on lu beifeng's works
A Post-1980 Heart
For a time, women born in the 1970s always used to ask me why I preferred those born in the 1980s. I said that there was no reason; because I had been spending more time with people born in the 1980s, it was a sustained progression, and as the post-1980 generation grew older, I had more chances to interact with them. Recently, I was really surprised by “Tender Blog,” written by a woman born in 1987. She wrote, “My dreams are a floating life, and I slept a lifetime in a night. When I turned the corner, summer was here. Perhaps in my next life, I will be that woman who lives by the water, with your name incised on her soul and a beautiful luster in her eyes.” When she wrote, “your name incised on her soul,” the word “incised” seemed so vivid to me. Four pages later, I said to her, “I yield to you; I yield to you every moment.” After I saw her write “incised” with one character, I could not go back to the two-character version; similarly, after I thought of a one-character word for “yield,” I could no longer use the two-character word, because I particularly dislike excess in the Chinese language. I was surprised by the words that this girl had written when she was thirteen. When I was thirteen years old, I still couldn’t really read, but great minds mature slowly. However, great minds did not allow me to mature slowly, because the gentle lords did not respond! So, in order to mature this great mind, I could never be narrow-minded and I spent every day acting the fool. In her thirteen year-old words, this girl of the post-1980 generation wrote, “You wanted to return to your roots. In those years of tapping flip-flops, your former brilliance lit up your life, but when you lie down in your coffin, you must not rest easily. You must think of your roots, even if you never recalled them at any point in your life.” When a thirteen year-old girl uses such harsh words, this isn’t simply a writing style; she has sharpened her words. A knife only needs a bit of a blade, and the rest can be rusty and dull; the only sharp edge left is enough to pierce time and cut open the soul. This thirteen year-old girl did this much better than any thirty-three year-old woman, and she understood far too early that language had the power to wound and to kill, to kill! Please don’t ask me why I prefer the post-1980 generation to the post-1970 generation. After reading the words of women born in the 1980s in China, I believe that they can overthrow the existing order of the Chinese language, tearing China’s decaying words into pieces. They have created an eye-catching post-1980 language, and the texts of the post-1970 generation certainly look old. The 1980s generation are engaged in linguistic hand-to-hand combat. They can be unreliable, but despite their limitless unreliability, they wildly draw their swords, even though they do not want to deal a fatal blow. After another decade has passed, they will understand the true limits of words: If you are not prepared to deal a fatal blow, you will never draw your sword. This thirteen year-old girl continued, “When I moved out, I didn’t tell him. The folder left in that cold, empty room made it seem even colder, to the point that someone could freeze. It was too small, but I was very happy. I gave him that old house in its entirety. I said that you would like the mood, because you can slowly savor it. I believe that I saw the spark leap in his eyes at that moment, so like a prostitute, I left the house roaring with laughter.” She was very sharp, the language of a post-1980 heart. As these women grew up, they have weathered dust and smoke to become very worldly-wise. This was true of the post-1980 generation then, and they are currently being buried by the post-1990 generation. Can the post-1990 generation really bury the post-1980 generation? No! Life can only bury itself, and we soundlessly send ourselves to the grave. I thought of my frantic search with the post-1980 generation, and my recollections of those times suddenly seem covered in thorns, so what kind of nostalgia is that? The words that follow serve as proof. You have said it incessantly and you have said it absolutely. You said you once had it; you once had the life you imagined. You also had this in your life; you had a life you did not imagine. The life you imagined he once gave you, but now he does not live it with you. He does not live with you, and only you can live with you. You living with yourself amounts to nothing, so your every day is a sunset. Your sunset every day is like a flower falling. He once coldly looked into your deep eyes, he once sang the praises of your deep hips, and he once shot down the empty shell of your youth. You returned to your life, but he has already become close to someone else. Life is whiled away in trivial matters, when you fall into the hands of love. The man who once abandoned you is folded in the quilt of another, while you lie in an empty bed embracing the desolate night.