Viết lách giống như đánh tennis mỗi ngày – Đặng Hoàng Giang | Have a Sip EP48
Welcome back to Have A Sip! This is a talkshow where I interview guests who has lots of ‘words’. That’s just a fun way to put it but these guests could be content cr
Viết lách giống như đánh tennis mỗi ngày – Đặng Hoàng Giang | Have a Sip EP48
Welcome back to Have A Sip! This is a talkshow where I interview guests who has lots of ‘words’. That’s just a fun way to put it but these guests could be content creators writers or even video creators. But to go back to the definition of ‘words’, our guest here truly has lots of them. Please welcome professor Dang Hoang Giang to our show! Hello Thuy Minh, hello everyone! But can I ask a bit about why is it called Have A Sip? Has something to do with water? Yes, that’s right! I was also about to ask my first question which is what is your drink for today’s interview? So it’s water. I also picked water.
You drink water in the morning The time right now is 10:31 AM. Is this your first or second cup? This is my second. But you tend to drink water in the morning instead of coffee? Or do you drink anything else? I’d drink tea or coffee, depends on the weather, or summer or winter. But the simplest and most convenient is water. I don’t use any doctrine on medical or nutrition. It’s just that water is easiest to get. So then which weather will you drink tea and when will you drink coffee? Wow, we’re talking about drinks a lot, huh? If the weather is cold then I’ll drink hot tea. And sometimes, if I’m in the mood for coffee then I’ll drink coffee.
Like the other day, I ate lots of protein so I drank coffee. There isn’t a certain rule. There isn’t a certain rule. There isn’t a certain rule. So back to your question of why the show is called Have A Sip. Basically, when we start our conversation I’ll always ask about the other’s drink of choice first instead of going straight into the interview. A notion that I’ve always believe in is our drink of choice tells a lot about ourself. And especially with writers, the drink could tell the state of that writer at the moment they’re drinking that drink. This theory could be wrong. But what I like about theories is that we could discuss about them.
Okay so then what does this cup of water say about me? Actually it’s not just this cup, because you said you’re not a fixed person. You don’t drink just one thing. I’ve interviewed people who also picked water in the morning and they’ll always drink water in the morning. I’m also someone who would have water as the first thing I drink in the day. But I frequently drink a lot more coffee. And I’ll always choose At least it shows that I’m somewhat predictable. You seem to be unpredictable. Lots of sudden change. So is that good or not? I don’t think it’s good or not good. But it goes into when you write.
People tend to associates coffee with writers. Because they have to stay up late. But at this point and time, I don’t think you agree with it, right? But what cup of drink do you think is suitable for your writing job? To think that one’s writing habit depend on something specifically is just an excuse. An excuse that others always use is writers have to drink alcohol to get inspirations, Or they smoke or they have to smoke cigarettes is just a fallacy. Writing is just like accounting or in my opinion, or like drawing or cooking something then they could drink whatever they want. There isn’t anything profound like I have to writeno, drink water to be able to write.
At least that how it is for me. And you’ve just mistakenly said “have to write”, do you ‘have to write’ a certain amount in a day? I do try to create a rhythmic work habit daily. Kind of like office job, so I do try to sit down and treat writing as my main job. so it could become a habit. It’s quite a boring job like going to the office and answering emails or working with numbers I also want to it to be a routine so I don’t have to wait for an inspiration or a kind of mood or an event that drives me to start writing down everything that’s in my mind right now. I think writing is like play tennis or practice yoga everyday, so you can have a certain habit for your body, a habit for your muscle.
So writing daily, just about anything, is a way to form a habit of thinking in words. I would like to ask more about you switching your writing style to a very scientific way. Does it has anything to do with your background in Information Technology and Basically a true science major. Does it have any link? I think it does, right? I don’t think so. I would say it’s rather disciplinary than scientific I’m not sure what it means by scientific but my style is a disciplined routine. And based on what I know, those who sees writing as their main job are all very disciplined about it. They’d wake up, eat breakfast, exercise then they’d sit down and write.
And then they take a break, or nap or something. It doesn’t really link with my past working in a technical field. I think those who sees writing as a job they will sit down and write at a time of day just like having an office job. You used to write too right? You’ll get inspirations then set a goal for your project and you make a deadline for it. I think with this classification of writers, classifying them into different types. Then I guess the discipline ones, like you said, they’d release books more often. And for those who write based on moods or doesn’t see this as their main job then we can clearly see it through their writing journey.
When they have something to write about, like me, I always say that a writer will truly leave their mark on their third book. Because the first two are all stories I’ve filtered, I put them into 2 books and that’s it. I don’t have enough discipline to continue. So I really admire professional writers starting from their third book, But going back to today’s talk, I forgot something, I forgot to introduce you! But it seems like for those who follow writers then to them, you’re someone familiar. And we’re currently at the end of August, you’ve release your fifth book already. Do you remember the time you release your first? At that point, I didn’t know about you yet.
I only remember when ‘Buc xuc khong lam ta vo can’ was released, it’s truly “word of mouth”, you don’t hear it through medias, but it’s everyone telling each other ‘you need to read this’. At the time of it’s release Was that your very first book? Yes, it is my first book. And before that, did you knew that you’ll release such a huge publicity? and have you applied discipline writing style at this time? No, back then I didn’t know that the book would create this kind of influence. I can’t say I’ve predicted this. I don’t know what kind of effect will it have on my readers. It started with me writing many different news articles.
Those articles have gained different opinions. They discussed and debated. It also caused other to think. So I decided to take the next step which is to write more articles that are longer, in different topics. The I’ll put them into an essay compilation. And that’s my first intention for ‘Buc xuc khong lam ta vo can’. And back then, because it’s for a newspaper so I do intend to publish certain amount per week. And that intention gave me more discipline. Instead of waiting for an inspiration, and asking what I want to write about, I’ll determine the amount of article I want to publish then I’ll have to search about what will be my upcoming subject and search for resources around that subject, or I’ll observe the society, and then I’ll write.
So that’s the process of my first book and I did not purposely try to write something that drives people to look for, or to create publicity or anything like that. I did not anticipate how it will be received. But at that point, have you consider writing as your main job? No, at that time, I was still doing other jobs and other social projects, with nongovernmental organizations. And my writing gigs are more like my side hustle. Later on, that side job gradually gets better and it takes up more time. But at the time, it wasn’t my main job. Each of your five books explores five different topics.
Or rather, I’ll call it a “hot topic”. I feel like at each time, the part where it’s most influential the reason why it’s so viral is because of its relevancy. It talks about something that we’re currently learning about. And Giang’s book is like a research paper. So I’m curious about how do you decide the topic of your next book? the topic of your next book? the topic of your next book? Actually I wouldn’t just sit down and ask ‘what does people want to read about?’ I’ll search for topic based on what I am currently interested in. What’s important enough for me to want to learn more about it. So I’ll pick topics that would caught others by surprise and quite hard to grasp, like, let’s say, the topic of death.
That topic is not trendy at all. When we read news or go on social medias, no one wants to talk about death, or even the horrible pain, the agony of death, from cancer, for example. And the question given is what is the meaning of death in our life, right? Or topics like traumas of young generations, and conflicts between them and their parents. That’s also a topic that’s not trendy at all and no one wants to write a book on the psychology of 18, 20 somethings smoking weed, making love, or self harm, etc. And if you want to be sure when writing about what society care about then you got to write about corruption, environment or education.
Education is something that people will always care about. So I’ll pick topics that I want to learn about. like the world of someone neardeath, or young people, or the depressed. Even my book ‘Thien, ac, smartphone’ is the book that explores a topic that anyone could relate to, which is social media. And with that, I also raised questions about compassion about sympathy and justice. It doesn’t stop at whether social media is good or bad. So I think tend to look for topics that I care about and want to explore it. And not that I already have some kind of message and spread that message like an evangelist.
That’s why I think it has an interesting attraction. I feel like some individual they just need to start researching, it’s already enough for others to feel interested about it. I’ll take an example of what you said. Maybe the topic is not trendy, or we want to strip away the ‘trendy’ aspect of that topic from our studies. But we cannot deny that, by the time you release ‘Dai duong den’ you guys can order it now but it’s a bit hard, and by the time of this interview with Giang, I’ve already finished the book last night. It’s clear that even if we take away the ‘trendy’ aspect, the book would still have some kind of Obviously it’s the most cared about subject at the moment.
Don’t you think so? The stories of the depressed. And there are 12 different stories, but the journey for the readers, I’m also a reader, and It’s coincidental too that I work at Vietcetera and the topic of mental health, from last year until now, I don’t know if it’s because of the pandemic, but I think it has exists for a long time now. And when reading his book, you could see that it’s common in everyone who has depression that their journey would take years. But it’s undeniable that the topic of pandemic, even if we try not to see it as ‘trendy’, there’s still some kind relevancy in it. It’s the thing that we care about the most.
I think in this case, it’s a coincident. Because I’m interested in the topic of depression since 2 or 3 years prior when working with young people in the project ‘Tim minh trong the gioi hau tuoi tho’ And that when I found out lots of people have depression and other mental health problems that they couldn’t get any help. So I’ve determined to look further into this topic after that book has finished. And some of the individuals included in the book, I’ve been learning about them for 3 and half years. From a very long time. It’s purely coincidental that ‘Dai duong den’ was released during us going through a crisis, both physically and mentally.
When I look back to all the topics I’m interested in, none of them are old. It’s just not relevant at that point in time so they think that it’s not worth caring and people tend to follow trends on social media. The topics that I want to talk about are all the things that are timeless. Like conflicts between children and parents. Or death, the definition of justice, how should a person live, or depression. It’s been going on for years on end. The topics are always there. It’s just the matter of if I we want to dive into it and how do we convey that topic. You mentioned of “diving into it”. I think this is also a technique in character interview.
So I would like to ask more about this. A lot of people asked me about character interview when I work on Have A Sip. And this is something that many people care about. It’s not that I have to write a whole book or that I have to do a podcast. It’s just simply the technique of speaking to the other person, there’s already so much we have to be mindful of. I usually get questions like ‘what if the guest is too talkative?’ or ‘what if the guest is too quiet?’ That’s why I thought I need to ask you about your technique. In your 3 most recent books, From ‘Hanh trinh can tu’ to ‘Tim minh trong the gioi hau tuoi tho’ to the newest one, ‘Dai duong den’, you follow the story of a character a lot.
I wonder if you have From when you started approaching them to when you started conversing with them, to then having to rewrite that story of theirs. What was your process like and which part is the hardest? The 3 books you’ve mentioned, they’re within a genre called narritive nonfiction. It’s a kind of press, documentary told by using literary techniques. There’s a character, a plotline, description for contexts, etc. I was interested in this genre so I wanted to try writing in this genre. My first two book, ‘Buc xuc khong lam ta vo can’ and ‘Thien, ac, smartphone’, they’re very “pen and paper”.
All I do is sit in one place and do research and then write down my thoughts. It has nothing to do with characters or lives out there. This process is entirely under my control. And I could do that for the rest of my life. If I feel like I don’t need to leave my comfort zone for me to dive into something else. But because I really want to give a try to narrative nonfiction. So when I write ‘Hanh trinh can tu’, I will now have to go out and find someone and I will have give up my control when writing. Because I don’t know how their story will unfold. Will they die or not? Will they agree to share with me? Am I able to convey their story? And that process of writing is very risky because it’s not within my ability of gathering informations, or reading in English or analyzing,
So the process is very stressful and exhausting. I think both processes has certain major challenges. Like how do I approach the character, how can I help them open up about things they wouldn’t even tell their loved ones. How do I react to their pain and tragedy. So the first thing of this process is to find a character and collecting informations. It’s already very complicated. And the second part is to write. So I have this much information. Like in ‘Tim minh trong the gioi hau tuoi tho’, each character said around 100,000 words. And within those 100,00 words, the final product has to be 5,000 words.
That 5,000 words are mine. But those 5,000 words has to reflects their style, their mind and their world. It’s also a very difficult job that I struggled a lot for each book. And whenever I write like that, there will always be a moment when I thought I’d fail. That I’d stop the project and go back to my old style like ‘Buc xuc khong lam ta vo can’. Meaning I’ll just find an interesting topic, stayed at my desk and just analyze it, and relax, drink some coffee. No one can interfere with my work. There’s no character that will become sick, or stop talking to me. But up until now, I think I’m getting used to approaching them, and staying behind a certain line for them to feel comfortable enough to share.
But in terms of writing,. to write out a story from that pile of information. is also very challenging.. Even the first draft for the first stories of ‘Dai duong den’. it was really bad and. The first story only has 2,500 words. but I’ve written 7, 8 version because it’s too horrible.. I once joked with Giang that,. it’s funny but there’s some amount of truth,. that is I could never finish his books.. I could only read half of it.. But for “Dai duong den’, of course. I had to finish it because I’ll be interviewing you.. Because it’s anything other than. it’s heavy weight, it’s exhaustion for me.. Like in ‘Dai duong den’,. I could never read many stories at once,. Despite me finding it very fascinating,. and I really want to continue reading,. but I could only read 3 stories. before I had to put it down and get away from that world.
But for you to write them, I think the exhaustion would be even worst. But in ‘Dai duong den’ you did mention a term used by therapists when talking to their patients which is “respectful curiosity”. So I had a feeling that this is also the term you used during interviews. An interview might sound a bit harsh, but rather when you’re talking to them. Of course, it’s different from a TV show, where you’ll have more time with them. But do you remember how you feel during those conversations? How are they able Because there are informations that they can only share with you. No their loved ones. Then how are you able to put yourself into that position? So there’s 2 question, right? One is how are they able to share their secrets with me, things they can’t share with their loved ones.
And the one before that is what were my feelings, right? To answer the first one, how did I get them to open up to a stranger is maybe that unfamiliarity helped them open up. Because I don’t have any stake in their stories. I won’t tell them to eat more, that they can’t loose weight If they tell their husband “I want to die” then the husband will panic, telling them not to die. I won’t do that to them. And because I’m just a stranger, I’m just someone who sit with them through this journey so it’s easier for them to open up. And more importantly, I try to put myself on the same level as them. And the first books are easier because they don’t know who I am.
They don’t know I’m a doctor or anything. They just think I’m just some writers. And by putting myself on the same level as them It is also helpful and shows that my interests is like that of an archeologist. I really want to learn about that event 15 years ago, what were they wearing at the time, who said what at what time, what did they eat, what were their thoughts, paying attention to really small details like that, it makes them feel appreciated. And they feel like the events that happened aren’t meaningless. It deserved to be known, to be heard. even if it’s only something small, like their cat died in grade 7, for instance.
And it helps them go back to that part of their life and by reviewing their life, even at the age of 18, it makes everything more meaningful. Because we tend to live very hastily and carelessly, we’ll tell ourselves that it has no meaning at all. But when a stranger pay attention to those details, like a hat that they got from their dad and what’s their relationship what their dad is like. It’s like a ray of light shining onto all this aspects of their life. It’s like a movie for them to reenact. And they could rewatch it. That could be helpful for the characters. And that’s ‘respectful curiosity’.
A curiosity without bad intention. Like only caring about how they were beaten by their parents. Or how unhappy they were. This curiosity goes down to every small details of their life. It doesn’t contains any judgement. Like “oh, you had an abortion?” “then you are a very bad kid”. Or “oh, you were drunk and beat your wife?” “you’re also someone horrible”, right? I just care about why they made those choices. What happened that leads them to behave like they did? How did they feel saying what they said? What kind of thought did they have during those moments. It would be like a stranger walking into a tribe and just observe their lives, without any judgement like if this tribe were like this then they are horrible people.
Respectful curiosity would only work well you only observe what’s on the inside. And that’s the answer to the question about my feelings. There are many different feelings and emotions. I will go through that part of their life with them. I will feel painful, hopeless and resentful with them. All the while paying attention to my own inner self, so that I’m not sucked into it, keeping a good boundary so that I do my job. It’s like if you’re a doctor working on a surgery, you can see their pain, you can acknowledge it but don’t get absorbed into it, you still need to continue the operation. Or like when you’re a journalist on a battlefield.
All around you are bombs and bullets, and everyone is bleeding. You acknowledge those pain but you still need to be calm to think about how would you capture a photo for the news. You still go on with your job in that situation. So that is how I try to do it. And sometimes, judgement will arise. Then I will have to acknowledge it and just let it die down so that I can continue working with them. Like one of them wanted an abortion but the baby is too big, my judgmental thoughts will come up, why are they so stupid, or ignorant and such, and let such an unfortunate thing happened. I acknowledged that judgement.
And I won’t interact with them until I go back to my nonjudgemental state. Then I will continue my interaction with them. I’ll ask things like what were their thoughts, what were their actions, and they’ll be able to retell their abortion in the most horrific details. And I need to have that courage to face all those horrible details, because that’s what their life is like. And we’re not allowed to just pick out parts that put us at ease, and ignore all the parts that disturbs us. That would be very disrespectful to them. When you’re talking to them Suddenly I thought of something, I wonder if it has any relevance.
Of course, this is something we all know but it’s not very clear yet. Recently, I’ve been watching Kdramas about surgeons. You did use that metaphor as well. I learned this in one of the classes I attend, a knowledge that we’ve all heard of but at some point it will become for useful. Which is when one of our body part got hurt, if it’s cut of, or damaged, we’ll be in pain. But when doctors do brain surgeries then the patient doesn’t feel anything. Because everything is There, I don’t know why I got this image. But I’d like to ask more about a technique, which is that we might not say anything judgmental, and I know that when we’re close to someone, we tend to judge more often, but for a stranger, we hold off that judgment.
But what about your facial expression? Because we might not say it, but our facial expression could reveal that jugdment. So I’m not sure when you talk to them, did you have any special technique? If we don’t judge verbally but we do have judgement in our heart, then of course it will show. So there needs to have a sincerity, an honesty that we’re truly here to not judge. The character could notice really quick. When they say something that they know would be shocking, could cause disturbance for the listener, they would stop to see our reaction. Like if they show me, here, they self harmed like this, and they have a horrible scar, if we ignore it, we might not say anything bad, but we look away, or we change the subject then they’ll see it as we’re not interested and that we’re judging them.
So this has to do with our attitude. It’s not that we’re masking our judgement. This isn’t acting. And I think it’s harder because I respect all the aspects and behaviors, that they had in their lives. And in therapy, there’s a concept called “unconditional positive regard”, an unconditional respect for your patient. Even if their patient is a murderer or a thief. And that something really basic that I think writers of this genre, when finding a character, they also need to have a positive attitude like that so they could approach that person. If not then the person will have some kind of defense and a bit of acting towards the writer, if the writer couldn’t show them that they’re trustworthy or respectful.
I also think that in someone’s story, they already know the climax of it. And when I interview them, I found out that like what you said, they know at that part, the listener will react, so they tend to have a shield. Like at the most crucial moments, they’re very numb and emotionless. And as the interviewer, sometimes we when we reach that point, we thought we hit that jackpot. But it’s actually not the most meaningful part. And then we have to find a softer parts, not the most shocking detail, but it’s the softest, a place we could get to I used to interview victims of human trafficking. They part where people talk about them the most like how they were abused is not Because they’ve replayed that in their head too many times, that’s not the most emotional part.
Sometimes they’ll cry when we ask something that seems normal about their family or their loved ones. So I think But back to ‘Dai duong den’, in chapter 13, there is an overview. This overview shows even if we know the relevancy of the topic of depression and mental health. then we’re still shocked about, you can find this in the book, a statistic like if you have 1000 friends on Facebook, there’s 70 of them is going through depression. And 5 in 1 person is suicidal. And you mentioned a very interesting measurement called DALY And you mentioned a very interesting measurement called DALY DA-L-Y You also mentioned in the book that the definition sounds very complex.
But basically the unit is 1 healthy year. without anything disruption, right?. How much should a young person,. or just anyone, care about this calculation?. Our knowledge about illness. limits in how long a person can live. The longer you live the better. But that’s only one side of the problem. The other half is about in those years, are you healthy?. or you are ill?. Illness here is both physically and mentally. This DALY is a measuring index. Living years that you are ill. either physically or mentally. Many don’t know that mental disorders rated high in this Daly chart. when physical illness is cured. and people lifespans are increased. Mental disorders are placed at the top. of illness that caused injuries. That’s what people miss out. In the book, it mentioned a studies from a university in Amsterdam. They compared the impact of mental illness.
Like anxiety or depression. I was shocked. Heavy depression is equivalent to breast cancer or brain damage. They are at the point which doesn’t allow people to live a normal life. But we thought depression is just being tired or sad. After a run and you are off of it. or just take a shower, do community work. Those are false understandings. One of the purposes of this book is. providing people with truthful basic knowledge. to help them realize their ‘killer understanding’. a silent killer. There’s a quote in the book. ‘Depression drives one to a isolated world. a world different from others. which is also their previous world.’. It makes me curious about the inner and outter worlds. When you talk to a depressed person. you have knowledge about depression first. or you observe them, then you research about depression?.
They go along with each other. It’s a parallel process. I read studies about depression. along side with talking to them. I want to dothat because. when I have basic knowledge on it. I could spot details that are important. but I might miss if I don’t have those knowledge. Like when one told me that world was a dried up world. or like when the 83year-old man said. when he was depressed, it was like a hot summer. It was uncomfortable, stressful. When I drank my medicine, then I lived in spring time. If I don’t have the basic knowledge. I wouldn’t be able to appreciate those details. I might miss it and ask about other things. like do you have suicidal thought?. When you have knowledge, you understand. these are leads to further dive in. with your subject. I don’t create a template. this and this and this are depression.
Then trying to tick to those boxes. Because I know each person experience is unique. It’s both perculiar and compelling. Each depression story has its own world. There are common traits. I don’t set myself to be a psychologist. and I diagnose them. I want to go deeper inside their worlds. rather than view them as patients. and their depression is shown through these symptoms. You view them as human beings. look at their interactions with others. their pain, their desperation, their love. When I read about the two characters. of course you know their lives are dark. however, somehow I feel them as very interesting people. Maybe it’s the way you write about them,. it something that important for a book like this,. you try to help people to better understand. about mental health. At the same time, reader can feel close to the subjects.
We have that ability to love them though they are strangers. Probably because we see a piece of us in their stories. Do you have a favorite character?. And one small question. why character no.8 is not numbered?. why character no.8 is not numbered?. I’ll answer about no.8 first. because the subject no.8 has bipolar disorder. People with bipolar disorder has extreme mood swings. Mania/hypomania and depression. It’s a disorder that’s commonly mistaken with depression. However, it’s not depression. It’s one of the problem for people with bipolar disorder. They get false diagnoses. and false treatment. It’s a severe medical problem. This character here, as we see, was false diagnosed many times. Therefore, I didn’t number him. Because I don’t want people to mistaken his disorder to be depression like other characters.
When it’s bipolar disorder. I mentioned in the later chapters that in bipolar disorder, there’s bits of depression inside. But it’s not depression. That’s why I put no.8’s story in. All characters are interesting. They are not angels. They are mundane humans. They have flaws. They have dark sides, laziness. They are like us. We have our dark sides, lazy time. We are selfish at time. They are not angels. But all of them showed me. their desire to live. a meaningful life. to be happy, to be able to contribute. not just a burden to their family and society. They want to learn. They want to love. They want to be respected. They want to contribute their talent to the community. And one of the horrible reasons that caused their suicidal thoughts. is when they see that the society doesn’t allow them to. become a member of it.
They feel pushed out viewed as a burden a pityful person or a pretend That’s one of the reason why they seek death not the illness itself What kills them is not the illness but the behavior of the society I’m touched by their effort Their struggle to continue living a ‘normal’ life If a disabled person on wheelchair struggle 1 then these people struggle 10 Because people with wheelchair, their disability is visible They are helped when they go upstairs Nobody would force them to run or carry heavy things On the other hand, depression is invisible So they are still forced to be on time, go to work like others, can’t get tired, have to meet deadlines, can’t have headache or insomnia, etc.
They carry burden that they cannot say it out. like ones with visible disability. They face great life pressure. Maybe it’s a responsibility of the community. to lift off their burden on their shoulders, less prejudice. proper understanding of their illness. allow them to contribute to society. There are many talented people. Of course, these are picked out because. these 12 stories of these 12 subjects, they have good storytelling. they have more details. and their stories maybe somewhat excruciating. a bit more shades, more colors. I approached 5060 subjects. Even though they didn’t appear in the book. I still admire them. Because they have the courage to share the story to a complete stranger. Do you have one favorite one?. There are some that I was impressed. and gave a lot of thoughts. For example, Xuân Thủy.
Xuân Thủy is a successful lawyer in his 40s. Looking from the outside,. he works for an international company. office located in downtown Hà Nội, a 5star hotel. But his struggle, his bad fortune. his struggle of not knowing himself, the hollow inside him. jumping from one job to another. seeking one monk to another. trying different meditation courses. trying to find peace within. struggling with marriage. It’s frightful. It’s frightful, and this is a very talented. sensitive, delicate person. also in great pain. He was sexually harassed when he was 7. has a mom that disconnects from self. And because of his struggles, he caused struggle to his wife and children too. However, he tries to seek for healing. He seeks for different methods. to gain peace in mind. After the book is published, I still keep in touch with Xuân Thủy.
His struggle is still there. It’s very sad. because it seems like Thủy hasn’t been able to find his way. to end this journey of finding himself. and live peacfully. to happily say that he finally found his ‘home’. I found myself. I’m living here everyday, a simple, peaceful life. He hasn’t been able to. And his words are extremely special. Xuân Thủy’s chapter is a chapter. with climax of the book. I’m curious. Did you show them the draft?. I always tell them that. the output of the project. is my product. I’m not someone that write their stories for them. I don’t write it on their behalf. and they do censorship work. I told them if they agreed to provide me their stories as data. but the written story would be mine. It writes about my perspective, my understanding. to their experience. Although the stories are written in first person.
Or third person. they are all from my perspective, my observation, my evaluation. It’s not like I write their stories for them. Have they read it?. Have they read it?. It’s published Do they have any thoughts?. It’s published Do they have any thoughts?. They haven’t read it due to current shipping situation. But before it’s published, some stories have been published on Vietcetera. They read them. I sent those to them. They had positive feedbacks. They said when they told the story, it was all over the place. it was like they rambled. So this is like a version of their life. that’s edited under a certain perspective. A movie about their life. of course that movie reflect the perspective of the director. and maybe an event that the director deems to be important. to them, it’s not that important, and vice versa.
They also found it interesting to see their life through a different perspective. and also see some details that they might forget. but through the eyes of the writer,. they shine light to those details. that makes those details become important. that reminds them about those.. Both this book and Tìm Mình Trong Thế Giới Hậu Tuổi Thơ. they are happy. they lowkey feel proud that they became a character in a book. they are touched, some cry. They see it as something precious. I have one favorite. Mr Thạch, 83year-old. his story, it attracts me maybe because,. Obviously all are special. but this story is a bit unusual. You said that you recently had a phone call with Mr Thạch. The last time I talked to him for the book was a year ago. Last week I called him. I told him that the book was published. when I told him ‘I’m Giang’, he remembered instantly ‘Oh Đặng Hoàng Giang’.
That moved me. He told me that those time we talked. they meant a lot to him, they were important to him. Hearing that made me so happy. That means I helped someone. I gave him a special experience. but only through listening to his story. I don’t have money to give him. I didn’t buy medicine for him or made him richer. I didn’t help materialwise like what charities do nowadays. But what I brought was my listening,. my companionship to their old stories. like an archaeologist. That makes them feel valid. that their existence is not meanignless. When I talk to him, I felt. his wisdom on life. a soldier, only finished elementary school. without any degree. But how he sees life is very experienced. He accepted all the challenges that life threw in. He still made his way forward. He has a 60year-old schizophrenia son.
He is poor. but he still makes sense his life. He asked me was it time for him to make a full stop and go to the next line. I cannot forget that line. Can I end now?. Can I go to the next line? Can I die now?. I remember that I told him. to me, you could then. meaning that he could die now. and his life is meaningful. Although it’s the life of an unknown person. he did everything to give it a meaning. Honestly, meetings like with Mr Thạch. help me a lot. Especially, in this pandemic. that stirs up everything. the interaction with him,. helps me to realize that this shake is a part of life. and our duty is to walk past it. until the point that we can ‘go to the next line’. without any regret. because you have gave your best. So this wisdom can come from anyone. and it’s something I’m grateful for. when I got to meet these people.
They are not celebrities. They don’t have big achievements. They are not signers, sport players. They are just a cancer patient lives near the border. or a 83year-old soldier,. or a 18year-old boy. I understand the purpose of the book. is to help people, especially our society and relatives. to acknowledge the proper way to treat people with illness. The community has to have better understanding. But you didn’t mention one thing. For ones are diagnosed depression and given treatment. will we able to know the cured rate?. Any number that will lighten up the spirit?. Depression is not like having fever. It’s something that will be able to come back. and differs from person to person. With some, it comes back after a year. with some, 10 years. with some, when it comes back, it stays for 3 months. with some, it stays for 6 months, 9 months, a year.
It’s one of the challenges of depression. There’s no clear outcome. Like female, 60year-old, with these underlying illness, then depression behaves like this. or male, 20year-old, no underlying illness, it behaves like that. It’s more similar to cancer. For some, it happens fast. for some, it’s a slow process. Some havee stage 1, stage 2 cancer. after chemo, they don’t have cancer again. But with some, similar treatment, cancer comes back after a few years. It’s unpredictable. It’s one of the challenges for psychology and medicine. However, if it’s discovered early, symptoms are seen at early stages. and given proper treatment. then it’s not something too horrible. and we can handle that negative effect of it. We can still live a decent life. Only when a depressive episode comes then life will be effected. When it goes by, life goes back to normal.
The only problem is. the prejudice from society. When one faces a depressive episode,. for 3 or 6 or 9 months,. then one will lose job. lose friends. will not be able to go to work. lose income. And that swipe out of society. even when the episode pasts. doesn’t allow them to come back to their old life. That swipe makes them feel like an outcast. which allows depression to come back easily. It’s an endless circle. a challenge. an act that facilitates. a life with more depression. They lost the foundation to their old life. In an ideal world. when this book reaches more readers. what will that world be like?. How will be people think?. How can you tell that the book is doing its purpose?. In an ideal world, after reading this book. people reckon ‘Oh my son, who spends all his time in his room playing games,. before I thought he was lazy,.
But after reading this book, I should spend more time observing. to see if it’s lazy or he has mental illness.. If he struggles with mental problem,. then I will with him go to therapy,. or any other solution.’. Or ‘My child is angry, throws a tantrum, doesn’t go to school. Before I thought he was stubborn,. but maybe he has mental problem.. And I need to listen to him. without saying things like ‘This happens to everyone,. with pandemic, everyone stays home,. you are privilege enough. you are living better than lots of people. Stop being sad and help me.”. The way people react to others’ mental problems will change. That’s one aspect. The second one is the change in how you treat yourself. Before, when you were depressed and didn’t want to do anything. You told yourself why you were behaving like this. you had everything and you were like this?.
You were a failure, you had to push yourself. It’s a complete wrong behaviour. extremely toxic. It’s like you have 40degree fever. but you force yourself to carry 100 kg bag of sand. and go forward. Because you tell yourself if you stop, you go into the shade. then you are a failure. How you treat yourself has to change too. Next is how you treat others. If they tell you they have cancer,. then you will sympathize them. help them. you can continue working after you are done with chemo. It’s totally fine. I’ll get someone to help your parent at home. Do we do the same to people with depression?. No, right?. If we treat them the same so that they can still participate as a part of the society. without being pushed out. like we help people with cancer or with open heart valve. or with stomach pain. Then it makes major difference.
That ideal world, it’s achievable, right?. We need some time. but I’m a very optimistic person. You have open a path. to that ideal world We call ideal world so it seems hard to achieve. It’s a world, maybe not after your book,. that starts to shape after your book.. Have A Sip has a classic question. We will go out of the Đại Dương Đen topic a little bit. If you are on a desert island tomorrow,. and don’t know the return date. You can only bring one book, what will it be?. If it’s for me now with my age, my experience,. then it’d be a Buddhism Sutra. a simplified version of it. by Thích Nhất Hạnh. not the original version that I wouldn’t be able to comprehend. Or a simplified version of the Bible. that allows me to comprehend. I believe books like that contain. everything important of a person life. In a lifetime, you have to face regret, pain, loss,.
And always ask the question on how to live Books like that will be the foundation for us to go back They are never outdated never lose its topical Maybe because we don’t know the author of the Bible I’m curious. You are an author of many books Do you have an idol? Do you like anyone? I like author that follows the style narrative nonfiction For example, an Indian author, Mehta something I don’t remember He wrote the book Bombay Lost and Found Through the lives of about 10 Indians he illustrated the picture of Bombay, the city extremely fascinating He followed hookers, mafias, Bollywood filmmakers, monks.
He didn’t seek for romantic aspect. like Hà Nội will be portrayed through Old Quarter. or elegant Tràng An people. Through his characters,. Bombay, a modern Bombay is painted. through the intensity. brutality, but also very humane. It’s a super interesting book. in the narrative nonfiction genre. I also like Factory Girls (Translator note: Factory Girls: From Village
to City in a Changing China). Gái Công Xưởng, translated into Vietnamese. The author is a young American journalist. She followed the factory girls. so through their lives. the modern day China is revealed. The rapid change of industrialization. to people lives. They are ones that I look up to. when I go on this writing genre. When I wrote the first book. Hành Trình Cận Tử/Near Death Journey. I seeked for those book to learn from them. You are one that answer perfectly every question.
You are an ideal guest speaker. Sometimes the question is broken into pieces,. but he has his way to answer in full. I have one last question. I have practiced for a week now. I know it’s not true. When you are doing one project, do you know what’s the next will be?. No, I don’t. No, I don’t. Usually, after finishing one project, I fall into crisis. Because at the ending stage of the project. is when I work 150 200% my productivity. for months.. And after it ends, I fall into a black hole without knowing what to do next. I’ll be in a mental crisis for a while. after a book ends. In a process of questioning what to write next,. do I continue to write?. If so then what’s the topic?. It’s a long and hard process. For example, death is a topic that I’m interested in. But how do I start?. How to write about death?. I come to talk to an ICU doctor and the talk leads to nowhere.
Then I stop writing about death, let’s write about corruption because everyone reads it. But I can’t. because I don’t write to serve others. I write for myself. So I leave it there. Sometimes later when someone asks me what I’m writing. I say I want to write about death. Then that person tells me there is this man, his mother just die due to cancer. You can talk to him. It’s a process of trial and error. You can’t be sure that death is a good book and it’ll success. This applies to every book. After I’m done with Đại Dương Đen. I don’t know what to write next or should I do something else. I still don’t know. The process of trial and error is a scientific approach. It’s the fundamental of science. I want to go back to the question at the beginning. After Đại Dương Đen, I don’t know what the next would be. I understand.
When I worked on Người Cận Tử. I had chances to meet depressed people. And I see this as a way to repay them. This topic is my way to repay them. I want to help them. It’s the only book that after finishing the previous book, I had topic and subjects to research on. So the crisis stage before Đại Dương Đen was not long. In the meantime, I’m suffering. Plus, I don’t get to go outside. I can only stay home, go online, read online news. I know it’s bad. But somehow, itt proves a point I believe in. I think people nowadays, write book too easily. It’s too easy to publish a book. Back in the days, publishing companies were more difficult. only the worthy ones deserved to be published. The example of you, though it seems bad to you,. But to me it confirms my belief. A writer need to struggle, to wrestle with his or her work.
Then the work will have value. It’s like a trade. It translate to a value. It’s a gift that you give. and one on the reciving end feel the value. I think I’m lucky. as a reader. I don’t have to go through much struggle. but somehow, only through the pages, I’m able to receive the gift. I think it goes back to the nature of authorreader. and the relationship between books. So I want to thank you. because you handle that struggle. you live with the stories. in order to give back the value to readers. I think not only me but many readers, listen to this podcast. because the speaker is you. I know they have the same feeling as I do. Do you say this to other guests too?. Oh no I phrase it differently. I don’t want to bring my struggle out as a medal. I struggle this for you guys. I don’t want it to be some sort of achiement to brag about.
I think it’s crucial to have sacrifice to achieve something. It’s a signal showing that I’m on the right track. I’m usually wobbling between the two spectrum. One is the bush I headbutt in. the challenge I fear to lose. And the other spectrum is when things get easier. After 2 or 3 talks, I can have a chapter. ‘Oh no why it runs smoothly like this?’. ‘If it’s easy like this, maybe the book is bad’. ‘I should be facing more difficulty, right?’. There will always be doubts I believe doubts are good. I’m always afraid that I’d fall into the confident belief of the next book’s success. I’m already familiar with the writing style, what’s left to solve are technical stuff. My craftsmanship is polished. I’m afraid that I’d have that attitude That’d be bad. I think you’d do best in your writer position, right?. the medal, is from the audiences. That’s from the audiences journey.
It’s not because you did hard work, here’s a medal for you. But it’s from their own feelings. I’m very grateful for your appearance on Have A Sip. This is an episode that I’ve planned for since the beginning. Because it’s a conversation with a writer, someone who writes. Thank you for your time. I believe the book will. this is from my own comment. It has its attractiveness. along with scientific information that drags people to explore. They support one another. We don’t have enough time to talk about your writing tone. However, with this book, I achieved my goal I finished the book. It isn’t that heavy that stops me after the first half. Thank you so much. Also thank you to our audience for tuning in to our talk. Thank you for an interesting 1 and a half hour. I’ll try to socialize more like you. Although this is my honest self.
https://youtu.be/DJRhA4dGHD0Viết lách giống như đánh tennis mỗi ngày – Đặng Hoàng Giang | Have a Sip EP48
Welcome back to Have A Sip! This is a talkshow where I interview guests who has lots of ‘words’. That’s just a fun way to put it but these guests could be content cr