Sanmao on Not Writing

Next week I’m going on a short holiday, and taking a break from all the writing I’ve been doing of late (various articles and book chapters in the works).

So it is timely that I came across the following little quote today from Taiwanese writer Sanmao (三毛) in her wonderful travelogue and memoir, “Stories of the Sahara” (撒哈拉的故事), a quote that I thought worth sharing.

Writing is important. But sometimes putting down the pen and not writing is actually more important.


So I’m looking forward to a week of not writing, somewhere in a yurt down in East Anglia. More when I get back!

Lucretius, Liu Xie 劉勰, and Literature

Those visitors who are interested in comparative approaches to creativity may be interested in the paper that I have just had published over in the excellent Taiwanese journal, NTU studies in Language and Literature. The paper is about different models of literary creativity in Liu Xie’s early 6th century Wenxin Diaolong (文心雕龍) and Lucretius’s De Rerum Natura. I’ve long been frustrated by the odd claim—made by a surprising number of scholars—that there is something inherently uncreative about Chinese approaches to literature, and so this is to some extent an answer to this, as well as an attempt to set out a more modest and universal notion of what it might mean to create literary works.

You can find a link to the article below.


Creativity, Writing, Atoms and Carving Dragons

This is almost certainly something of a minority interest, but if you are interested, I’ve had a paper published in the excellent Taiwanese journal, NTU Studies in Language and Literature on Liu Xie (劉勰), Lucretius and different models of literary creativity. This is part of a bigger project, looking at Liu’s “The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons” or Wenxin Diaolong (文心雕龍) as a creative writing text—rather than as a text about literary criticism.

Anyway, the link to the article is here. Participation, Pattern and Change: Literary Creation in Liu Xie and Lucretius. I hope you enjoy it.

Thoughts on Illness

Some time back in November last year, things were looking pretty exciting. I had been offered a university job in Hong Kong, my partner Elee was well on the way to finishing her PhD, and we were looking forward to a change of scenery. Having been teaching in higher education in the UK for about six years or so, I was feeling in need of a change; and being in Hong Kong seemed like a good way to move forward my growing research interests in China.

But then things took an unexpected turn. Simmering away in the background for the couple of weeks during which I was going through the interview process for the job, I was also going back and forth to the hospital with Elee as she went through various tests. Then two things happened within twenty-four hours of each other: I was offered the job, and half a day later, Elee was given the diagnosis of breast cancer.

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