Qiu Miaojin Quotes
“Tarkovsky was right. The responsibility of the artist is to stir people’s hearts and minds toward loving others: to find the light and the true beauty of human nature within this love. Religion can rarely show us what fate means in concrete terms. Yet everyone needs to be understood and this understanding is found within each individual’s fate, one’s life journey that clarifies the way. I’m not a therapist or a philosopher or a priest. I’m an artist.”
“It’s easy for the body to be open to desiring different people because desire wells up and demands to be satisfied. It’s easy to categorize corporeal desire as sexuality, but if it has no means of merging with spiritual desire, then a rupture will occur between spirit and flesh. For ultimately passion and sex aren’t only expressed physically but through a true union between two spirits.”
“My prototype of a woman was the type who would appear in hallucinations at the last moments of your freezing to death at the top of an icy mountain, a mythical beauty who blurred the line between dreams and reality. For four years, that’s what I believed. And I wasted all of my university days–during which I had the most courage and honesty I would ever have towards life–because of it.”
“Human nature has its fatal weaknesses, but 'love' means embracing the whole of human nature, the bad within the good, the benign within the malicious, the beautiful within the tragic. 'Love' is the experience of this whole, its unfinished parts, including those of one's own in relation to those of the other.”
“Life has suddenly become overcrowded. Too many people I can care for are swarming in and filling up my chest. Too many things I want to do are rushing headlong into my new life for reasons unknown to me. All of a sudden my new life is like a field overgrown with strange flowers and exotic grasses or the shimmering, starry sky of my unbridled imagination...”
“Suicide. This is the exact opposite of last time, for this time I'm experiencing a kind of pleasure in life, in being alive, a pleasure in living that I've never experienced before, and I'm hopeful and confident that I can become someone with dignity. I know now why I couldn't change certain characteristics and certain things about myself, but it's not a problem anymore. Certain pathways I failed to open in the past have now opened. My whole self is radiating light. I see with clarity. I understand the cause and effect of the last year. What I had imagined I've now attained. It's as if I can see my life right in front of my eyes, and all I have to do is reach out and draw it in... Now I don't feel the acute pain I felt before; I feel enlightened, at peace. It's as if I've instantly found the secret of "Suffering", how to bear it and how to endure it... Yes, this time I've decided to kill myself not because I can't live with suffering and not because I don't enjoy being alive. I love life passionately, and my wish to die is a wish to live...
Yes, I've chosen suicide. The endpoint of this process of "Forgiveness". Not to punish anyone or to protest a wrong. I've chosen suicide with a clarity I've never possessed before, with a rational resolve and sense of calm, in order to pursue the ultimate meaning of my life, act on my belief about the beauty between two people... I take complete responsibility for my life, and even if my physical body disappears upon death, I don't believe my spirit will disappear. As long as I have loved people fully, then I can be content fading into "Nothingness". If I'm using death to express my passion for life, then I still don't love her enough, don't love life enough. and I will reincarnate in a different form to love her and to be part of her life... So the death of my flesh really doesn't mean anything. Doesn't solve anything.
Is this a tragedy? Will there be tragedy?”
“I often ask myself: Do I have the courage to let "tragedy" happen again? Qing Jin once said that life is full of rupture and that it is what it is. But does it really have to be this way? Everyone I've ever loved has treated me poorly. And when I was younger I treated others poorly too. Why? Why do people have to act so mean and stupid toward the ones they love? Can't we be a little more introspective and reach a level of self-awareness to stop hurting the ones we love? It must be possible. Mutual meanness and stupidity cause human tragedy and rupture to keep recurring.”
“The college lifestyle is about becoming independent, with no one else around to force you to do anything. So there's this muck that hasn't been dealt with, and because all your arrangements are loose now, you have no one to hold on to, which means you get sucked into the vacuum cleaner and tossed around in it.”
“With sincerity, courage, & honesty, one can face death, extreme physical pain, & even extreme psychological pain. One can resist persecution from individuals, society, or government. To live in preparation of adversity & finding ways to preserve your core values --this is what it means to learn "how to live.”
“She had sought me out. I knew it would happen. Even if I had switched to a different section, she would have sought me out all the same. She, who hid in the crowd, who didn’t want anyone to see her behind her veil of averted eyes and aloofness. When I stepped forward, she came out, too. And she pointed and said, revealing a child’s wanton smile: “That’s the one I want.” And like a potted sunflower that had just been sold to a customer, I was taken away. There was no way to refuse. This, from a beautiful girl that I was already deeply, viscerally attracted to. Things were getting good.”
“My soul is so lonely, but I'm unwilling to describe that sort of loneliness for you, because I can't divulge the depth of my loneliness to anyone who'd cast away my soul, cast away my life, someone who'd cavalierly take me to the brink of death and who could, without a trace of emotion or sympathy for the pain and suffering I've experienced, cruelly exile me to a foreign country. I don't hate you as much as I did, but I am so desperately lonely.”
“Passion. It's not a male body's, & it's not a female body's It's not the penetration or reception of sex organs, & it's not how powerful a body is or the amount of its sexual secretions. It's not how a person expresses their strengths or weaknesses to other people. Passion is a quality, a quality that is an energy resource that someone can tap into within themselves. The type of passion I've been searching for in people is similar to my own. It's not necessarily in the body of a woman.”
- Date of birth: May 29, 1969
- Died: June 25, 1995
- Born: in Changhua, Taiwan.
- Description: Qiu Miaojin (1969–1995) was one of Taiwan’s most innovative literary modernists, and the country’s most renowned lesbian writer. Her first published story, “Prisoner,” received the Central Daily News Short Story Prize, and her novella Lonely Crowds won the United Literature Association Award. While attending graduate school in Paris, she directed a thirty-minute film called Ghost Carnival, and not long after this, at the age of twenty-six, she committed suicide. The posthumous publications of her novels Last Words from Montmartre and Notes of a Crocodile (forthcoming from NYRB Classics) made her into one of the most revered countercultural icons in Chinese letters.NYRB Classics newsletter - 5/21-20114- Mr Nicolello