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

Monday, December 5, 2016

Interview with Don Riggs

Don Riggs, the Poet-Laureate of this blog, was interviewed recently by News & Press from the Future Fire. Below is one of his recent sonnets posted to Facebook and set for the entire world to read.

Contemporary Realist Composition
(In the Right Now)

I've been getting up around 3 lately,
sometimes having gotten a word or phrase...
or concept for a poem in a dream
and sometimes not knowing whether I have
but writing anyway on my yellow
pad on the assumption that there may be
something I don't consciously remember
but if I start writing and don't wake up


too much it will inform my chance jotting
so coming to the same thing, but tonight
I haven't gone to bed yet and except
for nodding off over my reading, I
haven't slept but I thought I'd write something
anyway just to see whatever comes.