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Air and Rice

I took a week away from the computer and it was very restful.  I’m trying to work out ways to focus more on my writing, less on anxiety and the quotidian, and staying offline was a definite help.  During my week away I read several books, including Anchee Min’s Pearl of China.  The book is Min’s tribute to Pearl Buck, about whom I personally knew very little–I didn’t know, for instance, that she grew up in China and spoke several Chinese dialects with native fluency.  Min’s tribute is part reverence and part remorse–she was forced by Madame Mao to help lead the denunciations of Buck inside China.

In Pearl of China, Min describes a love affair between Buck and the Chinese romantic poet Hsu Chih-mo.  Min’s narrator is a writer, but she says for Buck and Hsu Chih-mo, writing was “air and rice:” they needed to write in order to live, as much as they need air and food.

I feel that I have moved too far away from my writing in the last few years, that I’m too filled with anxieties, “getting and spending,” laying waste my powers.  Air and rice.  I hope to become more interior, return to the written word as a source of joy.  I’ll keep you posted on the journey.

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  • genny from jersey

    You’ve been missed but it’s certainly understandable. It is the joy of the journey that makes us whole.

  • Idzan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

    Even a regular lady like me, needs to get away from the madding crowd. What more you. You deserved the rest. It will energized your creative juices for writing more books which will benefit us readers.
    On Pearl S. Buck, I remember reading The Good Earth when I was in junior high (Form One secondary school, since we follow the British education system) but I don’t understand it then.
    I just bought the Good Earth and re-read it to understand better.
    (I try as much to use the American spelling but sometimes I do slipped, since we are taught English by the British who were once our colonial master).
    But now I love and understand American books better. I can understand American humor and slang and lingo more. Guess it’s because of the influence of your films and TV. Infact our teens are into everything American including clothes and food. Starbucks, BurgerKing, MCDonald’s etc are their fave hang-outs.
    British writers like Dickens, Somerset Maugham, Bronte sisters etc are now scdool-day memories.

  • Hello Sarah, how are you?
    It is a pleasure to your comment on this post. I’ve been thinking about what he spoke of Buch. I have on my shelf a few months ago her book. “The Good Earth,” and his words, Sarah, have urged me to read it.

    But also try to read the book will Anche min, by which I perceive in his words, a good read.

    A hug straight from Brazilian soil and till next time!

    Stella Vieira

  • I look forward to it. 🙂

  • Penny Thornton

    Hope that you find that joy in your writing again, Sara. There’s so much distraction and negativity in events around us everyday. Difficult to cut yourself off completely but good luck with it!

  • Kerry

    Do what you need to do to find balance and joy. That’s my new endeavor as well! Luck and good thoughts . . .

  • I agree with Kerry – do what you need to do to find balance and joy. If that means getting away from the computer for an extended period of time, well, just do it. All of your fans will certainly understand.

  • maude b

    What you need is a second dog! Rather, what I am saying is make time for yourself and the things you love. The kind of writing you and we love will grow from that naturally.
    your girl

  • Have a good birthday tomorrow, Sara!

  • Wow. I have been feeling this for the past couple of months. It’s been especially hard since I got married and moved in with my husband and my step-daughters — they’re a source of much happiness and creativity in many ways, but the flood of the quotidian involved in joining a family after living alone most of my adult life has nearly overwhelmed me. I recently rearranged my work schedule to have time off to write, only to find that I spend my time doing bills or chores — or just too tired.

    When I do write, I’m completely engrossed. It takes me away from the stresses of the world — so why is it so hard to turn my back on those stresses and just write? (hah, once again I thought this would be something that wouldn’t be a problem if I reached a level of success — that the validation and shucking off of my day job would solve all that.)

    If you find a way to steer yourself out of the tide, please let us know.

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