Eric Zhou’s vie in rose (life in Pink)

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Photo by Harrison Li

Senior Eric Zhou embodies the main character in his book “Wax.”

“All you can do is live life everyday to the fullest, because if you’re a wax candle, you might as burn bright and short, rather than long and low, you know?”

If you guessed this quote came from a book, you would be right, with the unexpected surprise that it had come the mind of senior Eric Zhou over the summer as he wrote a book inspired by the many individuals in his life.  Zhou wrote his book, ‘Wax’ with the support of his friends and personal stories, which originates from the name of a song written by senior Harrison Li.

The story is about a teenager who believes that he is an outcast in his society as he seems to be the only person who sees the issues and flaws of society as a problem, until he meets a girl who leads and teaches him how overcome the pressures of society and many other lessons.

Born in Canada, raised in China for seven years and having lived  in San Francisco for nine years, Zhou had started his sophomore year at school. After moving to Irvine, Zhou had no idea of what the future had in store for him, much less writing his own book.

Living in Irvine, Zhou was not only able to develop many relationships with friends, but he was also able to pierce the veil surrounding these people to unlock the hidden struggles and stories of their lives.

In a particular case, he denoted a tragic scenario that his friend experienced which resonated deeply within his heart.

“One of my friends was going through tough times and she attempted to commit suicide and many other events had inspired me to write the book,” Zhou said.  

Yet according to Zhou, this was simply one of many stories based off of true events within his novel that demonstrate the struggles teenagers face when dealing with the expectations of society and the pressure and negative influence it has on lives.

“The book is a social critique and whoever reads can see where I am coming from and relate to the idea and let them understand that they are not the only ones feeling this,” Zhou stated. “That’s what drove me to write the book; the willingness to help others.”  

Friends such as Martina Ricabar comments on her ability to feel his character and his worldview after reading Zhou’s book.

I think his writing definitely reflects his character since the story is inspired by his thoughts and environment,” Ricabar said. “ By reading his narrative commentary, I got to know a little bit more about him and his general perception of the world and people.”  

Despite already having his book published online and printed, this was not an easy feat to accomplish alone. With the help of friends and his girlfriend, senior Claire Dean, Zhou was able to stay focused during his attempt to write about many controversial issues and the lives of many of his dear friends.

According to Zhou, his girlfriend had helped him through calls from sunrise to sundown.

“I supported him by giving him my thoughts on how I viewed society. I also supported him by just being myself around him; perhaps inspiring him to write how the characters are portrayed as, and the plot in the book,” Dean said. “I’m honored to have played a key role in ‘Wax.’ seeing Eric write this book throughout the whole process was amazing and [I believe] it is a big accomplishment to be able to publish such a captivating book at his age.”

Zhou believes that he has not only been rewarded with the feeling of accomplishment, but also the satisfaction of  finding his identity and his stance on many topics and issues of society.

“I just want you to know that you are not alone in this world and that there are other people who think like you so everytime you feel down, just know that it gets better,” Zhou said sympathetically. “The end of the book is all about hope even if we feel helpless and that we can’t change things like right now as we are that there is always a brighter future ahead. Stay hopeful and as long as you stay hopeful, you will do amazing things.”