In April in London, the last cruelty was dispelled by the meeting of two women who love literature. There were flowers everywhere and bright sunshine everywhere. In the apartment in southwest London that day, Hong Ying and Katie adjusted the camera for a long time before sitting down. Outside the windows on the second floor are the roofs of old red brick houses, with pigeons perching on the chimneys. Looking down, you can see the garden of the neighborhood, the shadows of the trees are whirling, the green is dripping, the begonias are full of red and gorgeous, and the black cats and white cats are hovering on the fence. Hong Ying’s new novel “Moonlight Warrior” took them from this old Victorian house back to the mountain city of Chongqing, turning back decades of time.
That time, the mountain
Kai Di: We both recognize that for nearly three decades, we eat and talk together, talked about a variety of topics, but never discussed your work. Because of your recently completed novel “Moonlight Warrior”, we make an exception to talk about literature and talk about your writing.
Hongying: It’s very strange. We have been friends for so many years, and we have almost nothing to talk about. We talk about cooking, raising children, buying furniture, and repairing houses. We talked about love, men, and gossip friends, but we never talked about literature. This is our first time.
Katie: You came to London in February last year. You didn’t expect to stay in London for so long due to the epidemic. It has been more than a year in a flash. Many of your plans and activities in China have to be cancelled, but for those of us in London, it is really lucky to be able to meet frequently outdoors and eat the dishes you cook. The blockade of the epidemic has caused many people to stop their busy pace, but you have really not been idle this year. In addition to housework, you also wrote novellas, revised a collection of gourmet prose, compiled a collection of poems “Living Like the Wind”, and wrote a “Rainbow Shadow Dictionary”. Of course, there is also the novel “Moonlight Warrior” with more than 200,000 characters. Is this book mainly written in London?
Hong Ying: I started writing this book when I was in Beijing. I went to London in February and wrote, and it took more than a year to complete. It has been a long time since I conceived this novel. This story is like a sharp thorn, stuck in my heart. I slowly pulled it out bit by bit and let it grow into a big tree by itself. The Big Tree is the novel “Moonlight Warrior” I presented to readers. Chongqing, the place I am most familiar with. It felt like a mountain stood in front of me in 1976. I am not giving you a mountain, I am expressing every stone, every flower, and some people passing by on this mountain through words, so that you can recognize the quality of this world. I write about Chongqing as a person.
Katie: Can you introduce the content of this book without spoiling it?
Hong Ying: Maybe I can say something like this: A beautiful and gentle woman, she cannot break free from male control. Because the boy was hospitalized, he fell in love with a nurse sister who cared for him. He found out that she was domestically abused. He wanted to protect her, fight against the domestic abuser, a bullshit, and avenge her. It took 20 years. He did not have a happy childhood, nor did he have a youthful youth, exhausted physically and mentally, and lost in his heart. In the 20 years he has fought against another strong man, he is actually fighting against himself; maybe I can say that this is a story about ordinary people on the hillsides of Chongqing’s two rivers and three banks in parallel with “The Hungry Daughter”, from 1976 to In 1996, ordinary people in the changing times, the multi-faceted human nature and the distress of the spirit, I saw the difficult growth of a teenager, his boiling blood, and the yearning for the future. There was something in his heart that could burn him and save him. emotion. I wrote this unforgettable love, an impossible love. This love spanned twenty years. In a person’s life, this kind of love is difficult to meet again and cannot be copied. For us today, that kind of love, that kind of passion splashing era, is precious, and I miss that era.
This book has been in my heart for many, many years. I wanted to write such a story, to write an emotion, that is the kind of loving someone but not getting someone, missing someone and this person will never be in front of you , To write about this desperate and lingering emotion.
Katie: The background of this novel is from 1976 to 1996, spanning twenty years. The first half of the story all happened in 1976. Can you talk about why you chose that era?
Hong Ying: In 1976, I was 14 years old. A lot of things happened that year… In 1976, I was full of tension for the girlish me, which caught my soul, so I put this novel in 1976.
It seems that 1976 is a cross-section of a long history that appeared in front of me. Every time I walked to it, I waited and watched and discovered that so many major national events happened here, and they have a close relationship with ordinary people. Naturally, there are also many special events. The one you like is here. But 1976 was too far away for me, as if the four characters “1976” would drown me in the blink of an eye. I retreated slowly and slowly, retreated far, far, forty. In five years, nearly half a century, I will recall and describe again, and then look at what remains in this historical section.
Katie: So when we read this novel, we feel that the sense of the times is particularly strong, not only in the late 1970s, but also in the 1980s and 1990s in the lower part. I think we have experienced those times. People will have a strong sense of deja vu. How do you express this sense of the times in words?
Hong Ying: A few days ago I went to the embassy to apply for a visa. On the subway, I saw a poem by Polish poet Julia Fedochik, “I opened that window to let you in”.
I didn’t know if I could get a visa. I read this. I feel at ease with the poem. Sure enough, I got a visa and I can return to China.
This poem is undoubtedly a voice of destiny. Today I came to your house and read a poem by Shelley on the subway, again about the window, saying that if you open this window, you can breathe the smell of the sea outside the window, you can see clouds, trees and birds, and You can see it in the night, you see that I made you, using bread and land, as if it came from a deep place, with a kind of love, and the breath of night.
When I was a teenager, I liked Shelley’s poems, and then I turned to like Emily Dickinson’s poems and more avant-garde American and Russian poets. Reading Shelley’s poems today, there is a kind of long-lost happiness, like a familiar old friend, and found that he has been silently accompanying him. In 1976, it was not in another era, but in my heart. I copied the world that I saw with my eyes in 1976, 1986, and 1996, reorganized the world, and made it manifest in the form of novels. For me, Chongqing is not writing about it. It grows with me in my heart. I just need to take it out. When I write about it, there will be a passion, a control, and a subconscious. To tell this story to the reader, I made a lot of choices and conducted a lot of research.
Katie: There is also a very important protagonist in this novel, Chongqing. You wrote Chongqing’s book, as well as “The Hungry Daughter” and “The Good Son and Daughter”. Can you talk about the relationship between these three books?
Hong Ying: Actually, I don’t write many novels in Chongqing. “The Hungry Daughter” is not a Chongqing novel because it is related to my own life. Its sequel, “Good Son and Daughter Flower”, is also about searching for myself and chasing down the darkness in those times. , Is a purely autobiographical style. Among the other long stories about Chongqing, only one wrote about the Three Gorges immigrants, but did not write directly about the center of Chongqing. The novel “Moonlight Warrior” is a fictional work that runs side by side with “The Hungry Daughter” and “The Good Son and Daughter”. Every time I go back to Chongqing, my house is on the side of the Yangtze River, facing the Chaotianmen Pier. I hear the river flowing, I hear the ships chirping, I see every Chongqing person passing by, and hear the local accent. Or I walked to the stone steps of Chaotianmen Wharf, I walked to Jiefangbei, listened to the ringing of the clock, and walked to the area of No.1 Bridge, which is full of concrete high-rise buildings, one by one spectacle, as if entering the future world, those old days There is no trace of the Diaojiaolou, my tears will shed. In the past, all the scenes here were familiar to me, such as the entrance of the school field, Wuyi Road, Chaotianmen Pier, Qiansimen Pier, etc. In the hospital there, those stilted buildings stubbornly existed in my memory, and those sleeping stories were telling me one after another, surging, and I saw the lives of those people! A boy like Dou Xiaoming has fallen in love with someone since he was 12 years old. Subconsciously, all the desires, fears, courage, hope, and enthusiasm in his heart, that kind of innocence, emerged in front of me, shining like the river in front of me. I write about the rivers in this book. During the day you can’t see the stars twinkling in the sky, but when I wrote such a sentence, when I returned to Chongqing, I stood on my balcony facing the Yangtze River and the Jialing River. Earth, a piece of river water is flowing quietly, there are indeed stars shining, not only at night, but also during the day! I think this is a miracle. When you finish this novel, you will find that it is a blessing.
After being blocked by the epidemic for a year in London, given me time, I finished writing this novel.
Katie: You have written many other places, such as Shanghai. You have written the trilogy of “The King of Shanghai”, “Death of Shanghai” and “Shanghai Magician”. There are Wuhan, India, London, Prague, Rome and so on. Why does Chongqing take so long to enter your novel?
Hongying: I am writing about India, or about Britain or New York, or about Shanghai and Wuhan. I am writing about it, as a writer. I don’t think I’m writing this “Moonlight Warrior”, I just took the tree, the thorn, the beauty and the richness that hurt me directly from my heart, and I made it up. , In fact, there is no need to make up, it really blends into my life, breathing with me. I never thought about writing a full-length article about Chongqing in such a passionate way. I joke and express in a humorous way from time to time. I wrote so many songs, about 30 songs, all of which I liked when I was young. This book is different from my previous books.
Katie: Is this also related to your own maturity? When you were 18, you left Chongqing resolutely and never looked back. Now that you have traveled through thousands of rivers and mountains, have seen all the rivers, and have experienced many changes in the world, do you have enough confidence and experience to look back and forth to the city of Chongqing? Just like you said, you turn around and Chongqing is still there, waiting for you. Did you also hear Chongqing say to you: “Hong Ying, when will you come to write me?” You don’t have a novel with so many characters.
Hong Ying: I wrote this book because every night I dream of those people in Chongqing saying to me, Hong Ying, write me quickly, write me quickly.
With reference to London, in March and April, sometimes the sky is full of sunshine, and the sky is violent and rainy. You will think of Chongqing. The two cities are somewhat similar. They love rain, foggy, and cold. When I write about India, the Ganges river refers to the Yangtze River, and when I write about the Thames and the Seine, I also refer to the Yangtze River. It seems to be something that I am particularly reluctant to bear. At the age of 30, I can write about the boy Dou Xiaoming, but I can’t be sure that I can write about the beautiful woman of Qin Jiahui, a Chinese-Japanese mixed race, especially the complicated emotional relationship between the two. Gang brother and his subordinates are under my control. The middle school street where I was a little boy is similar to the Zhongxin Street in the novel. Everyone is walking around there, and the Zhongxin Street is theirs. At the center of everyday life, they perform on this big stage and watch other people’s performances.
Katie: Chongqing is so important to you, so readers can feel that Chongqing is a very precious thing for you, and now finally through this novel, put it in the palm of your hand and present it to readers. Most of your novel was completed in London. Does this kind of spatial distance affect your writing?
Hong Ying: If I were to write an Iranian or Mumbai novel without researching in advance, it would have a great influence on me. I am familiar with Chongqing, and I have stepped on it in every place I wrote, and there is no need to do any background research. I’ve been to Kyoto, Japan, described in the novel many times before, so I’m no stranger. When writing this novel, I often think of my cousin who was sent to her home village by my mother before elementary school. At that time, my cousin asked me to come down, and I often climbed up the tree in front of her house. I talked so much to her, such a cousin who is completely unrelated to me and is so kind to me, as well as some of my mother’s relatives, who are kind and upright, and very good to me as an outcast. The existence of these people affects my growth. My mother and I went to visit my uncle’s house and walked on Bridge One. In order to save five cents on the fare, I walked for so long, and every bit of it shined in front of me. Thinking about Chongqing in London, thinking about the time I spent with my mother and those relatives, I often feel sad. This kind of sadness is especially important for an artist, because there is this kind of sadness in my heart, with this kind of love, to write Those who have loved me are very powerful. A long time ago, I never thought that life would be so short and so fragile. This epidemic is a test for everyone. If you meet a person with a problem, you may get the disease, or you may not be able to survive, and you will die. I attended several memorial services online this year. Life is similar to that of a leaf, and when it falls, it turns into mud. The writer’s luck is that by writing the story of “Moonlight Warrior”, the characters in it can be preserved. This novel is the longest one in my life. It is too long. I have to tell the publisher that I want to do subtraction, which is the longest book. During my time in London, I actually did more than just this one thing, I did a lot of things, I wrote the movie script of the novel of the same name, and wrote a childhood-related novel “West End Zoo”, especially when I got to know London again. This city, I started to like it, but I still miss it.
Many of the characters and the silent exchange
Kai Di: Your pen Chongqing particularly fresh, this is not only fresh market street scene from Chongqing, but also because there are so many books marketplace character: students, hospital nurses, noodle treasurer, Shoe repairers, as well as bullies, gangsters, etc., feel like a cornucopia. Can it be said that these characters have accumulated in your mind for many years, and now they “burst out” all of a sudden, beckoning you to write about them?
Hong Ying: This story first has a male lead and a female lead. Their main story is very strong. Other characters ran out to find me by themselves. There are probably more than one hundred people living on Bridge One in this book. They all seem to be mobile. The river water flows in front of me.
My childhood memories are a cornucopia. Everyone in the story talked to me, whether it was night or day, just to tell me their story. I have always refused to write about Chongqing, but this is the first time I have written specifically about Chongqing. Jiefangbei, Chaotianmen, and No. 1 Bridge, all the “river waters” all flow in front of me.
I didn’t expect it. I remember once, when we talked on WeChat, I said that I had never written so many characters in a novel. There are many characters in this novel, and the completion is very smooth and natural, which confesses their fate. My previous books were at most limited to family members and some neighbors. There are only a few characters like “K-British Lover”. It is easy for a writer to write with few people. But I didn’t find it particularly difficult to write this book. It would be more difficult for people who are not familiar with Chongqing or those who are not familiar with that era. When I wrote this novel, every character urged to squeeze in and said, it’s time for me, it’s time for me to perform. When I wrote the first draft, there were no people who wanted to write, such as Gang’s subordinates, and those gangsters didn’t want to write them in detail. After twenty years of changes, those people asked me to explain how they came here. Some encountered setbacks and committed suicide by jumping on the No. 1 Bridge. They didn’t die, they went crazy and went to a mental hospital. Some were robbers robbing the ship, and they all had a bad time, some went to drug trafficking and went to jail.
These characters couldn’t wait to come out and said to me, Hong Ying, where am I? You have to pay attention to me and show me in this direction. Maybe this is what you said, and it has something to do with so many years of accumulation.
Every time I go to Chongqing to do autograph book sales, those readers say that you should write me, what is my story, and if you need it, I will send you a diary. I don’t have to listen to their stories, because they are all in my heart. Chongqing is a person, and I will always talk to him. For other writers, he has writing obstacles. I almost never have, unless I want to be lazy, but I am a person who cannot be lazy. My mind is always active. As long as I face Chongqing, the story will be turned upside down. I just grab one or two stories and write it out. After writing “Moonlight Warrior”, I started to write “Western Zoo”. A piece of the story that came in picked up an experience I experienced when I was a child, and it was finished in less than a week.
Katie: Of course, among so many characters, the most important are of course Dou Xiaoming, Qin Jiahui and Gang Gang. Do these characters have prototypes?
Hongying: Back then, I passed the No. 1 Bridge with my mother. My mother said, “Bai Suyao, your cousin, she used to live on this No. 1 Bridge. She looked very good. I was very good with her back then. When you were sent to the countryside, she was also very nice to you, didn’t she?”
Thinking of these, my heart hurts, because these people are no longer in this world.
I remember my mother took me to Uncle Yao’s place, which was also on the No. 1 bridge. The place where Uncle Yao lives is written a lot in “Moonlight Warrior”, from the road down the very curved and narrow stone steps. Going further to the Jialing River, there is a small stone bridge there. Those people like to stand on that small stone bridge and look at the Jialing River. Those houses are almost all stilted buildings. Crossing a river beach, you can go to the opposite hillside, otherwise you will have to detour a long way to get there. People in this place know each other, which family has something to do with relatives, which family’s children go to the mountains and the countryside, which neighbor quarrels, or someone has stolen something, they have an affair, and every street knows it.
My mother is so important to my writing. Many stories are inspired by my mother. My mother told me the stories of my cousin and uncle who lived in Bridge One. My mother told me about Miss Jiang, a beautiful Japanese mixed-race woman. She said that Ms. Jiang’s mother was very beautiful and she was a Japanese. In the late 1950s, she was sent back to the country according to the policy at the time. On that day, many people sent her off in Middle School Street, with her three daughters behind. Chasing her, the father of the child is among them. She is wearing a beautiful kimono. This image of wearing a kimono walking on the middle school street full of stilted buildings and low-rise buildings has always been in my mind. How many years have passed, one month before my mother died, when I visited her for the last time in Chongqing, she was lying on the bed, looking at the direction of the middle school street, and still telling me this story that happened a long time ago. The Jiang family is a legend. The person who speaks of this legend is my mother. Today, I will express this oral legend in words.
Katie: Among the characters you describe, which one or several of your favorite characters are you?
Hong Ying: I like all the characters in the novel. I particularly like Cheng San Cheng Si, they are the followers of Gang Gang. These two people have completely different personalities. The person who writes Cheng Si is very arrogant. In order to teach another gang leader, he reported Brother Gang. He simply didn’t do anything but went to kill him and surrendered himself. This kind of person is very city, he could have taken a better road, because he killed people, he lost his job, only when the commercial tide began, he left his hometown to develop in Hainan, and finally had nowhere to go, he was killed by this Long brother that year. The person was rescued, and Long Ge cultivated him. What I always look down on is his brother Cheng San. He is kind of messy in the book. He has no big ambitions. He thinks of the woman of the boss, taking advantage of the brother Gang in the detention center, and writes and covers. The two more powerful people in his head were not in Chongqing. He turned out to be a gangster, and finally helped Dou Xiaoming’s hot pot restaurant fight the injustice. This person is better shaped than his younger brother. , Because he has a multi-faceted character and a multi-faceted mind. He has been loyal to the old brother Gang, but finally Gang was lost and was at a loss for the road ahead. He told Ge Gang that back then, I was on the road and was going to let the car run to death. At that time, I fell in love. You told me that as long as you survive, it’s great, no matter how you live. By the time I write here, this character is frozen.
Katie: I like Su Yan better. I think if Jiahui is “Moonlight”, then Su Yan is “Sunshine”. But I think you still prefer Jiahui more, is that right?
Hong Ying: Su Yan was only a character to accompany Dou Xiaoming at first, but she enriched herself, has a strong personality, and has a lot of her stories, especially in the chapter of the Three Gorges, she made me tempted. Compared with Qin Jiahui, she is very modern and fashionable. She dares to think and do very hot. She is a typical Chongqing woman. No one dares to bully her a bit. There is no sand in her eyes. You can think if she meets her. The man is Gang Gang, and he will be cleaned up clearly. Qin Jiahui is a girl who grew up under a special background. She is very gentle and considers others. She also has the Japanese blood of her mother, which is very strange. It is not exactly the landscape that nourishes her, not to mention that she has such a humiliating father. , She is a woman who has always lived for others. I prefer her. Of course she is the heroine of this book.
Katie: The title of this novel is “Moonlight Warrior”, can you explain to us the reason for this title? Besides, who is whose “Moonlight Samurai”? Xiao Ming’s Jiahui? Brother Gang is Jiahui’s? Su Yan’s Xiao Ming? Jiahui is Xiao Ming’s? Jiahui’s father belongs to Jiahui’s mother? Xiao Ming’s mother is Xiao Ming’s? Is it necessary that men protect women? Can women also protect men?
Hongying: When I wrote this novel, Jiahui’s father was her mother’s moonlight warrior, and Gang Gang had been Jiahui’s moonlight warrior for many years. When they first met, he rescued her as a protector. Dou Xiaoming did the same to Su Yan, but Su Yan was the first person to awaken. She doesn’t need anyone to protect her, she can protect herself! Dou Xiaoming’s mother is actually such a role, she has been protecting her son, fighting for her son with the rogue leader. Women need that kind of self-awakening, and what others give you comes at a price. You exist in this world, and you have to pay the price. You have to choose what kind of life. We were born into this world from the beginning, and sometimes even after most of our lives, we don’t know the true face of this life. To read novels and read literature, the reason lies in the fact that we can see the lives of others, the fate of others, and enlighten ourselves. Choice is the most important thing.
The folk story in the “Moonlight Warrior” I wrote, in the book it came from Japan, was told by Qin Jiahui’s Japanese mother Chieko: A little samurai, dressed in red, riding a red horse, walking for the sky, Like to fight against injustices, once saved a little girl who was in trouble, she still didn’t want to live, so he took her to see the river under the moonlight, the flowers under the moonlight, let her see the beauty of the world, and she regained the courage to live.
After Qin Jiahui’s mother left, she and her father could only talk about this story through pen. She later told Brother Gang the story and also told Dou Xiaoming the story. Everyone felt that they were Qin Jiahui’s moonlight warrior and her guardian. Here, I don’t have a spoiler. I like this image of Moonlight Warrior. The images of those samurai who once liked Kurosawa Akira appeared in front of me, how much I needed a moonlight samurai when I was a child.
Katie: The relationship between Jiahui and her father is the most interesting plot. They haven’t spoken for many years, and only rely on notes to communicate. Why did you make such an arrangement?
Hong Ying: The relationship between their father and daughter is for the sake of each other, and never trouble each other. Qin Yuan, the father, controlled himself, because he lost his favorite wife and couldn’t survive for a day at all, but he had to live and bring up this daughter. In order to stick to the belief in his heart, he didn’t go through the legal divorce procedures with his Japanese wife, so he didn’t have a job. He can only be a shoemaker, which is a shameful job for a university professor. If he continues to talk to this daughter, and the daughter asks about everything about his mother and him, he has no strength to hold on, and will break his last line of defense, which is his reason. He decides not to talk to his daughter and communicates by writing notes. When I conceived this novel, I was thinking that these two people are really difficult. For example, he knew his daughter was domestically abused, but he could not interfere. If he interfered, it would make the matter even more troublesome. The daughter thinks the same way. She cannot tell her father, because her father will find her husband, which will bring the relationship between these three people to an end, destroying each other, and the father or daughter must be the weak and the victim. Maintain the status quo, they can live, and live until one day he can give his daughter to his Japanese wife.
Katie: In this silent way of communication, everything goes without saying. Father Qin went to study in Japan and had a Japanese wife who taught Japanese literature at the university. Does their minimalist way of communication have a taste of Zen?
Hong Ying: Father’s silence is in response to all changes. Brother Gang is a little scared of him, and he is caught in his heart. This is more effective than going directly to Brother Gang to reason, how could you bully my daughter for domestic violence. There are only two people that Brother Gang is most afraid of, one is his father-in-law, the other is his father, and no one else is afraid. The most important thing is that these two people are convinced, with a kind of emotion in it. You can see this heavy feeling when Qin Jiahui picked up all the notes of the conversation between him and his father after he knew that his father had gone. The father’s emotion towards his daughter was clear at a glance, and I wrote that I burst into tears.
Katie: In “Moonlight Warrior”, you put the two most important characters, Qin Jiahui and her father, who couldn’t communicate directly with words, through some small pieces of paper or a notebook, and the two communicated with pen. Does this also reflect your relationship with your father? Maybe you feel that when your father was alive, you didn’t say a lot of things, so you also rely on words and your current novels to communicate with your father.
Hong Ying: The way Qin Jiahui communicates with her father in words is just like my relationship with my father and mother, especially my father. I just sat there in one place, eating and doing things, sitting down, nothing. Say, there is almost no communication, that is, there is no verbal communication, but only one look can understand what is in each other’s hearts. When I was very young, my father took a copy of “Chongqing Daily” every morning and looked at the bright place in the main room facing the patio. Because the old house is very dilapidated, when the Spring Festival is celebrated, newspapers have to be pasted on the old walls to make the house feel like a new year. I wrote this custom in the novel. The neighbors in the yard saw it and came to my father to ask for the newspaper, especially the neighbors who bullied me and were not good to my family, also brazenly asked for the newspaper, and my father gave them all. Having said that, my father and I sometimes sit on the waterfront. He turned out to be a helmsman on the boat. He would take me to sit down on the riverside to see the boat on the river. He especially wanted to return to Zhejiang. He was from Zhejiang, but he did not speak. My father and I communicated in silence.
My father passed away in 1999 and my mother passed away in 2006. It is exactly the same time as when I wrote the two books. After his death, I went to his grave and burned a copy of “The Hungry Daughter” to him. These words seemed to be an explanation to my father. Father you raised me. Although I didn’t tell you, I secretly on my 18th birthday. I went to see my biological father, knowing that I am not yours, but you are more important in my heart. Years later, I talked to my mother about my biological father and many family secrets. I couldn’t tell you. Now I can tell you in my words, I love you and miss you forever.
Legendary writer, legendary writing habits
Kai Di: We are understanding the 1990s in London, when we always felt Hong Ying is a very legendary figure.
Hong Ying: Sure, they didn’t say it so nice. Regarding all my rhetoric, I don’t feel it. They say that gossip has no bottom line. Those who like me, regard me as a confidant. Halfway through my life, I only get along with fellow travelers.
Katie: I think the word “legend” is particularly suitable for you. When I usually chat with you, when I hear you talk about your family, neighbors, and acquaintances, I always feel that you are like a magnetic field, which attracts some strange characters. It can be said to be legendary or strange, including your tenants. There will always be weird things in your life. Do you think that God has given you the talent for writing, as well as legendary or strange characters and stories? Or, because you are a writer, you are more able to notice these weird things?
Hong Ying: Thank you God for giving me a bite of writing. I think life is a legend. The essence of life can be seen by some people’s eyes, and some people can’t see it. A very romantic love, a pair of people in a romantic love, they may not have found it, then who has found it? That’s those of us who write. All such legends are defined by our writers. When you discover that I am legendary, you have actually defined me. Defined as a very legendary person, you are already writing about me, in fact, life is like this.
Katie: So, does this Hongying defined as a “legendary” have many stories that must be written, you have to resort to writing to be quiet and at ease. So did you choose to write, or did these strange things choose you?
Hongying: You asked this question once, and I answered: Why write? It’s because I want to eat and I want to feed the people around me. That’s the biggest reason. Of course, for me, writing is a need and an outlet for my life. I have accumulated a lot of energy to transform, otherwise my body will be broken. If I don’t write, maybe I can do another job, but I don’t like it in my heart. I like to tell stories and talk to familiar or unfamiliar objects, even at night. Often I will write down what I dream of directly, it is just a novel. Others need to divide their time for writing. I write 24 hours a day. Once, you asked me how to allocate writing time? Let me do the math. I start to write in the morning until noon, cook lunch for my family, spend 20 minutes, and then finish, I sit down and continue writing, sometimes I write when it’s time to cook at night, I cook again. After cooking, they were watching a movie, and I continued to write. Sometimes it’s twelve o’clock in the night, sometimes it’s three o’clock in the morning. I must get up before nine o’clock in the morning. Actually, I have a rest time and I don’t have much time to cook. I cook fast because I want to save time to write.
Katie: But it’s because you have the foundation to write the story easily. Just like the water of the Yangtze River, it flows very naturally. At least it seems that you write very smoothly and effortlessly. How did you practice these skills?
Hongying: Need to observe life, like a microscope, zoom in to see details, and keep it in mind. Once written, it will be used. I need to read a lot of books. After studying my critics, I will find that I have no formal education or training as a writer. I grew up savagely. Note on the notebook. I read “Midnight” by Mao Dun. There is a paragraph where the socialist Xu Manli jumped to the table and danced. I especially liked that paragraph. I copied that paragraph and thought it would be good if I had written it. I look at Hugo’s “93”:
When the Marquis descended to the bottom, when he finished the last level and stepped on the ground, one hand grabbed his collar. He turned his head. “I arrest you.” Simultaneously said.
”I allow you to arrest me.” Roundnack said.
This paragraph is really good, I copied it in a notebook. We talked about Shelley’s poems before. Actually Shelley is too romantic. He is not one of my favorite poets, but when I was young, I could find very few books. Reading Shelley’s poems is like a treasure. , Copied the entire collection of poems. I am essentially a poet. I have two trainings in language. One is a masterpiece of literature from the West and the other is a masterpiece of Chinese literature. I have read “A Dream of Red Mansions” N times, and I like “Lao Can Travels” the most. I can’t find a book. I can even read human anatomy. I am a person with a wide range of interests. I love music terribly. I do this to eating, and so do I to travel. I have nothing to dislike.
Katie: I have interviewed many writers, and I often ask them about their writing habits. They can say that they write in the morning and read and meet friends in the afternoon in the evening; or they can say that they are night owls and write in the evening. But your writing time is irregular. As you said before, you write 24 hours a day. I remember you told me that when you were writing, WeChat was also open, and you could join group chats while writing. Is this ability to “get into the writing state” anytime and anywhere, is it innate or cultivated?
Hong Ying: I can write anywhere, on an airplane, or in a hotel. If I am going to quarantine for 14 days now, I can write another novel, because I don’t write, I feel that my whole life is not there. Meaning. I saw an article about the Mai’s who wrote “The Conspiracy”. Once he was in a hotel in Paris. Several other writers knocked on the Mai’s door and found that the Mai’s was staring at the window and asked him about you. What are you looking at? He said I can only look outside, and I don’t know this place, and I don’t know how to go out. When Mai’s family went to a new place, he felt that this place was very suitable for writing novels, because it was so quiet, he immediately wrote novels there. I am actually a little bit crazy. I am more interested in the virtual world, although I am already very interested in this world. When I am writing, my family can come to disturb me at any time. After they finish talking, I continue to write. Wechat is always hanging on the computer, I answer Wechat, and then continue to write novels. There is no alternative, the needs of family members are more important than writing. In the 1980s, when I was wandering on the road, I wished I had a table of my own. In my life, I was not looking for a room to write, but a table for writing. I wrote “Moonlight Warrior” on an ironing board because I gave the table to my daughter and husband. There is one thing that makes me happy to write. It doesn’t matter if I am not picky. I often tell my family, can I be quiet, give me more time, and I will write more. Find various reasons for those writers not to write. For example, some writers say that I am going to have a cup of coffee, I want to have a glass of wine, or say that I want to meet someone, or I am looking for a book, etc. They are all looking for reasons not to write. . Writing is to let you sit down, it is hard work. I develop this habit of writing and enter the world I created at any time, and I have music, and I always listen to the same music repeatedly, so that I can immediately enter the fictional world.
Katie: I know that for the past year, you have lived at a friend’s house. You have a lot of chores, and your daily life is very busy. You eat and drink with your family and friends, and help your friends do this and that. It’s not like many writers “I want to start writing.” It’s booked, don’t bother me”. Can these complicated outside worlds give you energy?
Hong Ying: I was destined to be in London this year. I didn’t expect to stay so long. When I went from Beijing to London, I took a suitcase that could be boarded and only a few pieces of clothes. Most of what I wear now is my daughter’s clothes. In London, I lived in a hotel first, and then I got a house borrowed by a good friend. I was naturally grateful for helping take care of the house and taking care of the friends around me by the way. Writing is a person’s business and requires a quiet environment, but if the world is not quiet, you won’t write? I’m not such a squeamish writer. In the past years, I have learned how to write at any time, anywhere. I can connect to the world I want to create, connect to the hearts of those characters, and penetrate into their souls at any time. I look at the country, and the country also looks at me. How multi-faceted and complicated it is, I also write how many faces are complicated.
Katie: Earlier you mentioned giving the table to your family, and you chose an ironing board as your desk. Therefore, “Moonlight Warrior” may be the first ironing board novel. Tell me how this ironing board will be your fancy.
Hongying: Because of the epidemic, the store was closed. When I was about to buy a bookshelf on Amazon, I found that I was ironing the board, so I could put down my laptop. Just prepare for “wartime”, streamline things, and write on a comfortable tablecloth on the ironing board. At home, I wash and iron clothes and do everything. I am an aunt, a cook, a cleaner, and a repairman. I do everything you can think of, such as decorating the house, helping friends decorate the house, and sewing curtains by hand. I do all the chores and trivial things in life, and write novels while doing them.
Katie: On this ironing board, you also wrote a rather weird novella. The title of the first article is “West End Zoo”. Please talk about these works.
Hong Ying: Actually, I didn’t want to write about it. One day it occurred to me that when I was writing “Moonlight Warrior”, my mother had a few very good sisters, and I would occasionally meet them when I was young. I think back to what she did when I was a child. One day, I remembered that she sent me to the home of a person who has no relatives in this West End Zoo. To confirm, I asked my two sisters and they were right. When I was in that place, I felt that the biggest fear in my life was hearing the tiger’s cry from the courtyard wall every night.
Many plots in the novel are similar to what I have encountered, and I finished it in about a week.
I belong to a tiger, and I should write three novels related to this tiger. Now I have written one, and I will write the other two next to each other, which is a long story.
Women, men and flow of
Kai Di: Speaking of how to define you, a lot of people would say that Hong Ying is a “woman writer” or “feminist writer”, more people will say you are a “very controversial writer” . The reason for the controversy is because some people think that you are “writing with your body,” and your critics will say that you shake off the “dirty clothes” at home, including you are an illegitimate daughter, your marriage change, and your privacy. In fact, I think a very important topic is involved here, that is, how to deal with many “taboo topics”. In the UK recently, there have been a lot of discussions about violence against women. In fact, almost all women have experienced violence, but because it is a “taboo topic”, being raped has turned into a humiliation for women, so no one has spoken about it before. I can only admit that I am unlucky. I blame myself for wearing short skirts or drunk. It seems that we are violent because of our own disorder. I think your works, including “The Hungry Daughter” and “The Good Son and Daughter”, have written about these “taboo topics”, which is the so-called “dirty clothes”, about women’s control and mental domestic violence. This “Moonlight Warrior” also writes about women’s fear, physical violence and spiritual control of women. I think it is very important and brave to write these things out, shake out the family background, and let other women have a sense of identity. It can be said that you have made a great contribution to literature to women.
Hong Ying: I think that for every woman, she must face herself, but it is not that simple, that is to say, some people can, and some people can’t. It’s like some women look in the mirror and take pictures with beauty, because she likes to see the most beautiful side, but can’t see the most miserable side. The difference between a good writer and a second-rate writer lies in whether you are introspective and whether you dare to show your wounds to others.
When I was a kid, I would encounter people being bullied on the way to school. Like the beginning of “Moonlight Warrior”, the little girl Su Yan was bullied. On the way to school, boys will ambush a single girl, beat you and scold you, and let you learn how to call animals. Girls in that area have basically been bullied like this. Along the Yangtze River, many air-raid shelters were dug during the Anti-Japanese War. From the late 1960s to the early 1970s, another batch was dug. They have been abandoned for a long time. They are terrifying and overgrown with weeds. Men will rape girls and then She was killed, and the corpse was either left here to rot, or thrown into the Yangtze River. In poor families, we women grow up and face much more survival difficulties than men. Girls should know how to protect themselves when they grow up.
Freud believes that human consciousness has three levels, one is conscious, one is subconscious, and the other is unconscious. Both of the first two consciousnesses are easier to understand, while the unconscious is more difficult to understand. The fear of girls being bullied by men is unconscious. For example, in this novel, Qin Jiahui has an unconscious fear of her husband. As long as he is present and as long as he is angry, she will tremble.
Katie: Many people say that cities are gendered. For example, Beijing is male, Shanghai is female, Joburg is male, and Cape Town is female. Do you think Chongqing has a gender?
Hong Ying: I think Chongqing has gender, Shanghai is feminine, and Chongqing should also be feminine. Women are like water, soft to the bones, and overcome rigidity with softness. When I wrote this “Moonlight Warrior”, I thought Chongqing was very positive, and Chongqing men like to rise! Chongqing men like to play football and watch football. Chongqing women are also like men, and Chongqing men are sometimes more like women. Therefore, Chongqing is very bisexual. Blending in this city, its history is rich, with Pakistani culture far away, and the War of Resistance as its companion capital nearby. Many directors like to go to Chongqing to make movies. The night is completely different from the daytime. The undulating terrain with mountains and rivers and the train tracks passing through the buildings are impressive. You are on the first floor below, but it is the top floor of another building. It is incredible, like the endless stairs of the Dutch printmaker Escher, entering his labyrinth. It is very mysterious. Chongqing is a revolving city.
Katie: Your view on Chongqing is very interesting. Chongqing is both a mountain city and a water city.
Hongying: Water represents negative and mountain represents positive. Chongqing has the power to hook people, if you see it, you will fall in love with it.
Katie: This is the most popular way of saying it is called fluidity. Gender can be changed and it is non-binary. So, can we say that Chongqing is a fluid city.
Hong Ying: It transcends gender. In my memory, Chongqing is a memory city and a magic city. As soon as I approach it, its original aura surrounds me. It is the only real place where I exist. The local accents there make me unable to tamper with, but Being loyal to it makes my language rich and colorful. If you know what is said here, it is full of dirty words and vividness. This inspired me. I changed it and created a new context, absorbing the dialects of my childhood and teenage years. When writing about Chongqing, these languages are both poetic and passionate, like a volcanic eruption.
Katie: Finally, what else do you want to say to female readers?
Hong Ying: At this stage, women can face various global problems, regardless of economy, climate, or major difficulties and crises. But we still have to ask, for whom do women exist in this world?
A woman, do we have to marry a man to prove ourselves? unnecessary. The same is true for men. We don’t have to marry a wife to truly become a man.
In today’s China, I think women have come to this moment, and we have to rely on our strength to prove ourselves.
We may be able to live only this moment, not that long, and maintain ourselves in this moment. For us, it may be enough for us to have such a moment in our life.
In the past Chinese literature, the description of women’s lives was magnificent, whether it was Ding Ling’s “The Sun Shines on the Sanggan River”, Xiao Hong’s “Life and Death Field”, or even Zhang Ailing’s later female subjects. .
I think that the best writers in China are those who grew up in the 1960s and 1970s. They have not received a good education since they were young. Under such a big climate, they have seen all kinds of joys and sorrows in the world. No one has surpassed them so far.
I pay attention to the moment, the moment of women. The moment we give birth to a child; the moment when we give our first kiss to a loved one for the first time; and the moment when we go to bed with a loved one for the first time, and feel the union of sex and love; we Seeing a beautiful flower and putting it on your hand, this very soft and scented moment; of course, it is also the moment when we are injured, when we feel pain and humiliation, and the moment we burst into tears.
I think this kind of moment puts a woman in a space, which is so small in the first place, but the woman uses her own moment to expand and spread it, and then let her whole life go from one moment to another.
Every fragment of a woman is unfolding. As a real woman, when she faces the world, she will encounter different moments, and some moments are truly preserved through memory, through special methods, such as writing or Other creative arts are passed on to a new woman who is completely unfamiliar.