part 1 文学创作 [时段00:00–08:40]
你的一天通常是怎样度过的？// 小说对你的意义是什么？// 小说创作中对你而言最大的挑战是什么？// 今年你推出了新作《故事的结局早已写在开头》，书中收录的九个短篇小说各自独立却又相互关联。请问你为何想创作这样一个系列？又是如何创作它们？//您在创作这9个故事的时候，是预先构想好骨架然后一步步调整和填充，还是即兴多创作多一点？// 在这个创作过程中，有哪些让你印象深刻的片段？
part 2 场景，空间，建筑，城市 ［时段08:40–25:00］
// 我注意到《故事的结局早已写在开头》里面每一篇小说的题目都由地名开始。书中对于城市还有空间场景都有深入的描写，请问你怎么看待小说中的场所（场景）？// 你如何完成这一系列的场景空间的细腻描写是依靠胶片画像还是自己的想象，哪种更多一点？// 从小到大你最喜欢的生活场景是哪里？有哪些让你难忘的要素？// 偶然得知你是gooood的读者，很荣幸。想请问你为什么会对建筑，设计，艺术感兴趣？// 世界范围内让你印象深刻的创意或者艺术作品，请分享两个。// 注意到你常常出国旅行，旅行对你的意义是什么？有哪些难忘的事情？// 你以北京为主要居住地，这个城市对您有哪些影响，对你的意义是什么？// 你最喜欢的城市是哪一个，为什么？// 你觉得中国城市化发展存在着哪些不理想的地方？
part 3 其它［时段25:00-28:40］
Everyone is using architectural space; most people on earth are living in city. Design ideas are closely linked with all of us.
Let’s listen to the voices from different fields, see this world through their eyes, and learn about their views on city, architecture, design and creativity.
Communication makes the world bigger.
“Everyone” album by gooood.
(Jiang Fangzhou, born in Xiangyang, Hubei Province on Oct. 27, 1989, young Chinese writer and Deputy Editor of magazine.)
1 How do you usually send your day?
Jiang: I usually get up at 9 o’clock in the morning, then read and have breakfast. About 10 o’clock, I begin to write. Well, I rarely have lunch since I think it will disturb my thoughts. I keep writing from 10 o’clock in the morning until 2 or 3 o’clock in the afternoon. At that time, I may feel a little tired, and then I will take several books and my computer to a cafe. Sometimes, I continue to write in the cafe. If tired, I will read there until 5 or 6 o’clock, and then go home to have dinner which is the second and also my last meal. After that, I will see a film, read, take some exercise, and sleep.
My life is enjoyable, I think, writing for 5~6 hours every day.
2 What’s the significance of novel for you?
Jiang: Now, I think the novel is only significant to me. Or in other words, I think such significance is becoming more and more personal. Nowadays, the readers who really love novel and read the pure literature text are less and less. The majority read just for some adapted films or TV plays, or for killing time. So I think the novel only has significance to me.
Maybe it’s something about the value of existence. Now, when I am writing, I always value my works from the perspective of the later generations who will study the works after my death. So, for me, novel may be the value of my existence.
3 What’s the biggest challenge in creation?
Jiang: No repeating is a huge challenge, I think, since a person’s life experiences are very limited. Though I began to write early at 7 years old, I was still writing about the student life familiar to me at even 14~15 years old. Until one day, I suddenly found that such student life was extremely boring. That brought me great panic, I mean, considering how to avoid repetition in themes. I think this is my biggest challenge, because I have to write something beyond my life experiences, like somewhere you have never been, or something you have never experienced. So this is the hardest part.
4 You published new works The Ending has been Written at the Beginning this year, which includes 9 independent yet mutually correlative short stories. What inspired you to create this series? And how did you create?
Jiang: I published a short novel – The Ending has been Written at the Beginning this year. I wrote nine stories. The relationship between them is that the supporting role of the previous story is the leading role of the following one. In this way, all the characters are linked together. I think the inspiration comes from my favorite movies like Crash, Babel. They are all such structure. Besides, I think these stories are very similar to our life. Now, we are very close to each other’s life. You get to know about your friends’ daily life by scanning their Wechat, MicroBlog, QQ space. You are so close to their life that you always think theirs is far better than yours.
For instance, I like scanning Wechat, and I somewhat envy my classmates who study abroad. Their life seems more colorful and richer than mine. However, when you change your role from an outsider to penetrate into their life, you will find that nobody’s life is enviable and perfect. That’s why I choose such structure to string the stories. Maybe in your eyes, others’ life seems perfect, happy, and enviable. But if you live in their role, you will be surprised that they also have some unspoken, unbearable or private pains.
5 You created the 9 stories by framing first, then adjusting and filling, or by improvising more?
Jiang: Well, the creation process was hard for me since I had not constructed all the 9 stories in advance. I began to write with 3 or 4 stories plotted. Then in the writing process, I found that some supporting role was very interesting, no matter from his status, the way he speaks or his conflicts. That inspired me to pull him out as the hero of the next story. So… half to half.
6 What impresses you most in the process of creation?
Jiang: Those impress me are also the stories far from my life experiences. For example, there is a story about a gay and his relationship with his mother. No matter from my gender or sexual orientation, I am very far from the group he presents, and cannot truly feel their fears no matter how thoroughly or profoundly I interviewed them or communicated with them. So, when writing about him, I encountered great pain and obstacle. This is one thing that impresses me.
Another story that impresses me is about a college teacher in his forties. His youth is at the end of 1980s, when I was not even born. This is a period that I do not have any experiences. To know more about that time, I searched and studied many films or painting album and street photography works. This is impressive.
There is also another thing. After finishing the book, I communicated with a friend. He was very surprised that the kinship involved in all the stories was depressing. I had not realized it during writing. After the book was finished, I found that the kinship in all the stories seems painful. Mother and child, or father and child, they are supposed to love each other but fail to do that, or many other complex emotions are involved in such love. It impresses me because, in the process of writing, I do not realize that the kinship I describe is never warm, but full of pains and tortures to each other or the character himself.
7 What’s the deep reason?
Jiang: I do not know why. After reading the book, my friend said that, “your mother must be very sad if she reads it. There are so many tortures, no matter between mother and daughter or between mother and son.” I do not know why, maybe because I was sensitive since childhood. The interpersonal relationship I perceive is never the same with that in others’ eyes. When others see the bright moonlight, I see the back side of the moon. I think a family is actually a very small, subtle, yet complete unit of interpersonal relationship. It covers the relationship and affection among the family members. So that may be the reason why I was sensitive about such interpersonal relationship since childhood.
8 I noticed that the title of every story in the book begins with a place name. There is detailed description of city and space scenes. How do you value those scenes in the novel?
Jiang: actually, titling in this way is because that I love travelling after graduation. Except for America, I have been every place in the novel. I think every place has its own disposition. You can feel it more strongly as a stranger. If you study abroad or live in other city, as a new comer, your characters will be reshaped in the unfamiliar environment. Such disposition of a place attracts me deeply. For example, Modiano, the writer who won Nobel Prize last year. When reading his book, you seem to see a man, who wears a wind coat and hat, is hurrying on the wet street in Paris. His novel is extremely picturesque. That pulls the readers into the atmosphere without additional narration. Another example is Death in Venice by Thomas Mann. Once Venice is mentioned, presented before your eyes must be that under the sunset, the water surface is sparkling, a small boat is driving slowly away from the city, leaving behind a ray of golden sunset.
I think there is a tacit understanding between the novel and readers, that is, the novel does not need too much communication with the readers. This may be exactly the function of scenes.
9 What do you depend on for the detailed description of these scenes, more on photos, pictures or your imagination?
Jiang: Since I have been most places in the book, I depend more on my memory. For example, Iguazu Falls left me a deep impression. I was astounded by the scene when I saw it at that time. Even walking on a zigzag road, you will suddenly see current you have no idea where it comes and where it goes. So most on memory, I think. But, sometimes the memory may be not so clear. For example, Tibet. I had been Tibet two years ago, so the memory is vague. To restore the scene as much as possible, I searched the hotel on dianping.com, then the street around it, and even the streetscape. Thus, even if a reader takes the novel as a tourist guide, he can find such hotel, have such food, and see such streetscape. So I intend to write realistically.
10 What’s your favorite scene in life by now? What makes you unforgettable?
Jiang: My favorite scene may be the current moment. I had my own study room until last year. It’s something like that I have my ultimate ideal fulfilled in advance. When I was young, my family lived in a very small house about 30~40m2. So I did not have my own room. The place where I write is also the living room and my bedroom. I had been writing under the gaze of others since young. The situation did not get better though I lived in dormitory during high school and university. With people coming and going in the dorm, what I owned were just a small PC and the limited space behind. So my ideal life is to own a study room where I can see the scenery outside. So I think my ideal has been realized.
The cost of writing is extremely low, actually. For me, a study room is more than luxurious.
11 It a great honor to learn that you are a reader of gooood. Why are you interested in architecture, design and art?
Jiang: My interest in architecture may come from my obsession with the technology. You know, writing is very free profession. A writer may wander in the street in the daytime, but begins to write at night when inspiration pops out. This is the writer’s image rooted in our minds. Sometimes, I am strongly obsessed with drawing something in a big piece of blank paper, seeing it completed stroke by stroke from nothing, using the ruler to measure the distance strictly, or a team sitting together to discuss about the design, and then changing it to a real thing finally.
I think architect is absolutely opposite to writer. I longed for a different life since childhood. So I love everything about architecture. Afterwards, I also gained a lot of inspirations from gooood, or other architecture websites. I think architecture and literature have much in common, since the architecture also discusses about life, living environment and its possible influence on the inner world of humans. The difference is that literature completely internalizes such inner world. It covers a wider population and develops in a deeper way. However, architecture externalizes it. So for me, architecture is a perfect complement and expectation.
12 Please share two creative works or art works that impressed you worldwide.
Jiang: One of the impressive creative works is Kafka Museum I visited in Czech. There is a very interesting sculpture in front of the museum. Its waist can rotate and connects with its genitals so that it pees all the time. In fact, it is something like a water injector. Under it is the map of Czech. So, actually, it pees on the map. I felt so interesting when I saw it. In other countries, such joking and somewhat insulting architectural design may not be acceptable. This is impressive.
There is another thing. I have a friend working in the gallery of Zeng Fanzhi. He said that Zeng planned to build a new gallery and invited Tadao Ando to design. Then I saw a big… well, I do not know how to call it, whatever, it is a very big model. Behind it is a construction table full of words, indicating what to accomplish from which date to which date. Well, it may be not a very special or brilliant design. But it impressed me since it was the first time that I saw that something to be realized in the future was presented in such a detailed way, modified and accomplished step by step under the efforts of so many people.
13 I know that you often travel abroad. What’s the significance of travel to you? Anything unforgettable?
Jiang: Travel’s significance to me… well, borrowing the popular words, it is an escape from the reality and also a self-seeking process. I often travel alone. During the journey, I can deepen the understanding about myself, including my interest, weakness, hobbies, etc. Through the long period living with myself, I will see myself more and more clearly. This is the part of self-seeking. Then about the escape… I always get very anxious if I do not travel abroad every two or three months. Such anxiety is insuppressible. So I think it’s the time to change an environment, and then I will go to travel. Nowadays, everyone is surrounded by flood of information. Whenever you’re not occupied, you scan WeChat, news, or the news pop out on your screen. You just cannot help clicking the linkage one after another. Soon, one or two hours flies away. Though such news still pop out when I am abroad, I feel that they are far away from me. To me, such geographical isolation is important. I think it’s very tiresome to always keep active interaction with the society. So, for me, travel maybe a way to escape from the reality and comb my thoughts.
I went to Parris alone several days ago, an “impulsive trip” which is now popular among artistic youth. I was going to have my birthday in that period. I thought I had never been to Paris; why not celebrate my birthday in Parris?! I visited art museums every day, Louvre, Picasso Museum, Pompidou, Orsay Museum…, unable to stop from this one to the next. This is impressive. From this process, my appreciation, especially appreciation towards paintings, is largely improved. Another impressive thing is that when visiting Picasso Museum, I found that Picasso spent his whole life fighting with himself, in art, I mean. Actually, he was always consciously trying to surpass himself. Before that, I had thought that Picasso was a pure talent and he could draw masterpieces without effort. However, after I saw his sketches, including his works at different periods, I found that he never stopped trying to surpass himself, avoid repeating himself or break the visual limit. It was a conscious, tough and painful process. In the museum, I learnt about those changes in his whole life. Truly impressive!
14 You live in Beijing most of the time. What’s the influence or significance of this city to you?
Jiang: Now, I have settled down here, and may live here for a long time in the future. But, to tell the truth, I do not feel that I belong to this city. At Spring Festival or sometimes I leave Beijing, I feel that “well, I leave, no disturbance anymore.”, and eveytime I come back, I may think that I am back to disturb you again. So for me, Beijing is just a place I have lived for a period.
15 What’s your favorite city, why?
Jiang: I am happiest in South America among all the places I have been. I love Peru. I stayed for several days in its capital Lima, and had a very happy time there. Europe is also wonderful. But people are not so hospital and intimate there. However, in South America, I cannot help feeling happy, happy when walking, eating, and even just lying still on the beach for a whole day. Besides, I also like Rio de Janeiro.
16 Why are you so happy there?
Jiang: For no reason, just cannot help that. I was touched by the passion of the local people. They live on plateau, like Tibetans in China. When I visited Lima, they were celebrating Cusco. I followed them for two blocks, singing and dancing… so happy. Though I did not understand what they were doing in the end, but I felt their passion and happiness. After entering into the main street, people began to amuse themselves, and you also felt happy together with them. Piru’s food is very delicious. There is a story. Many years ago, a large number of Chinese labors went there, to build the railway or do something else, so the food was actually modified according to Chinese flavor. I was surprised to see “stir-fried rice noodles with beef” or “friend rice” presented before me, but they were very delicious. If I can choose somewhere to live for long, I think I am willing to live in South Africa.
17 What do you think are the unsatisfactory aspects in Chinese urbanization?
Jiang: I cannot judge from a macro perspective. But from my personal experience, I think it is the suppression of human vigor. There is always a horrible scene in my heart. That is, the white-collars begin the day from the crowded subway in the morning; at lunch break, they walk out from the office building to buy a simple meal in the near grocery. They may pay by WeChat or cash, and then return back to the office. They punch in and punch out every day, living like a machine. It is horrible because that everyone’s life, especially the young people, becomes extremely monotonous and dull under the pressure of money and capital. Everyone is like a tiny sand or nail which is conveyed on the conveyer belt day after day.
I live in the first-tier city like Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. I think there is a large gap between the first-tier city and the second- or third-tier city. Such gap is widening. It is hard for me to understand or perceive. For example, my life in Beijing is actually convenient. When my mom newly came here, she found that Beijing was better for living than my hometown. However, when I return back to the second- and third-tier city, I find the life there is almost ten or twenty years behind. Most of the young people have gone to the first-tier city or some other cities. The second- and third-tier cities look lifeless. Only a small population of young people lives and works there. Though in the process of urbanization, with more and more young people choose the big cities, the gap in vitality between first-tier city and second- and third-tier cities will get wider and wider.
18 What do you think is the biggest challenge for our generation in future?
Jiang: I entered university at 2008. That year, the Olympic Games was held in Beijing. Every Chinese was immersed in the delight and ecstasy of our strong national power and that grand event. I think the younger generation, for example, those went to university in 2009, or those born in 2005, may gradually lose concern about the outside world, or ignore the necessity of learning from other nations or a more universal value, since they live in a more and more powerful China. They are so proud that they think their principles are the most correct, and their country is the strongest in the world. So I think the biggest challenge is nothing about money or big house, but that you are diverging from the course, yet you do not realize it.
19 At last, could you please recommend two of your favorite books for us?
Jiang: I like an American writer, Jonathan Franzen. He may be in his forties. And he is also the most renowned novelist in America. He is very interesting that, when writing, he likes enclosing himself in an environment absolutely isolated from media and network. The first thing he did to his new laptop was sealing the port of WLAN card. I love his first two novels The Freedom and The Corrections. Then he published a new novel Purity, but it has not been translated in Chinese yet. I also like it very much. Recently, he published a collection of essays How To Be Alone. This book inspires me greatly. So I would like to recommend his works. Though he describes various psychological problems or living predicament in this era, his own life is totally detached from this age. I think he and his books are all very interesting.
Recently, I also read a book of Ted Chiang. He is a Chinese American science fictionist, but his works are not much and only two are translated in Chinese. He has only written novellas and short stories, but nearly won all the science fiction awards in the world. His science fiction is not about the whole space system, but begins from a scene in daily life and then expands to the macro life value and universe view. So it is enlightening for me. His every book, no matter the internal logic or the outward extension, is plotted through deep consideration. I am reading his book recently, and he is also one of my favorite writers.
蒋方舟： 我一般早上9点钟起床，然后看看书、吃吃饭，差不多10多点钟的时候，然后就开始写东西，然后我觉得中间再吃饭会打扰到自己写东西的节奏，所以我一般就省过午饭， 从早上10点钟写到下午两三点钟，然后那时候我觉得有点累，就会带几本书包括电脑到咖啡厅去。然后有的时候写，写不动了，就在咖啡厅看看书，到五六点钟的时候，再回家吃第二顿饭，就是一天的最后一顿饭，吃完之后再看看电影、看看书，再运动一下就睡觉。
蒋方舟：写的时候，总觉得这些故事写的时候比较困难，因为我当时也没有一下子把九个故事全部都想好。 我当时差不多是想了三四个，然后就开始写。然后写的过程中，就比如说你会发现某一个配角，非常有意思， 他的身份、他讲话的方式、他这样的矛盾，都非常有意思，所以就想拎出来把他做下一个故事的主角。所以差不多有一半是预先规划好，然后另外一部分就是自己边写边想到的。
蒋方舟： 说每一个都是一个地名开头，其实也是因为跟我从毕业开始，然后就特别喜欢去外面玩儿，所以小说写的地方除了美国我是没有去过， 其他每个地方我都去过。我觉得每个地方都有自己的一种气质，特别是你作为异乡人。比如说你如果是出国留学，或者是在外定居，你作为一个异乡人，然后那样的一个陌生的地方，它又把你的性格又定型，又重新塑造，所以我觉得这种地方的气质还是挺迷人的。因为比如说去年得诺奖小说的作者莫迪亚诺， 你看他的小说，你就觉得是一个穿着风衣的、裹着大衣的男人，带着帽子、行色匆匆的走在巴黎的潮湿的街头，他的作品有特别特别强烈的画面感，所以我觉得这个场景也好，就在于可能一提到你就会给读者一种不需要太多描述就可以进入的场景。比如说托玛斯曼写《魂断威尼斯》，一写到威尼斯，你就想到这种夕阳的余晖下，波光粼粼，然后有艘小船缓缓的驶出那个城市，然后就看到最后一抹昏黄。
然后印象深刻的旅行就是，我前几天自己去了一趟巴黎，特别像文艺青年口中所说的那种“说走就走的旅行”。 那段时间刚好有一天是过生日，所以我就想我没去过巴黎，我在巴黎过生日吧。 我每天都是看各种各样的美术馆，什么卢浮宫啊，毕加索美术馆，就蓬皮杜啊，然后奥赛美术馆等等，每天不停的去看美术馆。对那个印象还挺深刻的， 我觉得那些过程让自己审美能力、对画的审美能力得到了一个特别大的提升。另外一个印象深刻就在于，你会发现就是，特别看毕加索美术馆，我觉得你会看到他一生曾经都在和自己搏斗，我指的是在艺术上，你就看到他不断的想要超越自己，而且是非常有意识的超越自己。我原来想象中，毕加索就是一个天才，他可能随手一画，哇，这个就是天才！但是我后来看他各种各样的草稿，包括他各个时期的作品，你会发现他非常有意识的、非常艰难的、非常痛苦的、不断的在每一个时期，都想超越自己，都想不重复自己，突破视觉的某种限制，所以我觉得那个我印象还挺深刻的，就是你可以看到他整个一生的这种变化。
蒋方舟： 在我去过的地方里面，最开心的就是在南美，我喜欢秘鲁，秘鲁首都利马，我在那边待了几天，然后就非常非常开心。欧洲也很好，但是在欧洲，人和人之间还是会挺有距离感的，但是在南美，就莫名其妙的开心，走路也开心，吃饭也开心，然后躺在海滩上一天不动也非常开心。里约热内卢我也很喜欢，利马我也很喜欢 。
我所在的城市是北上广，我觉得它和二三线城市的差距非常大，而且越来越大，而且这种大是我所不能了解， 很难去感受到的。比如说我的生活其实还是有便利的地方，像我妈她刚刚来北京，她就会觉得这个城市还是有很多生活上比老家好的地方，但是我觉得再回到二三线城市的时候，你就觉得生活还是滞留在十年前或者是十几年前， 很多的年轻人已经要么到大城市，要么怎么样。二三线城市你看着非常的死气沉沉，年轻人也很少。所以我觉得这可能虽然现在在做城镇化等等，但是我还是觉得现在可能北上广和二三线城市就随着年轻人不断的到大城市来，就这种活力上的差距可能会变得越来越大。
蒋方舟： 我特别喜欢一个美国作家，就是乔纳森弗兰岑， 他应该是四五十岁的一个作家，也是现在美国最负盛名的小说家。我觉得他很有意思就在于，他写作是完全把自己封闭在一个没有媒体和网络的环境当中，他买了笔记本电脑的第一件事就是把那个无限网卡的口给封住，然后就在一个全封闭的环境，和没有网络的环境当中写作，然后他前两本小说我都很喜欢，就是《自由》和《纠正》，然后他又新出了一本，然后国内还没有翻译，我也很喜欢，叫《纯洁》，他前一段时间又出了一本散文集，叫《如何独处》，这本散文集对我的启发也很大，所以我觉得我愿意推荐乔纳森弗兰岑的作品，因为他虽然描写的是我们这个时代的种种的心理问题，或者种种的生存困境，但是他本身的生活又是完全跟这个时代格格不入的，所以我觉得他从人到书都非常有意思。