East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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The Art of Writing

Selezione_001Yesterday afternoon fatigue crashed on me like a ton of bricks – as I was caught between too many open projects and a mountain of dirty dishes and assorted laundry.
The weather, with rainstorms chasing each other in the sky and the distant sound of thunder in the wind did not help.
My legs hurt, and I had a horrid headache.

So I crashed on my bed for most of the day, and got acquainted with the last entry in my collection of books about Chinese culture and Taoism.
Or about writing.
Or both.

The Art of Writing, published by Shambhala Publications, edited and translated by Tony Barnstone and Chou Ping, is a thin (112 pages), small booklet that collects a series of essays on writing – most specifically poetry writing – by ancient Chinese masters. Continue reading

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Again on the joys of research…

1744332216-500x500I said it in the past and I’ll keep saying it – the best part of writing historical adventure is often doing research.

A few years back I taught a course on Taoist Culture for the Italian-Chinese association in Turin.
It was a short introductory course, based on my somewhat non-systematic study of Taoism and Zen – something I started as an “interest” in the mid-80s.

The course was well received – and with the money I got from it I decided to buy me something I had desired for a long time: the four volumes of Thomas Cleary‘s translations of the Taoist Classics, published by Shambhala Publications. Continue reading