C.D. Seventeen is originally from China. She moved to the UK at the age of 17 on her own to study psychology at King's College London. She was born in a place called 'the south of clouds' (Yunnan Province of China), an area with drastic diversity of landscape, religion, culture, music, and arts. 'Whoever can speak is a singer, whoever can walk is a dancer' is a famous saying in the country, which describes the artistic Yunnan people.

CD Seventeen

CD Seventeen

C.D. Seventeen is not an exception. Apart from writing poems, she is also a techno music artist, DJ and painter. In Yunnan, hundreds of tribes still hold their thousand-years long tradition of rituals, ceremonies, and witchcraft practices. Growing up in the magical atmosphere of Yunnan province, C.D. Seventeen is also passionate about mysticism, esotericism, and depth psychology. Her work is highly influenced by C.G. Jung, Rudolf Steiner, and her favourite Chinese philosopher Mozi.

In short, what is The Weights We Carry about?

Looking for an answer by doing a solo biking adventure

Have you always written poetry?

Yes, I have a very good built in poetry writing function

How long did the collection take to write?

The same length as the trip, 46 days

What inspired you to go on this solo adventure?

I like the movie Into the Wild, so going on solo adventures is always on my mind.

What made you want to visit Scotland? Was this the first time you visited?

I had been there before; I think there’s something esoteric between me and Scotland that I can’t explain. I always feel at home there, and I always have magical things happen to me there. 

What did you learn from your travels?

Trust my abilities. Set a goal, and I will always find a way to achieve it.

In what way has this journey changed you?

I wouldn't say it changed me, but I felt the fake layers of who I was supposed to be and the mask I wear disappear. Not going to say completely, but 70%. 

Are there any interesting events or stories that happened whilst on the road that you would like to share?

Lots of events, every single one I can write a novel about. I met this old man on an island called Hoy, who was also cycling around. I also found out that he is interested in Jungian psychology and mysticism. We discussed art, philosophy, cooked together, and went to find magic mushrooms on the cliffs. We went to explore a scary cave and found some clay between the stones and made natural paint from it. We are still very good friend now. 

Poets usually choose to write in their mother language, but you didn’t. Can you share with us why you chose to write in English, and what some of the challenges that you faced were? How did you overcome them?

When I write in Chinese, I always worry about what I should write and what I should not. There's always my mom's voice telling me what people would think of me according to my words. I found it annoying I wanted to get rid of it and grow as an individual rather than my mom's daughter. I wasn't confident with my English before writing this collection. When I chat with people, I always worry if my pronunciation and grammar are correct. This made me suffer a lot. I wasn't able to socialize since I was worried about being judged and couldn't express my true feelings since I just simply couldn't with English. This language barrier made me feel lonely, even sometimes inferior to others. However, I have a rebellious soul, and I would not allow myself to feel defeated when I was younger (now I'm much more chilled). I told myself even though English is not my language, I could still use it in my way. When I use it enough, it can become my language, and writing poems is the best way to do it since it has more freedom left for the writer than writing an article. However, my biggest challenge was mapping my feelings to each English word I knew. In other words, the process from simply knowing the words to owning the words was challenging. I overcome it by observing how I respond to each word when I use it and how others react to the words by observing their facial expressions and sensing their "energy". To me, each word has a colour. When I find the colour representation of a certain word, it's time I know I own the word, not just know it.

How did art, music, and poems transform your life?

The creation process taught me to trust myself, believe in my own judgement, never obey, and never be ashamed about my uniqueness. I learned to be proud and humble at the same time, I learned to be a robot (be functional, useful and logical) and a human (be lazy, enjoy and emotional) at the same time.

What do you want to say to your fellow new artists and art lovers?

If you meet someone who behaves like this: I’m so artistic. I’m so deep and special, and no one understands my pain. Run as fast as you can! Because 90% of the time, they are self-centred, professional narcissists. No matter how charming or good-looking they are, leave them alone and go find someone else. How do I know? Because I was one of them

Which is your favourite poem in the collection and why?

How much do I deserve to relax?

Nothing is more poetic than writing a random line and calling yourself a poet. So, join me to be a poet! For example, how can I be so pretty?

The Weights We Carry also features some stunning photography, could you tell us more about this?

Photography is something I love to do when I’m traveling on my own. It allows me to form a deeper bond with the place and reminds myself to appreciate every single moment in my life. All I said above are only for commercial purposes.

Here is the truth:

Photography on film can easily make me the coolest person in the room, even though I have no idea how to do photography. Things always look better on film, and carrying a film camera around can guarantee you attract interesting people. This is how I make friends on my trips. You should do it too. 

Self-publishing is already an unconventional route to take, however, you decide to not sell your books online through platforms such as Amazon. Can you tell us a bit more about your choice?

I feel the world is becoming much more monotoned. Things we create become much more similar because the source we get inspiration from is the same. We are losing the magic we can have in real life, especially meeting a new friend in book or record stores. Also, nowadays, it is challenging for independent book / record stores to survive, and those places are where we go look for inspiration. As creators, we need to think twice decide how to distribute our work and how we can make our industry run more sustainably. I want more writers to join me to do something different, provide independent bookstores something unique to sell, and actively protect their benefit so we can defend places that inspire us. Also, we can make the customers feel they find a treasure they can’t find elsewhere when they find your book, so everyone is more engaged in reading books than watching videos on TikTok. 

Do you plan to write more poetry books in the future?

Yes, I have a new one with my drawings coming soon

And finally, what do you hope that readers will take away from the book?

My dear readers: my book is not edible, if you want take away, please visit https://deliveroo.co.uk