Friday, December 23, 2016

Mo Yan and the writer's wealth of dumplings

"One old-timer talked about all the famous dishes he had seen as a waiter in a Qingdao restaurant: braised beef tournedos, pan-fried chicken, things like that. Wide-eyed we stared at his mouth until we could smell the aroma of all that delicious food and see it materialize, as if it had dropped from the sky. The 'rightest' student said he knew someone who had written a book that brought him thousands, maybe tens of thousands, in royalties. Each and every day the fellow ate jiaozi, those tasty little pork dumplings, at all three meals, the oil oozing from inside with each bite. When we said we didn't believe anyone could be so rich as to eat jiaozi three times a day, the waiter said scornfully, 'He's a writer, for goodness sake! Do you understand? A writer!' That's all I needed to know: become a writer and you can eat meaty jiaozi three times a day. Life doesn't get any better than that. Why, not even the gods could do better. That's when I made up my mind to become a writer someday."

~~from Mo Yan's introduction to his stories collected in Shifu, You'll Do Anything For A Laugh

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