Beyond the Wings, May 2021

The final preparations have been made, and in June, I will finally record my new English album. Also, with businesses finally reopening, I should finally get the chance to debut some of my new material for a live audience. My tutoring has also involved some in-person lessons for the first time in well over a year. Here are some other things I’ve done in May.


Since I don’t live in China anymore and am not a member of the society, writing new Chinese songs in proving a challenge. I nonetheless finished this one, whose lyrics I scribbled in a notepad during a meeting in 2014.

Near the start of the month, I also wrote an English love song:


I have completed another redraft of my novel, working title ‘Fallen Souls’. It is much improved, but a lot needs to be done with the character of the antagonist and co-narrator. This month I read ‘The Wasp Factory’ by Iain Banks, which will really help construct the character’s childhood and backstory. I have also just started revisiting ‘G’ by John Berger, in which the protagonist, like my antagonist, is the illegitimate child of a successful man.

The Naked Wedding’ and other stories has had more reviews. A date will be set in June for its first featuring in a mainstream publication.

I have also written some reviews, including one of the second book to be published by Manchester’s own Orton Publishing. For the Leeds Centre for New Chinese Writing, I have read a new translation of ‘Stories of the Sahara’ by San Mao and my review will appear in June.

Wider World

New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has announced that she is in therapy. This has met with predictable scorn from her many political opponents.

Her announcement is both brave and timely. Mental health is getting more talked about in the mainstream, but still not enough. Even in the world’s most advanced societies, there is still considerable taboo around it.

The ‘self-help’ industry is a massive one, and so much unhelpful ‘advice’ is flying around. Much of this falls under the category of toxic positivity. As Carl Jung said, we shouldn’t flee from negative emotions, but experience our suffering to the fullest. Now is not a time to repress painful feelings.

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