"I learned to make my mind large, as the universe is large, so that there is room for paradoxes." Maxine Hong Kingston. 

1.Nostos and Algos

  Humans are pleasure-seekers. We abandon a kettle, a sofa or a person, for a new kettle, a new sofa or a new person. We grovel at the feet of future and beg our Muse to guide us to adventures.  However, we are also sentimental. We keep the teddy bear from childhood, the ring pull our first-loves proposed with or even a handkerchief of unknown origin. We bend our knees in front of time and implore her to take us back. We cannot put up with one second of banality, yet we are so eagerly seeking the companion of the past. 

Nostalgia, it is.Paradoxical. 

Nostalgia is a combination of the Greek words nostos "returning home" and algos"pain"—— returning to a non-existing home, going back to an un-repeatable era and reconstructing a place that is only known between lines. It is meant for the soul. 

Light a sandalwood and take a seat, although it won't be long. 


My memory is too ambiguous to recall what happened in that country yard. There should be a black brick house flooded with stinky hen smell, a deep well in front of the house even ghost cannot escape from the bottom and a tender river silently flow since forever ago. 

“I think he fancies me.” said by a plump boy with stunning lithe fingers. That boy was speaking to a ponytail girl who is struggling to pull a wooden barrel filled with water to the bank. After nearly a decade of effort, she fetched the barrel from river and indicated that plumpboy to clean their pen brushes. They are mates who learn Chinese painting from the same honorable artiest, and she is regarded as the most promising student in the crowd. The “he” who that boy refers to was another well praised student sharing similar reputation as the girl. The girl kept mute, their brushes soaked with ink were flouting in the river water. The ink spread, like silk, like smoke, like cloud, like anything we could be. Anything we should be.

Maybe that was ten years later. Those black bricks fractured and no one bother to repair them as the house owner has past long ago, the well was filled with brown silt. The river, the river carries all the fantasies and dreams of that girl, has dried out. Who will ever want to be a painter?

If my memory serves me right, nothing should be so fragile that a finger tip can rashly crashes them all. Not that girl, not him.

 3. Inside No. 6 

Putting a wrapped book under pillow, this should be a common sense to all human being, well, at least to me. I am not from a “well-educated” family; the options to roll under my pillow were rare. Among them, only one book is too impressive to forget. In the book, there were children living together in a quadrangle called “No. 6”. What a meaningless name. A psychosis girl who took a red umbrella with her everywhere; a pretty girl marked 98 points only 2points from perfect due to nevus on her chest which is testified by a bunch of boys took off all her clothes; a brave girl vomit all her way to the determine future of her. All those plots I can remember without the most vital information:the title of the book.

For so long I have search for this name,the unspoken spell shifted me to what I like today and leave my childhood with a big red question mark. It was in a mid-summer night, without any aids from fairies,I found the name. Finally the spell was broken, the name lingers among my lips and tooth, I repeated it for so many times as if I can carve it to my soul. Suddenly,I jumped off my bed and rushed to the attic where stores all my old books. I pulled off all baggage tack upon the boxes containing my books and open each single one of them. It was a concealed space and mid-summer is hot enough to smother me in my sweat. Craziness took me over when I failed to get any trace of the book. I might cry, might not. Some part of my heart becomes hollow. I’ve lost it, I’ve lost it all.

Again, the name of that book transformed into a spell. Don’t break it.


That girl is nowhere to be found.

[STRAWBERRY: 2 for₤3] written by fold white fonts on the package. Two packs of strawberry lied on the kitchen table, silently. I just finished typing a lab report and went into the kitchen for some tea. While stretching my arms and waiting for the water to boil, I glanced at the strawberry and a sentence just drill into my brain. 

That girl is nowhere to be found.

Strawberry used to be a luxury to me. The queen of all fruits, I think they are. A dozen of strawberry can be all I want for a winter Saturday evening dessert. Lying by my mum, carefully holding a piece of strawberry,these can be a supreme pleasure for me. Most of the time, my mum would be knitting my new sweater. The dark pink wool rolls around her fingers, just like the color of my strawberry. That is all I cherish: a sour strawberry and a thick sweater.

The kettle rang and brought back my mind. Now, I am all alone in this windy city named “London” and strawberry is availableat any Sainsbury's at any time, I won’t even frown for buying it. However, I miss that girl, that indebted girl who will shiver by joy when biting a strawberry. 

Strawberry is still a luxury to me. Just in another way.


5.Live on

Nostalgia is like a golden light that shines to an utopia.

To me, to the dried river, to the child faild to eacape No.6, our indulgence in the sickeningly sweet feeling ultimately points to the broken reality, if not as grandiose as the history.

Nostalgia is spiritual nourishment: we must have a tender chicken in dreams, a glorious history inmemory and a fantasia in imagination. It is only by creating a past that we can live on. 


*A practise for narrative writing