Inspired by ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, Ottawa’s Wayne Ng pens first novel

An Ottawa social employee by day, Wayne Ng took 13 years to write down his first novel, which he’s launching Tuesday at Octopus Books within the Glebe.

Below, the Toronto-born Nepean resident, 55, who has additionally penned a number of award-winning quick tales, discusses his newest milestone as a author, Finding The Way: A Novel Of Lao Tzu.

Q: When did writing develop into a severe pursuit for you, and why?

A: I’ve all the time loved placing pen to paper. As a toddler, I dreamed of being a journalist. My dream job remains to be to be a journey author. I really like the artistic course of, and really feel particularly gratified stringing phrases collectively.

But I obtained severe about this virtually 20 years in the past after I took a artistic writing course at evening with Melanie Fogel, who was, at the moment, the editor of Storyteller Magazine. She was an absolute tyrant, however she churned out good writers, a few of whom fashioned right into a critiquing and writing group to which I nonetheless belong.

My biggest achievement as a author has been to have the ability to dedicate my debut novel to my spouse, Trish. Everything else is gluten-free gravy.

Q: How did you make time to write down your novel?

A: Pull out any of my elementary college report playing cards they usually’ll inform you I’m a daydreamer. Still am. So, in a way, I spend a great deal of time related to the craft. Writing regimes don’t work for me, although I can see that they’re mandatory for others. My juicier concepts and ideas typically circulate organically. Contriving a personality, a scene, or a setting usually appears pressured and it exhibits in my writing. Lao Tzu can be proud to see that I type of let nature run its course.

As a social employee, I discuss and take heed to youngsters, adolescents, dad and mom all day lengthy. It’s such a pleasure to fulfill such characters. While none are particularly modelled within the novel, they’ve proven me the richness of personalities. And I’ve given a few of this again by displaying the novel to my college students. It’s not a conceit play, however a teachable second, that from begin to end, after 13 lengthy years of endurance, persistence, dedication and dreaming, one mustn’t quit. Surprisingly, the scholars deal with the e book with awe and reverence, which exhibits that on this screen-driven period, there’s nonetheless hope for the written phrase.

Q: What prompted you to fictionalize the story of Lao Tzu?

A: I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t know a lot about Lao Tzu till my spouse, a librarian, handed me her favorite e book, The Tao of Pooh, by Benjamin Hoff, primarily an interpretation of Lao’s seminal work, Tao de Ching. I wasn’t formally schooled in Taoism, however many Chinese, equivalent to myself, have parts of it by means of the people religions we have been uncovered to, and/or the romantic notions of peace by means of nature and contemplation.

One of the legends of Lao Tzu is him atop a water buffalo, despondent on the ethical decay of the world. He wanders towards the outer areas, able to die. I so fell in love with the notion of an enlightened idealist, one who dreamt of a greater world, a simply society, however whose idealism was crushed by a harsh actuality. From one dreamer to a different, I might really feel his ache, but in addition his hopes. A typical depiction of Lao Tzu is of him as a venerable, sensible outdated sage, light, humorous and all-knowing. I discover this moderately uni-dimensional. In creating his story, I additionally noticed a possibility to do one thing nobody else had performed, that’s to actually fill him out. That enabled me to query a lot of how I work, stay and play. In doing so, I had in essence, found Taoism and located my very own approach.

China is indisputably a world energy with a such a wealthy and necessary historical past. That a lot of the world has an appalling lack of information and understanding of it’s short-sighted and Eurocentric, like virtually all historic fiction within the West. Yet the prize of understanding the totality of China isn’t just reconciling whether or not it’s a good friend or foe, however in offering solutions to a lot of what ails us right here and now.

Lao Tzu’s the Way/Taoism tells us that our thirst for sanity and ease is a quest that transcends tradition and time. I imagine if he have been right here as we speak and began to write down Tao de Ching yet again, the message wouldn’t be a lot totally different. He may need a rant about social media. But his message is as necessary now because it was then: that even in a time the place rulers are unjust, the place change is frightening, the place greed and consumption drive us away from our pure state of stability and concord — we can not lose hope.

Q: What hopes do you might have for this e book?

A: I’ve had many individuals already inform me they discovered a lot about Taoism and ancient Chinese historical past they usually wish to know extra. And they’ve been massively entertained. Let’s not neglect it is a political thriller wrapped in a philosophical bow. So what extra might I hope for?

I additionally hope folks see the worth in slowing down, in residing within the second, in accepting what naturally befalls us. The instance that illustrates this and Taoism is the story of the three sensible vinegar tasters. Three ancient philosophers sit round consuming vinegar: Confucius says, “This is sour. The people who made this lack structure, order. We must create rules.” Buddha takes a sip and says, “This is bitter, like life, dominated by pain and suffering.” Finally Lao Tzu takes a sip, smiles and says, “It’s vinegar, it’s supposed to be sour.”

Some issues are simply speculated to be. We spend a lot power creating, destroying, avoiding, and denying issues that should be taken as they’re.

Q: What do you wish to do subsequent as a author?

A: I’ve obtained some parts for a sequel involving a returning character and the writer of the Art of War, Sun Tzu. But I’m going to let nature take its course, even when it takes one other 13 years. Lao Tzu can be proud.

Finding the Way e book launch
When: Octopus Books, 118 Third Ave.
Where: Tuesday, July 10, 7 p.m.

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