“On Fridays” from Lovers and Strangers Revisited — my 100th Short Story published! — will be reprinted in Hong Kong-based Cha: An Asian Literary Journal. Cha is also providing a link to my blog “On Fridays: The Story Behind the Story” sending the Story Behind the Story blog series international with its first literary magazine connection. “On Fridays” has now been published 13 times!
A Swedish journalist recites Mao’s poetry; the Chairman’s presence is unavoidable, even years after his death.
It is set in a city “growing / unfamiliar fast,” presumably Shenzhen. The newly rich are displacing the traditional dwellers: “Now / oyster fishermen’s huts have given way to tents, and you know they will not be here long.”
Sarah Brennan, Adeline Foo, Margaret Lim and Emily Lim.
In the September 2010 issue of Cha, we will be publishing essays by four children’s picture book authors: Sarah Brennan, Adeline Foo, Emily Lim and Margaret Lim. These essays are curated by our Reviews Editor, Eddie Tay, who is a professor at Chinese University of Hong Kong, teaching poetry and children’s literature in the English Department.
“Stone Fruit” is one of several brief stories I’ve written in which the focus is on work, on manual labor. I’m interested in the physical experience of that work, the impact of work on the body, how the work we do can literally shape us. Our bodies conform to the work, especially after so many years. I’m interested in the particular aspects of one kind of work versus another, not simply in the idea that manual labor is difficult, that it wears people down. I want to explore aspects of setting and how that impacts the body’s experience of work. The characters in “Stone Fruit” spend long summer days in the sun, and their bodies, their hands and faces, reveal this in deep tans and deep wrinkles. I have another brief story that is set in a bleach factory. That environment has a very different impact on the bodies of the people who work there. Our work affects our attitudes, our thoughts and behaviors, which in turn affects the stories we tell with words. But our bodies tell stories, too, wordless stories. I’m interested in this paradox of using language to explore these wordless stories, to explore, particularly in relation to its labor, what the body knows, and what it can tell us, if we only pay close enough attention.
:::: Also read Bob Bradshaw’s analysis of the poem here.:::::
To me, post-80s is only the response of a generation towards an era. Now we are young and brave, so post-80s implies youth that is intimidating, while youth itself is fearless. The only thing I fear is that I should lose this bravery some day.It took me two years to finish Marcel Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu. In the course of our growing up, we have gradually come to the knowledge that nothing is permanent. Objects fall apart and vanish, people age and die. And so we thought we would hold on to our memories. Yet upon finishing those 7 books, I suddenly realize, not without shock, that Proust’s search of lost time is nothing about the glorification of memory, but the total unreliability of memory. The moment you think you have remembered, that memory has changed, and lost forever.
And so we take photos, in order to fight forgetting. When we begin to forget, we can still rediscover what we have once seen, how much we have loved.
a photobook project by Mary Lee
Just some portraits of those who grew up in the 1980s. The term ‘Post-80s’ has been talked of too much, excessively, so much so that it has become a proper noun, signifying a few descriptions and even criticisms against young people born in the 80s. At once complicated, conspiratorial, critical, superficial, and imposed. Labels have become meaningless symbols. And so now we would speak for ourselves, not with text but with images, post-80s in the eyes of post-80s.
We grow up in an interesting era. With the advent of digital photography, almost every post-80 has a camera of his/her own. Photo taking is no longer something reserved for festivities, nor is it the privileged activity of the professional photographer. One can take a photo just by clicking at one’s mobile phone. Some of us return to film photography, and toy cameras like LOMO, Polaroid, and even pinhole cameras, have become ever more popular among post-80s. No matter it is self-portraits or portraits of people nearby us, we have become increasingly sensitive towards our own selves and other people, and more eager to shoot ourselves and the world around us from our own perspectives.
This photobook is a collection of portrait works by post-80s in all walks of life. Some of them are photographers and artists, while most have nothing to do with art and creative industries, a few are still in school. There are works taken with a wide range of devices, including digital camera, LOMO, Polaroid, Fuji Mini, pinhole etc. There is no distinction of professional/amateur or good/bad, only an assortment of impressions of the post-80s by the photography-loving post-80s. Works that show a daily Hong Kong context are especially selected to illustrate the relationship between post-80s and the city.
Project coordinator: Mary Lee
Publisher: Lee Wan Ling
Release date: July 2010
Price: HKD 90.00
For those who pass it without entering, the city is one thing; it is another for those who are trapped by it and never leave. There is a city where you arrive for the first time; and there is another city which you leave never to return. Each deserves a different name…
Peters Bruveris is considered the best poet in Latvia today: his work has a breadth of experience, global scope, backed by his studies of and translations from Latin, Turkish, Azerbaijani, the Crimean Tatar language, Lithuanian, Russian, Germany, and Prussian. Yet he can find significance in and relate to universality the most minute happenstance, a slight sound heard, the leaping of a grasshopper; and also gives us a taste of what life is like in the fairly grim Baltic countries – the wintry, remote countryside of Latvia, the miracle of spring. A frequent concern of his is Ars poetica, the perceptions of the artist.
Although most of what I write is not direct autobiography, I do tend to start from personal experience. “After Ten Years in America…” began with a childhood memory of my grandmother making dozens of banh chưng–sticky-rice cakes wrapped in banana leaves and layered with mung beans, pork, and fish sauce–to celebrate the Vietnamese Lunar New Year at her house in suburban Seattle. Each cake is pretty hefty and needs to be boiled for almost a full day. When my grandmother discovered that she didn’t have enough room to cook on her stovetop, she built a makeshift cauldron in her basement using a metal garbage can and firewood. Improvisation and all, she won praise for the most authentic-tasting banh chưng in town. This was a huge source of pride for my grandmother, who had left behind almost everything authentically hers when she fled wartime Saigon for the United States in the 1970s. It’s also an important image for me, proof that my grandmother and so many others like her aren’t just victims passively dislocated in the sweep of history. They are resourceful and creative survivors who carry old traditions to their new homes, moving beyond circumstance to remake their lives in meaningful ways.