The Beauty of Expression

As a Chinese immigrant to Canada, I am always aware of the cultural differences between new immigrants and local residents, and of the cultural shocks to both Canadians and Chinese in various situations. Working as a cultural ambassador, I travel and teach in universities both in China and Canada. This opportunity has offered me an insight into the cultural differences and similarities between the cultures. I started to integrate my own experiences of being exposed to both cultures in my writing, and have thus produced a short story collection, Lotus Seeds—Flavours for A New Land.

I have had good experiences with mentorship programs for my creative writing. As an emerging writer, I have a passion for creative writing. However, I have never received formal training in it. Creative writing is completely different from academic writing. Also, because English is my second language, my mother tongue of Mandarin always affects the way I express myself in English.  I would expect that through mentorship, I would become a writer with my own voice but will improve in my creative writing skills of expression with guidance from my mentor, Sally Ito. I also believe that through the revising and editing process with her, my writing will be more acceptable to English readers.

My writing process comprises of me writing in diaries daily and taking notes of the immediate reflections of anything that interests me. I also take notes from my reading of and my teaching of literature that inspires me to write.

If I could choose a writer to write about my life story, I would choose the Chinese immigrant writer in the States, Wang Ping. She is the author of The Last Communist Virgin, American Visa, Foreign DevilOf Flesh & Spirit and The Magic Whip, and the cultural study Aching for Beauty: Footbinding in China. Because she has been exposed to both Chinese and American cultures, and because of her accurate descriptions in her writing about the experience of both worlds in English, I would consider her voice authentic and believable.

As a writer, I would like to have “a room of my own,” which means that I do not have to write under financial and social obligations. I would like to respect my own writing talents and interests enough not have to worry about pandering to a certain audience.  

Ten years from now, I would expect that the book I am working on now will have been published, available in both digital and print format. I would consider it a low point if I couldn’t enjoy the activities around the publication of a book, for example, having a book launch, doing book readings, and attending prize ceremonies, which is what writers are facing today with the pandemic restrictions. I would miss having the connection with an audience. I would consider it a highlight if my published book would have a good readership by its sales and reviews.