Chapter 57: Zhang Ye’s Anger, ““!
In the audience.
Wang Xiaomei was fiddling with her phone, “Can you access the internet?”
Zhang Ye didn’t know if she was asking him, but replied anyway, “Ah, there is no signal.”
“How will you post without the internet?” Wang Xiaomei glanced at him.
Zhang Ye blinked, “How did you know I would participate in the poetry contest?”
Wang Xiaomei replied matter-of-factly, “With your temper, you wouldn’t swallow your pride just like that. See you, or not, there will you stay, no sorrow, nor joy? I didn’t take that seriously.”
Zhang Ye was embarrassed. It was true; he was not that forgiving.
“Do you need me to ask around for whose phone has a signal? And borrow it for you?” Wang Xiaomei took the initiative.
Zhang Ye replied, “There’s no need for that. If I want to post, I will go outside to post. But I have yet to think of a poem. Teacher Xiaomei, what’s with you?”
“Why I am so enthusiastic?” Wang Xiaomei answered, “Because you are the representative of our Literature Channel. You already are our channel’s branded host. If they doubt you, it means they are denying our Literature Channel’s cultural standard. Besides, I don’t think that your poems are worse than theirs. I cannot feel no sorrow, nor joy. I am angry right now.”
The poetry event has progressed to the poetry recital and appreciation round.
After reading a few netizens’ poems, Zhang Huo spoke, “These few poems are pretty well-written. It looks like our netizens are also capable people. Haha. But Sun Mengjie and I are really just here to watch. We are not professionals, so would still hope that the teachers from the Writers’ Association would enlighten us a bit.”
The participants from the Writers’ Association passed around the responsibility for a while.
Finally, Meng Dongguo stood up, as expected. He was the one with the most influence within the group, “After listening to a few of the poems, I find them still to be okay.”
The female host said, “Still okay? I can understand President Meng’s thought on this; so that means they still have their problems?”
Meng Dongguo laughed “They are only amateurs, so to be able to write like this is not bad.”
“Can you explain to us the differences between their poems and a professional’s? We are still unclear; perhaps everyone here is unclear. The poems sounded pretty good.” Zhang Huo pretended to be a layman.
Meng Dongguo touched his beard and spoke honestly, “Those who don’t understand poetry may not be able to tell the difference. On the surface, it’s quite good. The writing and phrases are elegant. But there are too many ways to read into it. Like the work “Wind Breaking Through Clouds” by that netizen… A professional would know immediately that there are issues with it. The modern-style poetry he wrote? It’s actually not. Modern-style poetry must adhere to a certain tonal pattern, rhyme scheme and parallelism. With the five character poems as an example, it must start with a level tone. The second part requires a deflected tone. Then the third part requires it to go back to the level tone. On the contrary, if the first part uses a deflected tone, then the second part requires a level tone, then in the third part, it has to be a deflected tone. He was not right with that.”
Zhang Huo was enlightened, “I see.”
Meng Dongguo said, “Hence, if they are amateurs or beginners, they are recommended to write modern poems. The requirements are simpler. Well, one of the modern poems that the hosts recited also had a small problem. The mood seemed a bit off, and the entire poem did not have a core literary belief. In our jargon, we would say that it’s lacking ‘spirit’. The words used are pretty, but literature eventually needs to abide by literature. It needs to move the hearts of the people. If a poem that is lacking in essence, energy and spirit, it cannot move the hearts of people, then it is empty at its core. It is just showy.”
“We’re gaining knowledge here.” Zhang Huo said.
Meng Dongguo seemed like he was hooked onto saying more. It was unsure if he did it consciously, but he suddenly mentioned, “Like recently on the internet, there have been several poems with a lot of views. Actually, in my opinion, there are some flaws in their conception. Of course, this could be a matter of ‘beauty is in the eyes of the beholder’, so there’s still room for discussion.”
Sun Mengjie added, “Vice President Meng, are you talking about ‘Flying Bird and Fish’? Or ‘The Song of the Stormy Petrel’?”
Meng Dongguo smiled, “I’ve mentioned it on Weibo. Those who have seen it will know. I have my reservations about these two poems.”
Zhang Ye was mentioned?
Immediately, quite a number looked towards Zhang Ye. Zhang Ye’s seat had become the focus of attention, with many eyes on it.
Zhang Ye had not expected Meng Dongguo to question him openly like this at such an important event like the Mid-Autumn Festival Poetry Meet. What’s more, this was a live event and held at Zhang Ye’s own unit. Meng Dongguo was now publicly invalidating him and killing his chances with just a simple nod? Did I f***ing kill your father or your mother? Why are you trying to fix me? After your online “education”, you now came to my unit to “educate” me? Are you f***ing sick!?
“What sort of people are they!?”
“How can they say such things?”
“It wasn’t easy for Teacher Little Zhang, too. What are they trying to do?”
“This is a live broadcast program! Aren’t they trying to destroy him!? They are pushing it too far!”
Many of the Literature Channel’s employees could no longer bear to continue listening. Even those who did not know Zhang Ye well were feeling angry. Yes, even if Zhang Ye was not a professional poet, even if Zhang Ye’s poems were ordinary and not comparable to yours or have literary standards… But you still can’t bully your way around here like that! These people from the Writers’ Association were really too much! This was their unit! This was their radio station!
At this moment.
The poetry meet’s website blew up!
“Did you hear that?”
“Teacher Meng said ‘Flying Bird and Fish’ and ‘The Song of the Stormy Petrel’ were problematic?”
“That can’t be? I think those two poems are very good!”
“Can the Vice President of the Writers’ Association be wrong? So that Zhang Ye actually isn’t anything. I was still wondering over all that clicks and forwards. So it was just crap!”
“Right, this person does not have any ability!”
“Zhang Ye’s poem really has a problem?”
Many people who weren’t already in the know of yesterday’s incident on Weibo became informed of it now. Today, right now, was even Zhang Ye’s “Old and Young Story Club” program’s schedule. The event was broadcast live through the Literature Channel and many of Zhang Ye’s listeners were tuned in. To be passed judgement upon by such an authoritative person like the Writers’ Association’s Vice President, it would be expected that from tomorrow onwards, Zhang Ye’s segment listenership ratings would be dealt a big blow. A listenership ratings drop of more than half would even be possible. Perhaps those who really liked Zhang Ye or those who held their own views would not be affected, but how about the others? The citizens’ views would be affected by herd mentality and belief in authoritative figures!
A newcomer host!
An industry’s Writers’ Association Vice President!
Whose literary level would everyone believe in? It was clear at a glance!
This move by Meng Dongguo was really vicious, with the objective to kill off Zhang Ye’s chances!
Zhang Ye was bursting with anger. This was really forcing his hand!
Zhang Huo secretly glanced over to his partner, Sun Mengjie, blaming her for saying a little too much. He was actually biased towards Zhang Ye. It wasn’t because of Zhang Ye’s poems; he also believed that Zhang Ye, as a newcomer, could not be better than these teachers from the Writers’ Association. But because Zhang Ye was his colleague and Meng Dongguo had publicly doubted him, Zhang Huo felt that this was uncalled for. After taking a look at the computer tablet, Zhang Huo continued, “Teacher Meng, the two poems you just mentioned… From my understanding, they were composed by our Literature Channel’s Teacher Zhang Ye. Teacher Zhang Ye should be here at the venue, too. I’ve seen the comments left by our listeners and they all feel that ‘Flying Bird and Fish’ is really good. All of them don’t seem to understand what’s lacking in the poem.”
Meng Dongguo smiled without a word, before he said, “Let’s have Big Thunder explain; he is a specialist in modern poems and also a well-known critic. He would explain better than me.”
On hearing that, Big Thunder stepped up, “Haha. Since President Meng called me out and the subject is on this, it’s now the poetry appreciation segment, so let me bring up an example to explain. Actually, President Meng had already said it once on Weibo last night and I fully agree with it. ‘Flying Bird and Fish’ has become very popular on the internet recently, but it is so because of the circumstances at that time. Because this poem has saved someone’s life before, it leads to it being hotly followed and discussed, furthering its popularity. This practically added a lot of value based on the circumstances. There aren’t much literary learnings within the poem; likewise for other works by Zhang Ye. Its depth in essence, energy and spirit are just imaginary and I cannot see what he wanted to express. So in the eyes of us professionals, the author is just an amateur hobbyist.”
“It’s like this?” Zhang Huo questioned.
Meng Dongguo chimed in, “Explaining this way would not be clear enough for everyone here. Since Zhang Ye is here today as well, why don’t we invite him onto the stage, so that he can compose a Mid-Autumn Festival poem. We will analyze the flaws in it for everyone, so that it will be clearer to understand.”
“This…..” Zhang Huo looked towards the station’s Leader.
Sun Mengjie could not make a call either. Although there was still a lot of time, but to let their colleague come up onto the stage to be treated as a negative example? To be slapped in the face by Meng Dongguo and company right in front of everyone? They couldn’t bear with the thought of it!
Big Thunder agreed, “Is this not the poetry appreciation segment? It’s for everyone to learn more about the traditions of poetry.”
They were both singing each other’s tunes. Zhang Ye’s reputation was decided before he could say anything — Zhang Ye was an amateur; they had wanted to show the differences between a professional and an amateur!
Deputy Station Head Jia looked at Zhang Huo, and pondered for a moment before he nodded slightly.
Zhang Huo then said, “Alright, then. But we need to know first if Teacher Zhang Ye has any new works. Because Teacher Zhang Ye was not informed beforehand of this poetry meet. This was impromptu, so…..” The Writers’ Association was informed much earlier to give them some time to make preparations. But Zhang Ye was not given this advantage. With Meng Dongguo and Big Thunder yelling for Zhang Ye to come onto the stage, Zhang Huo felt they had really overstepped their boundaries, not even allowing for a minute of preparation! They really wanted to pick on Zhang Ye’s flaws, to strike him a fatal blow! What feud is there between all of you? That it had to come to this, to step over our colleague? The critical issue was that even Deputy Station Head Jia had agreed to this impudent proposal?
Many eyes were focused on them!
Zhang Ye let out a furious laughter. You want me to go up? You want to slap my face? You guys are courting death!
Wang Xiaomei’s eyes had already gone dark upon hearing what was said. She said to Zhang Ye, “Let them see, Teacher Little Zhang!” “Show them whether we hosts from the Literature Channel understand art and literature!” said a furious Wang Xiaomei!
In front, Big Sis Zhou turned back, “Teacher Little Zhang! Attack!”
Auntie Sun, who did not really acknowledge Zhang Ye’s poems, could no longer bear with this. She shouted across two rows of seats, “Little Zhang! Go get them! This is pushing it too far!”
Tian Bin, putting on a damper, said, “Forget it; don’t go!”
Wu Datao shook his head, “Little Zhang, listen to me and don’t go. An amateur like you wants to put on a fake act in front of the professionals? Just say that you aren’t prepared; otherwise, when they criticize and point out your flaws, not only will you be embarrassed, even our Literature Channel will be embarrassed!”
All around, colleagues from the channel softly advised, “Teacher Zhang, ignore them.”
Some colleagues who wanted justice for Zhang Ye said, “If they are capable, let’s see them challenge Teacher Zhang in ghost stories! If they are capable, let’s see them challenge Teacher Zhang in fairy tales! Story writing is the true profession of Zhang Ye! Competing with poetry won’t determine anything! You all have been in this for so many years! Isn’t it a shameful for you to compete with a rookie? Eh?”
It was a little messy in the audience.
The auditorium’s mood was slowly losing control!
But under the spotlight, Zhang Ye stood up without any resistance. He smiled coldly, looked towards Zhang Huo, and signaled a ‘1’ determinedly. This was a signal everyone in the station knew. When hosting a radio live broadcast, ‘1’ would be signaled to the assistants to convey readiness.
“Teacher Zhang! Think carefully!”
“Aiyo! Don’t go! Don’t you see that they are purposely making it difficult for you?”
Zhang Ye didn’t listen; he was already making his way out past the row of seats.
Zhang Huo understood, “Teacher Zhang has said that he is okay. Everyone, please give some applause.”
Meng Dongguo was waiting for Zhang Ye to recite before he passed his judgment on Zhang Ye’s flaws for everyone listening.
Zheng Anbang and Little Red Mushroom were also waiting for Zhang Ye to make a joke of himself. The others also knew that this time Zhang Ye would embarrass himself, but yet he willingly stepped up to be embarrassed!
In the applause that was either disturbing, helpless or gloating, Zhang Ye followed his determination up towards the stage. In the spotlight, and on the red carpet, this was his first time standing in front of so many people, unlike the sealed-up space of the recording studios. It was a meaningful face-to-face experience with so many people. But Zhang Ye did not have stage fright. This psychological strength of his had always been very good. Instead, he seemed to enjoy this moment!
Since you have forced me out, I will respectfully obey!
My poems have no literary value?
I am biting off more than I can chew by displaying my incompetence in front of an expert?
I am an amateur while you are a professional?
Alright, then! Today, I’ll let you bunch of Beijing Writers’ Association people know who is the amateur and who is the professional!
Sun Mengjie tried to stall for time for Zhang Ye, “Teacher Zhang, since you were unprepared, please don’t rush. You can take your time to think it through.”
“There’s no need,” Zhang Ye said.
Zhang Huo paused. There was no need to consider? Creating the work on the spot?
Big Thunder disdainfully looked on. On the fly composing? What’s more, a poem that has a theme? Even for him, he would need at least half an hour to seek inspiration! If I can’t do it, how could you?
Of course, Zhang Ye did not need any preparations, nor did he even feel a need for preparations. A poem had already appeared in his head!
When he knew about the Mid-Autumn Poetry Meet, Zhang Ye began thinking about which poem he should use. He had not decided on or even wanted to use this poem. Why? Because this poem was too classic! A classic that when someone mentions Mid-Autumn and poems, 9 out of 10 people would think of this! After this poem existed, there were no other poems for Mid-Autumn! It could be said that no other poems could measure up to the influence of this poem!
To compose for Mid-Autumn, this would be the top choice!
It deserves the spot!
Zhang Ye did not want to choose it; he had wanted to leave some leeway for them. But after seeing how Meng Dongguo, Big Thunder and the others played dirty to force him, Zhang Ye no longer wanted to hold back!
Some of the audience were anxious.
Big Sis Zhou urgently asked, “Is Little Zhang going to be alright?”
Auntie Sun replied, “Even if he cannot, he mustn’t lose his composure. That group of people have already s*** on our heads!”
Tian Bin purposely sighed, “Was that necessary? Isn’t he asking for it? This Zhang Ye is really..! An amateur is an amateur!”
Despite all the talk, Zhang Ye touched the microphone and took in a light breath, “When will the moon be clear and bright? With a cup of wine in my hand, I ask the clear sky. In the heavens on this night, I wonder what season it would be?”
Everyone was stunned when he said those lines!
He wasn’t using the modern poems that he was good at? And he chose a melody poem? Zhang Ye could also write melody poems?
And why was this melody poem.. able to make people have goose bumps? This…
Zhang Ye closed his eyes as he looked up at the ceiling. He was completely in a recitation mood, “I’d like to ride the wind to return home. Yet, I fear the crystal and jade mansions are much too high and cold for me. Dancing with my moonlit shadow, it does not seem like the human world. The moon rounds the red mansion, stoops to silk-padded doors, shines upon the sleepless. Bearing no grudge, why does the moon tend to be full when people are apart? People experience sorrow, joy, separation and reunion. The moon may be dim or bright, round or crescent shaped. This imperfection has been going on since the beginning of time.” After pausing for two seconds, Zhang Ye opened his eyes. With his gaze soft, he slowly read the last sentence, “May we all be blessed with longevity; though thousands of miles apart, we are still able to share.. the beauty of the moon together.”