Why Fish Traps & Rabbit Snares?
Somewhere between 350 to 300 B.C., a very wonderful writer/philosopher lived in China. His name was Zhuang Zhou or Zhuangzi (Master Zhuang). A couple of hundred years later a collection of writings came together that was named for him, Zhuangzi. That book is not only considered one of the great classics of Chinese literature and Chinese philosophy, but is also one of the founding texts/inspirations for Daoism/Taoism, the indigenous Chinese religious/philosophical tradition that emphasizes natural spontaneity and the patterns of Nature. Zhuangzi seems to have had a great sense of humor and the title of this blog comes from one of his witty remarks about the use of words. Here it is in its entirety translated by the great Burton Watson:
The fish trap exists because of the fish; once you've gotten the fish, you can forget the trap. The rabbit snare exists because of the rabbit; once you've gotten the rabbit, you can forget the snare. Words exist because of meaning; once you've gotten the meaning, you can forget the words. Where can I find a man who has forgotten words so I can have a word with him?
What do you think, does this have any relevance for a writer?
This is a new blog that will deal with a wide variety of issues that basically relate to writing and the writing life. I should first explain that my outlook on writing is heavily influenced by my rather long background in traditional Chinese culture. I am a medieval China scholar turned fiction writer. So I've had two fields to plow: Chinese studies and fiction writing. The Chinese studies part involved forty years, at last count, and the fiction writing 20 years and still ticking.
This, more or less, brings me to the title of this blog: "Fish Traps & Rabbit Snares," which might seem a strange for a blog that claims to be "A Writer's Blog." But I'll save that for the next posting as it is rather late here and we're getting a new heating system installed early tomorrow morning. Zaijian, for now!
Dragon Gate Inn