Self-taught poet overcomes disability

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Wang Yajing taps out some words on a keyboard to greet those who message her online. Unable to use her fingers, she employs her jaw and a computer mouse to send her reply.

Wang Yajing at her home in Fuyang. Lu Qijian / For China Daily

Wang Yajing at her home in Fuyang. Lu Qijian / For China Daily 

Diagnosed with cerebral palsy at her birth in 1992 in Fuyang city, East China's Anhui province, Wang has written fairy tales, novels and more than 4,000 poems.

She published her first book, an anthology of her poems, in 2012, and her first fairy tale in the Chinese journal Fairy Tale World last year. The poetry anthology resulted in stories about her in the local media, which in turn brought the young poet more fans.

Wang overcame both a physical disability, a movement disorder that affects a person's ability to move and maintain balance and posture, and a lack of literary training. She has never attended a single day of school.

When she was 5, her mother Li Juan started to borrow textbooks and teach Wang at home. A year later, Wang was already able to recognize about 1,000 Chinese characters.

In the early years, though it was difficult, Wang was able to write with her left hand. One day, when she was left home alone, her pen fell to the ground. She decided to get it by herself, but fell to the ground from her chair.

She persevered, because writing provided consolation for her challenging life.

"From the names of my family members to the terribly arranged diaries, writing has been bringing me great happiness," she said.

After learning to read, she was "deeply attracted to literature" and her shelves are full of books bought by her parents or given by others as presents. Among the earliest literary works she read were Nicolai Ostrovsky's How the Steel Was Tempered and poems by some of the great Chinese poets.

"The more I read, the more interested in literature I became," Wang said.

She started typing on a secondhand computer, which was much easier for her than writing with pens and paper. Then, in 2008, Wang's grandmother bought her a new computer, as she had completely lost the ability to control her hand. "Since then, I started to use the mouse with my jaw to write poems and novels," Wang said.

She publishes her work, "one or two poems every day", on her networking website and micro blog. "Though not able to experience the daily life of most people, imagination has always been my most important source of inspiration," she said.

Local media reports about Wang have brought her opportunities to make speeches at schools and government offices. She also enjoys talking to her friends and fans on QQ, a Chinese instant-messaging service. "Lonely as I was, I never thought that one day I would have so many friends to share my happiness and tears with," she said.

She was once asked by a friend on QQ if she ever tired of writing. She responded: "Do the street lamps feel tired of lighting?"

"I write all the literary works to seek consolation for myself, not to please others, so I never feel tired of writing," Wang said.

In the wake of the role Wang has played in encouraging people, the country's Communist Youth League granted Wang the National Youth Award on Tuesday, the eve of Chinese Youth Day.

"Chasing dreams can never be called easy. To many people of my age, youth is still there, while dreams have perished. I am lucky to have them both."

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