Happy Death by Lu Wenfu ~ 陆文夫 《快乐的死亡》 with English Translations


陆文夫 《快乐的死亡》








Happy Death
Lu Wenfu

A writer can diethree kinds of death: natural death, painful death, happy death.

Natural death,caused by the discontinuation of heartbeat, is a common form of death with nocharacteristics of its own, and therefore may as well be left out without anycomment. In the case of happy death and painful death, which are not caused bythe discontinuation of heartbeat, the writer, alive as he is, has stopped oralmost stopped writing!

When a writer nolonger produces any works, it is tantamount to the death of his artistic lifeor the end of his career. Some writers lay down their pens because they are tooold to be equal to the task. We call it retirement from art rather than deathof art. They have nothing to blame themselves for. And society at large willpay tribute to the contributions they have already made to art.

Painful death isquiet another matter. It occurs when a writer abandons writing even though heis still sound in mind and body. It results mainly from various kinds ofsufferings and torments (including self-inflicted torments). Torments ruin histalent while sufferings demoralize him. Though still alive as a man, he isdying or already dead as a writer. This kind of death causes not only much painto the writer himself, but much sadness to other people as well.

Happy death is ajoyful thing, bring happiness to both the writer himself and other people.Yesterday we saw him addressing a big meeting amidst thunderous applause, andtoday we saw him attending a banquet, drinking nonstop to this and that.Yesterday we heard him talking volubly to a gathering of distinguished guests, capturingthe attention of all present, and today we heard him repeating himself at oneof those endless forums. Yesterday we met him on a Beijing street, and today wesaw him flying to Guangzhou… But never or every seldom do we find his new worksseeing the light of today.

I do not fearnatural death for nobody can avoid it, hence no use fearing. Nor do I fearpainful death for it is something belonging to a bygone age. What I fear mostis happy death, which is absolutely painless and full of bustle, excitement andeven dramatic spectacle. It is difficult to exercise self-control, that is,difficult to keep within limits. Drinking is, to my mind, not always badbecause a few spots may help blood circulation and is, as they say, good forthe heart and blood vessels. Being no hermit, a writer stands to benefit inwriting as long as he gets properly involved with social and literaryactivities to widen his field of vision and stimulate his thinking. But how canhe avoid excessive drinking or becoming of drunkard? What is the safety limitin this respect? The trouble is after three cups of alcohol he will get wildand unrestrained and end in gulping down a whole bottle. One meal withoutliquor will upset him and set him complaining and searching around for drink. Alas,just to end up dying happily!

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