, analyze the pros and cons, present a possible solution. Simple, clear, and leaves little room for interpretation. Many of my writings are in this style.

Until when they could not get the job done.

I've been stressed and anxious lately. While trying to share my experience, I started two drafts, "how to live with chronic anxiety and fear", and "when your dream betrays you". Neither of them get finished. I found my usual way of writing in logic failed to say what I want to say.

It's like when breaking up with someone, you can't just say "I'm sad", to fully express your emotion of this moment, you need to bring up all these little things that you've done together, the moments that she made you feel happy, etc. The songs you sang together, the places you went together, the time you spent together.

To say "I'm sad" well, it has to be said with a scene, with a few lines, with some tears, that is, with a story.

A plain statement isn't enough. There needs to be a background, some buildup, and some dramatic words and actions to show you not just an emotion, but a character with this emotion. An emotion is inseparable from who it belongs to.

I think I need to write stories. That's unexpected.

Words, to me, were like swords, ought to be precise, sharp, cuts directly to the point, say what must be said and no more.

Maybe it's because I used to be afraid of opening up to anyone, don't want to talk about myself, just want to talk about things, objects, facts, gadgets and abstract concepts.

Used to make me feel safe.

Guess life's full of changes.