jenny zhang

My literature classes didn’t help. My professors stressed the importance of approaching a text with detachment, with a critical gaze rather than an emotional one. There wasn’t a place in academia for gushing or ranting. There wasn’t room to simply say, “I loved this and I don’t know why.” One had to use academic jargon. One had to be methodical and thorough. It was like listening to a song and wanting so badly to get up and dance, but instead of dancing, you have to sit there and think about why those sounds made you want to dance and consider the exact mechanics behind the formula of a danceable song. And I didn’t want to fucking do that. I just wanted to dance. I just wanted to read. I just wanted to write. I didn’t want to deconstruct lines of poetry or do a close reading of Faulkner’s usage of semicolons.
—  Jenny Zhang, ‘The Quiet Importance of Angst-y Art’, Rookie
I had to contend with the pain of wanting a beautiful white body, not out of some misguided vanity, but because I saw over and over how whiteness conferred an instant legitimacy… As a teenager, I blamed my parents for failing to secure me admission into whiteness, which I was certain was a prerequisite to being loved. I was mad at them, not at the cruelty of the American dream or the ways in which white supremacy had warped each of us. My privileged upbringing and education and linguistic fluency gave me such proximity to whiteness that it stung all the more to still find myself outside of it.

Jenny Zhang on Mitski, “Your Best American Girl”

NYT Magazine

“And that’s my advice to any young writer of ‘How do I not get used or be someone’s diversity pick or to fill someone’s quota?’ Listen to how they talk to you. You know, if they talk to you like ‘I love how you are the epitome of immigrant struggle or whatever.’ Then they don’t see you and they don’t really read you deeply. But if they’re talking to you and say, ‘Oh I see you’re really into a minimalism that I haven’t seen in American Arts & Letters,’ if they talk deeply to you about your writing. That’s always a good sign. And if they talk facile to you about your identity then that’s always a bad sign.” –Jenny Zhang

Jenny Zhang gave advice and also expounded on her experience of her debut fiction (Sour Heart: Stories) that recently published and how those in the industry can tokenize marginalized writers to be what they see them as but not truly grasp what their writing entails. So yeah, watch out for that. 


Always read Jenny Zhang. Always. Here Jenny exposes “the long con of white mediocrity”:

“White supremacy tries to reduce people of color to our traumas. Resisting white supremacy means insisting that we are more than our traumas. One quick perusal through the shelves of world literature in any bookstore confirms just what the literary world wants to see from writers of color and writers from developing nations: trauma. Why, for example, is the English-speaking literary world mostly interested in fiction or poetry from China if the writer can be labeled as a “political dissident”? Even better if the writer has been tortured, imprisoned, or sentenced to hard labor by the Chinese government at one point. Surely there are amazing Chinese writers who don’t just identify as political dissidents just as there are many amazing white American writers who don’t identify, or rather, are not identified as one thing. Why are we so perversely interested in narratives of suffering when we read things by black and brown writers? Where are my carefree writers of color at? Seriously, where?”

Still, my other tongue wants to speak. My other tongue wants
to be kissed. My other tongue speaks for me. My other tongue
cuts others off. My other tongue feels the entitlement that some
people don’t even know they have. My other tongue knows such
tenderness. Such mortality and cowardice and neglect.
—  Jenny Zhang, from Hags

‘Sour Heart’ Offers A Fierce, Fresh Take On The 'Hell’ Of Coming To America

The stories in Jenny Zhang’s powerful debut collection center on the violent, sometimes disturbing experiences of young Chinese-American girls growing up in Queens, NY. Fresh Air book critic Maureen Corrigan says:

“Most of Zhang’s others stories in Sour Heart are also simultaneously tough to read and, yet, worth it. There’s something very compelling about young girls in fiction, and in life, who speak up — and if their voices are rude, funny, even offensive sometimes, all the better.”

Wait, also protect my mom and my dad and my grandparents in China and also my cousins and my aunts and my uncles and their families of cousins and uncles and aunts and things like that and also my mom’s friends and also my dad’s friends and also my friends’ families and also their friends and anyone else I forgot, but… you’re God, remember? Since you are God (and why would I be praying to someone who wasn’t God, and how would I even know to pray to someone who was only pretending to be God, that makes no sense), you probably know everyone I am thinking of right now, even though I can’t exactly go through every single person I want you to protect for me because I don’t want anyone to be sad and it would even be okay if you didn’t protect me as much as everyone else because it’s not a big deal if I’m sad sometimes. I just wish people didn’t have to die in real life and in movies and in books and in dreams and in my imagination. Sometimes I imagine myself dead and then I can’t sleep, but don’t worry about me. I’ll be okay. Good night.

“My Days and Nights of Terror” from Sour Heart by Jenny Zhang. 2017.

Published in August 2017, Sour Heart is Chinese-American writer Jenny Zhang’s first short story collection. Set in New York City, where Zhang herself grew up after moving to the United States from Shanghai, China, the collection tells stories from the interwoven lives of 6 young Chinese-American girls as they navigate their childhood: Christina recounts the various squalid places in which she lived with her family; Annie is visited by her uncle, who brings with him memories of the Cultural Revolution; Mande, the narrator of My Days and Nights of Terror, learns to speak to God. Unflinchingly and relentlessly honest, Zhang shows in Sour Heart that her prose is as strong and agonising as the poetry that first made her known.

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I can’t remember the last time I sat down to write a story without thinking, Oh god, is this any good? It’s been well over a decade since I could lose myself in writing fiction for hours and hours without being seized with paralyzing fear—fear of sucking, of being a shitty writer, of being derivative, of writing something that could be at best described as “minor.” I can’t remember the last time I read a novel and didn’t immediately have some kind of instinctive critical reaction to how the characters were developed, or how language was being employed or underemployed or something. It’s like watching a scary movie and thinking about how the severed limb looks too clearly like a prosthetic instead of feeling genuine fright at the sight of a severed limb. I want to scream, not analyze. I want to feel something without giving in to the impulse to articulate it, to deconstruct it, to bestow upon it intellectual teeth and arms and legs.
—  Jenny Zhang, “The Quiet Importance of Angst-y Art" 
Water & Earth

 A/N: Hello, Happy Halloween (even though I’m super late, sorry!) Second one-shot for Halloween Series is up, hope you enjoy it! This amazing moodboard was made by none other, than the amazing @sun-moon-and-pcy!

 Genre: Supranatural AU, Fairy AU

 Author: bvidzsoo

 Warning: light swearing, and a few light mature things

 Pairing: Baekhyun x reader

 Word count: 5,792

 Summary:  Baekhyun wasn’t your tipical fairy. He was mischievous, the annoying type of fairy…the one who bullies you no matter what. Y/N’s life was never easy having Baekhyun as her neighbour, going to the same school, on top of that being classmates. Why was he doing all the things?, that was what Y/N asked herself always. Maybe, Baekhyun had other feelings…but it was too hard to admit them.

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But I want elegies while I’m still alive, I want rhapsodies though I’ve never seen Mount Olympus. I want ballads, I want ugly, grating sounds, I want repetition, I want white space, I want juxtaposition and metaphor and meditation and all caps and erasure and blank verse and sonnets and even center-aligned italicized poems that rhyme, and most of all — feelings.

—Jenny Zhang