This week's news from:
You, my most faithful readers, know that The Dancing Girl and the Turtle is just one volume out of what will eventually become my Shanghai Quartet. Yes sports fans, that means I have to write three more books.
Well, I'm here to tell you that I've just finished writing the second volume of the Shanghai Quartet. This is Jin's story and is currently titled Peace Court. It's just a first draft and I'm now anxiously awaiting the feedback from my critique group. In the meantime, I'm feeling a little bereft.
It could be mere depression at the thought of all the work ahead of me. But it is also a sense of parting from a group of friends, my characters. We've shared secrets, intimate moments, terrible flaws. We've gotten under each other's skin in a way that only happened to me when I was a teenager.
These characters are currently in their most unadulterated form but that doesn't mean they're at their best. They need to grow up now. And to help them do that, I need distance, a cold eye and a cruel hand. Chop chop chop. Then we'll see what I have left.
So don't hold your breath. If you're in town, take a gander at this fabulous set of porcelain now on exhibit at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag: China Character. There is an astonishing number of exhibits all running at the same time in this museum - from Dutch artists of the 1880s to Piet Mondriaan and De Stijl to the American installation artist Lee Bontecou. But this photograph seems the most ethnically appropriate visual aid to this week's blog post: Mine mine mine. A spirited defense of the fine art of cultural appropriation.