Artist and writer Hoàng A Sáng. Photo thethaovanhoa.vn
Ethnic Tày artist Hoàng A Sáng recently launched his latest book An Trú Trong Yêu Thương (Living in Love), his autobiography.
The National University of Arts Education has published several books.
Thể Thao Văn Hóa (Sports & Culture) reporter Hòa Trai interviews Sáng about his book and his career.
Could you introduce us to your latest book and why is it an autobiography?
I wrote this book to pay tribute to my family and express my love for Hà Nội. This land helped me become an upright person.
At first, I wasn't going to write in an autobiographical way. But the more I wrote, the more I found it to be like this genre.
It is both easy and difficult to write an autobiography. It's easy because you're just telling what you've been through but it's difficult because an autobiography is only for celebrities or important figures.
I'm just an ordinary person, so making the autobiography attractive was a challenge for me.
After thinking a lot I decided to write the autobiography. I wrote about my mother, my cousin, poet Nguyễn Quang Thiều and artist Thành Chương. I also wrote about myself and my time with them.
I think telling about them is also telling about myself. In the autobiography, I wrote about meditation, meditation painting and my experiences with meditation.
I wanted to write a book only about the good things and the luck I have received in my life. It is very simple and truthful and I don't use literary techniques to write this book.
In other words, after years of living and hard work in the city, I want to see life in an optimistic and positive way.
What do you like most in the autobiography?
It is difficult to say what I like most because I tried my best. The book comprises two parts. First is about people who have influenced me and my career experiences.
I wrote it simply because it is me.
I want to look back on my entire journey in a positive way. I don't want to talk too much about the hardships I've gone through. I don't want readers and myself to feel suffocated through my writing.
I hope that my characters and my experiences will be helpful for readers. By the time the book is folded, both me and the reader have the same source of pure optimism and love.
Did you dream of becoming an artist when you were young in the northern mountainous province of Cao Bằng?
At that time, mountainous children like me did not have many dreams. After the border war between Việt Nam and China, life was brutal, difficult and desolate.
Every day, we went to herd cows and collect firewood. We played simple games in the countryside and we did not dream much.
I mean that dreams about a better future did not exist in our minds at that time. I remember that I just saw mountain passes in front of my village and wondered what was behind the pass.
I absolutely didn't dream of becoming an artist, a writer, or something like that. I didn't even know the words 'artist' and 'writer'. I really did not know until I went to an occasional market with my mother.
I saw a neighbouring man who was writing calligraphy and he sold it. It looked like a painting and I knew that it was a job. The man with calligraphy supplies like a paintbrush and colours really fascinated me immensely.
Since then I began to doodle cows and my friends. Gradually, I dreamed that I could write calligraphy to sell at the market like the neighbouring man.
Simply, I know what I see.
How could you become an artist and a writer?
One afternoon, when I was bringing cows back to the stable I met three strange men. They brought lots of things and painted something. I crept silently towards them and surprisingly they painted nice pictures.
Rice fields, rivers, slopes, villages, cattle, trees, etc appeared through their strokes. I stood there for a long time not daring to approach but could not leave.
Finally, one of them waved to me and talked to me. They were friendly and kind and gave me a pencil and some drawing paper.
Since then, the dream to become an artist came to my mind. I told myself I would definitely be going to study to draw.
When I worked at Cao Bằng newspaper, I did not think about writing. I began to write to earn a living. After two years of writing, I found I was capable of writing.
I write slowly and instinctively and I don't have a specific goal. I write sometimes, not every day. So far I have published five books.
Do you think your autobiography will receive positive feedback?
I will respect all comments about the book. I think I will learn lessons from the comments.
At my age, I know who I am. The comments will not affect me. VNS