I was browsing the website of a journal that I recently submitted to, Spry Literary Magazine, and met with a surprise—I found a story written by one of my classmates at Miami! Wei He is a fiction writer from China that is graduating this year with a master’s degree in English/Creative Writing, and I have had the pleasure of sharing a fiction workshop with her for two semesters now. The long and the short of it is this: her writing is phenomenal. Wei uses symbol and metaphor as though she were just going to the grocery store: with practiced ease. Her use of language, as well, is astounding, and not just because English is her second language.
So when I found Wei’s story at Spry, I was excited to read something of hers I had not yet seen. “You Are The City” is a letter from a narrator figure to a lost love. The letter is full of unspoken anguish as the narrator tries to find a balance between telling the recipient that he wishes for her to return and the desire to remain cordial. At one point in the letter, the narrator tries to describe the city, and the language Wei utilizes is fantastic:
It can be a slice of moonlight hanging over a metal hook on the wall of my bedroom. It can be the ripples the black bean garlic sauce makes when I swirls it with a spoon. It can be a drop of dew sliding down the vertical rib of my cactus in the early morning. It can also be you, when you are sleeping, dancing, eating and talking. You can be the whole city.
Isn’t that beautiful? The sensory details here tell a story not just of the images, but also of emotion. Wei is able to give us a taste of the narrator’s depression and desire in a relatively short amount of space.
I hope you enjoyed her story as much as I did! I hope to see many more wonderful things from her.