Chapter 124: “Facing the Sea with Spring Blossoms”!
Zhang Ye was resting.
Early in the morning, eldest little sister Cao Dan had woken him up, “Brother, you are famous again. I went to the newspaper stand this morning. A few local newspapers had you in them. Only after reading did I know that you took part in yesterday’s Couplet Competition and won! You are really great, Brother.”
Zhang Ye tiredly said “So-so, I guess.”
“Pass me the phone. Pass it to me.” It was mom’s voice on the other end.
Zhang Ye was a little stunned, “Mom, you are around, too? Are you at Grandma’s home?”
His mother said fiercely, “You rascal, why did you make such a mess again! Such an important competition… You were just onstage to collect your award and you scolded people? You…. You are ‘fantastic’. That was all broadcast live. I heard from your sister that the internet is discussing about how many of the authors and literary people are criticizing you!”
Zhang Ye sighed, “It will be fine.”
“How can that be fine?” his mother said angrily.
“It’s not like it’s the first time; don’t make a big fuss.” After being through worse before, Zhang Ye was calmer, “How big could it be? After all, it was them who started the dirty tricks. You know me; I’m not the type to mess with others, but others also shouldn’t mess with me. If they do, then they will pay for it. That is my style!”
“You, you!” his mother said disappointedly.
“Mom, I am going back to sleep.” Zhang Ye hung up.
To others who could fall asleep after such a big incident, they would be worried about this and that, or thinking of the consequences. But to Zhang Ye, he was already used to this. Every two or three days, he would get into some sort of trouble. He no longer put it at heart. Wasn’t this just the usual? Zhang Ye honestly just took his lazy naps and didn’t care much about the issue.
Being doubted and criticized?
When someone scolded him the first time, Zhang Ye raged. When they scolded him the fifth time, Zhang Ye was angry. When they scolded him the tenth time, Zhang Ye was humbled. But now, Zhang Ye was invulnerable. If and when someone scolded him with an interesting phrase, Zhang Ye would even smile.
After he woke up.
Zhang Ye went downstairs to buy a few newspapers and bring them home to read.
The first copy was The Beijing Times. This newspaper was considered an acquaintance of Zhang Ye’s. When Zhang Ye had first appeared in a newspaper, it was them who had reported on him. The paper’s article was considered to be more objective, as it reported the details of yesterday’s couplet competition. It mentioned Zhang Ye’s scolding situation, but mentioned more about Zhang Ye’s dominating performance and award, as well as the more than ten couplets that were said. The focus was on the couplet that Elder Qian described as an Millenium Impossibility, which was praised to the skies by the paper. Overall, the report gave recognition to Zhang Ye.
As for the second and third newspapers, they were generally critical of him.
A newspaper had mentioned that Zhang Ye had been reported for cheating from out of nowhere, and it also wrote at the end that he should not have used a couplet to scold others at such a situation, regardless of what had happened. This was a problem with his quality of person. It criticized Zhang Ye for not having the bearing of a scholar and was overly petty!
Zhang Ye let it pass and turned his attention to Weibo.
On Weibo, just as his sister and his mom had said, many people were criticizing him, “Having literary talent, but not having a good heart!”
But there were also many supporters of Zhang Ye!
“Who are the ones without good hearts? It’s you people from the Beijing Writers’ Association!”
“If they had not said that Teacher Zhang Ye had cheated, would Teacher Zhang have scolded them?”
“I’m neutral. But anyone with eyes could see what had happened yesterday. I support Zhang Ye on this matter!”
“It’s the Beijing Writers’ Association who deserves to be scolded! Who can they blame?”
“Still criticizing Teacher Zhang Ye? Your asses sure are crooked!”
“Back at the Silver Microphone Awards, I did not agree to Teacher Zhang’s recital of ‘Dead Water’, as I think he went beyond bounds. But yesterday, I don’t think Teacher Zhang did any wrong. Those of you who are criticizing Teacher Zhang Ye, I want to ask you: If it was you who was being maligned by others, to the point where your job would be lost as a result, and you would not be able to survive in this industry anymore, would you treat it as if nothing had happened? Will you carry on being a grandson of the Beijing Writers’ Association? Hur Hur. Maybe you can do that, but Teacher Zhang can’t do it. He isn’t a wimp like you! Because his name is Zhang Ye!”
The Beijing Writers’ Association’s official Weibo also publicly launched an attack on Zhang Ye. From the posting time, it had just happened a few minutes ago, “Just like how Vice President Meng said, a person like Zhang Ye would not be accepted by our Writers’ Association, no matter how accomplished he is or how talented he is. How can a person with such a questionable character be any good at literature? Our Writers’ Association focuses not only on talent for taking in members, it also greatly focuses on a person’s character and moral standing!”
Below the post, many people were still cursing!
“What a joke!”
“You dare to talk about morals?”
“Hahaha. All of you are too humorous!”
“You do not want him, but it’s not like Teacher Zhang will go!”
Just as everyone was having a debate, the official Weibo of the “National Writers’ Association” suddenly expressed their position, “After the National Writers’ Association’s Committee Member Qian’s and other Writers’ Association’s members’ recommendation, after an inspection, we invite Teacher Zhang Ye to join our National Writers’ Association!”. With this statement out, the discussion became even more explosive!
“The National Writers’ Association has given their statement!”
“Haha! Face smacking! The Beijing Writers’ Association’s face has been smacked senseless!”
“That’s right. The Beijing Writers’ Association just said that they would not want a person like Zhang Ye, but in the end, the National Writers’ Association has invited Teacher Zhang Ye. Their faces are swollen now!”
“Elder Qian recommended Zhang Ye?”
“He really wants Zhang Ye to enter the National Writers’ Association?”
“Support! Teacher Zhang has finally obtained the recognition of the mainstream literature world!”
“Do you think that Teacher Zhang Ye will enter the National Writers’ Association?”
“I guess so. After all, it’s one of the most authoritative literature units in the country.”
“I guess not. There are so many authors in the country scolding Teacher Zhang. Teacher Zhang might not even bother about being a part of them. With Teacher Zhang’s temper, it’s something he would definitely do!”
Many people were quite delighted to know what the outcome was.
Some of the older elders of the National Writers’ Association raised their objections.
“Mr Qian, why are you recommending such a hooligan into the association?”
“This is the National Writers’ Association. If we let that Little Zhang in, wouldn’t that cause the atmosphere to turn foul!?”
“I don’t support it. He doesn’t even know the basics of respecting one’s elders. He can’t even mind his mouth. What can such a person do? Mess things up?”
“This Zhang Ye has no standards!”
ZhangYeNumber1Fan expressed, “Teachers, all of you may be predecessors, but I don’t think any of you have the qualifications to say that. If you have the ability, then match the 烟锁池塘柳 (yān suǒ chí táng liǔ, Willow pond locked in smoke) Teacher Zhang gave. Only then will you have the qualifications to criticize Teacher Zhang for his literary standard! If not, anyone can say ‘what standards does Zhang Ye have’. If you want to reject him, why don’t you show some of your abilities?”
After this was said, many people stopped speaking.
ZhangYeNumber1Fan said, “No one can match it? Then don’t say anything!”
Actually, since yesterday, 烟锁池塘柳 (yān suǒ chí táng liǔ, Willow pond locked in smoke) had become a hot phrase on the internet. It was extremely popular for a while. Some famous people did not believe it in the beginning and thought that they would be able to match it. Someone even declared so. But after a day, those people who had made the declaration that it was not some Impossibility had shut up and disappeared!
Are you scared?
Why hasn’t any person matched it!?
This was a Millennial Impossibility! Many authoritative people in the profession had begun to acknowledge it!
After seeing that Weibo message, Zhang Ye only felt touched. Zhang Ye had only spoken a few words with Elder Qian, but he had stood up for him when almost everyone in the profession was criticizing Zhang Ye. He had even recommended that he be invited into the National Writers’ Association, and had held out an olive branch for him. As long as Zhang Ye nodded, and as long as Zhang Ye gave a call or simply left a reply on Weibo, he would enter the Writers’ Association. And it was not just a provincial-level Beijing Writers’ Association, but the biggest National Writers’ Association!
Zhang Ye thanked Elder Qian in his heart, but… He suddenly did not feel like entering the Writers’ Association. This ‘small organization’ was not very powerful and was very complicated. The experienced predecessors were stuck in their ways. Euphemistically speaking, they were overly traditional. But without mincing one’s words, they were overly pedantic. It did not match Zhang Ye’s temper in any way. He could already predict that if he joined, there would be even more of such similar events like yesterday. All of that made Zhang Ye uncomfortable, so why would he join? Asking to be rebuffed? Zhang Ye didn’t think that he was that free!
Others didn’t like him?
Hur, this bro doesn’t even wish to enter!
However, Zhang Ye did not want to give too cruel a rejection after Elder Qian’s painstaking effort, as it would have been not knowing what was good for himself. Hence, he thought of a roundabout method that rejected it, but did not end things badly.
“Thank you Teacher Qian. Thank you for the National Writers’ Association’s acknowledgement,” Zhang Ye replied.
“Ah! Quick, take a look!”
“Teacher Zhang has said something!”
“Haha. Let’s see what Teacher Zhang will do!”
Netizens on Weibo gathered over. Many professionals and people from the National Writers’ Association and other provinces also moved their attention. They were waiting for Zhang Ye’s reply. Those who cursed him, those who supported him, and even those who were neutral paid attention. Before Zhang Ye posted the next message, that Weibo message had been forwarded a thousand times. This showed how much attention was placed on this matter! There was no other way about it. After all, Zhang Ye was now famous. He had said “Dead Water” at the Silver Microphone Awards, and he had scolded using couplets at the Couplet Competition. Everything Zhang Ye said would gain the attention of others. This was also the temporary fame brought from the Couplet Competition!
Zhang Ye paused for a while before expressing his stance:
“Starting tomorrow, I will be a happy man;
Feed a horse, split logs, travel the world.
Starting tomorrow, I will care for crops and vegetables.
I have a house; it faces the sea, and flowers bloom in spring warmth.
Starting tomorrow, I will contact every relative
to tell them about my happiness.
As that lightning bolt of happiness told me,
I will tell each and every person.
Give every river and every mountain a warmhearted name.
As for strangers, I wish you happiness, too.
I wish you a glittering future.
I wish you a lover who becomes a spouse.
I wish that you obtain happiness in this world.
I wish only to face the sea, where flowers bloom in spring warmth.”
“It’s a poem?”
“A modern poem that Teacher Zhang is best at?”
“What’s the meaning of the poem? What does Teacher Zhang want to say?”
“Why do I have goosebumps reading this poem!? It’s too beautiful!”
“Haha, I got it! He is indeed a cultured person! Even when rejecting, Teacher Zhang can reject in such an artistic manner! This poem was written too nicely!”
Many people could not understand.
But many people knew it well.
Amongst them was a literary author who wasn’t that famous. He dissected it, “Starting tomorrow, Starting tomorrow, Starting tomorrow. This was said three times, which makes the meaning very clear. What Teacher Zhang means is that tomorrow, or in the future, he might be able to melt the grievances like ice and not fuss about the problems in the past. Tomorrow, or in the future, he might be able to give his well wishes to those who criticized or hated him, wishing them a good journey ahead…” Upon saying that, the author gasped in admiration, “But today, but now, he wishes only to face the sea, where flowers bloom in spring warmth!”
A simple poem from Zhang Ye had caused great acclaim once again!
Below, a person from the Couplet Organization gave his evaluation, “Mr Zhang is so talented. I bow in deference!”
Elder Qian, the Committee Member of the Writers’ Association also replied later, “Since Little Zhang has made his decision, then we can only respect it. But I have something to say. I will say it now, and I will also say it again in the future. It is not your loss that the National Writers’ Association doesn’t have you, but it’s our Writers’ Association that has suffered!” After that, he added on, “Teacher Little Zhang, I wish to wait for tomorrow, where you can still face the sea, and can also let the flowers bloom in the National Writers’ Association. The Writers’ Association’s invitation to you will be effective for life!”
The matter was settled.
However, there was no end to the discussion. Zhang Ye had thrown out a poem to once again shock the modern poem arena!
“This poem is really good! It’s so good, it’s explosive!”
“Face Smacking Specialist has made another production! Come gather around!”
“I have a feeling that this poem will be more popular than ‘Flying Bird and Fish’!”
“Haha, it’s already popular. Look at the forwards. It’s already exceeded 4000! This is almost defying the heavens! Everyone is ‘Facing the Sea with Spring Blossoms’!”
Switching off the computer, Zhang Ye felt relaxed. He wanted to give Teacher Qian a call to apologize again, but he decided against it. Why? Because there were two reasons. Firstly, there was no need to say anything more. They were considered good friends despite the great difference in age. They had not interacted much, but one poem and one couplet was enough as the most profound interaction. So there was no need to mull over it on the phone. It would instead make it more corny. The second point was… Your sister! Because he did not have Elder Qian’s telephone number! The first point was actually not important at all!
He was not entering the Writers’ Association, so there was nothing to worry about!
Literature was not important for Zhang Ye’s development. It could be considered a tiny tributary towards his goal. It was nice to have it, as it added brilliance to the existing splendor. If he had the opportunity to develop this further, Zhang Ye would not let it go. But the main goal was not this. This was not the most important thing, so it was alright if he did not enter the Writers’ Association.
Then what was his goal?
What was his goal all along?
Was there a need to ask? His goal was of course not to have decayed teeth!