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Literary Shenanigans in Chengdu


Hello. The new forums are looking good. I’m a long-time user of Chinesepod, having signed up back in 2008 when I started out with Mandarin (my username back then was thinkbuddha, after the blog I ran for several years).

I’m a writer and philosophy teacher and things like that, and I’m based at the moment between Leicester in the UK and Chengdu. Back when I started out learning Chinese, it was because I was writing a strange kind of novel based on the Yijing.

The novel came out this year from Earnshaw Books in Shanghai (it’s called Sixty Four Chance Pieces, and it’s a curious beast — but good for lovers of quirky tales and Chinese arcane lore!). Since then I’ve continued my philosophical and literary poking around in the entrails of the Chinese tradition. I’m more or less hooked.

As a result, I’ve just a couple of weeks back moved over here to Chengdu for a year or so, and taken up a post at Chuanda in the literature and journalism department. After a lull of a couple of years, I’m back to being a regular Chinesepod user — not to say enthusiast. You guys are doing a brilliant job. :slight_smile:


Hi Will,

Thank you so much for introducing yourself in more detail and welcome back to Chinesepod!!

It was so cool to hear about your book Sixty Four Chance Pieces! 祝 新书大卖 文运昌隆 :grinning: Are there any online channels that we can get hold of the book outside of Amazon US.

My sister and Constance are really into classic literature and Chinese folk tales. I’m always getting awesome stories from them in the office. The recent theme is ghost stories from 聊齋. As a matter of fact, Constance was going to do deeper research in the 易经 during her bachelors degree.You guys can definitely 切磋 a bit.

Can’t wait to hear more from you on the forum!


Thanks for the welcome, Fiona,

I love the 聊齋 stories! I’m a sucker for all of those 志怪 tales — they’re just so very quirky and peculiar. So it is good to hear that both your sister and Constance are both diligently filling your head with such nonsense.

In terms of getting hold of the book in this part of the world (now I feel shameless!), the publisher has copies for mainland China (and it’s in a few English language bookstores over here); but I’m not sure about Taiwan.

Here’s my favourite quote about strange tales, from Guo Pu (郭璞).

世之所謂異,未知其所以異;世之所謂不異,未知其所以不異。 何者?物不自異,待我而後異。異果在我非物異也。

“What the world calls strange, it doesn’t yet know how it is strange; what the world calls not strange, it doesn’t yet know how it is not strange. How is this? Things are not strange in themselves. They wait for me, then they are strange. Thus strangeness lies in me, and not in things.”