Peng (right) attends the Indie Bookstore Festival held in Wuhan, Hubei province, in April. [Photo provided to China Daily] On business trips, Peng always took small books with him, and finished reading one each day. On the surface, he was a salesman traveling around to sell products, but actually he was immersed in a literary world and could hear a voice speaking in his head all the time. “When I caught a sentence or a word, I knew I could start my story,” he says. At cheap hotel rooms, which were often not even furnished with a table and a chair, he would lean on the pillows, and write his stories with a notebook and a pen he carried with him. “It's a romantic thing that few people have experienced,” he says. He wrote fast. At midnight, he went online to post his newly-finished stories before tearing his manuscripts up. On Douban, an online platform where people can rate and comment on books, some readers said that the characters in Peng's stories often appear vague. In response, the writer says that “characters are not important for me”. “I see a story as a whole, as if it were a friend of mine with blood and flesh and its own personality, rather than focusing on a particular character and their personality,” he says. “For me, a good short story has a shape in my mind. It's not about the details or characters, but the work as a whole. Many works by Kafka or Jorge Luis Borges are just like that. Some of them are like a gloomy person,” he explains. After working as a salesman for about six years, Peng started writing advertisements for real estate developers, which turned out to be even worse work. “As a salesman, I had a lot of writing materials and free time to write,” he says. IWent to the Dances at Chandlerville In 2012, Peng published his first collection of short stories I Went to the Dances at Chandlerville , which were written when he was a salesman. The homonymous story was inspired by […]
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