A Book From the Sky

This Chinese character may or may not exist.

Recently I have been thinking about how inadequate words are and how poorly we communicate in general. I feel frustrated that even when I feel close to people, I struggle with words to communicate that.

But I have also been finding great comfort in words. I feel the pain, joy, loneliness, and happiness through Deborah Levy’s Things I Don’t Want to Know — a response to Orwell’s Why I Write.

She goes:“Perhaps when Orwell described sheer egoism as a necessary quality for a writer, he was not thinking about the sheer egoism of a female writer. Even the most arrogant female writer has to work over time to build an ego that is robust enough to get her through January, never mind all the way to December.”

Supposedly, Cangjie (仓颉) created the Chinese characters. How did he find a way to have everyone agree on the specific meaning of certain shapes? It feels so random.

Humans do not communicate by rules. Say I draw up certain rules that certain shapes mean certain things, and I combine them into new shapes. What meanings do they have? Some of them may actually exist. Others don’t. Who get to decide what makes sense and what doesn’t?

These are generated characters based on a simple algorithm.

For T.


  1. A Book from the Sky by Xu Bing
  2. Recurrent Net Dreams Up Fake Chinese Characters in Vector Format with TensorFlow
  3. Serrated Edges