The Liu Xie and Wenxin Diaolong Memorial Hall, Nanjing

I’m back at Schipol airport, heading home after a hectic week and a half in China. I still have a few bits and pieces to write up, but I thought I’d post some images from Nanjing, where I visited the Liu Xie and Wenxin Diaolong Memorial Hall (刘勰与文心雕龙纪念馆). I’ve long been an admirer of The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons, Liu’s sixth century text on the nature and practice of writing, and as I’m writing about Liu at …

Chinese Poet Drinking

The Flaws of Writers (according to Liu Xie)

I’m over in Sydney for a few days, escaping the smog of Chengdu, and attending the conference at the University of New South Wales on cultivation in Greek and Chinese philosophy. So far, it’s been an incredibly stimulating event. There’s at lot that, if I have the chance, I’m hoping to explore here on this blog in the next few weeks. As for my own paper, I’m still putting the finishing touches to it, as I’ll be presenting it on …

Vacations: Reeling in the Mind

For the last few weeks, I’ve been wrestling with a couple of things. The first is a huge server failure that has led to me moving my various sites to a new host. And the second is the ghost of Liu Xie (劉勰), the Chinese writer who lived between the fifth and sixth centuries, and whose work straddles Buddhist, Confucian and Daoist traditions in fascinating ways. I’ve written here before about Liu’s most famous book, the Wenxin Diaolong (文心雕龍) or …

Writing, Work and Ease

In my last post on the notion of a Centre for Laziness, I suggested that valuable work does not arise simply out of effort, but it arises instead out of a combination of effort and ease, regulation and slackness, hard work and laziness. From this perspective, ease is not simply a necessary interlude, so that we might back to work refreshed. Instead, it is an integral part of what it takes to create and to sustain perhaps anything of value. At …

Optimally Empty

是以陶鈞文思,貴在虛靜,疏瀹五藏,澡雪精神。 ‘Thus, to use the potter’s wheel of literary thought — treasure empty stillness, cleanse the five viscera and wash clean the vital spirits.’ — Liu Xie, Wenxin Diaolong A few days ago, slightly overwhelmed with the amount of paperwork I have to get through here, I took refuge in my new favourite coffee house, San Kafei 叁咖啡 or 3Coffee, which is just outside of the campus. There are many things to commend San Kafei as a coffee shop. There …