Tell us about your book, All the People Imagine. What are some of the themes you explored in your book and why?
All the People Imagine is a collection of my dreams of putting together a bound book and short short stories. I’ve wanted for a long time to put a book together, and I’ve been writing them over the past years on my website.
My stories are surrealistic reinventions of the everyday life. Collectively, they’re about how people might better handle boredom and life’s apparently meaninglessness with their optimistic imagination. (Thus, the title of the book “All the people imagine” refers to, amongst other things, collective invention.)
Subject wise, they touch on very varied things, from talking red chillies, to a gorilla in the Antarctica, to masochistic Snow White and lizard, and odd romances of squirrels, strangers, and fax machines… frankly, they may seem nonsensical sometimes.
But life seems nonsensical, sometimes.
Philosophically, my stories are influenced by my research interests in art and philosophy, and whatever preoccupations, that I come across in my search for the meaning of life. The main themes are: surrealist, absurdist, Daoist (philosophy), existentialist. My parents are kinda farmers (of fresh cut flowers) and I suppose being close to nature is a large part of my growing up, and that’s why I tend to feature elements of nature in my stories.
Erm, in case the book sounds rather dense, I actually aim to tell them plainly (in language and style), so that they would be amusing and palatable to all audiences – regular and non-regular readers alike – and it’s really up to the reader to decide whichever level of depth they want to read into the stories.
Which is your favourite story and why?
I don’t really have a favourite story, but generally, I tend to like stories that I write without knowing how they’d end up – because they’d surprise me, and that’s fun. For example, I may write stories like that when I’m drunk, and when I’m sobered up next day and read them, they boggle my mind how I even had the idea for such things. I also like my funny stories because they’re fun.
If given a chance to start all over again, would you have self-published the book like you did?
Since, my goal was clearly just “to have my book”, it was efficient to attain do my first book by self-publishing, than having to go through the submission-rejection anxiety of publishing houses etc. Secondly, and more importantly, for my first book, perhaps because I’ve dreamt about doing it for so long, I wanted to have control over all the little details of my book, from cover, layout, to paper quality, to fonts, to… well, the entire book design, so, it was easier to self-publish and not have a “boss” to haggle with about commercial viability.
Given the benefit of the experience, I might do some things differently though, like use different software for my layout and re-word some sentences. I will probably do my second book quite entirely differently.
What advice would you give to those who are struggling to publish their own works?
In my previous article to AWMC, I shared some thoughts which I thought fellow-strugglers might find interesting. In a nutshell, I think it’s important for us to be honest with ourselves, to know what we’re doing and what has to be done, what we’re really doing it for, and most of all, that it really is worth the trouble.
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