Summoning Writers’ Muse
In this breezing and intoxicated night, four writers from three countries shared their ideas in two languages, with an interpreter transforming from one language to the other, helping people communicate in the gathering. The seminar entitled “Summoning Writers’ Muse” commenced as planned in Zhongshu Pavilion, an implicit existing in a prosperous metropolis. Limited space as the venue was, the seminar has attracted a lot of audiences, three rows of people standing quietly at the back of the venue. Writers presented on the stage were Ms. Dace Vigante from Latvia, Ms. Svet Di Nahum from Bulgaria and Ms. Pan Xiangli and Mr. Xia Shang from China writers, in front of them were their works.
The host enthusiastically introduced the four writers in brief, and then went straight to the topic: how does a writer face bottlenecks in writing? Where does their inspiration come from?
Ms. Dace shared her experiences firstly. She talked about her home country Latvia, where there are forests and seas. With only two millions of people, Latvia is rarely known to the outside world. Ms. Dace’s works are more about people’s daily lives, showing the complex relationship among people, the growing up troubles and inner struggles, etc. These are frequently seen from all over the world. She said her works are quite natural for all of them came from daily life, from the street where she grew up, from dialogues of her neighbors. All of these are authentic rather than artificial creation.
Ms. Pan Xiangli with a smile on her face, said that this problem seems to force someone to review the most frustrating and painful part of his/her love experiences. But she was willing to let go of her so-called “occupation self-esteem” to share her own writing experiences with everyone. Ms. Pan believes that every novel, especially serious literature works, will encounter the problem of “not knowing where to go”. Whether it is plot setting, personal character or language control, or even retrospect the preceding parts of a text, it is impossible to identify her own traces. Then she had to jump out of the text to question her writings. The plight has to aspects: The first one is complete plight. The author struggled with her original conception and setting, and had to change the whole writings with great grief and pain. Here Ms. Pan talked about her dramatic transformation of the ending of her short novel Plain Boiled Chinese Cabbage in order to highlight the “modernity” of the female character. The second one, comparatively, is more enjoyable. In the middle and later periods of the writing, it will not be controlled by the writer herself, but follows its own internal logic. While the writer’s job is to write down the rhythm of the writing. That is, the work is alive and has its own vital energy and blood, heartbeat and strong life force. Which may scare the author, but it will also make the author proud.
Although it is the first time that Svet comes to China, his writings were deeply influenced by traditional Chinese literature and Chinese philosophy. He said that his muse of writing came from Qu Yuan’s Buju. Qu Yuan, the famous poet in the Warring States Period, had continuously made detailed inquiry about “where to go” in Buju and other fu in style of Li Sao but found no answer. Svet’s novel “Raptus” is about how the protagonist explores his direction in the bizarre world — the answer is “goodness”. That is, people should listen to good sounds and well-intentioned suggestion, follow kind actions so as to strengthen their understanding and perception of life. Svet said sincerely: “classic Chinese literature has played great guiding role in the path of our lives.” This is the answer found by the Bulgarian writer.
Mr. Xia Shang believed that it is difficult to summarize the writing of novels in just a few sentences. Therefore he shared us with his perspective on literature theory. In his point of view, novel writing is “nostalgic art” in that writing material is like wood, which cannot be made into furniture without been dried in the sun. Compared with short novels, novels are easier to write. Because writing short novel needs constant conception of new content while writing novels only need general outline, sufficient time, strength and patience. He also pointed out that writing is a job suitable for middle-aged people in that the young cannot bear loneliness and their understanding of life is shallow while the elderly lack physical strength and good memory. Mr. Xia Shang’s witty remarks led to continuous applause and laughter.
In the subsequent interactive session, the audience had questions for the four writers on their writing habits, suggestion for young writers and some other related ones. They all gave their own fantastic answers. Though time is limited, the passion for writing is eternal. As Mr. Xia Shang said: “Literature is a window to understand the world.” Tonight, the four writers have opened a window for us and bthe sky was starry. Thanks to every audience supported by the game, out of which there is the starry sky.
Thank you for coming tonight, we will continue to organize activities as good as this one. Good night and see you on this Saturday and Sunday!