“Golden Roses” may not be considered a very popular book. I remember that initially, I stumbled upon it in a corner of a bookstore by chance, and I couldn’t help but feel that the title sounded quite outdated, so I kept my distance. It was during high school that I got to know about it because it appeared in the supplementary materials for our studies – Bautschtovski’s “Golden Roses.” It was only then that I discovered how lyrical it truly was. “Precious Dust” immediately made me fall in love with this book. I immersed myself in it, as if I were embracing a beautiful soul. At that time, I didn’t pay much attention to the discussions about literary creation. It was all about beauty, nature, and the most beautiful emotions within the human heart – that was my initial impression of it.
As I delved deeper into the reading, I found that “Golden Roses” resonated deeply with its views on creation. It was a time when I was practicing writing frequently, and my writing experiences often found validation within the book. Like when the book explained inspiration in “Lightning”: “Inspiration is not about waving your hand gracefully; it’s like a plowing ox, working with all its might.” I couldn’t agree more. Inspiration often strikes after prolonged and quiet contemplation. But that moment of realization is incredibly wonderful. Many nights spent immersed in writing, under the faint glow of a desk lamp or the quiet night sky, after a surge of thoughts, I would read my drafts over and over again. Sometimes it was the beautiful rhythm, sometimes profound insights, and sometimes it was the imagination that even surprised me. Inspiration is the culmination of one’s entire body, mind, wisdom, and hard work, an invaluable treasure. “A Bouquet of Fake Flowers” cautioned me against pursuing flowery language without substance. There were many such resonances.
Now, it has been a year since I last flipped through “Golden Roses.” However, I’ve since entered the field of computer science, growing distant from literature, no longer the single-minded youth I was in high school. Revisiting “Golden Roses” today, the resonance is still there, but it’s accompanied by a sense of boredom. The biggest source of this boredom probably lies in the excessive focus on methods of creation. How to accumulate material, how to select details – these are no longer relevant to me. But there was a time when I would meticulously craft sentences, contemplate writing at my desk, and earnestly study books on literary appreciation.
The time when “Golden Roses” was most fitting for savoring feels very close, but it seems to have forever passed by. Along with the passing years, there’s less intoxication and more contemplation.
Opening “Golden Roses” and reading “Precious Dust” again, I feel that the opening chapter is the soul of “Golden Roses.” I still believe this today. However, compared to the metaphors about literary creation in “Golden Roses,” the story itself is even more touching. It brims with tenderness between the lines. The emotions of the janitor Shamae seem to have been infused with warmth by the author, flowing into my heart like a gentle stream. This tenderness might not be exquisitely beautiful, but it’s incredibly genuine, devoid of ostentation, and possesses the texture of a golden rose. It awakens the passionate heart deep within, making one suddenly realize and believe that there are truly valuable things in the world, just like this love and warmth. And there are many details, like tiny but dazzling gems. The sea is greasy, the comb the soldier uses to comb the little girl’s hair is made of iron, there are vague puddles in memory, there’s the dim light of the golden roses, and there’s a hair ribbon that seems to have been kept in a violet basket for a long time. These tiny details outline the story clearly and fill it with richness. The iron comb, for instance, perfectly accentuates the soldier’s tenderness. The dim light of the golden roses seems like an illusory hint of happiness in a hazy memory, unforgettable in its intensity. And the scent-faded violet-scented hair ribbon speaks of the passing and enduring of beautiful memories. These deep and meaningful imageries immerse you in the story, leaving you savoring them for a long time.
“The Inscription” sets its tone against the backdrop of the winter Baltic Sea, where silence, darkness, and oppressive solitude prevail. In such an environment, the author’s portrayal of the writer’s mission feels solemn and desolate. Only later did I realize how unique such a writer and work were in the era of Soviet literature, under political pressure. Bautschtovski said that writers engage in labor that brings them pain but also beauty because they heed the call of their inner selves and the call of the people and the times. Solzhenitsyn disagreed with Bautschtovski. He expressed his opposition to the government in an almost daring way, even if it meant exile. But through “The Inscription,” I saw that Bautschtovski’s convictions were also marked by a strong inscription, constantly urging and inspiring him to shoulder an inescapable mission, just like Dostoevsky, Van Gogh, and Pushkin, persisting and dedicating their entire lives. Solzhenitsyn was the conscience of Russia, while Bautschtovski was like the warm flow of Russian literature, amidst the blind fervor, blowing on restless hearts, in the political winter, bringing warmth to the people. Solzhenitsyn’s literature was ultimately written for history and future generations, while Bautschtovski’s literature was written for beauty, for art, for that era’s fearful and numb people. Solzhenitsyn exposed the dark ugliness and shouted in anger, whereas Bautschtovski seemed to wear a knowing smile, illuminating goodness and beauty, awakening vivid imaginations, displaying the richness of nature, and offering solace and confidence. Solzhenitsyn had principles he was willing to die for, and Bautschtovski had a lifelong mission he would never give up.
Despite its limitations from a certain perspective, “Golden Roses” immerses itself in an idealistic world of discovering and creating beauty, disregarding the contradictions of social reality, and lacks what one might call practicality. For example, I, who could once be the young man who entrusted his spiritual world to it during peaceful high school days, no longer considers it the sole pursuit of my inner world. However, it remains a part of my spiritual core. It accompanied the dreams of literature in my youth, narrated the most beautiful emotions in our hearts, preserved childlike imagination, and symbolized the noble mission of poets and writers. These are eternal ideals of humanity, even if they are sometimes buried.
Perhaps I will rarely open “Golden Roses” again. Perhaps, when I do open it again, I will only turn to the first page, revisiting the short story “Precious Dust” and nothing more, without continuing to read further. But I can be sure that this thin book will always be on my bookshelf. Because the existence of this book signifies that there are some pure things that are never abandoned.
In my heart, “Golden Roses” is like an eternal blessing, wishing happiness for all of humanity.