About the Author


Photo Credit: Dorothy Rawek

 

In my Words

 An English proverb says that Rome was not built in a day, and a Chinese proverb says that working behind a cold window for ten years is a way to achieve a goal. In my words I've been to Rome and know exactly what the "cold window” is like.:-) 
 
     I'm interested in so many things, such as reading, writing, traveling, photographing, camping, hiking, tap dancing, beading and gardening. However, most of my time is spent on two things: teaching for a living and writing fiction for passion.
 
    I've lived in different places and currently am residing in Toronto located by Lake Ontario.

 

Ten Years

十年寒窗

Working behind the "cold window" for ten  years :-) 

In Rome
Having been to Rome  

Book Launch
With Luciana Ricciutelli, Editor-in-Chief at Inanna,
Lisa de Nikolits, the author of West of Wawa and The Hungry
Mirror,and Johanna H. Stuckey, the author of Women's Spirituality: Contemporary Feminist Approaches to Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Goddess Worship 

   
With Peter

With Dr. Peter D. Hiscocks, the author of

Analog Circuit Design E-Book

Marlene Ritchie           
With Marlene Ritchie, the author of
         Murder in Cabbagetown (Feb. 2013)     

With Eva 
With Eva Stachniak, the author of The Winter Palace:
A Novel of Catherine the Great, Dancing with Kings,
Garden of Venus and Necessary Lies

With Connie

     With Connie Barnes Rose, the author of Road to Thunder Hill and Getting Out of Town       

Peter M

Peter T. McGuigan, the author of The Irish, Historic South End Halifax and The Intrigues of Archbishop John T. McNally and the rise of Saint Mary's University.

 
 
Steve
 
 

 

My Favorite Lyrics:
 
Zoe’s favorite lyrics
 
 

 
 
 
Street Art
 

 

 

 

 
 
Follow me on Pinterest  
 
  

Biography

Born in China, Zoë S. Roy, an avid reader even during the Cultural Revolution, writes literary fiction with a focus on women’s cross-cultural experiences. She has Butterfly Tears, a collection of short fiction, and The Long March Home, a novel, published by Inanna Publications and Education Inc. Calls across the Pacific, another novel, is forthcoming this fall. She is a member of The Writers’ Union of Canada, currently lives in Toronto, and works as an adult educator with an M.Ed. 

Interview with Zoë S. Roy

The Dirty Dozen with Zoë S. Roy

The Long March Home is her debut novel published in November 2011.


Calls across the Pacific is forthcoming in October 2015
 

The Holy Mango

Occasionally, I write non-fiction.  Below is a piece I' like to share with anyone who visits my page, just for a laugh. :-)

One day when I walked past Spadina Avenue in Toronto, piled mangos in yellow and orange on a fruit stand caught my eye. A memory of a sacred mango from almost half a century earlier came flooding back to me.

It was in 1968, two years after the Cultural Revolution had started. Mao Zedong had dispatched the Workers’ Propaganda Team to manage colleges and universities across the country and reform the so-called “rotting intellectuals” as well. My family lived on one of these university campuses.

One evening when I was washing up bowls and chopsticks from our supper, a high volume loudspeaker suddenly blasted: “Revolutionary faculty and staff! A golden mango bestowed on our respected Workers’ Propaganda Team by the reddest sun in our hearts, Chairman Mao, has arrived on campus.”

Listening to the inflaming announcement, I imagined a fruit full of spikes glowing, based on the word “golden” and the Chinese words for mango. I’d never seen such a fruit in my life, let alone the one as the gift to Mao from an African president across mountains and seas.

I stopped the washing as the speaker shouted: “Revolutionary family members including children are allowed to pay respects to the most beloved mango invited by our great Workers’ Propaganda Team!” In those years, the word “invite” was used whenever one spoke of anything related to Mao Zedong. For example, when you bought a portrait of Mao, you had to say you had “invited” it from the bookstore. To say you bought it was politically incorrect and would lead to criticism.

Unlike the Red Guards who had been to Beijing and actually seen Chairman Mao, I’d missed the boat, but now I had my opportunity to see the golden mango from Mao! Quickly drying my hands, I hurried out to join a curious crowd in order to admire this VIP fruit.

The auditorium where the wondrous object was displayed was already full, so we had to wait in the lobby. The members of the Workers’ Propaganda Team, identifiable by their red armbands, arranged the people into the rows. They were the authorities at the university. Based on the revolutionary theory, landlords, the well-off, anti-revolutionaries, bad elements, rightists, traitors, special agents, and “capitalist roaders” were eight “black” categories, the enemies of the revolution. After them came the Stinking Number Nines—the teaching staff.

As the daughter of a Stinking Number Nine, I belonged to a group that had been described in a revolutionary song as “flowers of our motherland,” but at that moment, we were all like silent and colourless blossoms, moving gradually after the last adult group along an aisle between the empty rows. Then, following the crowd, I climbed a short flight of stairs toward the stage. A large red banner with the black words of “Solute Chairman Mao’s Mango!” slightly fluttered over us.

I squinted in the glare of the stage lights and looked at a glass box on a large, rectangle and red cloth-covered table. A football-shaped brown fruit lay inside the box. It didn’t have any spikes, but had wrinkled skin. A young boy leapt toward the table, but before his hand reached it, he was pulled back by his grandmother under the baleful eye of a member of the Workers’ Propaganda Team. I moved along the line; a tall, white-haired man was to leave the table, but he suddenly turned around and bowed to the mango. He was a carpenter with the Maintenance Section. To my understanding, like many other people, he didn’t have the chance to see Mao, but bowing to the mango was his greatest salutation to Mao. Before I decided whether I should follow suit, I was pushed away by other teens behind me.

Out of the auditorium on that starless night, I didn’t dare to think that the idolized mango was pretty ugly and that loyal bow was silly; neither did I realize that I myself was also a character in a piece of absurdist fiction.

Decades later, standing at the fruit stand in the bustling Chinatown, I envisioned the decayed godly mango fading away in the sunlight while the street noise buries my wry chuckle.



CN Tower
 
Inside of the CBC
 

Some of my favourite stanzas

"See the waters of the Yellow River leap down from Heaven,
Roll away to the deep sea and never turn again!
See at the mirror in the High Hall
Aged men bewailing white locks—
In the morning, threads of silk;
In the evening flakes of snow!"
 
--Li Bai (701-762)
Translated by Arthur David Waley (1889-1966) 

 

"Away! away! my birds, fly westwards now,
To wheel on high and gaze on all below;
To swoop together, pinions closed, to earth;
To soar aloft once more among the clouds;
To wander all day long in sedgy vale;
To gather duckweed in the stony marsh.
 
"Come back! come back! beneath the lengthening shades,
Your serge-clad master stands, guitar in hand.
'Tis he that feeds you from his slender store:
Come back! come back! nor linger in the west."
 
--Su Shi (1037-1101)
Translated by Herbert A. Giles (1845-1935)
 

        Below is the favourite poem by Li Yu of my writing friend,

        Dr. Thomas C. Dunn (May 1, 1927-March 25, 2008), and

        his calligraphy of the poem.

 

        Thomas's autobiography is entitled Spring River Runs East.

        To celebrate Tom's life, I’m posting his calligraphy of the

        Poem by Li Yu (937-978) followed by my translation.

 
Li Yu's poem
 
 

In English

The Spring River Flows East
Li Yu (937-978)
Translated by Zoë S. Roy
 
        When will spring flowers and autumn moon end at last?       
        How many things have happened in the past?       
        Vernal breezes blew past my window last night,       
        The sorrowful memories of my lost dynasty flooded me in
        the moonlight.
        
        The palace with carved balustrades and marble floors should
        have the same height,       
        Only the emperor has been replaced, and the prime of my
        life is lost.       
        How much sorrow can you bear at most?       
        It’s just like the spring river flowing east.

 

 

          
  
          Spring River
 
       Garden Roses 
 

My Favourite Quotes

 
Quote from Bronte
 
 
Woolf
 
 
Roosevelt
 
 
Mark Twain
 
 
Hemingway
 

 

 
Gardenia in winter
 
 
Street Art