10.11

和L住在一起有兩個月了。確切地說,從六月開始他已經把家搬過來,直到八月我從以色列回來,才算是正式同居了。之前的幾個禮拜,他住在我的公寓裡,週末偶爾回去除草,並一點點把東西搬過來。給我的植物澆水。趁我不在把襯衫一件件掛進我的衣櫥。每天給我打一個多小時的電話,不管時差是六個小時還是十二個小時,在四川,在嘉興,在以色列,在巴勒斯坦。在內蓋夫沙漠,在長江水上,也在耶路撒冷的青旅,一日遊的麵包車上,隔著電話跟他偷偷做愛。

因為一起看電影而相識,後來第一次單獨約會便去看了《地球上最後的夜晚》。Night on earth. 第二天便去城裡參加同志遊行,隨著熱烈歡慶的人群,走了很長很長的路,碰到貓貓狗狗便羨慕地停下腳步。一起吃了早飯,又停下來喝咖啡,午飯在一個可以看見遊行的cafe吃了三明治。於是不到中午便一起吃了三餐。後來一切水到渠成。

我好像並不擅於描寫順利了的戀情。從前寫的豆瓣日記,博客文章,大多只是借以從損耗的糾纏和無意義的遊戲中暫時脫身。L也看過我絕大多數寫的東西,並沒有介意。為此我十分感動。想要寫作這件事情,他是一開始就知道的。認識他時我正在上創意寫作課的夏校,第一次摩拳擦掌試圖用英文寫小說,並惴惴不安。我不會寫故事。可是也沒有什麼人會。但畢竟讀了那麼多別人寫的小說,我只想看看這是怎麼一回事而已。後來總算完成了一篇東西,還拿到了給分嚴格老師的不錯的成績,可我把寫的東西裝進抽屜裡了,再也沒有看過,也沒有給朋友看。L也沒有。

豆瓣倒了一個星期,卻逼我重新開始寫博客了。和L住到一起後,一個人的時間變少了,但我並無怨言。很短的時間裡花了很多錢,一起去買了新床墊,新沙發,我還給自己買了一個新的可升降工作桌。買了床,本來沒有床。扔掉了不少大件的舊傢俱,把家裡騰出地方來這隻新住進來的小貓咪。

兩個月裡間花了很多時間做飯,買菜,在廚房裡煮咖啡,洗碗。香港的新聞跟我們的戀情同時發展,真是一個馬不停蹄的迅猛的夏天。回家有一個好處是,本來花在電話上的時間都花到了床上。以及吃飯時間和消極怠工的週末,看了很多很多電影。

變成胸無大志的女人了。世界正在不斷縮小的檔口,因為缺乏議政能力而只能在家研究做些什麼好吃的了。也許就能多請朋友來家裡吃飯喝酒了。

5.25

如此窒息的痛苦還是很少見的。我翻遍了sportify,也沒有找到足夠強的音樂可以讓我暫時遺忘。太太太太難了。為什麼呢。我想不明白。像個殘疾人一樣,什麼也寫不出來。告訴我一個一萬遍沒有被選中的理由。

頭痛。就像我從來沒有存在過似的。天哪。

5.12

Writing is very much like bloodletting. There’s a limit to how much one can afford in a certain period. 意識中無法忽略人與人之間的這道鴻溝。猶如不同的血型,我們並不總能明白對方的語言。語言是那麼身體的一件事。要不然只能打一架。沒有對錯的。語言從身體脫離了出來,傳染到紙上,然後無數誤解。

4.23

I signed up for a creative writing course for the upcoming summer session, which starts on May 15th, just four days after my last final for this spring semester. I don’t know why I’m doing this to myself – haven’t I written enough papers already?

I guess the answer is that I really want to write something that matters. I’m kinda sick of writing about stuff that has little relevance to my life – hedgerows, daffodils, courtship dramas in the English countryside – can’t we move on to like 20th century modernist literature already? Then I realized that I’m taking this Intro to Brit Lit Part II class to fulfill my pre-1900 requirement for my English major. I have no choice. I got rid of my pre-1700 requirement last semester by taking Part I of this class, but I remember enjoying the medieval period material far more than I enjoy all this 18-19th century stuff. Perhaps it was because that the pre-1700 materials were just as alien and strange to my fellow native-speaker classmates as they were to me. Perhaps deep inside I’m a medievalist (I love reading medieval Chinese sources!). And for these reasons I found it easier to navigate that class.

But now, in the age of Alexander Pope and Jane Austen, Wordsworth and Lord Tennyson, I find myself a complete outsider. Like, I know what they are roughly about – I can write a paragraph for you on the historical and literary valency of these writers – but I can’t feel a deep emotional connection with their texts. I can’t really enjoy reading these authors. But why should I? I don’t share their British heritage. I’m not part of it. Not really. Although I study British history and culture as millions of English learners are required to do, I’m not obliged to identify with their sentiments and desires. Many of them are, to put it bluntly, sexist and racist, too. Not to mention some of them’s exceptional obsession with class and hierarchy.

The theme of my academic career this year is compromise. Now that I’ve read these people whom I’m supposed to read, I can finally permit myself to move on.

3.12

So I said to him hesitantly, “you know I eat meat, right?” I had five different ways to construct an answer to his earlier question about what I ate in London, and this was as close as I could get to an honest yet non-hurtful response.

I had mentioned that food in London was good, that I went out with friends and had eaten odd things with them. One of my friends, G, is an actress/microbiotic diet instructor. She cooked an all vegetarian dinner for me at her home and was exactly the kind of friend I knew he would approve of.

Crystal, on the other hand, eat foie gras and deer loin with me. You must try how they cook their yewei (“flavor of the wild”), she said, “it’s the only thing the Brits are really good at.” So I took her advice and thought, what the hell, if I’m going to eat venison it’s gonna be here at this fancy restaurant in Kensington.

The deer loin was lovely. And that was what I tried to but did not tell him. I was gonna say “and I went out for dinner the other night with my friend Crystal and had deer loin at this English restaurant called the Clarke’s and it was delicious.” But I didn’t. Instead, I worried intensely about his feelings for five seconds and cowardly refrained from saying what was truth. I said tentatively “you know I eat meat?” and hoped he could understand.

He didn’t. And I had hated to discuss why I still eat meat with him every time.

I said I was reading Coetzee’s Elizabeth Costello, and that I had read part of it that was later published under the title “The Lives of Animals” before but never the entire book. It was so good that I didn’t even want to finish the book. I told him that the whole human-animal relation problem really did mean something deeply intimate to me and I did want to take it up someday seriously, but not now. For me it was really a more complex issue than “not harming sentient beings” and “consent.” I told him I was ill prepared at the moment to discuss this subject with him. “If it helps,” I said, “I eat a lot less red meat now, mainly fish or shrimp, that kind of thing. I am more conscious of my choice now and I can definitely feel the influence from people around me – my friends and you – stuff that I read, and my studies, etc. I think I will eventually work through this on my own, but I just need a little bit more time.”

We dropped the subject. I remembered that time I cried uncontrollably in his room when he told me quite harshly that “there should be no meat in this house.” I was hungry. I had no time to have proper dinner that day and therefore brought a salad to his house hoping I could eat it there. “I didn’t expect you eating,” he said, “at this hour.” It was half past nine. I had shrimp in my salad. My chewing sound disturbed his peace.

I felt nausea, deep inside my abdomen. I couldn’t eat anymore in front of him and I wanted to go. The whole situation seemed ridiculous if not extremely humiliating. I had more respect for my food than that whole housefull of pious people. But I caved in and stayed. I abandoned my box of unfinished salad and tucked it under my coat. I brushed my teeth. I went to bed and half an hour later we made love.

On our first date we went to this vegetarian sandwich place near harvard sq. I asked him “are you vegetarian?” as soon as he suggested over text that we should meet over there. I speculated because I often went there for a quick lunch when I was studying a language course over there during the summer. He replied, “yes,” with a smiley face. I happily agreed and rejected my very own earlier ramen proposal.

I will continue to eat meat and be good friends with my dear fellow carnivores. I guarantee you animal eating is not the worst thing a human being is capable of. Jonathan Swift is right in his “modest proposal.” It is cruelty between people ignorant of tenderness and who would like to profess kindness over love.

10.22

I started writing in a desperate need to save myself. Then just as I was unable to continue, I find myself too in a state of destitution. Hollow verbs, these are. Better to kill little by little, to die a slow death, than living your power-driven life.

I turned on the radio and some assistant professor proclaimed a discovery of Anne Sexton’s four unpublished poems. How strange it was, to meet her name again on NPR, in my bathroom. I thought she belonged to only to those winter nights.

Better not to say anything, and breath out your unspoken words in vapor.