Notes: Miami by Lin Yi-Hsuan
散記之一：邁阿密 ／ 林亦軒
第四封信他寫到體驗，像是閉鎖的房間，全然用異國撰寫的書籍。不要在目前尋找答案，得不到的，因為你無法身體力行，關鍵是親身體驗。昨天我終於結束兩天來返市中心的行程，難得去星巴克準備為堆滿一山的刊物剪貼整理。同一天有個大學生主動好奇地詢問我要去的地方，帶我到捷運站與轉乘的資訊。在星巴克我用寫中文姓名免費換了一杯冰拿鐵和三明治，在公車站認識了當地人，以台啤的瓶蓋和他的項鍊交換作禮物。在south beach第四區海邊被颱風般的暴風雨狂打。正中午轉乘了捷運和兩次公車到Wynwoon art district，卻發現諾大的藝術特區畫廊和工作室卻都緊關著門窗。另一地方Design district設計特區卻高檔的像台北信義區的樣品屋，街上沒半個人。
寫第五封信時，里爾克正在適應他的新城市羅馬翡翠冷。經過數周防守的日子，有點迷亂，終歸又再度找到自己。在邁阿密海邊第五街的jazz south beach hostel 我可以走過另十個街區去超市找便宜食物吃，比較個別超市優惠的項目，大吃三明治和麵包蛋糕，漢堡王跟麥當勞，比起人力昂貴的餐廳，連鎖餐廳跟超市反而是窮人的一種神跡。早上也能習慣在九點半醒來用旅社提供的鬆餅配咖啡，十點出門。有默契地和白人澳洲兄弟檔室友錯開使用房間的時間。大太陽下每天散步六小時並構想著這篇報告。
We Are Turtle－Lin YiHsuan
Notes: Miami by Lin Yi-Hsuan
“For those who are near you are far, you say, and that shows it is beginning to grow wide about you.”* - Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926)
Monday, 10 August. In the context of time, I left Taiwan in the early morning and arrived in Miami USA that same evening, crossed over half a day’s time zone.
I brought with me from Taiwan the Collected Letters written by the German poet Rainer Maria Rilke. I have no idea who he was and neither have I ever read any of his poems. Only until now when I am here in Miami, half a day away from Taiwan that I started picking up this book and started reading these German letters in Chinese. This is somehow amusing, in Miami I must use English, or even Spanish to interpret Chinese. Rainer Maria Rilke knew a lot of artists but he considered himself to be an outsider, he worked for Rodin, he thought of himself as an observer and a researcher rather than a creator in the arts circle; coincidentally I always wonder whether I am just an useless image creator, in comparison I have more admiration and respects for musicians and poets, they imply the most abstract forms to pass on different stories and events, painter on the other hand is also an old profession, communicating with the oldest languages.
I’ve been in Miami for almost a week now without any contact address and telephone number, this is the best moment to read the Collected Letters by Rainer Maria Rilke, even though what he is preaching is words and vocabularies, I’d rather think of it as being in Sophie’s World. As if he is giving me lessons across time and space, as if every letter he wrote tells me something about the situations I’m about to encounter.
When he wrote the first letter, he had only just arrived in Paris. Due to the language barriers he was afraid to meet strangers, he came from a quiet, German speaking village, to him this city is noisy, exciting but also chaotic. He decided to leave everything behind and start afresh with his own initiatives. In the first letter he claimed that if destiny grants you to become an artist, you must then live with such destiny, tolerate its burden and carry its weight, do not consider taking any advantage elsewhere. I arrived in Miami, Florida, where there are tourists coming from all over the world, I see it as a transitional stop for the great escape, I cannot speak Chinese here, no matter how proactive I am I always end up talking to the same people, hotel workers, black roommates, bus drivers and supermarket employees. This is an international tourist place occupied by groups and groups of foreign visitors, with wild and exciting nightlife. However, the experience in Kenting last year was enough to keep me out of this when confronted with these situations, I was often alone until dusk at the south bay in Kenting, despite all those souvenir shops and high-end restaurants on the high street. This time at a much greater scale on the beach in Miami I still managed to live my own tempo. It’s as if I were an experienced backpacker traveling in Turkey, who knows why he is there and what he is looking for. He spent lots of money to get there to experience life, and he no longer needs to waste lots of money to entertain himself like all the other tourists.
In the third letter he wrote about descriptions about sex, looking rough on the appearance, short duration, flexible, sensual lust, dreamy, anxious and agitated. Just so it happened at the youth hostel. Nightlife is wild here, the closer it gets to midnight the more open and provocative these flamboyant men and women become. One evening when I was about to fall asleep, my Australian roommates performed the hottest and sexist show ever, it was embarrassing but it was new to me, both my black roommate and myself kept ourselves in silence, turned ourselves into fossils and left all the attention in the room to the pair of performers. In this way we’ll always have a free show every night.
In the fourth letter he talked about experiences, it is like a locked room or books written in foreign languages. Do not look for answer now, it cannot be found because you are not able to put it into practice, the key is to experience. Yesterday I finally finished a two-day round trip to the city center, and I took a rare opportunity at Starbucks to organize my collage and archival information out of piles and piles of magazines and journals. That same day I was approached by a university student asking me where I was going, and showed me the metro station and information I’ll need for transfer. At Starbucks I wrote Chinese names in exchange for free iced latte and sandwiches, met some locals at the bus stop and swapped presents with him, got a necklace that was exchanged with my Taiwan beer bottle caps, I was also attacked by crazy typhoon-like winds and rains at the South Beach in zone four. At midday I took the metro and changed for two different buses to get to Wynwoon art district only to find out that both the enormous gallery and the studios are closed. The other design district was somehow like a luxurious model house in Xinyi district, Taipei. There was barely anyone on the streets.
When writing the fifth letter, Rilke was adjusting his life in the new city Roma (or Florence, which one?). After several weeks of defense, he felt confused but finally went back to his normal self. At the Jazz South Beach hostel on Fifth street by Miami beach I walked through another dozen streets to find cheap food in supermarkets, comparing different promotions between them, munching away sandwiches, cakes, Burger King and McDonalds. Compare to the expensive independent restaurants, chained restaurants and supermarkets are a kind of miracle for the poor. In the morning I got used to waking up at 9:30 everyday to enjoy the waffles and coffee the hotel provided, usually leaving the hotel by 10 am, making careful arrangements so that I can avoid being in the room at the same time as the Australian roommates. I also take walks everyday under the sun while drafting this report in my head.
* : translated by M.D. Herter Norton, revised edition, 1962.