Ci­cada and the ‘Lost Gen­er­a­tion’

That's China - - Catching Cicadas 捉知了 -

“Will we see ci­cadas should we ever meet here again next year? “Of course, but they will not be the same ci­cadas we’ve seen.” I met a gang of young peo­ple on a sum­mer. I never saw them again and I knew I would never hear the ci­cada sing again.”

This is the end of Tai­wanese chore­og­ra­pher and writer Lin Hwaimin’s nov­el­ette Ci­cada, writ­ten in 1969.The nov­el­ette was first pub­lished in a short story col­lec­tion, mak­ing its de­but in 1974. In the story, the Tai­wanese "Lost Gen­er­a­tion" en­joyed a whole sum­mer of rev­elry in cof­fee shops and pubs, in­dulging in ‘LONGLIFE’ cig­a­rettes, talk­ing to hip­pies and out­casts, brag­ging about mar­i­juana, and idling away list­less days in the melodies of Bob Dy­lan, Joan Baez and Bea­tles’

nd Blue Jay Way.The gang swam in the moun­tains, won­der­ing for whom the bell at the Xuan­guang Tem­ple tolled. Near the fin­ish line of their dazed, or­gias­tic pu­berty, they heard a burst of ci­cadas singing wildly… Life is like cot­ton candy. It looks good and tastes sweet, but con­tains noth­ing in the core ex­cept a dirty bam­boo stick. At the end of the story, Xiao­fan was read­ing Car­son McCullers’The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter be­fore com­mit­ting sui­cide. Lin Hwai-min, in ad­di­tion to be­ing the founder and cre­ative force be­hind Cloud Gate that thrilled the Tai­wanese cul­tural scene when it came into be­ing in the 1970s with an un­bro­ken se­ries of in­no­va­tive dances and dance direc­tions, is also an im­por­tant au­thor of short sto­ries, and was in­ti­mately in­volved in the lit­er­ary scene of Tai­wan in the late 1960s and 1970s. Born in an in­tel­lec­tual fam­ily in Chi­ayi,Tai­wan, Lin was ex­posed to dif­fer­ent art forms and cul­ture very early on in his child­hood. He pub­lished his first story in United Daily News at the age of four­teen. At the age of eigh­teen, he was en­gaged as one of the con­tract writ­ers for Crown, one of Tai­wan’s big­gest mag­a­zines. Through the nov­el­ette Ci­cada, the au­thor who is openly gay, found an out­let to re­lease his re­strained deep feel­ings for the male body.The story is also a per­fect demon­stra­tion of the chore­og­ra­pher’s in­born sen­si­tiv­ity to lit­er­ary aes­thet­ics; and the ti­tle ‘Ci­cada’ to­gether with its non­de­script metaphor­i­cal power de­rived from the fact that it en­dures the abyss of un­der­ground dark­ness for most of its short life­time and sings un­til its death proves to be the per­fect match to com­pli­ment the de­sired mise-en-scene of the story.

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