When I started writing Oysters, Pearls and Magic, I embarked on a journey of self-discovery of sorts. Readers would know that I based Mirra’s people on the Hui’ An people in Fujian, China. The Hui’ An people are of special interest to me: my paternal grandparents came from that particular region.
Like any writer, I love research. I begun reading about the Hui’ An people, asking my dad and teasing out interesting information about food, culture and traditions. Although they see themselves as Han Chinese, the Hui’ An people are a minority group with their own distinctive ethnic costume. The Hui’ An women are known for their beauty as well as their hardworking nature. I see this trait reflected in my grandmother who still wears the silver belt for married women.
Of course, the Hui’ An people do not practise polyandry or polyamory. The story of Mirra is after all fiction. But stories are often interwoven with deep truths. An important motif in the story is Mirra’s link to the sea. She calls herself “a daughter of the sea”, as the sea is literally the giver of life for her people.
Then, in the course of research, I found something which sent a shiver of recognition, of synchronicity, up my spine:
“Hui’an women have been well known for being virtuous and hardworking in history. In the past, they took over all the housework and farm work when their husbands sailed out for fishing. Their chores included fishing, ploughing and stone carving. Today in Dazuo Village, people can still see them busily working at the beach. They are nicknamed “the daughters of the sea”.”
(Italics are mine to denote emphasis)
Even now, reading this particular excerpt, I have goose pimples on my arms, because I feel as if I am indeed writing about deep truths. I have written something which I’d thought was/is fiction… and it turns out that I have indeed discovered that it exists. This is pure synchronicity, pure magic.
What do you think, gentle reader? Do you have moments of synchronicity when you write/read?
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