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The Blog of Gene Luen Yang - Festival of Faith and Writing
Festival of Faith and Writing 
This weekend, I'll be speaking at the Festival of Faith & Writing at Calvin College. I generally enjoy talking about comics, but I'm especially excited about this event because I get to talk about comics and God! I sometimes imagine Heaven to be a place where past, present, and future are juxtaposed like panels on a page of comics. Eesh. That seems a lot goofier now that I've written it down.

Administrator (Gene Yang) 

That's nerdilicious.


Your theory of heaven would seem to jibe with this guy's ideas somewhat http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/02/what-is-time/

Administrator (Gene Yang) 
Hi Miriam,

"Tze-Yo-Tzuh" is actually a transliteration of "I AM" in Chinese. The Chinese phrase has an connotations of... uh... "self-existence" is the best way I can describe it. An existence independent of any other.

The original Monkey King tale, first written down in a novel called Journey To The West, was Buddhist at its core. I would encourage you to read it-- it's one of the four pillars of Chinese literature. It is also awesome.

I wanted to do an Asian-American retelling of the tale, so I added Western, Judeo-Christian elements to my version.

Thanks so much for reading it!


Miriam Haddock 
I was wondering about Tze-Yo-Tzuh (He who is.) He sounds like Jehovah from the Bible (I am.) When he explains to the Monkey King how he always had the Monkey King in his grasp (P. 80 and 81 in American Born Chinese) he is paraphrasing Psalm 139. Can you comment on that?

I just finished American Born Chinese and loved it. I've tried to interest my 12 year old grandchild in reading it. I especially liked the way the three strands of the story come together unexpectedly in the end.

Administrator (Gene Yang) 
Thanks so much for coming to my session, Ryan! I had an amazing time at the festival. That's awesome that you're starting on your own comic book!

Ryan M 
I saw your talk on Saturday, "Why Comics." It encouraged me try to make my own comic, and I have you to thank! Right now, I'm writing the script for Pellowhead Presents #1: The Hookman, based on a bad dream I had that very night. You made me feel like I can do it! Thank you! Thanks for coming to the Festival of Faith and writing, and God bless.

P.S. My girlfriend and I just finished American Born Chinese, congratulations again!

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