I’m always intrigued by those films that are “inspired by” or “based on” true events. As a writer who likes to use my own life as a jumping off point for my stories, I recognize that these re-workings of real life are not without their pitfalls and challenges. For one, viewers/readers may accept the fictionalized version as reality. (“Did you really do that?”). But if we wanted to tell what actually happened, we would create a documentary or write a memoir. I would dare to
Writing is all about revision, and Gina in the Floating World is no exception. I have shredded and re-crafted it numerous times. Although my official records indicate 14 drafts, I know there have been many more micro-revisions in between drafts. Curious about its own evolution, I copied the first few sentences of each of major revision as well as the final draft, which was a tightening at the sentence level. Below I share these along with my summary of how I arrived at each.
As I prepared for my interview with Mr. K, the club owner, I worried about my lack of glamour. I had all the wrong clothes and the wrong look. My skirts were too short and my hair, too long. I wasn't blond enough or foreign enough. I bought some makeup, washed my hair, and dressed as well as I could after ten months of living out of a backpack. I tried not to think what my feminist friends would say, nor to listen to my own feminist conscience. At the appointed hour, I met Mr
The rain poured down in opaque sheets outside the American Express office in Tokyo, where I collected my mail, and considered my alternatives for the afternoon. For eight months in the mid 1970s, I’d been traveling over large stretches of Asia, much of it alone. Once more a natural phenomenon would determine my fate. Had it not been for an earthquake in Darwin, Australia and the subsequent purchase of a cheap "bucket shop" plane ticket that allowed me multiple stops on the wa