Interview with Chinese novelist, Can Xue, who discusses the riddle of the imagination:
The writer’s task is like boring into the maze of a gigantic anthill, but he cannot skirt it. He knows through experience that only the methods of abstract art, used in diagramming each aspect of the maze, will enable him to lead readers to grasp the “general idea,” even if they can’t find their way through the specifics. This is the fascination of art. Though it can’t be fathomed, it has supreme influence.”
The writing process is “lost in madness”: the author can consider nothing else, and is only able to listen attentively to the voices coming from above. But after the work emerges I can evaluate it.
I make use of two methods. The first is the method of dividing oneself, that is, dividing myself up into every role within the book. Experiencing these roles is a way of experiencing myself. The second method is to “internalize,” that is, after transforming all kinds of feelings from my everyday life, using them to create an emotional story in the depths of my soul. This way, the reader feels while he is reading both that the story is already his own (because souls can communicate with each other), but also that it is an incomparably distant, unattainable place (because it has nothing to do with the realities of society).
When I was at BEA, I found a stall selling some wonderful canvas tote bags. One, in particular, caught my eye—because it reminded me of my dog, Raisin, who recently passed away. He was an old lab when he came to us, and only got older—but he was sweet, and steady, and became part of our family. That was important to him, because his other family left him, and I think he always hurt a little because of that. I miss him very much.