FEELING UNAPPRECIATED AS A WRITER?
Join the club.
During this month of NaNoWriMo, I have been playing usually to an empty house --
my contest with its great prizes largely ignored.
And I've lost another follower.
Then, the ghost of Li Yaotang (pen name : Ba Jin) rapped on top of my head as if it were a door.
"I was born on this day in 1904, Roland. Learn from me. Learn from the Bamboo Tree."
And with that, he was gone.
When he died in 2005, Ba Jin was praised as one of China’s most important novelists, and as the embodiment of a tumultuous century.
He began agitating for change as a teenager, joining the Chinese anarchist group “Company of Equals."
When the Cultural Revolution arrived, Ba Jin became a symbol of anti-social thinking and a primary target,
his public humiliation at the People’s Stadium of Shanghai televised in 1968.
The nation watched the sixty-three-year-old author, kneeling on broken glass, endure the jeers and threats with a bowed head; then they heard him speak:
"You have your thoughts and I have mine. This is the fact and you can't change it even if you kill me."
Years of rehabilitation followed, his new work monitored, his old books and articles revised to suit the authorities.
When once again allowed to speak his mind in a public forum — the following is excerpted from a 1980 speech in Kyoto — Jin had emerged from the crucible true to himself :
"I do not write to earn a living or to build a reputation.
I write to battle enemies. Who are they?
Every outdated traditional notion, every irrational system that stands in the way of social progress and human development,
and every instance of cruelty in the face of love.
My pen is alight and my body aflame. Until both burn down to ash, my love and my hate will remain here in the world."
Feel unappreciated now? Live your own light. Fight the darkness as long as breath and light remain to you.
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