After exploring author (for a giveaway entry), Xu Xi's site, fellow bloggers asked Xi a question in regards to something they found of interest at her site.
by Xu Xi
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Here are Xi's responses to some of the questions...
Ooh, this book looks crazy good! I'm curious -- Vermont and Iowa are a far cry from Hong Kong. Do you enjoy living any place less urban than Hong Kong? And what made you decide to commit wholly to writing?
To Audra: I LOVE living rural and my home in the North Country of NY State is in a village with a post office where everyone knows my name. It's my version of Eudora Welty's living at the PO (her famous short story which I read when I first came to America: "Why I Live at the PO") I love the anonymity of urban life and always will but the countryside is magical. You can swoon over the blue in a forget me not or the sound of a hummingbird. Now that's what it really is to be alive.
I would like to ask, what do think of what is happening to the nobel peace prize winner, Liu Xiaobo?
To Debbie: The situation for Liu Xiaobo is one that makes me very, very sad to be Chinese. I have admired him since he first initiated Charter 08 -- if you've never read the original document you should because it is beautiful in its expression and intent. He is inspirational, offering us a model for a new China. Which is why I'm sad that the Party has chosen to shut him out of the debate, to silence him so mercilessly. It's just wrong, and it's the antithesis of the spirit of the Chinese people.
What is left of your life in marketing in your life as a writer?
To Antonia: What remains of our past lives? A few people, including my favorite drinking friend who is a sort of Muse for me (Jenny -- she appears in some of my essays); a facility for spreadsheets which I use for plotting and tracking novels (and some stories); developing an interest in economics later in life, a subject I never formally studied but years of reading business journals and the like got me interested and now I find it continually fascinating; the ability to talk to anyone about anything, which is what you do in corporate life -- there's actually a greater culture of tolerance in corporate life than in most literary and artistic circles because writers and artists are opinionated, hot headed and have strong convictions whereas in corporate life it's all about being a good team player. Best of all, my business background killed any fear of finance and for the first few years after I stopped working full time for a good salary, I lived off my stock and future trades, something I would never have imagined myself doing back when I was reading all of Shakespeare's plays and Milton's poetry.
Joana Dias said...
How do you think you will be remembered in 100 years, as a writer?
To Joana Dias: In a hundred years, I'll just be happy if I'm remembered at all. I suppose how I'll be remembered will depend on how Hong Kong will fare in history, because so much of my literary identity is tied up with my birth city. Years ago, I wrote my first novel which was an apocalyptic vision of Hong Kong, a city that disappears like Atlantis (the book was never published and when I did my MFA I revised it completely and gave it a less melodramatic end but that version was also never published). So if I was right in my prophecy, I won't be remembered at all unless some archeologist finds a scrap of my book somewhere in the lost city of Hong Kong.
Of all your awards for your work, which one are you most proud of??
To Elise: When I was about 13, I took second place in a writing contest. This was run by a bookstore in Hong Kong and contestants were supposed to choose a book they wanted to own and say why. I chose "Questions about Sex." The winner chose some picture book about the sea (yes, that was lame). I was a little peeved not to win, because the winning essay was pretty but rather meaningless, whereas I felt mine really said something about what it felt like to be a teenage girl with questions about sex. After the awards ceremony, one of the judges, a woman, pulled me aside and told me she thought I should have won because I wrote honestly and well from the heart. That judge's encouragement was the best award in the world, because she made me see that it wasn't about winning, but about writing well. I'm prouder of that second place award than any of the other more professional accolades I've received over the years because that one was when I discovered the most important thing about myself as a writer, that I should never compromise my work in order to win awards.
What great women have inspired you?
To Catarina: WOMAN inspires me in all her myriad forms, as Mother Earth, Goddess, Witch, Mary, Guan Yin, mother, sister, wife, daughter. Over the years a lot of women in many fields, including writers of course, have been inspirational. But then so have many men. IN the end humanity is just this amazing reality of which I am a part, and this is something that gets me up and out of bed most days.
Which of your works did you like writing the best?
To vampireprincess: I don't know the answer to that. Right now, the novel I'm writing and hopefully am almost finished with is the one I've liked writing best, but that could change with the next thing I write. It's easier to say what work I liked writing least, which was my novel Hong Kong Rose. It has been and remains one of my best selling books, but writing it was a bitch. I hated Rose Kho for the longest time which was what made it so hard to write. Only when I could finally make peace with her character could I let her go and finish the book. But you know something, I still don't like her and probably never well. I even like Gail Szeto better, the protagonist of my latest novel, and she isn't exactly the easiest person to love.
by Xu Xi
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Thanks to Xi for joining in the Women's Tales event!