The Sharing Salon of Standing inside Fiction: Images of Bi Feiyu was held in Nanjing
Dec 19, 2023
The famous writer Bi Feiyu has his first image set. On June 26th, Bi Feiyu image exhibition Standing inside Fiction: Images of Bi Feiyu was held in Nanjing Cafe Belong Literacy Cafe. Bi Feiyu participated with authors of the book, famous literature reviewer couple Xiaohua and Wang Zheng. In a certain sense, this image set is all about Bi Feiyu, his detailed biography with images and texts. Authors of this book are critics who have maintained 30 years of literature communications and friendships with Bi Feiyu. This luxurious squad has undoubtedly attracted a large group of readers.
Bi Feiyu was sharp-minded and high spirited, Xiaohua was gentle and smart, Wang Zheng was learned and polite. These guests have very different personalities. Bi Feiyu humorously said to readers, once the image set got published, his friends congratulated him for finally having a “photo album”.
The “photo album” is indeed realistic, in fact, even with journalists’ sincere request, Bi Feiyu rarely purposely posed for photos, especially pretended to write in front of the desk. For him, that is nothing but fake acting. According to the main author of Standing among Fiction: Bi Feiyu Image Set Xiaohua, the book has selected approximately 100 pictures. These pictures are not very professional; they do not necessarily follow the composition rule. However, they humbly recorded every meaningful moment of Bi Feiyu’s life. These pictures have connected Bi Feiyu’s daily life and creation tracks over the past decades. “Every picture has a story behind it, and every light and shadow reflected my life. Thankfully, in this book about me, I have found myself again.”Bi Feiyu said.
A lot of precious pictures from the book are novel, touching and exciting to readers. The photo Bi Feiyu wore a striped shirt was taken in Xinghua county (Bi Feiyu’s hometown). The photo captured the image of this sentimental young man from Northern part of Jiangsu. A working licence of Nanjing Normal College Of Special Education with the written text of ‘Bi Feiyu, teacher, No.152, Luosiqiao Street’; this working experience is also a foreshadowing of his novel Massage, the first of literature work in Jiangsu won‘Mao Dun Literature Prize’. In one photo, he wore a red jacket with his toddler son, and they were smiling at each other, this picture has reviewed this literature master as a loving father. The gathering with Ye Zhaoyan and Su Tong in the very southern part of China or the casual photo with Mo yan and Chu Fujin has reflected the unique spiritual dispositions of temporary literature masters. This book also collected two pictures taken by a French photographer for Bi Feiyu, in the photo titled ‘uncountable texts thrown away’, Bi Feiyu kneaded discarded drafts into balls and threw them to the camera. However, with the careful guidance of the photographer; we cannot really see his fatigue and anxiety from this photo; this photo showed the confidence of an internationalized writer of Jiangsu instead.
From the perspective of Bi Feiyu, Xiaohua and Wang Zheng are the most suitable authors of this image set. Not only because of their professions as critics, but also their long-term literary communication. Since they published their first co-authored literature comments on ‘temporary literature world’ in 1985. This ‘reviewer couple’ always keep their eyes on contemporary writers, Bi Feiyu especially; they have written over 20 commenting essays over the past years. Wang Zheng recalled; the communication system was not very developed in comparison with nowadays. As literature reviewers living in a small town, they maintained communications with writers via written letters. He still remembers, in the past, Bi Feiyu took almost 5-hour train to Rugao county to visit them, and they only talked about literature during that visit.
“The open communication relationship I maintained with critics is very good for my mental growth.”said Bi Feiyu. As critics, Xiaohua and Wang Zhen couple’s “sense of presence” impressed him a lot. “They started paying attention to me since I published my first work Isolated Island. We have hours of conversations every time we meet; all of us are familiar with new works that just published on literature magazines, none of us ever ‘left alone’ during the conversations; we never talk about things other than literature. In the most sincere, beautiful youth age and literature space, our daily lives are ‘professional’ lives.”
With the intertextuality between images and texts, Xiaohua and Wang Zheng, in the book Standing inside Fiction: Images of Bi Feiyu combined essay style of writing with the academic style of writing to narrate Bi Feiyu’s creation track, theme focus and the realistic meaning behinds his works. They also found and recorded a lot of unknown stories. They preciously rebuilt the close relationships between the writer and the world.
Just as the book stated, the inspiration of novel Candy Floss in Rainy Day came from a wife who is despised by her husband; it’s a story about sacrifices and glories on battlefields. The real-life brought him the idea to write this novella about everyday people’s tragic lives. Three Sisters (Chinese name is Corn), the work which won the Luxun Literature Prize was from a flash of trembling inspiration since ‘corn’ was a word that brought a series of vigorous images to his minds. Therefore, Bi Feiyu has explained his understanding regarding ‘literature happening’. “I can write a novel within a dozen of seconds.” Without doubts, apart from these dozens of seconds, this writer has ‘squeezed out his entire life’ with difficulties.
The book has also included some interesting photos and details. For example, the 100-day baby picture of Bi Feiyu, and the authors thought he was not willing to share this photo. The photo of Bi Feiyu wore a short with naked arms was also included; Bi Feiyu was skinny by then; he did not look like a great writer. The book also mentioned his bodybuilding hobby. “As a result of fitness, he is quite muscular; for a while, he loves wearing singlets, that’s a chance for him to show off his muscles.” In many occasions, Bi Feiyu does not mind expressing the true self, and he is proud of himself for that; the most precious thing of personality is pride. “I’d like to keep the rebel-self inside my heart; it makes me unique.”
Show them real me. That’s the only request from Bi Feiyu to Xiaohu and Wang Zheng. Therefore, in this book, from a reliable perspective, readers can see an outstanding writer entrust himself to history and time. They can genuinely sense the hazy time and grand world behind these classical literature texts, also the way he lives, the way he writes.