“With words, all that matters is to express the truth.”
Wayson Choy has a calm and direct stare from which the wisdom of the ages seems to emerge. It’s fitting, given the direct and lyrical approach he takes with his writing, both in his novels (The Jade Peony and All That Matters) and his memoirs (Paper Shadows and Not Yet).
When I met Wayson at last week’s Writing Camp, I was in a heightened state, fuelled by adrenaline from having joined my fellow students in a public reading of our own work. I read the opening of Chapter 3, my first time reading from Harbour View to an audience (good practice, seeing as I’ll be reading from it at my book launch in October). I have no recollection of how my reading went, but I’ll never forget the feeling of strength and calm I derived from Wayson’s eyes as he shook my hand and thanked me - thanked me! – for my reading.
The week was filled with moments of grace such as this one. How fortunate I am to have been surrounded by such enablers as Wayson Choy and Alistair MacLeod, established writers who foster their students’ obsession with story-telling, and willingly and unconditionally share their wisdom.