Writers On the Fly: Yiyun Li



okay my name is Yomi I grew up in Beijing China and I came to Iowa to study science and later I turned to writing and so I'm here today for my fourth book the novel called kinder and solitude I had a great time at the workshop partly I think you know I think you go to writing for I think people go to a writing program for different reasons and for me it's – I mean for everybody you find the time to write but more importantly you find your writer friends and the the writers you want to read and so I discovered the writers I want I wanted to read and write like in the workshop and also had you know I found my best friends in the workshop you know I I get questions like how do you write in English one English is not your first language or which is actually a good question I think and I can answer and sometimes I get questions especially from readers and I think are very hard to answer as a writer they would say you look very happy why do you write that story or they would say you know how can you write such dark stories when you have children and those questions I think you know I gave them every time I go out you know I see that I explained to them I think happiness could be a very shallow thing you know could be just on the surface you know as a writer and cannot just stay on the surface it doesn't mean I have to live my day as a gloomy person but I still want to you know it's really not about sadness and writing it's not something else you know I used to write here which was really quiet I prairie like a coffee shop after I moved away I never I never found a place so I just write at my dinner table and my children are around and now I don't mind not being quiet know nowadays I can work anywhere I work in the airport allowed yes I think wouldn't Trevor the Irish writer short-story writer and novelist and I I would say you know he's the writer who influenced me more than anybody and I learned writing by reading his work reading you know I have a very boring life in that way I mean that I do have a lot of hobbies is my hobby is reading and so if I can't ride I read yes you know there are certain words like all of sudden you know I know other people you said too but I use it all the time and I know it's a shortcut because when you say all of a sudden you actually don't understand anything right you know I know this because I mean for instance I write short stories and I my short stories tend to be you know 20 pages or 18 pages short stories and they're long short stories and they they are my ones that sometimes I wrote I write really short short story and I I know if the people don't like me to write really short stories because they get used to my you know developing your characters doing 20 pages you know in that space so I noticed that sometimes I write a you know five page story and people say oh that's charming how about Charlie's nabla I'm trying to do yes I mean I don't quite understand actually I think writing is a conversation with others but who are the others I actually don't quite know I know you know I know some of them are that offers I like to write to talk to these dead authors but I'm sure I also write to talk to people that I have met for you know readers that sometimes they write to me so as a writer I I can respond to these questions because it's really hard you know I have a very I don't have a abstract mind and when people ask big questions I'm usually oh I don't know I think the writer is someone who really goes beyond just read maybe the writer is someone who wants to create the world after you know finishing the reading

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