Musical magic. Stage fright. Let the Force be with you!
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This week's news from:
 Shanghai Lady

This has been a week of musical magic, though none of it featuring Star Wars.

First up was the Hortus Ensemble playing in the palm tree greenhouse of Hortus Botanicus here in Amsterdam. How magical to listen to Fauré's 2nd piano quintet as leaves drift onto our heads.

Next was the Dudok Quartet, incredibly talented Dutch musicians  performing in the iconic Muziekgebouw on the banks of the IJ river. All part of the grand opening last weekend of the Amsterdam theater season.

Then there was the literary benefit at Mezrab for #FreeRightsDefenders. Here's a blurb from the Facebook event page explaining the purpose for this fundraiser.

"On July 5, 8 Turkish human rights activists and 2 trainers, one German and one Swedish, were taken into custody during a workshop in Istanbul, Turkey. One of the trainers is Ali Gharavi, an IT security consultant and the husband of poet Laressa Dickey."

Laressa and Ali live here in Amsterdam. They are so well-loved that a passionate group of writers, storytellers, musicians, cartoonists and activists have joined forces to help Ali pay his legal fees to come home. Knowing how much pesky lawyers can cost, I urge you to donate if you can. Today is the last day to do so. 

Finally, I heard Nicole Krauss speak about life, writing and her latest novel Forest Dark. The latter features Kafka, the Judean desert and the border between knowledge and the imagination. Krauss is articulate, attractive and a major bummer for me as I prepare to take the stage myself. 

Tonight, I'll be leading the discussion at Forum van Rossum, where the book club will take aim at my novel. You're all welcome to join. Admission is free and the action begins at 8pm. Wish me luck!

Oh yeah. Here's a link to this week's blog post: The Art of War. Past book review, part craft essay, part random ruminations on Mao Zedong, this is as good a reflection as any of the way my mind works these days. Then you'll understand why Yoda adorns this newsletter.

Labels and Charlottesville
McTyeire School for Girls
Not the Booker Prize
Lost in Translation

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