Journal for One Man’s Bible by Gao Xingjian
Despite of the tragic end of the author’s past yet silent longing for the past self, One Man’s Bible deliberately whispers to the reader’s soul, the truth of life, a message. Therefore, here I confess my pure feelings for this great work.
The historical scene of the content of One Man’s Bible resides in the 1980’s of China, the time of Mao Zedong’s reign. Myriad children of artists’ creativity were sacrificed, burned into ashes by the world-renowned Cultural Revolution. To support my comprehension of this era: my violin tutor, who is a Chinese, once recalled her childhood as a little violinist. She and her friends searched for a secret base for practice literally every day. Always an old haunted house: spider webs decorated the rooms, green moss covered the rotten woods of furniture, and sunlight shone upon windows of broken glasses, revealing the delicate presence of dust. And whenever they heard marching footsteps, they would hide along with their sound of music. She told me that one of her friends played cheerful songs in order to maintain a positive state of mind while she and the others played melancholic ones, an outward manifestation of sorrow. But either way, she felt that they were giving birth to music as if they were praying. Perhaps to a savior who would protect their dreams of becoming future virtuosos……
Gao separated his past self from his present one. As if an omnipotent God judging the life of a mortal who is a prisoner of time’s dimension, Gao writes about his past self as if “he” were an another existence. In other words, I believe, Gao wanted to say that no matter how one yearns and regrets, life does not rewind. This is why he doesn’t lose his calm narrative composure in his writing. Gao does not attempt to alter his past, to start all over, or beg for miracles that transcend time. Gao simply and quietly translates a message.
Who would have thought that the happy gathering of family member in the photo was destined to become the last vestige of warmth in Gao’s past? He writes to us a letter: that regardless of the prosperity and beauty our life enjoys in the present, it is not forever for it is powerless in front of the relentless transformation of “era”; that life is evanescent and may leave us in solitude, in vain. However, because of this truth of life, we must cherish the present, a gift; that life is precious and meant to be meaningful.
Gao Xingjian is a blue flame. Cold and gentle, but certainly, holds a passion of a flame. This passion, nevertheless, is not an obsession for the past, but a drive to send a message to the world. During this mission, he may have wept. His tears may have misted over his eyes. He may have feared that awakening his past self could ruin his present self. This I do not know. And I do not dare to consider him as weak or show him shallow sympathy, because he is a writer who lived up to the title, the responsibility. He disclosed the truth of life he had learned from his grievances concealed deep in his heart that he himself might not even be aware of, but still vibrates for his original details were so specific. He unveiled his indelible scar for the sake of a message. Therefore, I respect him as a writer, a courageous messenger. Thank you.