My freshmeat translation in response to Bruce Humes recent report probing censorship atmosphere in China and beyond.
Afterwards: What motivates me to write erotic novel
Once a lady friend asked me: " I don't find it surprising that you can
write erotic tall tales, but why you need to ? To rid of your own sexual drives, perhaps ? Why? Tell me ?
Another female writer remarks, point blank ,' Your target readers are
between 35 to 55 years of middle-aged women. They are raising children,
taking care of their husband, struggling with their lost years and
despair, they need compassionate love. They need everyday romance and
sexual fantacy, not erotic novel from long dead place and time. You got it all wrong. You are digging your own grave.
What actually happens, from the very beginning of my messing with words
some twenty year ago, I write, not to expect writing will make me powerful
and famous and rich ; I write, not to bring others peace and justice. I
write, not to educate and illuminate masses. I write, for a simple enough
reason, that I need to find an outlet for myself , like being
pressed by a destiny: I am haunted by ghosty creatures, my pen charmed by dragon
and serpent's cunning ways. It is like to patch up some tiny cracks,
increasingly expanding, momentarily appearing and disappearing boundless
causes. For some split of seconds, I may have envied some other writers
accumulate mountainenous silver coins, so famous that they must wear
sunglasses for the sidewalks, at events of signing their books, thousands and
ten thousands hands dancing before their eyes, showered with stinky eggs,
soda bottles or flowers. But that is only for split of seconds. Most of
time, I remind myself, first, never forget that writing brings me pure,
granulate sugary joy to knock-off the earth just half an inch.
My brain is a burning refinery full of alchemist's catch, not a toast oven of one-sure-winner.
To Summerize what motivates me to write my erotic saga:
First, after《肉蒲团》, for two hundred years, there isn't any good erotic novel written in Chinese. Even in this noticable rendition, there is too much meandering, totalling 20 chapters, the first three chapter is all about proving that the book isn't an erotic tale but a beginner's guide to Buddism.
Secondly, it is not easy to write erotic relationship with words. To narrate base of human passion without overplay of pornography, with simple delight and ordinary pleasure of eating, drinking, bathing in the sun, taking a nap, is even more difficult. What I have in my hand, the novel 《不二》, is an experiment with such criterion.
Thirdly, when I was young, I watched a lot of cultural films as a way to ease the burden of growing up, I was struck by degree of deviations on people's mind, I've seen plenty of N-rated films, couldn't shake off their notion that masterbation is deemed un-natural. I've alway wondered why the storm can't be more intense? Why culturally pure and simple can't be mixed up with pronographic eroticism ? Thus, we'd give ourselves a better wholesome view of life to live? When it comes down to execute concrete arrangements, I discovered, this is quite a challenge, the path from spiritual to sensual as diverse, perverse and reverse is no less than crossing life unto death.
In the forth place, I am almost 40 years of age, if I don't write it now, in a few more years, even if my heart dares, my body shall be frail. This world may not get to see my hundred thousands monumental work. Modern medicine examines clearly that man also has menopause. "Old stalion knows it hasn't much time left, it kicks and gallops, needing no crop'.
In the Fifth column, our next generation youths are beautiful. If they read only non-Chinese Japanese AV and non-oriental literature work from Christianity, e.g. 'Lady Charlotte's lover' and 'Rooftop of Paris', before experiencing life on their own, being a Chinese writer, I am guilty.
Last but not least, writing is a therapeutic process deployed to cure my middle-aged self from damages done by the early onset of anxiety attacks and depression.
As far as the stylish design of my writing 《不二》，I've undergone a lot of trial and error.
Foremost, after finishing 《北京，北京》， I decided I will not write any more fictions based on personal experience. The essential points have been sketched out. On the subject of the growing GreatWall, this triology of Beijing is out there, enough for people like myself to crawl out of, for the next two hundred years.
I shall write things that fascinated me most, outside of all existing biographical narratives. Incomprehensible force and demons conjuring up historical farce and reality, deflecting time and space, let me put them into this new triology. First Volume, 《不二》，focus on chaos and super-natual, sex and religion. Background set in the middle and late Tang dynasty. Second volume, 《天下卵》, focus on 'Force', assasination and sex, background set in 辽金. Volume Three, 《安阳》, focus on "Strangeness", concocted via medical science, metaphysical alchemist and ancient relics, background set in 夏商.
In the beginning was this arrangement, 《不二》divided into Part A and Part B. Part A is 禅宗 during the heydays till the late Tang dynasty, in capital city Xi'an, Part B is the other 禅宗 during the same period, residing in 敦煌. Part A, pure sensual, Part B pure spiritual. Sensuality in Part A would be as wild as late Tang era that I can't imagine it would be permitted to air out on the internet. Spirituality in Part B could be so dry and monotoneous that only those crazy nuts locked inside the Sixth branch of Beijing Hospital ( aka the crazy Sixth ) might possess certain steel attention to follow its beat from the beginning to the end. During the course of writing, more and more, this former arrangement makes me feel too imitable, too "sharp-cutting". So I decided to have droplets mixed into one steam, as it is now written, downpour of sensual and spiritual whenever it springs, to the end as it meant to be.
In the course of creative writing, I find plots are much easier to come up, the hard part is the actual filling of a glass with spirit, restorative and soothing substance, leaves rich, warm, mystical and foamy taste, or not.
This is the afterwards.