People always say it’s harder to heal a wounded heart than a wounded body. Bullshit. It’s exactly the opposite—a wounded body takes much longer to heal. A wounded heart is nothing but ashes of memories. But the body is everything. The body is blood and veins and cells and nerves. A wounded body is when, after leaving a man you’ve lived with for three years, you curl up on your side of the bed as if there’s still somebody beside you. That is a wounded body: a body that feels connected to someone who is no longer there.
It’s the heart afraid of breaking that never learns to dance.
Its important to be comfortable with uncertainty.
I do think there will be a better understanding between the two sides – East and West. And eventually, the so-called two sides will disappear, and there will only be the conflict between those with power and those without it.
Never look back to the past, never regret, even if there is emptiness ahead.’ But I couldn’t help it. Sometimes I would rather look back if it meant that I could feel something in my heart, even something sad. Sadness was better than emptiness.
I thought English is a strange language. Now I think French is even more strange. In France, their fish is poisson, their bread is pain, and their pancake is crepe. Pain and poison and crap. That’s what they have every day.
I think our literary tradition has to evolve, has to explore its form and its spirit through writers and thinkers, rather than let the lazy, easy traditional narrative – which is controlled by the publishing industry – roll all over the readers and dominate the market. I think our readers and cinemagoers have been trained to read and watch very mainstream stuff. It’s like being given sleeping pills. It sends people to a non-reflective sleep state.
I don’t feel naked around you anymore.
About time, what I really learned from studying English is: time is different with timing. I understand the difference of these two words so well. I understand falling in love with the right person in the wrong timing could be the greatest sadness in a person’s entire life.
It’s not a choice. Either I write or I don’t, especially when I’m in a foreign culture. I’ve lived in London for years, and I must continue my writing and filmmaking. The most important thing for an artist or an author is to continue her work. Languages and settings are the tools but not the first thing.
Self-censorship happens not only in China, or Iran or ex-Soviet places. It can happen anywhere. If an artist penetrates a certain taboo or a certain power through their work, he or she will face this problem. I’m always saying that commercial censorship is our foremost censorship globally today. Why do we still pretend we are free?
I’m saying language is a passport. A dubious, dangerous passport too.
But why people need privacy? Why privacy is important? In China, every family live together, grandparents, parents, daughter, son and their relatives too. Eat together and share everything, talk about everything. Privacy make people lonely. Privacy make family fallen apart.
Somehow, in the novel format, I don’t really like to do upfront, ideological discussion. In my heart, literature remains a poetic and ambiguous medium. On the other hand, I trained as a documentary filmmaker in film school, so my films very much reflect reality and socio-political problems. They’re less subtle I would say.
There was – there still is – a big shortage of good Chinese-English literary translators. So for two years in London, I was stuck waiting, not writing, with several Chinese books I couldn’t get translated. That’s when I decided to write in English, since I had been living here and had decided to reconstruct my life here. Even if I wrote in broken English, it was better than getting bored and weary and bitter on the long queue of authors waiting to be translated by a stranger.
Huizi would say, never look back to the past. Never regret. Even if there is emptiness ahead, never look back.