When the splashing water waves touched the ground, I was riding a bicycle passing through this intersection. The sun in Shenzhen in the afternoon seemed a bit weak. When I was still wondering which path to take, countless delivery drivers on electric bikes had already whizzed past.
To adapt to a city is to be familiar with its temperament, familiar with the distribution of every lane and sidewalk. It's automatically heading towards one of the ABCDEF exits after getting off the subway; it's avoiding the most puddles and finding the thickest tree for shelter when it's pouring rain and the streets are flooded; it's halfway through a journey and still doubting if you've taken the wrong path because you haven't opened the navigation yet.
If only it were in Shenzhen. When the afternoon sun shines on the distant buildings, I am briskly passing by a square. I accidentally hear a familiar voice, which attracts me and makes me forget where I originally wanted to go. I am just discussing with the two teachers about Liang Qichao's overseas exile more than a hundred years ago, Kang Youwei's extravagant and arrogant life, and Tan Sitong's bloody sacrifice for reform.
"How do you manage to be so sentimental in your writing, but so optimistic when giving speeches or running a bookstore?" - a reader asks.
"Just be sentimental when you do it," Xu Zhiyuan purses his lips and answers.
"In fact, when we do anything, we need to mobilize all our resources. When you eat a piece of cake, do you recall some childhood experiences of eating cake?"
"Even for that small piece of cake, you need to draw upon all your life experiences to deal with such a trivial matter."
I don't know much about Xu Zhiyuan, perhaps only limited to the program "Thirteen Invitations" and the book "Let's Talk About Problems" recommended by Xiaojinko, which made it onto the 2023 reading list on Douban (there may be an article discussing the list).
I really like the layout of the event venue, it has a great atmosphere. It's in an open space where anyone can listen, whether they have a ticket or not. The only difference is whether they have Xu Zhiyuan's autograph and a seat.
The exchange among readers is so casual and open. Once the voices emerge, there is no need to create any artificial divisions through reflection or other high-tech means. They naturally dissipate and permeate the surrounding air.
Just like in Yu Qiuyu's "Letter Guests," in the mountains and fields, the endless conversations of old and new letter guests float away, carrying with them wisdom of life, rural customs, and various aspects of life. They drift away like that, and the quiet sky is the witness.
So I envy those passersby who pass by, their faces filled with surprise, then immersed and stopped to listen.
Although at first glance, this person with messy hair seems no different from an ordinary person when speaking. They may stumble and say "then" several times, and their body language may not be rich enough.
But do we care? Maybe some people do. The gap between reality and false beauty is always no match for simple sensory pleasure. The need for thoughtful consideration always loses to simple sensory pleasure.
Xu Zhiyuan has said a lot, and I have remembered a lot.
I really like this kind of sharing that incorporates personal experiences and emotions, a bit like the "please relate to real life when answering" in Chinese language reading comprehension questions.
"Just be sentimental when you do it."
"I really want to know what individuals in the midst of an era transition can do and how much vitality they can unleash."
"Maintaining optimism is for others to see."
"We are shaped by what we have experienced, the people we hate, the people we love, and our own fears."
"It was a brave era, with nothing to lose."
"When doing anything, you need to mobilize all your resources."
"Of course, when you write history, you definitely have your own projection. No one has experienced the lives of historical figures, so writing history often relies on one's imagination."
"Walking on the street with a book, how cool is that? Isn't it cooler than all of you holding phones?"
"Because they didn't come to Guangzhou to invite me, I didn't come to open this bookstore."
"Young people should do many absurd things, otherwise they won't be able to live when they get old."