Author Story: Ryunosuke Akutagawa

Around 2013, while looking for stories with multiple points of view, I discovered In the Grove. I was fascinated by the story and noted that it was adapted into the movie Rashomon but forgot the name of the author.

In 2018, I got more interested in Japanese movies and literature. I looked for Rashomon, the movie. After watching it, I was interested in reading the source material. That led me to Rashomon and Seventeen Other Stories translated by Jay Rubin. I began with In the Grove then Rashomon and fell in love with the way Akutagawa’s style.

Ryunosuke Akutagawa (1892-1927) is known as the Father of Japanese short stories. His works primarily deal with despair, darkness and madness. Although Rashomon is his most popular story, I believe Hell Screen is his magnum opus. It is the story of a painter Yoshihide, who is ordered by Lord Horikawa to depict nine levels of Buddhist Hell on a huge folded screen. Despite his brilliance in painting, Yoshihide cannot draw anything which he has not seen. This problem leads into a tragedy for Yoshihide and his daughter.

Despite his reputation as writer who told dark tales, Akutagawa he also wrote comedies. One of my favourites is the metafictional “Green Onions”. He tells he has to finish the story before the morning and proceeds to tell about a girl who works in a restaurant in his town. This girl falls in love with a young man. But she does not know anything about him. While they go on a “date” to see the circus, the circus has moved to a different place. Just as starts doubting the young man’s intentions, a twist in the tale brings a humorous end.

In his early days as writer, Akutagawa wrote stories based on older periods of Japan. He depicted the darkness and rotten scenario which was also similar to his time. His own financial problems, fear of descending into madness like his mother had, and the actual descent into madness form the stories of his later period of life. As I read these stories, I felt helpless. Akutagawa had become my favourite writer and I did not want him to suffer. However, the pain and darkness gripped him. They would leave him only after his death. Akutagawa committed suicide through overdose of barbital (a sleep-inducing drug) at the age of 35.

In his short literary career between 1913-1927, Akutwagawa wrote about 150 stories. Sometimes, I wish he had not suffered mental illness and had lived longer. Sometimes, I wish there was someone who could have taken him out of the dark pit he had fallen into. His stories and his life also make me question the dangers of financial insecurities and artistic obsessions. I wish life were easier for artists!

#authorstory #Akutagawa #biography

Kristina Van Hoose!

1. This is a short biographical sketch. The idea is to move forward. If members who joined later on have an idea about past members they would feel familiar with forum and its foundation.

2. I am the person who came up with the idea for the forum. I was the most active student in Blogging 101 Alumni August 2015 class organized by the WordPress blogging university. I let her host the site as it was a free gift from WordPress for students who wanted to stay connected and offer a similar type of experience they had during the class: that of warmth, belonging and helping each other growing together.

3. She was technically sound. She had a butterfly icon as her profile picture. She helped a lot of people.

4. She was reserve by nature and hoped my extravagant extraversion would balance out her introverted intricacies in order to facilitate forum members.

5. Her brother is technically sound. I don’t know her brother.

6. Her website with the name ‘Kristina Van Hoose’ self hosted on WordPress has a tagline for which she did a poll on this very forum. Among two options “growing up shouldn’t be boring,” and “growing up should be optional,” the later was recommended by me.

7. She went on a break from which she didn’t come back since 2016. She deleted all my comments on her website.

8. She went to watch Supermoon of 2016 with her brother on a jeep. She had freckles. She could sketch. Ate pork.

9. She went to Spain on a trip. She wrote about it.

10. Some strange connection in my mind connected her to Izza Ifzaal- a blogger from Pakistan who was writing poetry in those days. Kristina said she was from USA. I saw a strange dream in which she was wearing a white shirt and dream guide said she was from Brazil. Telling her about that dream was one of the reasons she conspired against me.

11. Her cat’s name was Smore. She participated in NaNoWrMo and NaPoWrMo. Her stories fascinated me when i first read them.

12. This was the first in the series of biographical sketches of forum members which might or might not continue as we move forward. My notes are too autobiographical, therefore writing about myself isn’t needed. Still, if you need: ask me anything and i would let you know here itself. Hiding nothing.

13. If Kristina or anyone else thinks this note is inappropriate: let them comment here and tell me which part offends their sensibilities. I would edit that part out of this equation. KVH is an assumed name. Van stands for a feudal European lord. Whose mystery is this is anybody’s guess.

A Tohu Verse:

Kristina Van Hoose

Whose name is assumed

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Diadem demogorgon gonfalon

Falchion ionosphere here there everywhere

Wherewithal thalassi Tallahassee

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Dustbin psicyclobin Cyclops

Ad-ops

#biography, #founders, #kristina-van-hoose, #logos, #members

Vallalar

  1. Ramalinga Paradesi or Ramalinga Swamikal aka Vallalar was one of adepts who attained physical immortality. He lived near Adyar and offered his verses to ethereal shrine in Thillai(Chidambaram). Wikipedia has an article on him. Vallalar.org also has his verses and biography.
  2. Vallalar means philanthrope.

  3. He attained physical immortality by following the path of universal brotherhood or Sanmaargam which is also known as Sayujya liberation.

  4. He said that key to the kingdom of heaven is to feed hungry people and to compose verses to appreciate God-head which was dancing light of grace for him. He’s considered to be foremost among the nineteenth century Tamil poets and one of the makers of Indian literature.

  5. Among the adepts:

Vallalar. Christ. Patanjali. Kabir. Nanak. Gorakhnath. Narad. Meera. Hanuman. Vyasa. Ramanand. Saint Count of Germaine.

There hasn’t been anyone since 1874 to have attained perfect freedom from aging, death, decay and other limitations. It is safe to say: in the known history: he’s the last human who attained mastery over death.

#authorstory, #biography, #liberation

#freedom,