I am attending another Talk of the Stacks event at the Minneapolis Central Library.
Tonight’s speaker is author Anchee Min. Anchee Min runs onto stage and is filled with energy. She is discussing her new book Pearl of China. She was born in Shanghai and grew up in Mao’s China. She was recruited to perform in propaganda films for China before moving to the United States.
Today, Anchee Min’s books are not published in China although underground copies are available. Anchee Min lived for 27 years in China and is approaching her 27 years in America. For Anchee Min, she feels writing a novel is like singing a Chinese opera. She likes to live a life of heroes and heroines. Her motivation is to live as the heroine through her writing.
I have some brief excerpts of Anchee Min’s speech here. (Unfortunately since my digital camera mysteriously disappeared, my ability to shoot footage is more difficult now. I filed a report with the Minneapolis Police Department. The last time, they were able to recover my notebook. As an aside, I have been informed that you can store valuable items such as notebooks and digital cameras with the staff at Safe Harbor. This does not appear to be something widely known. I have entered many times with my equipment, and was never informed of the option until this most recent incident).
The podcast of Anchee Min may at some point be available online. Until then, here are two brief excerpts of her speech.
Anchee Min is writing about Pearl S. Buck. She is concerned that Pearl S. Buck is overlooked. Anchee Min encountered Pearl S. Buck in 1971. As a student, she was supposed to denounce Pearl S. Buck as an imperialist. She did not have to actually read Pearl Buck- merely criticize Pearl Buck. When Anchee finally actually read the Good Earth, she realized how wrong she was about Pearl S. Buck. Anchee Min wants to celebrate Pearl S. Buck.
Anchee Min shares the hard lessons her grandmother tried to share with her about a life of hardship. Anchee felt she was a rebellious youth, who embraced feminism. Her character, Willow, shares many of these traits.
Anchee Min’s past is colored by many bad experiences. She shares the sad stories of a classmate who died of tapeworm. Anchee Min ended up with a tapeworm and ended up with the nickname tapeworm. She also talks about her mother’s turberculosis.
She talks about the horrible mistake that the Chinese make with their emphasis on sacrifice for the greater good. Anchee Min then begins to discuss the labor camps. One third of China went to labor camps, which was the subject of her book Red Azalea. She summarizes the experience. She talks about working 16 hours in rice fields and not even having a bucket to use to go to the bathroom. She had to stand on a board and try to squat in order to go to the bathroom while avoiding mosquitoes.
Anchee Min talks about issues regarding the introduction of Christianity by Absalom (Pearl Buck’s father). Apparently, the Chinese suggestion was to “improve” Jesus with armor and more clothing. Anchee Min then says you cannot find God through formulas.
Anchee Min reads a second passage and has a bit of fun by breaking into Chinese opera, which she almost raps.
Anchee Min also rewards us with the reading of a poem.
Anchee Min’s presentation then focuses on love, but teases us a bit by withholding the love scene from us.
Anchee Min talks about Mao’s cultural revolution and its roots in fear, before circling back to her book. During the question and answer, she feels that western style democracy is impossible in China. Anchee Min says that while Mao’s portrait remains on the walls, the Chinese are now on their own path.
Anchee Min feels that we need to know where China is coming from in order to know where China is going. Anchee Min feels that China fears the west.
The presentation concludes with a short 3 ½ minute film about her new book and the celebration of Pearl S. Buck in China.
After the speech is over, Anchee Min engages in a book signing. There is an extremely long line for books.
I thank Anchee Min for coming and, of course, inform her about the efforts to save Dollhouse. I appreciate the fact that she shared her experiences of censorship.
Of course, I spend considerable time trying to save Dollhouse.
Please sign the e-petition.
Please send emails.
Please sign the Twitition.
PLEASE!!!! Let other people know about the efforts to save the show.