今天的课堂上老师就travel writing是否允许“因文章需要”而任意虚构人物或者对话的话题，引起同学们算得上激烈的探讨。争论源自一本书上几位travel writing的畅销书作者居然声称他们并不在乎自己的书是fiction or nonfiction。有的说里面的事情都是真的，但时间先后顺序则是自己事后根据需要重新组合的；有的说要交待的事情是有普遍性的，但在一定场合她需要虚构一个人比如出租车司机来说她想说的话。
J690 . Writing Assignment 1, First person anecdote
By Gang Wu, due Sep 6, 2005
I’m a married man. But this does not seem to change my instinct of watching pretty women on the street. Whenever a belle, or even a figure that looks like one, comes into my sight, it will almost automatically become the focus of my eyes, even though I may try to look away at times. My wife is aware of that.
The instinct gave me a bloody lesson this summer.
On a cool August morning, I was like the other days, wearing a pair of sunglasses, riding on my cool slim sports bike and gliding to the College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources for my summer job. I could feel that I must look cool with my outfit.
In just five minutes, the college building was right ahead of me. There were many people sitting on the two sides of the narrow passage under a pavilion. In order not to threaten their out-stretching feet with my bike, I decided that I should abandon the path that I took everyday and instead approach the college building from another entry. I found there was an entry about 30 feet away on the left. Then I turned left.
Before I reached the entry, my eyes were attracted to something like a beauty. I could only say “like a beauty,” because till now I’m still not sure if she is really a beauty or not, because I have never had a chance to take a clear look at her. All that I remember now is that the girl was in black hair and probably in white skirt, looking like a Japanese beauty when I was in a distance.
When I was managing to take a closer look at her during the intervals of my deciding the right point of the entry alongside a stretch of curb, I suddenly realized that the front wheel of my bike has already been tilting toward the curb - I was trying to take into an “entry” that was in fact still a few feet away from the real point!
I was already all on the ground before I could make any emergent maneuver. Take a look at the slow-motion replay. Within a distance of about five feet from the girl, right in front of her eyes, slowly, slowly, I was down with my bike, hitting the ground and turning over a few rounds. When everything stopped, I was lying there with my back on the ground. I opened my eyes. There were the blue sky, and breeze brushing over my face…
The delusion suddenly vanished. The slow motion switched to fast motion. Despite the biting pains in one of my knees, I was up on the run with my bike, afraid of being laughed at by the girl or any passersby. But damn it, I couldn’t believe that I was mumbling “sorry” when I got up and ran away from her.
Why did I say sorry? Did I do anything wrong? Yes, at least I must be thinking so at that moment, and my tongue betrayed my innocent face.
She did say something when witnessing my tragic fall, maybe something of sympathy. But I didn’t hear anything. I ran away as fast as I could without even pat the dust off my shirt and pants.
Not until I got into my office did I find a chance to check my losses. First of all, a hole on the pants. Tugging up the pants, there on my knee, a thumb-size wound was gazing at me with raw flesh and blood. I was wordless.
On a second thought, I was relieved. I felt lucky because I was only riding a bike. What if I was driving a car, and it’s on a highway or on the edge of a cliff? I couldn’t imagine.