Monthly Archives: April 2012

A woman in unwomanly rags…FOR FREE.

Free Kindle giveaway for 5 days, 28 April-2 May. Get it on your eReader today!

….. A young woman revisits her homeland. She meets her childhood lovers, a boy and a girl, who are now a married couple. Three worlds clash which used to be one…

~ Check out for more risks, more excitement, more everything ~


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Arse of the world

Dutch writer/journalist Simon Carmiggelt wrote a daily column “Cursiefje” in the Amsterdam newspaper Het Parool. As a commentator on everyday life he was unparallel. His writings have an unsuspecting humour with a sharp taste. Camiggelt invented a new word, EPIBREREN, a verb in which one attempts to obscure chic charisma. It’s a word only found in Dutch dictionaries. In 2009, “Amsterdam, Creative Capital” project asked me to translate EPIBREREN into Chinese.

Gao Sha Bee
by Julie O’Yang

In the 10th century, there lived a magistrate in the old Chinese capital of Chang’an. Throughout his career Mr. Chen had been fulfilling different functions assigned by the emperor, who had absolutely no idea of his worthlessness. Mr. Chen appeared to be a busy man though. He worked at his office from dawn to sunset, from winter to winter without neglecting his duty for one single day. Whenever people asked him what he did in there, he looked at them seriously while he tossed the answer: ‘O boy, today I’m afraid it’s another day of Gao Shah Bee.’

Gao Shah Bee — 高下笔, as originally written in Chinese in the above mentioned story — means “holding the pen in the air without doing anything”. Since that was what Mr. Chen did: staring at the documents piling up in front of him without knowing where to begin with.
I propose the spelling Gao Shah Bee (instead of the pinyin transcription, Gao Xia Bi). I like the funny, effective association it brings. Moreover, the pronunciation brings still a few more things in mind.
In Chinese, Gao Shah Bee could mean something high and terrifying, or an impressive wall built of sand, or, in slang, an arsehole holding a high position.
The Chinese are keen builders of walls. Franz Kafka dedicated his famous short story to the Great Wall of China. I too would like to pay my tribute to one of my favourite writers for his great imagination. In Kafka’s writings, walls are looming up everywhere – walls of horror imposing on the individual. His walls are universal and of all time.

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“I shall try to convey to you how I feel. When a spider spins its web, does it not cast the main threads ahead of itself, and then follow along them from behind? The main path of my life stretches like a long journey before me and already reaches into another world. As if I was now helping to build a new and different society.” Etty Hillesum (15 January 1914 in Middelburg, Netherlands – 30 November 1943 in Auschwitz, Poland) was a young Jewish woman whose letters and diaries, kept between 1941 and 1943, describe life in Amsterdam during the German occupation. She refused to be “saved” by her friends, refused to go into hiding, believing that she could understand a tiny bit of her time only by living it.

She kept her diaries not for herself. She compared herself to a spider that weaves a web to leave it. She was casting a spiderweb for the future generation.

Thank you for the inspiring evening, Roman Kroke! I know from you that Etty was all about her written words, it was not about herself. I’m not using her portrait in my post.



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Something BIG has been here

I want you quietly listen to the void:

ticking of a clock

shuffling of many feet (always too many)

and the hands, two hands

touching & reading each other’s fate

as they make the sound of drizzle

Amore, they call this sharing of noises

The heart – I can tell which haloed animals

Cat People from a book titled poetry

…Is it too much to ask for some sleep?

.……………………..©Julie O’Yang, April 2012, NYC


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A sampling of my jetlags: greetings from Manhattan

a New York spring
wears sunglasses that fog up
from its bazaar breath
crowds in the street patiently taming a pretty animal
it’s a chameleon
and we visited those magic grottoes of prehistory just minutes ago
and we saw oceans that don’t hold roots
Greetings from Manhattan, 11 April 2012. This makes for lots of comings and goings in the sky.

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Grand delicious between fear and sex. between me and words,

Why isn’t the word “phonetic” spelled the way it sounds? “What’s the opposite of opposite? What’s the opposite of love? Do fish get thirsty? Can blind people see their dreams? Do they dream? Can you cry under water?” Want to find the answers to your capitalised Q’s? Click link and order my novel with a twist of sushi & soul stirring martini. Click the image & order your Le Grand Delicious!

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A letter & a pamphlet

Young Chronicle has turned one year. Editor Trishit Banerjee asked me to write something for the occasion. YC is a PDF-zine, I put up my piece on my website. It’s a pamphlet and can be read here >>> Open the link & Click “A pamphlet” in blue >>>


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My night…9.69 seconds

Last week I signed the contract with J Publishing Company, London, UK, for my short story “The night that hides things from us”.  The anthology “9.69 seconds” is to be published at the ocassion of London Olympics. I’m sharing here the opening of my “night”. The night that hides things from us by Julie O’Yang “The village stands on the bank of the broad river with her white, wild water gushing f…orward to the east: Shhhimmeringo-chamchockpour-glissandi-ferochower!” In the dark his voice lowered from a pressing, bottomless fortissimo to a driving undercurrent of hissing pianissimo. The Yangtze then turned into triplets of a recurring motif. Smooth, silver ripples traversing an immense level of rice fields, open to the horizon walled in by a range of blue peaks, and on the west a dark patch of woodland. This was the place he was born and raised, in a thatched hut on the hill overlooking half a mile of rustling rice paddies. In the shadow to the left, immediately adjacent to the cemetery that in the summer also served as playing ground for children, a Buddhist temple emerged dedicated to Kwannon-of-the-Eleven-Faces, accompanied by a shrine with a handsome tiled roof in honour of the Deity of Silkworms. All the details she had envisioned as she saw them vividly in her mind’s eye, distinguishing every infinitesimal thread of an imaginary tapestry she could have perceived through the magic of his voice. His voice was the only proof that they were together in that moonless night – the darkest of all nights – on the 4th of June 1989 on the Tiananmen Square, in Beijing, China’s capital.
Click & read more on China’s golden 1980’s, before the military crackdown, including a film trailer & review, photo album & a song

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Stitches of a song

“…He is fond of the part of the city he visits regularly, its bustling quarters with jazz clubs (The Blue Note for one), bookshops, and the handsome youth he studies from a distance. Would they hum the haunting song in their dreams, like …he does, night after night, seventy years long? How many days will still be left for him to sing, he wonders. He is venerable, like they say. How many days will still be left for him to finish his story? There are so many great ways to tell a story, and every way is tailored to the body and soul –” Butterfly, A novel by Julie O’Yang.
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