Fiery patience

Chile has not only a long coastline, a snowy southern land and a beautiful Elki valley, but also a great poet: pablo neruda.

Nie Luda’s home is on a promontory called Black Island. Outside his window is the vast Pacific Ocean. In 1971, Nie Luda won the Nobel Prize for Literature. At the awards ceremony in Stockholm, Nie Luda delivered an exciting speech.

He said: ” My poems are regional and painful, flowing like rain. However, I have always been full of confidence in mankind and have never lost hope. ” He also quoted French poet Lambert’s verse in his speech, expressing his good faith in the motherland, the world and the whole human race: ” As long as we are patient and fervent, we will surely enter that magnificent city by dawn …”

Nie Luda’s passionate speech once brought tears to countless Chilean compatriots. His fiery verse and his ” fervent patience” towards the motherland and mankind also deeply touched the young writer Antonio Skalmeida at that time.

Yes, when Dalmeyda was a young literary man, his greatest admirer was Nie Luda, a poet who wrote ” Twenty Love Poems and a Desperate Song”. He imagined that one day, he could become a literary dream, which was strangled by real life time and again.

After graduating from Chile Normal University, Skalmeida found a position as a cultural editor in a tabloid newspaper. To say that it is a cultural editor is actually what we now call an ” entertainment reporter.” Because his boss asked him very clearly to ” do everything possible to enter those lousy performance companies, contact those female stars and report their gossip”.

For this reason, Skalmeida was very distressed. Seeing that some literary friends of his own age have achieved great success at home, and some have even won foreign literary awards, Skalmeida was very envious and was greatly stimulated.

” No, it can’t go on like this! It’s like pouring cold water over and over again … ” He thought,” Anyway, I should make up my mind to write a novel! ”

At the same time, his boss gave him a job: to go to the seaside to organize a manuscript, the object of which was the great poet pablo neruda. The boss said: ” When you go there, you must get the poet’s’ all – round love history’ for our tabloid readers, and let the poet tell the stories of the women behind him in the most vivid language.”

This is a rare opportunity to travel. However, Skalmeida had other plans in mind.

He soon lived in a small hotel on the Black Island where Nie Luda lived. During the day, he went out to follow all kinds of clues, like those professional paparazzi, looking for Nie Luda’s so-called ” love life” material. He went back to the hotel at night and listened to the sound of the sea. He began to write his long-conceived novels.
” I imagine that I can use this opportunity to have pablo neruda write the preface to my novel, and with this great trophy, I will knock down the door of Chile’s most famous publishing house …” He recalled many years later.

With the desire to write a novel, Skalmeida stayed in Black Island for a long time. Almost every day he went around Nie Luda’s residence and got to know some people who were wandering around the famous villa. Many of them became the protagonists of the novel he was thinking about.

It was then that Skalmeida got to know Nie Luda. There was an anecdote in the Chilean literary world that Skalmeida first consulted the poet with dozens of pages of his novel manuscript. The poet turned over several pages in a hurry and said while lifting his trousers, ” Very well, young man, I will tell you my opinion in two weeks.”
Two weeks later, Skalmeida knocked on the door of the poet’s villa on Black Island. The poet came out.   

” I’m sorry, Mr. poet, it’s me.”

” I saw it.”
” Excuse me, have you read it?”

” Yes, I have.”

” What do you think?”   

” Very good.” The poet said, ” However, that does not explain any problem. Because, you know, in Chile, the first book of all writers is very well written. ”

” Would you like to make a preface to the book I am writing?”
” Well, when you finish writing this book, I will be very happy to preface it.”

When the poet finished speaking, he blocked the young man who was eager to become famous outside the door.

However, this did not discourage Karl Meida. In the long literary road that followed, the great poet pablo neruda became the spiritual mentor and friend of Skalmeida. Skalmeida, as a student and literary successor, always pays tribute and thanks to his master with his outstanding works. Pablo neruda also carefully guided this literary youth and personally sent him to Latin American literary circles.
The novel that Skalmeida began to conceive and write on Black Island was not completed until 1983, 14 years later, the 10th anniversary of Nie Luda’s death. At that time, Skalmeida, who already has a certain reputation in the literary world, issued an initiative to Chilean writers: every writer should create a work as a gift to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Pablo Nie Luda’s death.

It was against this background that the novels written by Skalmeida were completed. The name of this novel is Postman.

The novel tells a touching story: Mario menez, a young fisherman who grew up by the sea, got a job as a postman by chance, but he served only one person: Nie Luda, a great poet living on Black Island.

Mario has only read a few years, but he has a delicate and intelligent heart. In the process of delivering letters, he won the appreciation and trust of the poet and established a deep friendship with the poet. He even became fascinated by poetry under the inspiration and guidance of the poet, and felt the power of truth contained in poetry and the charm of poetry itself …
Nie Luda also helped Mario win his fiancee’s heart with the charm of poetry. Nie Luda even attended their wedding in person …

During Nie Luda’s appointment as Chile’s ambassador to France, Mario, who had always sent letters to others, received a letter and a package for the first time in his life – a small tape recorder sent by poet Nie Luda from Paris. The poet asked Mario to record for him the wind and waves on Chile’s promontory, as well as the singing of seagulls at dusk …

Loyal Mario satisfied the wishes of poets far away from home. Mario also sent his quietly written poems to Nie Luda along with his recorded voice from his hometown.

After Nie Luda won the world-renowned Nobel Prize for Literature, Mario and his villagers listened to the poet’s exciting speech …

Two years later, a military coup took place in Chile, and poets who had returned to settle down were subject to enemy surveillance and political persecution. But Mario is not afraid of the possible consequences of keeping in touch with the poet at this time. He risked his life to come to the poet’s residence and read Song’s messages of solidarity and sympathy from some countries, governments and cultural celebrities to the poet.
Nie Luda was already very ill at this moment. He asked Mario to help him stand by the window near the sea. He wanted to look at the sunshine, the sea, the valleys and the long coastline of the motherland.

In September 1973, Nie Luda died. Later, Mario was also arrested by the military government.

However, a few years later, a new star rose in Chile’s poetry circle. He was Mario menez, a young fisherman and a former postman in Nie Luda.

Although Postman is a fictional novel, it is also true and unreal, with traces to follow. The beautiful story is full of the love and admiration of the author Skalmeida, the Chilean people and readers all over the world for Nie Luda.
Since its publication in 1985, the novel has been translated into nearly 30 languages in just a few years. It has received great acclaim from readers all over the world and has been selected by many countries in Europe and Latin America as literature textbooks for universities and middle schools. This touching story told by Xiao Shuo Li has also been adapted into drama, TV play and radio play. In 1998, the Chinese edition of ” Postman” was first published in China’s ” Contemporary Foreign Literature” magazine under the title ” Postman in Nie Luda” ( translated by Li Hongqin ).

The story around ” The Postman” continues …

After the publication of Postman, Skalmeida wrote the novel himself and adapted it into a screenplay, which was directed and filmed by famous Italian director Michael Radford. In the play, the leading role of the postman is played by Italy’s famous comedian Massimo Troisi.

Massimo has been suffering from severe heart disease. However, after reading the screenplay adapted by Skalmeida, he excitedly said to the director, ” Where can I find such a touching story? There is no doubt that this will be the most successful role I have ever played! ”
The director was worried: ” … but, brother, what you need more at this time is recuperation!”

” no! There is nothing more important than meeting a good script and role! ”

The director still reminded him several times: ” Is it worth your life for a movie?”   
” Yes, this movie is my life.”