My grandfather's Medal Awarded From the Korea War, 1954 | 《爷爷的抗美援朝纪念章》

Bumps | 颠簸

Frightened, 2015.5.12 | 《害怕》

Frightened, 2015.5.12 | 《害怕》

 

“Little shit, useless! Little shit, useless!”

My father would shout this when he beat me with a dustpan – my earliest memory. He hated me being born as a dwarf, particularly a female one. He didn’t stop beating me until one day he almost beat my mother to death.

 

Patriarchy, 2015.5.20 | 《父权社会》

Patriarchy, 2015.5.20 | 《父权社会》

 

Influenced by such violence in a patriarchal family, where all parents favored a boy over a girl, my brother also liked bullying me. He learned to beat me till one day he was scared when he cut my forearm deep with a scar.

 

Scar, 2015.7.9 | 《伤痕》

Scar, 2015.7.9 | 《伤痕》

The Scar, 2019.10.19 | 《那道疤痕》

The Scar, 2019.10.19 | 《那道疤痕》

 

Years of my mother staying unwell in bed gave me more chance to do farm work, housework and take care of two young sisters. And that somehow made me useful in my father’s eye.

 

Family, 2015.5.13 | 《家庭》

Family, 2015.5.13 | 《家庭》

 

When mother got better, I started school at ten. Things were fine till Grade Five when my Chinese teacher doubted my writing, “Have you copied this from an Essay Book?” I said no. He then left a striking red mark: Whether or not you have cribbed your article off a book, you know the best! 

 

Vulnerability, 2015.5.12 | 《脆弱》

Vulnerability, 2015.5.12 | 《脆弱》

 

My private Shenzhen library built from a dormitory window that liked receiving wind and rain uninvited, 2013.9 | 《我的深圳私人藏书屋》

My private Shenzhen library built from a dormitory window that liked receiving wind and rain uninvited, 2013.9 | 《我的深圳私人藏书屋》

 

The irony was that I didn’t even have a book. To prove myself, I insisted on joining a writing competition, which no one believed I should. In the end I won First Prize in the whole district. I thought that would make people look at me differently, but it didn’t. Their silence was confusing.

 

Confusion, 2015.4.17 | 《困惑》

Confusion, 2015.4.17 | 《困惑》

 

Nonetheless, I kept studying hard and being a good student. This didn’t change until a kidney stone that almost needed surgery in high school made me start wondering: What was the point of being good? What had good writing done for me? Why should I meet an expectation that was not mine? Why not just listen to myself?

 

Be Wild, 2015.3.18 | 《自然野》

Be Wild, 2015.3.18 | 《自然野》

 

Therefore I half listened to my father about becoming a teacher. But behind his back I chose Hainan Island for my college life. This was strongly against his wishes because it was too far away. For days, he didn’t sleep or eat much. At last, he gave me a thick roll of thirty-eight hundred cash and told me with red wet eyes, “This is all I have. Don’t come home until you can afford it.”

Father, 2015.4.25 | 《父亲》

Father, 2015.4.25 | 《父亲》

 

I assured him, “Don’t worry. The school offers a five-thousand loan every year.” 

But I could never tell him that the loan was a lie. How could I?

 

My grandfather's Medal Awarded From the Korea War, 1954 | 《爷爷的抗美援朝纪念章》

My grandfather’s Medal Awarded From the Korea War, 1954 | 《爷爷的抗美援朝纪念章》

 

Owing half my tuition fees, I had to constantly take different part-time jobs. Yet my salary was never enough to pay off my debt. When the time came to register for the second year, the administrator refused me unless I paid off everything. Accordingly I showed him these two things: “Look, this is my grandfather’s medal awarded from the Korea War and his Military Certificate authorized by the renowned General Chen Yi. It clearly says, His family get preferential treatment.”

 

My grandfather's Military Certificate, 1951 | 《爷爷的革命军人证明书:司令员 陈毅》

My grandfather’s Military Certificate, 1951 | 《爷爷的革命军人证明书:司令员 陈毅》

 

“Is he still alive?” He sneered.

“No… please!” I suddenly knelt down. “My grandfather had fought many wars and sacrificed a lot. He had become crippled and deaf, and almost been killed on the battlefield. His greatest wish was to see me graduate from college.”

“Your grandpa is dead. What’s the use of all this?”

 

Sob, 2015.7.7 | 《哭诉》

Sob, 2015.7.7 | 《哭诉》

 

I got up slowly, pulling myself together. I began to make phone calls and borrow money. This made me sick. When I asked for a raise after three years of working for my first company, the boss killed me as a chicken to scare the monkey. And later in the second company, I found my basic salary had been underpaid for six months. What the hell made people do that to me?

 

Mankind, 2015.5.6 | 《人》

Mankind, 2015.5.6 | 《人》

 

Unhesitatingly I quit my full-time job to chase my writing dream. Had I not been framed by a world where the colors are drawn by child abuse, sexist bullies, social suspicions and human unkindness, would I struggle even now to tell the bumps of my life stories? 

 

A Framed Life, 2015.7.11 | 《一个被设限的生命》

A Framed Life, 2015.7.11 | 《一个被设限的生命》

 

I’m not going to ask ‘Why me?’. Because it is not just me. It is a bunch of mes. But what bumps do you have and what impacts do they have on you?

 

Hope, 2015.7.5 | 《希望》

Hope, 2015.7.5 | 《希望》

 

捕获

 

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—Shanghai Leadership Toastmasters Club Still Drives Me Crazy, 2019.10.19 | 《上海头马依旧让我痴狂

 

Related article:Transformations

Last article 上一篇:  Going Abroad For The First Time

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Bumps 颠簸  

 Ashamed or Proud? 羞耻还是自豪? 
Writer’s Block 创作灵感障碍   
My Husband-to-be 未来老公 I & II & III
My First Publication 第一次出版  
My First Exhibition 第一个画展
How Can Art Be Healing艺术如何疗愈 

 


Note: To build a mutual Literature & Art community, Heather has now opened her personal channel (WeChat ID: Heather69) to her friends, who are following HeathersChamber. No cheaters!
备注由于时间和精力有限,为了建立一个互敬互惠的文学艺术圈子,阿太特向已关注此公众号的朋友们分享她的个人微信号:Heather69 。骗子勿扰!

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Heather Cover

Heather Cai is the daughter of a subsistence rice farmer from Fujian Province, China. She tells stories from her experience as one of the poorest. She writes her dream to share with the world, a very personal place. She has now written two English literary novels and is looking to being published in the UK. Her passion is a splendid cocktail or milkshake of word, image, music and art. She likes collecting books, DVDs, papers, stones, shells and leaves. She desires for all forms of natural beauty. She is currently working for Shanghai Taichi Center.

希瑟·蔡太莲是福建一个自给自足稻农的女儿。她作为穷人的穷人之一,讲述的故事来自最底层的仰望。她写就她的梦想与世界分享一些个人独特的亲身经历。她完成了两本英文文学小说,喜欢收集树叶、书本、影碟、贝壳和剪报,向往各种自然美。目前在上海从事太极文化行业,也在努力打造“阿太的密室”,集文学、艺术、文化、哲学和世界女性于一体的个人公共服务平台。

Copyright © 2019-2020 Heather Cai. All Rights Reserved. 所有版权归作者蔡太莲所有

---"The Ring of a Decade", Shanghai, 2019.12 | 《圈里圈外》摄于上海

Only a Decade

---"The Ring of a Decade", Shanghai, 2019.12 | 《圈里圈外》摄于上海

—“The Ring of a Decade”, Shanghai, 2019.12 | 《圈里圈外》摄于上海

 

“You are too short to teach.”

 

---"The View in a Classroom", Shanghai, 2019.10 | 《教室一隅》摄于上海

—“The View in a Classroom”, Shanghai, 2019.10 | 《教室一隅》摄于上海

 

A tall interviewer called me off the stage when I had just given my name. He gestured at me as if he was giving the death penalty. Teaching was the only iron rice bowl that would fit my circumstances. Now what was I supposed to do?

 

---"Teaching Kids Chess", Shanghai, 2019.11 | 《教小朋友国际象棋》樊老师摄于上海

—“Teaching Kids Chess”, Shanghai, 2019.11 | 《教小朋友国际象棋》樊老师摄于上海

 

Days before the 2009 Spring Festival, I desperately paid an agent who guaranteed me a teaching job. On Chinese New Year’s Eve, I took a smelly night train from Hainan to Guangzhou. It was a nightmare. I slept standing against a strange shoulder in the crowd without any awareness. Everyone was leaning against each other, except those who could afford a seat.

 

---"Teaching Kids Chess", Shanghai, 2019.11 | 《教小朋友国际象棋》樊老师摄于上海

—“Teaching Kids Chess”, Shanghai, 2019.11 | 《教小朋友国际象棋》樊老师摄于上海

 

The nightmare worsened when I arrived at a suburban dormitory provided by the agency. There were twelve bunk beds in a room and twelve people shared the same shower with a single toilet. Two days later, the toilet blocked. The shitty water ran all over the place. It smelled really good. No plumber would come till after the Spring Festival. Thus the daily instant noodles had no smell.

 

---"Teaching Kids Chess", Shanghai, 2019.11 | 《教小朋友国际象棋》朱老师摄于上海

—“Teaching Kids Chess”, Shanghai, 2019.11 | 《教小朋友国际象棋》朱老师摄于上海

 

This pushed me to get a job sooner. But they all rejected me for the same reason – my small size and my weak appearance. Not until one month later did I find a school that was calling for half-pay volunteers. I took it immediately.

 

---"Watching Sunset", Shantou, 2009.12 | 《看日落》摄于汕头民工子弟学校

—“Watching Sunset”, Shantou, 2009.12 | 《看日落》摄于汕头民工子弟学校

 

The school was the Migrant Workers’ Children School in Shantou City. It looked like a small factory, but it had a nice cozy feel. There were seven classrooms for seven grades of students. All desks and chairs were blue plastic. All teachers were either retired or fresh graduates. At 5pm every day, we would each carry a bucket of hot water to the toilet and together stand on the squat for a quick shower. Of course, the sexes were separate.

 

---"Observing Series I", Shantou, 2009.12 | 《观察系列一》摄于汕头民工子弟学校

—“Observing Series I”, Shantou, 2009.12 | 《观察系列一》摄于汕头民工子弟学校

 

During the first week, two school buses took us to the three main areas where most of the workers lived. We gave them handouts like a communist would hold a farmer’s hands in the Mao era. There was a fascination in that, on the bus, I was reading Meditations by Marcus Aurelius and, off the bus, I was experiencing a meditative moment of walking into the irregularly shabby tents that were home to them. Especially the moment when a woman bent over the waste digging gold with her face covered by flies.

 

---"Observing Series II", Shantou, 2009.12 | 《观察系列二》摄于汕头民工子弟学校

—“Observing Series II”, Shantou, 2009.12 | 《观察系列二》摄于汕头民工子弟学校

 

This sight motivated me to teach more responsibly and to seek more diversities in life. I noticed that the parents smiled often and the children were happy. I found my students’ neat resonant reading voices tranquilly peaceful. I was totally drawn by these books in Chinese: The Interpretation of Dreams and The Second Sex. Meantime I focused my weekends on writing my Chinese novel – An Oasis in Wasteland.

 

---"Observing Series III", Shantou, 2009.12 | 《观察系列三》摄于汕头民工子弟学校

—“Observing Series III”, Shantou, 2009.12 | 《观察系列三》摄于汕头民工子弟学校

 

Life then was fulfilled with originality and simplicity. I had such complete satisfaction that I felt no ending was needed by my Chinese novel. It was a perfect year of teaching. The perfection nurtured me as an oasis of spirituality. I was inspired to experience more.

 

---"Observing Series IV", Shantou, 2009.12 | 《观察系列四》摄于汕头民工子弟学校

—“Observing Series IV”, Shantou, 2009.12 | 《观察系列四》摄于汕头民工子弟学校

 

Therefore I moved to Shenzhen, working in sales till I quit to write two English novels within four years. I then came to Shanghai out of curiosity and tried to sell insurance. I stumbled into the art world.

 

---"To Be Remembered", Shantou, 2009.12 | 《学生留念》摄于汕头民工子弟学校

—“To Be Remembered”, Shantou, 2009.12 | 《学生留念》摄于汕头民工子弟学校

 

However, my family claimed that I was absolutely wrong. They repeated it during my August family trip morning, noon and night. Their biting criticisms almost crushed me. I had to compromise with the idea of returning to education. Actually it felt more like the sand in my hourglass was running out and it was time to start over.

 

---"To Be Remembered", Shantou, 2009.12 | 《学生留念》摄于汕头民工子弟学校

—“To Be Remembered”, Shantou, 2009.12 | 《学生留念》摄于汕头民工子弟学校

 

Now I’m officially working for New Stage English and teaching international chess at different international schools. Because of this job, I have seen remote parts of Shanghai that I would never have visited.

 

---"I Love China", Shanghai, 2019.12.25 | 《我爱中国》摄于上海青浦世外国际幼儿园

—“I Love China”, Shanghai, 2019.12.25 | 《我爱中国》摄于上海青浦世外国际幼儿园

 

All this happened from 2009 to 2019. It is only a decade. Only a circle. How would you like to begin a new life, if you happen to be at the starting line?

 

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Last article 上一篇: Our Pressures | 我们的压力

About Heather Cai:

Heather Cover

Heather is the daughter of a subsistence rice farmer from Fujian Province, China. She tells stories from her experience as one of the poorest. She writes her dream to share with the world, a very personal place. She has now written two English literary novels and is looking to being published in the UK. Her passion is a splendid cocktail or milkshake of word, image, music and art. She likes collecting books, DVDs, papers, stones, shells and leaves. She desires for all forms of natural beauty. She is currently teaching kids chess in Shanghai.

Copyright © 2018-2019 Heather Cai. All Rights Reserved. 所有版权归作者蔡太莲所有!


Follow HeathersChamber for more original poems, essays, prose, drawings and pictures

关注阿太的密室,订阅更多原创诗歌、散文、随笔、画画和图片

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How Can Art Be Healing

--- A test says my spiritual age is 108 years old and my psychological age 48,

— A test says my spiritual age is 108 years old and my psychological age 48,

 

For once, let me pretend to be that skeptical 108-year-old lady, who doesn’t care about national boundaries, religion, politics, class, race, color, language, gender and age. Pretend that this is self-experimentation. You open up to yourself in the dark. Your body melts into nothingness and your soul wanders freely. If you see your true self floating like a white dot, you might appreciate art. If art is the ultimate lifestyle of human beings, art is universal.
---"Layers of Us", Shanghai, 2019.11.29 | 《层次不同的我们》摄于上海

—“Layers of Us”, Shanghai, 2019.11.29 | 《层次不同的我们》摄于上海

---"Shades of Us", Shanghai, 2019.11.29 | 《深浅不一的我们》摄于上海

—“Shades of Us”, Shanghai, 2019.11.29 | 《深浅不一的我们》摄于上海

 

That skeptical 108-year-old lady is fascinated by anything relating to people, like human touch and human nature. She believes that knowing what we are is essential for knowing what art is, and reflecting on what we’ve gone through is necessary for reflecting on why art is powerful. She also believes that understanding hurt people with empathy is helpful in understanding what healing is, and exploring the true self is vital in exploring how art can be healing. 

 

---The Healing Art Exhibition, 2019.11.16 | 平生第一个艺术展

—The Healing Art Exhibition, 2019.11.16 | 平生第一个艺术展

 

WHAT IS ART?

 

Wikipedia says, “Art is a diverse range of human activities in creating visual, auditory or performing artifacts, expressing the author’s imaginative, conceptual ideas, or technical skill, intended to be appreciated for their beauty or emotional power.” But what do the illiterate farmers and that skeptical 108-year-old lady think of art?
---Sold, 2019.11.19 | 已售

—Sold, 2019.11.19 | 已售

 

Like my father, farmers might say art is bullshit. For they don’t have the concept of art and so understand life more pragmatically. However, that skeptical 108-year-old lady thinks art is everywhere, even in the hands of the farmers. She thinks farmers have been creating natural artworks in all seasons, such as cultivating rice terraces, without learning about art. She thinks farmers lack knowledge but not feelings, they lack opportunities but not talent. She sees art as the unseen turmoil behind happiness or beauty before chaos.
---Available, 2019.12.02 | 可出售

—Available, 2019.12.02 | 可出售

 

WHY IS ART POWERFUL?

 

Someone once said, “Of all the things in the world, I’d argue that Art, in its many forms, is the most inspirational. Art has a phenomenal ability to make us feel understood, empowered, and less alone.” And that skeptical 108-year-old lady would agree, art dominates her life.

 

---Sold, 2019.11.19 | 已售

—Sold, 2019.11.23 | 已售

 

WHAT IS HEALING?

 

Healing is not treatment but the process of transformation: facing our true selves, seeing the emotions and limitations that our past experiences have brought us, and then returning to a naturally happy state of life. Dr. Dipak once said: “When we can uncover our heart and allow the light of happiness to shine, healing is taking place.“

 

---Available, 2019.12.02 | 可出售

—Available, 2019.12.02 | 可出售

 

HOW CAN ART BE HEALING?

 

We all have unresolved wounds or traumas. When we are unbalanced, diseased, damaged or spiritless, how can art help heal us?
---Available, 2019.12.02 | 可出售

—Available, 2019.12.02 | 可出售

 

For me, there seemed always an inner drive forcing me to act. When I couldn’t breathe, I took a walk. When I felt trapped in a tiny square, I went traveling. When I felt lost, I reminded myself to connect with people around me and so reconnect with my self. When I felt empty or horny, I fed my stomach or pleased my body. When I saw a beautiful pattern from a tangled mess, I would smile to add motion to it with my imagination. You might ask, where does such inner drive come from? Well, listen to your inner voice. Be self-aware. Be mindful. Be calm.
---Sold, 2019.11.19 | 已售

—Sold, 2019.11.28 | 已售

---Special wooden box package for shipment, 2019.11 | 个性特制木箱装运

—Special wooden box package for shipment, 2019.11 | 个性特制木箱装运

 

IINNOO GALLERY & ELEVATE

 

Once I had this crazy idea to call for an artist like those who called for a marriage in the blind date corners. It impulsively moved me to Shanghai, where I met many artists from many countries. Every time when I visited a gallery or a museum, I felt safe and alive. When having someone to talk to or to listen to, I felt loved. Gratefully, IINNOO Gallery is like my mother bringing me to this art world and Elevate my father watering me to grow. 
---IINNOO Team @ Exhibition: Infinite Repetition, IINNOO Gallery, 2019.03.01 | 《无限循环》开幕展小组合照@黑白之中画廊

—IINNOO Team @ Exhibition: Infinite Repetition, IINNOO Gallery, 2019.03.01 | 《无限循环》开幕展小组合照@黑白之中画廊

---With Elevate Team @ Exhibition: Confront Abstraction, 1929 Art Space, 2019.11.02 | 《抽象对峙》开幕展上与阿黎微忑小组合影@1929艺术空间

—With Elevate Team @ Exhibition: Confront Abstraction, 1929 Art Space, 2019.11.02 | 《抽象对峙》开幕展上与阿黎微忑小组合影@1929艺术空间

 

December 7th, ELEVATE will be hosting a whole day of events at one of the biggest and best theatres in town. And I’m very happy to be involved.
WeChat Image_20191203002038WeChat Image_20191203002047
Note: To build a mutual Literature & Art community, Heather has now opened her personal channel (WeChat ID: Heather69) to her fans, who are following HeathersChamber. No cheaters!
Last article 上一篇:  My Very First Publication | 平生第一次出版
About Heather Cai:
Heather Cover
Heather is the daughter of a subsistence rice farmer from Fujian Province, China. She tells stories from her experience as one of the poorest. She writes her dream to share with the world, a very personal place. She has now written two English literary novels and is looking to being published in the UK. Her passion is a splendid cocktail or milkshake of word, image, music and art. She likes collecting books, DVDs, papers, stones, shells and leaves. She desires for all forms of natural beauty. She is currently teaching kids chess in Shanghai and serving as Sergeant-at-arms (SAA) for Shanghai Leadership Toastmasters Club.
Copyright © 2018-2019 Heather Cai. All Rights Reserved. 所有版权归作者蔡太莲所有!

 


Follow HeathersChamber for more original poems, essays, prose, drawings and pictures
                                关注阿太的密室,订阅更多原创诗歌、散文、随笔、画画和图片
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My Very First Publication | 平生第一次出版

---"The Undiscovered Self", Sri Lanka, 2015.3 | 《未被发现的自我》摄于斯里兰卡

—“The Undiscovered Self”, Sri Lanka, 2015.3 | 《未被发现的自我》摄于斯里兰卡

 

“Three year olds can play piano, can paint, can sing, but can three year olds write a novel?”
Thus, the B人BEL editor Luis questioned when he lay out his work on editing my short story – Traditions or Choices – my very first publication.
“三岁的孩子可以弹钢琴,可以画画,可以唱歌,但是三岁的孩子能写小说吗?”
B人BEL杂志编辑Luis在摊开讨论编辑我平生第一次出版的短片小说《传统还是选择》时这样质疑。
---"The Unrecognized You", Sri Lanka, 2015.3 | 《未被认可的你》摄于斯里兰卡

—“The Unrecognized You”, Sri Lanka, 2015.3 | 《未被认可的你》摄于斯里兰卡

 

Certainly writing a novel is impossible for three year olds, and even for most thirty year olds. I had no idea how to write one in 2014 when I started drafting my first English novel. It was a call like no other –
“Writing is not a ‘career’. There is no salary, no job security, no promotion, no pension, no guarantee of work, no guarantee that anyone will ever notice what you do. Writing is a calling. If you are called, answer. Prepare for a life of intense work at curious hours, likely obscurity and regular self-doubt, punctuated by periods of wonder that somehow make it all worthwhile.”
三岁的孩子当然不可能写小说,甚至绝大部分三十岁的人也不行。2014年在起草我的第一部英语小说时,我还不知道该怎么写。只是很多久远深沉的故事从四面八方推压着我不得不去释放,可以说是绝无仅有的一次内心的呼唤。(如今庆幸自己这么做了,读个段子再激励一下)
有一天,在公园里·····
女:”有三室两厅吗?”
男:”没有!”
女:”有路虎,奥迪吗?”
男:”没有!”
女:”有7位数存款吗?”
男:”没有!”
女:”那你有啥?”
男:”我………”
女转身就要走···
突然男的说:”我是作家”!
女立刻回头抱住男的腰,满脸崇拜的说道:
“你不早说,写作压力这么大,如此辛若,你还没被累死,一定是个潜力股,这就够了!够了!”
——这是2019年度最励志的段子
 

---"The Unheard Story", Sri Lanka, 2015.3 | 《不为人知的故事》摄于斯里兰卡

—“The Unheard Story”, Sri Lanka, 2015.3 | 《不为人知的故事》摄于斯里兰卡

 

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For B人BEL Magazine #2 launch information, please click here.
有关B人BEL杂志第二期发行活动信息,请点击这里

Note: To build a mutual Literature & Art community, Heather has now opened her personal channel (WeChat ID: Heather69) to her fans, who are following HeathersChamber. No cheaters!

备注由于时间和精力有限,为了建立一个互敬互惠的文学艺术圈子,阿太特向已关注此公众号的粉丝们分享她的个人微信号:Heather69 。骗子勿扰!

 

Last article 上一篇:  My Very First Exhibition in Life | 平生第一个画展

 

About Heather Cai:

Heather Cover

Heather is the daughter of a subsistence rice farmer from Fujian Province, China. She tells stories from her experience as one of the poorest. She writes her dream to share with the world, a very personal place. She has now written two English literary novels and is looking to being published in the UK. Her passion is a splendid cocktail or milkshake of word, image, music and art. She likes collecting books, DVDs, papers, stones, shells and leaves. She desires for all forms of natural beauty. She is currently teaching kids chess in Shanghai and serving as Sergeant-at-arms (SAA) for Shanghai Leadership Toastmasters Club.

Copyright © 2018-2019 Heather Cai. All Rights Reserved. 所有版权归作者所有!

 


 

Follow HeathersChamber for more original poems, essays, prose, drawings and pictures

关注阿太的密室,订阅更多原创诗歌、散文、随笔、画画和图片

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Bumps | 颠簸

---Frightened, 2015.5.12 | 《害怕》

—Frightened, 2015.5.12 | 《害怕》

 

“Little shit, useless! Little shit, useless!”

My father would shout this when he beat me with a dustpan – my earliest memory. He hated me being born as a dwarf, particularly a female one. He didn’t stop beating me until one day he almost beat my mother to death.

 

---Patriarchy, 2015.5.20 | 《父权社会》

—Patriarchy, 2015.5.20 | 《父权社会》

 

Influenced by such violence in a patriarchal family, where all parents favored a boy over a girl, my brother also liked bullying me. He learned to beat me till one day he was scared when he cut my forearm deep with a scar.

 

---Scar, 2015.7.9 | 《伤痕》

—Scar, 2015.7.9 | 《伤痕》

---The Scar, 2019.10.19 | 《那道疤痕》

—The Scar, 2019.10.19 | 《那道疤痕》

 

Years of my mother staying unwell in bed gave me more chance to do farm work, housework and take care of two young sisters. And that somehow made me useful in my father’s eye.

 

---Family, 2015.5.13 | 《家庭》

—Family, 2015.5.13 | 《家庭》

 

When mother got better, I started school at ten. Things were fine till Grade Five when my Chinese teacher doubted my writing, “Have you copied this from an Essay Book?” I said no. He then left a striking red mark: Whether or not you have cribbed your article off a book, you know the best! 

 

---Vulnerability, 2015.5.12 | 《脆弱》

—Vulnerability, 2015.5.12 | 《脆弱》

---My private Shenzhen library built from a dormitory window that liked receiving wind and rain uninvited, 2013.9 | 《我的深圳私人藏书屋》

—My private Shenzhen library built from a dormitory window that liked receiving wind and rain uninvited, 2013.9 | 《我的深圳私人藏书屋》

 

The irony was that I didn’t even have a book. To prove myself, I insisted on joining a writing competition, which no one believed I should. In the end I won First Prize in the whole district. I thought that would make people look at me differently, but it didn’t. Their silence was confusing.

 

---Confusion, 2015.4.17 | 《困惑》

—Confusion, 2015.4.17 | 《困惑》

 

Nonetheless, I kept studying hard and being a good student. This didn’t change until a kidney stone that almost needed surgery in high school made me start wondering: What was the point of being good? What had good writing done for me? Why should I meet an expectation that was not mine? Why not just listen to myself?

 

---Be Wild, 2015.3.18 | 《自然野》

—Be Wild, 2015.3.18 | 《自然野》

 

Therefore I half listened to my father about becoming a teacher. But behind his back I chose Hainan Island for my college life. This was strongly against his wishes because it was too far away. For days, he didn’t sleep or eat much. At last, he gave me a thick roll of thirty-eight hundred cash and told me with red wet eyes, “This is all I have. Don’t come home until you can afford it.” 

 

---Father, 2015.4.25 | 《父亲》

—Father, 2015.4.25 | 《父亲》

 

I assured him, “Don’t worry. The school offers a five-thousand loan every year.” 

But I could never tell him that the loan was a lie. How could I?

 

---My grandfather's Medal Awarded From the Korea War, 1954 | 《爷爷的抗美援朝纪念章》

—My grandfather’s Medal Awarded From the Korea War, 1954 | 《爷爷的抗美援朝纪念章》

 

Owing half my tuition fees, I had to constantly take different part-time jobs. Yet my salary was never enough to pay off my debt. When the time came to register for the second year, the administrator refused me unless I paid off everything. Accordingly I showed him these two things: “Look, this is my grandfather’s medal awarded from the Korea War and his Military Certificate authorized by the renowned General Chen Yi. It clearly says, ‘His family get preferential treatment.’”

 

---My grandfather's Military Certificate, 1951 | 《爷爷的革命军人证明书:司令员 陈毅》

—My grandfather’s Military Certificate, 1951 | 《爷爷的革命军人证明书:司令员 陈毅》

 

“Is he still alive?” He sneered.

“No… please!” I suddenly knelt down. “My grandfather had fought many wars and sacrificed a lot. He had become crippled and deaf, and almost been killed on the battlefield. His greatest wish was to see me graduate from college.”

“Your grandpa is dead. What’s the use of all this?”

 

---Sob, 2015.7.7 | 《哭诉》

—Sob, 2015.7.7 | 《哭诉》

 

I got up slowly, pulling myself together. I began to make phone calls and borrow money. This made me sick. When I asked for a raise after three years of working for my first company, the boss killed me as a chicken to scare the monkey. And later in the second company, I found my basic salary had been underpaid for six months. What the hell made people do that to me?

 

---Mankind, 2015.5.6 | 《人》

—Mankind, 2015.5.6 | 《人》

 

Unhesitatingly I quit my full-time job to chase my writing dream. Had I not been framed by a world where the colors are drawn by child abuse, sexist bullies, social suspicions and human unkindness, would I struggle even now to tell the bumps of my life stories?

 

---A Framed Life, 2015.7.11 | 《一个被设限的生命》

—A Framed Life, 2015.7.11 | 《一个被设限的生命》

 

I’m not going to ask ‘Why me?’. Because it is not just me. It is a bunch of mes. But what bumps do you have and what impacts do they have on you?

 

---Hope, 2015.7.5 | 《希望》

—Hope, 2015.7.5 | 《希望》

 

Note: This is something that I can never feel comfortable to talk to anyone, but Toastmasters gave me courage and strength to make it a speech. You can read the original post here.

 

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---Shanghai Leadership TMC Still Drives Me Crazy, 2019.10.19 | 《上海头马依旧让我痴狂》

—Shanghai Leadership TMC Still Drives Me Crazy, 2019.10.19 | 《上海头马依旧让我痴狂》

 

Related article:Transformations

Last article 上一篇: LEADERSHIP’S GOT TALENT | LGT

 

About Heather Cai:

Heather Cover

Heather is the daughter of a subsistence rice farmer from Fujian Province, China. She tells stories from her experience as one of the poorest. She writes her dream to share with the world, a very personal place. She has now written two English literary novels and is looking to being published in the UK. Her passion is a splendid cocktail or milkshake of word, image, music and art. She likes collecting books, DVDs, papers, stones, shells and leaves. She desires for all forms of natural beauty. She is currently living in Shanghai and serving as Sergeant-at-arms (SAA) for Shanghai Leadership Toastmasters Club.

Copyright © 2018-2019 Heather Cai. All Rights Reserved. 所有版权归作者所有!


 

Follow HeathersChamber for more original poems, essays, prose, drawings and pictures

关注阿太的密室,订阅更多原创诗歌、散文、随笔、画画和图片

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Writer’s Block

---Dancing in the Dark, 2015.7.10 | 《在黑暗中跳舞》

—Dancing in the Dark, 2015.7.10 | 《在黑暗中跳舞》

 

Imagine your head is empty and you are facing a blank wall. What conversations can you possibly have?

 

---Fashion, 2015.5.17 |《时尚》

—Fashion, 2015.5.17 |《时尚》

 

In the first half year of 2015, my brain was erased. I couldn’t read or write. Nor could I communicate with anyone, including myself. The only word that kept scratching my skull was “curse”. You might ask, what curse? What happened?

 

---Torture, 2015.5.16 |《痛楚》

—Torture, 2015.5.16 |《痛楚》

 

It was about my younger and only brother. When we were little, we already believed that the only hope to escape from poverty was to climb out of the mountains, go to a college and work in a city. And we did. He has everything that many Chinese people long to have – a stable career as an official Shenzhen teacher, a house, a car and a lovely child. But he has a drama-queen wife, or should I say, an ex-wife? Honestly I don’t know. They got divorced a year ago and now they seem to be together again. For what? I really don’t understand their love if there is love and their marriage if there is still one. Just like I never understood how she could storm into his class, slap his face in front of his students and argue with his headmaster, just for a Taobao password? Even when they just started a relationship? And how she could call the police one morning when he couldn’t drive her to work because he himself was running late? Don’t you think that is too ridiculous?

 

---Pray, 2015.5.1 |《祈祷》

—Pray, 2015.5.1 |《祈祷》

 

Almost every goddamn time, when I heard or witnessed something, it was all like a chicken fighting against a dog with no peace. How could my brother tolerate such a ridiculous woman over and over? What exactly has he seen that is so good in her? Does he actually love her? Is love really a bitch?

 

---The Dream Police, 2015.5.3 |《理想的警察》

—The Dream Police, 2015.5.3 |《理想的警察》

 

I asked him these questions during Spring Festival of 2015 after she had smashed glasses all over the place. But he kept silent. His silence made me feel that his marriage was a curse. And the curse almost crushed me. I became depressed.

 

---Man & Science, 2015.5.4 |《人与科学》

—Man & Science, 2015.5.4 |《人与科学》

 

Worse, the following month of not being able to write a single word scared me. The fear urged me to make a move. On Feb 28th, the same year, I traveled to Sri Lanka. Like magic, when I was using the toilet in the first hotel, a strange face popped out between my feet. I took a long look. The face became more and more vivid. I couldn’t help sketching it, and made it the very first drawing of my life: The Left Eye.

 

---The Left Eye - my very first drawing, 2015.2.28 | 平生第一幅速写:《左眼》

—The Left Eye – my very first drawing, 2015.2.28 | 平生第一幅速写:《左眼》

 

 

From then on, I started seeing faces everywhere and kept sketching them for months. Here are some of them.

 

---Queue In China, 2015.5.8 |《在中国排队》

—Queue In China, 2015.5.8 |《在中国排队》

 

At this point, I still couldn’t read or write. But luckily I could speak to nature when traveling and talk to some strangers on the road. They mostly encouraged me by sharing their stories or listening to mine. And, one of them actually pointed out that I was experiencing so-called Writer’s Block.

 

---Writer's Block, 2015.4.29 |《创作灵感障碍》

—Writer’s Block, 2015.4.29 |《创作灵感障碍》

 

I started searching it online. The more information I gathered, the less fear I had. Gradually, the wall of my mind cracked. I came to understand the reason why I had this writer’s block was not only because I had depression, but also because I was ignorant of the fear. As soon as I knew what was happening to me, in July, I could read and write again. This assured me: depression is temporary, writer’s block is temporary.

 

---Half Man Half Beast, 2015.5.9 |《半人半兽》

—Half Man Half Beast, 2015.5.9 |《半人半兽》

 

But do you find it easier to talk to someone you don’t know at all than to someone you know very well? Why? Why does it feel easier to chat in a shared taxi when you are traveling together but not looking each other? Why is it more difficult to have a conversation with yourself than with strangers? Are you afraid of a new place in a distant land or more afraid of the unknown possibilities in your imagination?

 

Heather Cover

About Heather Cai:

 

Heather is the daughter of a subsistence rice farmer from Fujian Province, China. She tells stories from her experience as one of the poorest. She writes her dream to share with the world, a very personal place. She has now written two English literary novels and is looking to being published in the UK. Her passion is a splendid cocktail or milkshake of word, image, music and art. She likes collecting books, DVDs, papers, stones, shells and leaves. She desires for all forms of natural beauty. She is currently living in Shanghai and serving as Sergeant-at-arms (SAA) for Shanghai Leadership Toastmasters Club.

Copyright © 2018-2019 Heather Cai. All Rights Reserved. 所有版权归作者所有!


 

Follow HeathersChamber for more original poems, essays, prose, drawings and pictures

关注阿太的密室,订阅更多原创诗歌、散文、随笔、画画和图片

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Secret Love

--- A quartz stone I picked on the way walking from Xiadang Middle School to my home village 19 years ago. Photo taken in Shanghai, 2019.7.22

— A quartz stone I picked on the way walking from Xiadang Middle School to my home village 19 years ago. Photo taken in Shanghai, 2019.7.22

 

You and I have been younger. We were almost as unpolished as this quartz stone. Our heart was little and vulnerable. When we saw a dragonfly, it wasn’t just a dragonfly. It was the whole fascinating world around the dragonfly. And when we saw a face that fascinated us, we might dream about it every night. The charming eyes. The fluffy voice. The sweet smile. All these would melt the ice in the dark. We wouldn’t feel pain when that person punished us. We would feel the joy of some strange connection. We would admire that person’s jokes or even bullshit. When we looked into the eyes, we would blush like a mystery.

 

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--- Sigiriya, Sri Lanka, 2015.3 | 斯里兰卡·锡吉里耶

— Sigiriya, Sri Lanka, 2015.3 | 斯里兰卡·锡吉里耶

 

At thirteen, I had this tender feeling for my Grade Three primary school teacher Mr Hu. He came as a volunteer from a neighboring town to teach us in 1999. Actually, each school year, there would be one or two volunteers like Mr Hu. The school was dirt-built, black-tiled and really old. There were no blackboards or white chalk, but wooden boards and charcoal. There were no windows in the classroom, but only a square hole. And there was no place to eat, but the families in turn would provide fresh food and firewood for the teachers.

 

--- Sigiriya, Sri Lanka, 2015.3 | 斯里兰卡·锡吉里耶

— Sigiriya, Sri Lanka, 2015.3 | 斯里兰卡·锡吉里耶

 

However, the playground was paradise. We would often skip and play the Chicks and Eagle game. Sometimes Mr Hu would play the Eagle. It was then I discovered that he was not as bookish as I had thought. His usually slow movements could be sharp, his usually toneless voice could be wild, his usually shy smile could be bold, and his usually calm eyes could be sparkling. Such a contrast just ignited my curiosity and attracted me like a magnet. When he caught me as the Chick and grabbed my arms with excitement, I couldn’t move or talk. My heart was racing, my face burning, and my eyes were afraid to meet his. When he let go of my arms, I wished he could hold me for longer. His existence had possessed my whole attention, and class time was not long enough to appreciate him.

 

--- Sigiriya, Sri Lanka, 2015.3 | 斯里兰卡·锡吉里耶

— Sigiriya, Sri Lanka, 2015.3 | 斯里兰卡·锡吉里耶

 

One noon, after school, I couldn’t help but stay longer to watch him cooking through the square hole that gave a view of the kitchen. He was clumsily peeling a potato. I laughed. Those smooth fingers were probably more suitable for holding books. By the time I had to leave, it felt the more I saw him the more impossible for me not to see him.  

 

--- Sigiriya, Sri Lanka, 2015.3 | 斯里兰卡·锡吉里耶

— Sigiriya, Sri Lanka, 2015.3 | 斯里兰卡·锡吉里耶

 

Until one afternoon in the middle of the second term, something new happened. A pig squealed like hell during our break. It was dragged along the playground by a mother and a daughter. The daughter Miao had the most beautiful smile in our class. When she smiled, her eyes smiled too. And that afternoon, her laughter resounded through the Fungshui forest beside our school with the screams of the pig. Everyone was laughing, except me. I was staring at Mr Hu. He was smiling and sometimes laughing too. His hand was holding his chin, his face was blushing, and his eyes were gazing at Miao with the same admiration as when I secretly watched him peeling potatoes. That moment, my world turned blue. I didn’t know there was such a word “jealousy”, but I envied Miao. From then on, although I frequently raised my hand in class, Mr Hu would still call Miao. Gradually I lost courage, and cried at night.

 

--- Sigiriya, Sri Lanka, 2015.3 | 斯里兰卡·锡吉里耶

— Sigiriya, Sri Lanka, 2015.3 | 斯里兰卡·锡吉里耶

 

The pain accumulated till the end of the school year. On the morning when he said goodbye, he slowly crossed a stone bridge. When all the classmates had left, he turned his head with a smile that broke my heart, waving his hand for me to go home. I smiled back, one hand covering my mouth and the other waving goodbye. He moved on and never looked back. I watched him disappear into the distance. Tears flooded my face. I knew I might never see him again.

 

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Was it secret love? What was the most nostalgic story from your school life? Have you ever had hopeless love for someone even if you knew that person would never love you back? What if you could meet your secret love again?

 

--- Spring Picnic in Grade Three primary school (1999). Total sixteen students, six from a nearby village. My young brother and I were in the same class till Grade Two in middle school. And I did meet Mr Hu again when I graduated from high school in 2006. That was anoher story.

— Spring Picnic in Grade Three primary school (1999). Total sixteen students, six from a nearby village. My young brother and I were in the same class till Grade Two in middle school. And I did meet Mr Hu again when I graduated from high school in 2006. That was anoher story.

 

About Heather Cai:

 

Heather is the daughter of a subsistence rice farmer from Fujian Province, China. She tells stories from her experience as one of the poorest. She writes her dream to share with the world, a very personal place. She has now written two English literary novels and is looking to being published in the UK. Her passion is a splendid cocktail or milkshake of word, image, music and art. She likes collecting books, DVDs, papers, stones, shells and leaves. She desires for all forms of natural beauty. She is currently living in Shanghai and serving as Sergeant-at-arms (SAA) for Shanghai Leadership Toastmasters Club.

Copyright © 2018-2019 Heather Cai. All Rights Reserved. 所有版权归作者所有!


Follow HeathersChamber for more original poems, essays, prose, drawings and pictures

关注阿太的密室,订阅更多原创诗歌、散文、随笔、画画和图片

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Shanghai Leadership Toastmasters Club Drives Me Crazy

--- My home village, Fujian, 2015.12 | 家乡福建

— My home village, Fujian, 2015.12 | 家乡福建

 

When I was little, the only time the parents could talk to their children was when they returned home from the rice fields. But at the table, we were not allowed to talk. And away from the table, the parents would be busy farming. They slept early and got up very early. All the year round, there was always something to occupy their hands and their minds. Therefore, we hardly had a conversation. Our home dialect was mostly built around a very basic daily life. And our emotional dialogue was through eyes or in silence, not words. Still I can only speak half the language, and cannot communicate well with my family. So you know I was never much of a talker.

 

--- My auntie's dishes in my home village, 2015.12 | 老家婶婶的拿手菜

— My auntie’s dishes in my home village, 2015.12 | 老家婶婶的拿手菜

 

Luckily I could play with words in my diaries and talk to my imaginary friends. But this didn’t help me build communication skills with real people in real situations. There would always be a barrier or a gap. Even four or five years ago, an English friend told me on the street, “Hey! I can’t hear you if you talk with your back to me.”

 

--- My home village, Fujian, 2015.12 | 家乡福建

— My home village, Fujian, 2015.12 | 家乡福建

 

I know it was a sign of my inferiority. My weakness. Until tonight, I’m going to share with you how SH Leadership TMC has made me confident and drives me crazy. It’s the people, the people and the people.

 

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— My very first time in Shanghai Leadership TMC, 2018.8 | 首次接触上海头马

 

Most of my life I was discouraged from speaking – like one interviewer who interrupted my self-introduction, saying that I was too short to be a teacher. But when I first stood on this stage, it wasn’t that scary. In fact, I felt welcomed to be recognized with nice people, including that night’s Sharing Master Steve.

 

--- My very first time on the stage, 2018.8 | 首次站上海头马演讲台上

— My very first time on the stage, 2018.8 | 首次站上海头马演讲台上

 

After joining several times, I observed that there are many great people in this club. Not only speakers and leaders but also guests. I decided to become a member so that I would have more chances to learn. My positive-change intention then was just to make one proper speech, as simple as that. And I did my icebreaker speech Transformations. It was poetic as the most handsome president Brian evaluated, but it was disconnected from the audiences as I made no eye contact at all. This was assured by Michelle Wu, who evaluated my second speech Aftertaste and told me, “Novel language is all about liberating the soul of the author, while public speaking is about making an instant connection with different souls.”

 

--- The evaluator, Brian Pippard, Shanghai, 2019.1 | 点评人Brian Pippard

— The evaluator, Brian Pippard, Shanghai, 2019.1 | 点评人Brian Pippard

--- The evaluator, Michelle Wu, Shanghai, 2019.2 | 点评人Michelle Wu

— The evaluator, Michelle Wu, Shanghai, 2019.2 | 点评人Michelle Wu

 

That was really useful to me, and I took all the feedback seriously. As Suhail once suggested, “Your speech is too much like a speech. Your mind is framed by the concept of speech. You should jump out of the box, and talk to the audience instead of yourself.”

 

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--- My home village, Fujian, 2015.12 | 家乡福建

— My home village, Fujian, 2015.12 | 家乡福建

 

Believe me, it was hard. But I tried hard too. And what Alvin emphasized about the purpose of a speech opened a window for me. I had only grasped half the meaning of a speech. What is speech? Speech is the communication or expression of thoughts and ideas in spoken words. I knew expressing my feelings on the stage is just like talking to my imaginary friends in a diary. But how about communicating ideas or interacting with you?

 

--- My home village, Fujian, 2015.12 | 家乡福建

— My home village, Fujian, 2015.12 | 家乡福建

 

This is something I wanted to learn. And later, I understood that it’s not just about a speech, not just about me. It’s about me becoming one of you, one of us. We are not only guests in this room or members of this community, but also real people who would influence or empower the others. I never thought I would connect with you in this way. But you know what? This enthusiasm or motivation of mine is not originally mine. It is yours. You make me crazy. Thank you to all the leaders of this club, and to all of you lovely people. Thank you all for driving me crazy.

 

About Heather Cai:

 

Heather is the daughter of a subsistence rice farmer from Fujian Province, China. She tells stories from her experience as one of the poorest. She writes her dream to share with the world, a very personal place. She has now written two English literary novels and is looking to being published in the UK. Her passion is a splendid cocktail or milkshake of word, image, music and art. She likes collecting books, DVDs, papers, stones, shells and leaves. She desires for all forms of natural beauty. She is currently living in Shanghai and serving as Sergeant-at-arms (SAA) for Shanghai Leadership Toastmasters Club.

Copyright © 2018-2019 Heather Cai. All Rights Reserved. 所有版权归作者所有!


Follow HeathersChamber for more original poems, essays, prose, drawings and pictures

关注阿太的密室,订阅更多原创诗歌、散文、随笔、画画和图片

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大学城 | A Square Well In College

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—All my early Chinese writings are buried in this notebook, including a Chinese novel without a “happy” ending and this prose written on November 30th, 2008. 

—所有早期汉语作品都埋在这里了,今天挖出来分享一下08年汶川大地震发生后,个人对时间、生命和梦想的萌萌领悟。

 

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—海南琼台师范大学(旧校区),摄于2011年5月 

—No camera, no smart phone, no pics to share before 2010. This photo of my campus in Hainan Island was taken in May 2011. 

 

穿过一片田地,沿着一条公路,渐渐地,宽阔的道路,耸起的高楼,闲散的人流,就在这片黄土山坡上的大学城中,一一映入眼帘。

不论何时何地,我都喜欢凝望大学城的天空。很多时候,它是那么的澄澈,明净;湛蓝湛蓝的,飘着几朵雪白的云。看着看着,感觉好像在某个起风的冬日,喝下一口热乎乎的薄荷茶,清清的,爽爽的,叫人心旷神怡,从头到脚都是新的。

 

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—Photo taken in Haikou, May 2011 | 图片摄于海口,2011.5

 

但是,它也有黯然失色的时候。只是,它不像那些城市污染的天空,那般浑浊。没有太阳出现的天空,是灰色的,阴暗的,寂寞的,无奈的;犹如蒙上了一层神秘的黑面纱,时不时地露出一缕神色不定的日光。

有好几个黄昏,大学城的天空异常美丽壮观,仿佛海平线上的夕阳,火红火红的一片,斜照在宿舍楼的某个高处。我定定地望着它,那扣人心弦的一幕,好似盛开在丛林中一朵艳丽夺目的山茶花。

恍过神来,和朋友一起出去散散步,吹吹风,大学城的夜景一样迷人。尤其是那条“美食街”:人们买的买,卖的卖,摆的摆,逛的逛;拥挤的过道只容得下一个人,繁忙的景象一到这个时候,几乎都不曾休闲过。同学们三三两两,成群结队的,蜂拥而至。一波走了,另一波又来了。只有我这双呆滞的目光停留在来来往往的人群中,总想摸索点什么。

 

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—Photo taken in Sanya, May 2011 | 图片摄于三亚,2011.5

 

渐渐地,天要更衣了。披上一层时而明朗,时而朦胧,时而暗淡的月光。笼罩在人来人往的人流中,拖出一条条忽长忽短、若隐若现的影子。我总觉得,人好小,影子好长,好模糊,甚至怀疑那地上的影子到底是不是自己的。

我很不确定。一个人踱着细碎的脚步漫不经心地朝宿舍的方向走去。

大学城的宿舍,像一个古色古香的四合院。你看着对面的人,对面的人也在看着你;无劲,无聊;闭塞的氛围,只有一个小门口可以出去透透气,一个四围的天窗可以看看天。怎么,就像是坐井观天?

 

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—Photo taken in Sanya, May 2011 | 图片摄于三亚,2011.5

 

夜渐渐深了,人却静不下来。从前,一楼地男生有个专门的乐队,其中一个男生挽着一部吉他,深情地哼着一道道青春挽歌,流出一丝丝校园纯情,夹杂着一抹抹绵绵哀伤,隔如一层淡淡的红豆香。

汶川大地震发生后的一个夜晚,大伙手捧一根根蜡烛,烛光一晃一晃的,像是一盆水在阳光的照耀下,反射在墙壁上,形成一道触目惊心的光和影。生命的脆弱,在光和影的荡漾中不断跳跃,挣扎。一旦将毛巾轻轻地放入水中,缓缓地浸湿,那个跳动的影子便渐渐地消失,渐渐地不见了。留给人的只有一抹忧伤的记忆。心也慢慢地往下沉,深入生命的漩涡。但我们都知道,祈祷完了,还得记得祝福明天。

 

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—Photo taken in Sanya, May 2011 | 图片摄于三亚,2011.5

 

夜很深很深,人也很静很静的时候,只有不眠的昆虫在鸣叫,偶尔有情侣在调情。但更多的是,野性的呼唤!人心惶惶的我,总会在噩梦中被惊醒。

天刚破晓,回荡在大学城的上空,几乎每天都是同样的几个调。而我每次都会在这样的背景音乐中,心揪得好痛好痛。不管那音乐的调调是喜是悲,节奏是快是慢,我的心都是悬着的。躺,躺不下;坐,坐不住;傻傻的,发着呆;时间,就这样在一阵冥想中悄悄地流逝了。于是,我再也不敢躺,不敢坐,不去发呆,也不愿去想。洗刷完之后,粗粗的整理一下书本,就匆匆地往食堂奔去了。

那是头一回,我在冥冥之中感到时间的仓促,生命的短暂。我想,是时候该做点该做的事了。

 

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—Photo taken in Sanya, May 2011 | 图片摄于三亚,2011.5

 

在这片蓝蓝的天空下,在这个小小的大学城中,我曾深深地感触到人情的冷漠和疏远,世俗的讥讽,官僚的腐败,思想的堕落,人性的腐化。未来等待我的是残酷的面试,“由衷”的失业。我一直在想,在苦苦地思想着,到底要干什么好。到底要往哪去放飞我的梦想?

 

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—Photo taken on the ship back to Shenzhen, May 2011 | 图片摄于回深圳的轮船上,2011.5

 

庆幸的是,身边还有位知心朋友,可以倾诉倾诉。虽然,我们的思想大不相同,甚至相反,但不冲突。她让我在茫茫之中大彻大悟:要做就做一个“思想着”的人,而不是一个单纯的“冥想者”。


Follow HeathersChamber for more original poems, essays, prose, drawings and pictures

关注阿太的密室,订阅更多原创诗歌、散文、随笔、画画和图片

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Transformations

The Dying, The Dead and The Rotten

The Dying, The Dead and The Rotten! (Picture taken in Fujian, 2015.12)

 

A kidney stone that almost caused surgery in high school, somehow, enlightened me to wonder: what is the point of being a good student? A month break with painful injections everyday, that gave me time to reflect on what was really good. When I returned to the classroom, as a monitor, not only did I lose patience and interest in listening to the teacher but felt vulnerable disciplining the “bad” boys. Worse, at night I came to play majhong with them and in the day, I became the best enemy of all the teachers. One afternoon, furiously, the math teacher told me to leave. I did. But before I did, I torn the whole math textbook into pieces and threw them in the air. Since then, I gained a reputation of changing from a good student to a bad student.

 

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Drawn by a vivid fantasy of the sea, I started my college life in Hainan and was given a name Katie when working part-time for an international hostel. I wandered wastefully throughout the first two years, till I met a Mongolian painter who mentioned Simone de Beauvoir to me. I began to read Henry Miller and William Faulkner. Then everything became crystal clear, and spiritually I named myself Beauvior.

 

The Maze

Trying to find a way through the maze in colors…

 

Alas, after graduation, the monotony of working as a wage slave, doomed me to a fatal swirl. I couldn’t read or write, but spend every Saturday afternoon in a KTV box, brewing the aftertaste of a dark film Quills about Marquis de Sade, which blended me into a wild fermentation. And that inspired me to flip Pearl into Qearl, as my personal name.

 

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Three years later, something unexpected happened. I quit my full-time job on impulse and started traveling as well as chasing my dream. After four years of writing two English novels under a finally official name Heather, I moved to Shanghai on December 12th,2017. Like a twist, I joined MetLife Insurance company. To my surprise, the person who rejected my very first job application in Shanghai, contacted me last Sunday to work for an art gallery. Without any art background, I’m now stumbling into the art field.

 

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Life is transformations, and I have been transformed.