Guan Un

Writer & Programmer

How we first befriended Guan Un is lost to the sands of time, but we know this: it feels like he’s always been one of our weirdos. This, despite our living in different hemispheres of the globe and highly incompatible time zones; and despite long stretches where one or another of us takes an extended break from social media.

Sometimes those things don’t matter much, because you’ve found enough common fascinations to geek out on together that the bond becomes a lasting one.

To wit: Guan is a coder (we ❤ code), a writer (we also ❤ writing), an avid reader (someday, maybe, Sarah will show you her reams of book notes), and an encourager of creative souls (us too). And as he himself wrote in his contribution to our Find Your Weirdos project, “a weirdo’s love can show you how to love something.”

Guan continually teaches us new ways to love the things we love, how to get up close and examine a single sentence from every angle, and still confess to the mystery of its full meaning. His work, and his presence, always leave us feeling heartened and curious, like a welcoming library filled with cozy chairs, or a teacher who loves learning with and from their students.

We hope you’ll learn how to love one of Guan’s favorite things, just as we did.

🤓 I geek out about…

Great sentences and sentence structure—have you ever considered how everything that you’re ever read has been delivered to you in a sentence? And how the form of those sentences affected the content of what you read? And how the right sentence in the right place can shift your view of the world? Also: theology, mental health, story structure, speculative fiction and tabletop rpgs.

🎒 I collect…

Examples of great writing; writing reference books; newsletters from interesting points of view; weird story games.

💬 My friends ask my advice about…

How to write, what to read. (And if you ever need a reading recommendation, feel to say hi! It's my superpower.)

🧰 How my weird obsessions show up in my work…

I have a newsletter called Topic Sentence (currently on hiatus but returning soon) which collects great sentences. I’m also working on starting my fiction career—I’m working on a novel and various pieces of short fiction. And I’m also pushing a small book on anxiety towards publication. I think the thing that links them all is writing—and paying attention to what’s going on under the surface: of language, and of the human heart.

🌱 What form(s) of growth is/are most important for your work?

Making a connection with people: helping them understand something more of themselves and their work and writing.

🌤️ A thing that makes me hopeful about the future of business:

It’s hard for me to look beyond the spectre of climate change. I am not by nature an optimist, but it seems like more companies are starting to realise they won’t have a business if we don’t have a planet, and that makes me hopeful.

💭 I wish more companies would…

  • Switch to a circular economy
  • Focus on kindness and virtue as a business plan.

💛 How can companies and industries take better care of people?

Treat people as people rather than sources of capital.

❓ A question I love:

What have you been reading recently? Also, how are you actually doing?

🚶 I would walk/drive/travel 500 miles to…

Be with creative souls, spend time with my wonderful family. (Also, have you ever noticed in the song, he says he would walk 500 miles “to be the man who walked 500 miles”? In my head, he’s one of those people who would not shut up about it, and bring it up every chance he could.)

You can connect with Guan at, or on Twitter at @thisisguan.