“Dating the Moon Through Music”
Two weeks ago, days before the approaching Mid-Autumn Festival, the full moon rising above, I go to the CityU Circle and drown myself into the ethereal Chinese Orchestra Concert. The moon (月) possesses various meanings in Chinese culture and enjoys an extraordinary status in the hearts of Chinese. The moon, as well as the orchestra itself, teaches me a vivid lesson of the diversity and spiritual essence underlying the traditional Chinese culture.
The musical ensemble of Erhus strikes me most and engages me into a wonderland where nomads of northern China race horses over the great prairie in the Plateau of Inner-Mongolia. Erhus, nomads, grasslands reveal the diversity and whisper to me. Long ago, the ancient Chinese imported the portable Erhu from nomads and those skillful riders played the violin-like instruments on the backs of horses.
Now at the concert, the young musicians fiddle these bizarre violins, with horse heads and python skins covering eight-sided sound boxes. Deftly and dexterously, the musicians weave the hair of the bow between the strings while their wrists sway like swans twisting their elegant necks. Brisk tunes portray the scene of those minorities racing horses against each other during the celebration.
The music pulls me into my imagination where I travel over prairies and see young men and ladies riding their horses under the blue, blue sky with white, white clouds, flowing and chasing other clouds like the men chasing their future brides. At times, the riders make their mounts speed up, leaving the girls behind and letting them chase after, and sometimes the men slow to ride side by side. The youths laugh and smile at their beloveds with deep affection, dipped into love and happiness.
Now, having enjoyed the tune, my mind fills with numerous items: Erhu, Inner-Mongolia plateau, prairie, vigorous be-borne riders. I realize my country stands as a nation with diverse cultures for various kinds of civilizations incorporated, just like the one in Mongolia.
Apart from the piece of music performed by the Erhus, other songs in the concert also sound delicate; yet one thing really moves me. And that is the moon. After the performance I go out to the CityU Circle, raising my head and seeing the mostly full moon in the lonely dark dome of the sky above.
In Chinese traditional culture the full moon in Mid-Autumn represents unification and perfection, which means the family, and no matter how far the members travel away from home, will one day come together so that they can be as perfect as the moon. Yet I, an exile staying in this region, distant from my Beijing, cannot get together with the people I love and who love me. I am not full nor am I perfect. Not yet. When I was a child I could not perceive in Chinese civilization why people far from home acted sentimental and missed their families. But now I gradually understand the emotion and meaning inside the moon.
From this experience with the music and moon, I am for the first time aware of my culture and its diversity. As the music fades into memory and I leave the Chinese Orchestra Concert, I recall the famous poet Su Shi, who over a thousand years ago, expressed in an ancient poem, “The moon may be dim or bright, round or crescent shaped. This imperfection has been going on since the beginning of time. May we all be blessed with longevity, though thousands of miles apart, we are still able to share the beauty of the moon together.” Eventually, and one day for sure, I will reunite with my family.
The American novelist CG FEWSTON has been a Visiting Scholar at the American Academy in Rome (Italy), a Visiting Fellow at Hong Kong’s CityU, & he’s a been member of the Hemingway Society, Americans for the Arts, PEN America, Club Med, & the Royal Society of Literature. He’s also a been Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) based in London.
He’s the author of several short stories and novels. His works include A Father’s Son (2005), The New America: A Collection (2007), The Mystic’s Smile ~ A Play in 3 Acts (2007), Vanity of Vanities (2011), A Time to Love in Tehran (2015), Little Hometown, America (2020); A Time to Forget in East Berlin (2022), and Conquergood & the Center of the Intelligible Mystery of Being (2023).
Forthcoming: The Endless Endeavor of Excellence.
He has a B.A. in English, an M.Ed. in Higher Education Leadership (honors), an M.A. in Literature (honors), and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing & Fiction. He was born in Texas in 1979.
You can follow the author on Facebook @ cg.fewston – where he has 470,000+ followers
“A spellbinding tale of love and espionage set under the looming shadow of the Berlin Wall in 1975… A mesmerising read full of charged eroticism.”
“An engrossing story of clandestine espionage… a testament to the lifestyle encountered in East Berlin at the height of the Cold War.”
“There is no better way for readers interested in Germany’s history and the dilemma and cultures of the two Berlins to absorb this information than in a novel such as this, which captures the microcosm of two individuals’ love, relationship, and options and expands them against the blossoming dilemmas of a nation divided.”
~ D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
“A Time to Forget in East Berlin is a dream-like interlude of love and passion in the paranoid and violent life of a Cold War spy. The meticulous research is evident on every page, and Fewston’s elegant prose, reminiscent of novels from a bygone era, enhances the sensation that this is a book firmly rooted in another time.”
“Vivid, nuanced, and poetic…”
“Fewston avoids familiar plot elements of espionage fiction, and he is excellent when it comes to emotional precision and form while crafting his varied cast of characters.”
“There’s a lot to absorb in this book of hefty psychological and philosophical observations and insights, but the reader who stays committed will be greatly rewarded.”
“Readers of The Catcher in the Rye and similar stories will relish the astute, critical inspection of life that makes Little Hometown, America a compelling snapshot of contemporary American life and culture.”
“Fewston employs a literary device called a ‘frame narrative’ which may be less familiar to some, but allows for a picture-in-picture result (to use a photographic term). Snapshots of stories appear as parts of other stories, with the introductory story serving as a backdrop for a series of shorter stories that lead readers into each, dovetailing and connecting in intricate ways.”
“The American novelist CG FEWSTON tells a satisfying tale, bolstered by psychology and far-ranging philosophy, calling upon Joseph Campbell, J. D. Salinger, the King James Bible, and Othello.”
“In this way, the author lends intellectual heft to a family story, exploring the ‘purity’ of art, the ‘corrupting’ influences of publishing, the solitary artist, and the messy interconnectedness of human relationships.”
GOLD Winner in the 2020 Human Relations Indie Book Awards for Contemporary Realistic Fiction
FINALIST in the SOUTHWEST REGIONAL FICTION category of the 14th Annual National Indie Excellence 2020 Awards (NIEA)
“Fewston’s lyrical, nostalgia-steeped story is told from the perspective of a 40-year-old man gazing back on events from his 1980s Texas childhood…. the narrator movingly conveys and interprets the greater meanings behind childhood memories.”
“The novel’s focus on formative childhood moments is familiar… the narrator’s lived experiences come across as wholly personal, deeply felt, and visceral.”
American Novelist CG FEWSTON
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Stay safe & stay happy. God bless.
Nico Murillo Bio ~ Americans & Texans for Safe Access ~ Medical Cannabis