diān pèi liú lí :: once even he was destitute and searching
by Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé
Dr. Eichelberger’s wife lived in Quebec, where she could live close to Frenchness, she said, and so her roots. Gigi only knew of her through her conversations with Dr. Eichelberger. She seemed nice enough, went to college but never finished to open a bakery. “She was good at it,” Dr. Eichelberger said, betraying his fondness for her. “I was in college. Still young and insistent on remaining naïve. There’s the terrible resistance to bending to the ways of the world at that age, don’t you think? To ignore all the adults and their finger wagging and open warnings about the big, bad world. And how it’ll swallow you up. To be careful, and have your wits about you. No one wants to become that jaded person. No one wants to become that suffering fool wagging that limp finger like a know-all. But we grow into that role we’ve abhorred all our lives.” He opened an album, and brought it to the couch. In it were pages of photographs he’d taken of the cakes his wife had made. The cupcakes were charming. They were works of art, the detail astonishing. “She was an inventor,” Dr. Eichelberger said. “She created things all the time, and her life was infused with that raw energy. Of being so close to life, its sheer force. Just standing next to her, you could feel the world rush up to her. And her hands. They turned everything to gold. She didn’t just make cakes, she was good at doing hair, she also worked at the garment factory, and quickly got promoted to design clothes for a line. She had two thin belts that she wore with everything. And she looked lovely in a dress, especially when she twirled to show me the front and back.” Gigi knew how he felt. That he wasn’t born with that same joy. That he didn’t have the Creator’s spirit. He pretty much said it in those words. He said it one day to Gigi, pouring himself a glass of vodka, almost to the brim as if the glass wasn’t tall enough. He said all he did was try to repair something in other people – all he did was open their minds, and take a look inside.
Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé helms Squircle Line Press as its founding editor and publisher. He is the author of The Arbitrary Sign (Red Wheelbarrow Books), with I Didn’t Know Mani Was A Conceptualist(Math Paper Press) forthcoming in 2014. He has edited more than ten books and co-produced three audio books, several pro bono for non-profit organizations. A former entertainment journalist with 8 Days, Desmond has traveled to Australia, France, Hong Kong and Spain for his stories, which have included features on Madonna, Björk and Morgan Freeman, culminating in the authorship of the limited edition Top Ten TCS Stars for Caldecott Publishing. Trained in publishing at Stanford University, Desmond studied sociology and mass communication at the National University of Singapore, and later received his theology masters (world religions) from Harvard University and fine arts masters (creative writing) from the University of Notre Dame. An interdisciplinary artist, Desmond also works in clay, his ceramic works housed in museums and private collections in India, the Netherlands, UK, and USA. He is the recipient of the PEN American Center Shorts Prize, Swale Life Poetry Prize, Cyclamens & Swords Poetry Prize, Notre Dame Poetry Fellowship, NAC Writer-in-the-Gardens Residency, Stepping Stones Nigeria Poetry Prize, and Little Red Tree International Poetry Prize.