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Central Valley, California. Photo credit: Karen Kao

Shanghai Noir



Robert Macfarlane is the author of numerous books and essays on nature, including one of my all-time favorite essays, "Silt". On Twitter, Macfarlane limits himself to a word for the day. Earlier this week, the word was library.

"library" - a treasure-house of books, a sanctuary for study. "Library" comes from the Latin "liber" meaning both "book" & "bark", from the early use of tree-bark as a writing material. As the word's roots tell us, libraries are story-forests, wildwoods of words.
- @RobGMacfarlane, 4 Mar 2019


Last month, trees loomed large as we traveled through California. A denuded persimmon tree battered by the rains in Southern California. Fun at the Los Angeles Arboretum. Miles of almond groves bursting into bloom. I can't remember the last time I saw snow on the Grapevine or the Central Valley so green. Into the frigid north we drove where we met more rain and now serious wind. But that wasn't enough to stop us from heading into the wilds of Humboldt County to commune with some old-growth redwoods.

Of course, we did some communing with humans on this trip, too. Friends we hadn't seen in 20, 30 years. Friends my parents have held close for over 60 years. This trip was about re-connection. You can read about it in this week's blog post: Homeward Bound.

Even while on vacation, there's no rest for the wicked. An email dropped into my inbox inviting me to curate the April edition of VERSO, a live literary and arts journal performed here in Amsterdam. I'm flabbergasted, flummoxed and scared shitless. Despite all that, I'm putting together a lineup that promises to be fun (I think). Save the date! Sunday, April 14 at 7:30pm. More news soon.

p.s. It wouldn't have been a vacation without a book in hand. I may be the last person on the planet to read this book but Margaret Atwood kept me riveted with The Handmaid's Tale. You can read my review: Witness.

p.p.s. Sorry about the misfire earlier today. Uncle Xi probably still does want you though I didn't plan on reminding you about that.

p.p.p.s. But now that it's on my mind, did you know that in China it's possible to be traveled? It's happening this week to human rights activists while the two sessions meet in Beijing.

Uncle Xi Wants You!
On Revision
Year of the Pig
Made in China
How to Get Lost

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