Filling Emptiness: On Reading Peter Hessler

By Lou Hsienhua (Tome Loulin) The title of River Town by Peter Hessler in Chinese translation could very naturally coincide with the nicknames of several cities—in southern China—alongside the Yangtze River such as Wuhan, and Chongqing, to name a few. It can also stir up complicated feelings among the readers familiar with the concept of Shan-shui in China’s cultural imagination. At first glance, it’s relatively easy for the book to be mistaken as a collection of travel writings written by someone native of China. But as we explore further inside the world portrayed by the author, it’s even easier for a reader … Continue reading “Filling Emptiness: On Reading Peter Hessler”

South and Central



“Photography itself is like a partially immortalized and visualized bit of time, which as a collective concept is itself hardly an accurate conceptualization; and if taken in the light of personal significance, it’s also an concept invented for the societal convenience as a whole in the use of reinforcing a socio-historical consciousness to us.”

-By Tome Loulin, “Myself These Years in Retrospect, A Notetaking, 2020.

The Latest

Letter from Wuhan: Life After Twenty, Some Words to Say

If, also, I say I started to care even less about news headlines, outraging geopolitical comments, editorials, apparent misinformation of almost everything crucial for our social stability, a lot of disbelief may come around because, as a man, no one would appear able to resist the attraction of politics, perhaps the source of all powers. But, indeed, seeing news outlets propagating that some country or group of people exposes a serious threat to the security of this and that isn’t really helpful to anyone sitting before that screen.

Traveling to Faraway Land, then, Farewell to It

Leafing through the pages of certain geography magazines full of picturesque attractions, I saw, in pictures, Tianshan mountain, Qilian mountains, and the Taklamakan Desert in the northwestern part of China.

Linguistic Imaginations

Summer days on which my dream continues

Extraordinary, Critical Seeings

There are many different ways of seeing and how others see us, as Lou Hsienhua puts it, impacts the way we deal with the world as we try hard to make sure there is no distorted image about us drawn by others. When coming to the problem of self-imagining, the way we see ourselves, Hsienhua thinks, should never be dictated by anyone else but us. Resistant youths nowadays who try to claim their independence may declare that they are not what you see, meaning what you see about them is inaccurate, distorted, and, most importantly, subjective. Seeing, overall, is a complicated matter.

Interpreting Life

Reading vivid recollections by Tome Lou Hsienhua whose artistic sensibility, as he puts it, shaped his relationship with those tolerant, supportive of what he imagines his specific cultural identity is.

《夏日》娄桦林

走过回忆的街道 :南湖,武汉

学校的建筑,增加了几栋,但仍几乎与曾经无异,风景旧曾谙。这夏日一般的十月,我走过玻璃的幕墙边,望着镜中的倒影,体重较几年前增加了,神色间,似乎增加了几许惘然。好似这么许多年来,这南湖边,只有我体会了岁月的力量。

此方与远方:楚地的日夜

同其他小城一样,这里的日夜仿佛没有两样,静静的。春去夏至,秋去冬来,只有落下的水杉针叶述说着变迁的故事。

回顾

我问是否可以连他的音箱,他点头,表同意。那时已是晚夏,湖边的微风拂过,归去时我走在后面些,旁边有自动售水机,走进才发现灯光下都是昆虫,好在水不受影响。

More by Tome Loulin

This Tranquility, Long Missed

With years passing unnoticed, remembering what made us today becomes a necessity. As this unprecedented change that impacts the way we live ripples across almost every corner of the world, to live has become, it occurred, a specific way of realizing and remembering what we cannot live without.

Writing As Remembering

It is with the help of written language that our thoughts and ideas could be more widely disseminated, known, understood, critically examined or misinterpreted in the public so we won’t easily surrender our past to time.

Walking Along the Way Our Sun Goes

The sparrows that sometimes came to stay before my window were singing. Outside of the window, the trees whose names I was unable to utter were shining under the sun.

Radical Authenticity: Looking at Abdellatif Kechiche’s Films

This authentic way of telling and showing something that is too hard to be told and presented properly brought a sharper contrast between the romantic imagination and brutal everydayness in actuality, as the story presented by the film is already too tough to experience, let alone review it.

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