I’m slowly going stir crazy from being cooped up inside so much. My schedule is literally home-work-home-work. Ha, I haven’t seen any of my friends because they’re too busy or they want to go out and I can’t go out at all. Oh well, it’ll all be worth it in the end.
It does kind of suck though. The only human interaction I get is from work and it’s so easy to get on each other’s nerves. It doesn’t happen all the time but when I’m with certain people it happens more than others. Also today was the last day of school for the kids across the street so it kind of sucks that some of the customers I like I’ll never see again. It’s way too much effort to befriend another set of kids ha. Oh well, life goes on.
I guess that’s why I’ve been blogging everyday. (Ugh, I’m about to reach that multiple post a day point, I’m sorry, I’m trying to resist!!) I’m reaching out to you all to save me from boredom; and if I spend too much time with my thoughts all cooped up in my head I start to feel needy and paranoid. Like everyone’s forgotten about me or they don’t love me as much as they claim they do. They’re all having fun without me and are relieved that I’m not there. Which is crazy talk! (Right? Right??) Also, I get to whine as much as I want and not care if I’m actually annoying you or not because ~iTz MaH bLaWg (dawg) N iF u DoNt LyK iT u CaN cLiCk da X~
I swear at one point when I was a kid I had a glittery graphic that said just that. Verbatim.
I have been getting a lot more reading (well, more than usual) done lately. Like I posted yesterday I started The Vagrants by Yiyun Li and I’m really enjoying it so far. The way to story opened up I thought I could predict how it would turn out but then it completely veered off in another direction, and when I thought I had it figured out (again) it totally changed tracks.
(As stated in my “about” page, this is not a spoiler free zone. Sorry about it.)
I only read up to chapter three so this won’t be full of major spoilers about the plot and stuff, so yay!
The story is set in 1979 and opens up with Teacher Gu and Mrs. Gu on the morning of their daughter’s execution for being a counterrevolutionary. Mrs. Gu is extremely distraught and wants to mourn their daughter the traditional way by burning her clothes, while Teacher Gu just spouts useless propaganda that you can tell even he doesn’t believe in. He says that with Shan’s death, their debt will be paid and Mrs. Gu replies, “but what about what we’re owed?”
So far, Teacher Gu is trying to not let the death of his daughter affect him but he keeps reminiscing about the past, how Shan got to be so angry when she was 14, fully supporting Mao and the Communist regime but as she grew up she changed her mind and became “counterrevolutionary”. Teacher Gu had buried his daughter long ago, when she turned 14 and became so angry and forgot about all the poetry he had taught her.
It makes me think of my relationship with my dad, and if he has buried me too. Or maybe we just buried each other long ago and now we only visit each other’s graves in private but in “life” we’re (sometimes) cordial strangers.
We meet a second character named Tong, who’s only a little boy who’s living with his parents he hasn’t seen in years. He’s the third child and all his older siblings have moved away so his parents now can afford to take him back. They’re not particularly connected with him, the mother just goes through the motions and does motherly duties but there’s no real love in it. He’s from the country so he gets made fun of a lot and he’s striving to be noticed as just as good as the people of his city if not better.
Then there’s Nini, she’s the fourth child… or maybe the fifth in her family. But she is horribly disfigured so her parents, the village etc. don’t especially care for her. They ignore her completely and she’s able to eavesdrop on all sorts of things that most children don’t know about. This kind of warps the way she speaks and thinks about things a bit compared to the other child in the book, Tong.
I’m not particularly fond of Nini so far… I think she’s such a gross character. Not because of her disfigurement but because of her attitude/personality. I guess she can’t help it because she was brought up knowing mostly cruelty and fleeting kindness that’s why she can be petty or downright cruel. Meh we’ll see how it goes.
The fourth character is a 19-year-old man named Bashi. He’s more well-off than most people in the city but he seems super creepy. When you first meet him he seems pretty swell, because it’s told in his narrative and the way he sees himself but when he interacts with the other characters you see how shady he is and all the lies he spews. He’s obsessed at finally looking at a woman’s vagina and tries to coerce girls to take a walk with him so he can lay them down and spread them. Even when they find dead baby girls or abandoned ones he wants to take one home and raise it. I predict bad things from him.
The last character is a woman named Kai who kind of grew up with Shan. She’s a news reporter now and has a loving husband and a baby boy but she seems very disconnected from her life. Her husband’s utter devotion grates on her nerves (he brings her tea every morning and says things like, ‘wow I am such a good husband, other men must make fun of me for bringing tea to my beautiful wife, I am such a fool’ and Kai’s like ‘shut. up.’)
So that’s all I’ve read so far… pretty much the ground work for the characters and the story’s going to start moving soon. I really enjoy it, the way she segue ways into another “vagrant” and somehow all of these people are going to be connected. The prose is simple but definitely leaves an impact. My favourite passage so far is:
The city came to life in the boy’s baffled gaze, some people more prepared than others for this important day. A fourth grader found to her horror that her silk Young Pioneer’s kerchief had been ripped by her little brother, who had bound it around his cat’s paw and played tug-of-war with the cat. Her mother tried to comfort her–didn’t she have a spare cotton one, her mother asked, and even if she wore the silk kerchief, nobody would notice the small tear–but nothing could stop the girl’s howling. How could they expect her, a captain of the Communist Young Pioneers in her class, to wear a plain cotton kerchief or a ripped one? The girl cried until it became clear that her tears would only make her look worse for the day; for the first time in her life, she felt its immense worthlessness, when a cat’s small paw could destroy the grandest dream.
A few blocks away, a truck driver grabbed his young wife just as she rose from bed. One more time, he begged; she resisted, but when she failed to free her arms from his tight grip, she lay open for him. After all, they could both take an extra nap at the denunciation ceremony, and she did not need to worry about his driving today. In the city hospital, a nurse arrived late for the morning shift because her son had overslept, and in a hurry to finish her work before going to the denunciation ceremony, she gave the wrong dose of antibiotics to an infant recovering from pneumonia; only years later would the doctors discover the child’s deafness, caused by this mistake, but it would remain uninvestigated, and the parents would have only fate to blame for their misfortune. Across the street in the communication building, the girl working the switchboard yelled at a peasant when he tried to call his uncle in a neighbouring province; didn’t he know that today was an important day and she had to be fully prepared for the political event instead of wasting her time with him, she said, her harsh words half-lost in a bad connection; while she was berating him, the army hospital from the provincial capital called in, and this time the girl was shouted at because she was not prompt enough in picking up the call.
It’s kind of crazy how all these little things are happening at the same time and affecting everything and nothing all at once.
I’ll probably finish it in a few days, I’m about 20% into it and it’s certainly a lot better than The Last Madam by Christine Wiltz. It’s alright but the pacing and flow of it is what’s keeping me from truly enjoying The Last Madam. I’ll get through it still.
Anyways, late shift tomorrow because of Good Friday so I’m going to end it here and go off to do some more research about my trip. Or maybe I’ll finally take another crack at my 642 Things to Write About book.
Ha, I have three months worth of time at home.
Happy Easter errbody!
Oh, right blogging stuff.
201: I’m satisfied with the look of my blog, or “my brand”. I made that header myself! Can’t do much about the font colours because I’m not willing to shell out money just to change my font colour.
101: This post pretty much sums up what I wanted to start my blog about so /thumbsup