Crazy Tiger 🐯 Writer ✍️ in China 🇨🇳 Part 3: Cultural Exchange
Updated: Dec 29, 2020
December 27, 2019|Book Signing
"How does a woman ruin her life by writing a book?" This was a question that I posed during the discussion at our book debut in China in an effort to understand my family's viewpoint on me writing a book. Being my first foray in publishing, I was so excited to share the news with my family but their reaction was quite surprising as they tried to dissuade me from putting out a book. For two months, I was trying to explain the purpose of the book, from being an emotional, therapeutic outlet, to an artistic and creative endeavor to just being a hobby but no explanation seemed to help them understand why I was writing or accepting it.
When I asked this question to the audience at the bookstore, the responses I received were sincere and insightful and helped me to better understand how culture can affect perception. The first explanation provided to me was that by using such extreme language, my family was attempting to scare me from writing a book as it was perceived as disturbing the collective harmony. The next understanding was that the Chinese culture doesn't necessarily comprehend the notion of multi-tasking and multi-purposing, therefore my pursuit in writing would take away from other things, as well as compromising my success in life. And lastly, since the Chinese culture is mostly a collective one, the path to happiness is rather defined and if one's journey falls outside of this scheme, then it is perceived as incorrect.
So to have our book in China is bittersweet in the sense that there's an acceptance of it despite it being considered a cultural outlier. To see everyone engage with the book and appreciate the imagery as well as the text was so special and comforting. We spent two hours on four poems, discussing the nuances of each word as the audience wanted to understand why a particular word was used, as well as the inspiration behind each poem. What a delightful evening of discourse and elevated conversation. My response to my initial question would be, as Voltaire would put it, that by choosing to be an exception to what is accepted and expected, the most exceptional of things can happen.