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Anemone Honorine Jobert. Photo credit: Karen Kao

Shanghai Noir

This is a photo of a Japanese anemone (Honorine Jobert). It grows in a shady border of my garden. The anemone is known as an autumn flower to keep the garden in color until winter. Yet here it is, July and 38 degrees celsius in Amsterdam. Who knows anymore what season it is? Climate change is a Chinese hoax!

My house is too hot for me to write. So I flee into the garden, panting with the cat. The more hours I spend here, the more I realize how much I'm going to miss my garden while we're traveling. And yet the idea of missing a tiny postage stamp of a green space is ridiculous when I think of the magnificent gardens on our itinerary from the Kenroku-en in Kanazawa, Japan to Wendy Whiteley's secret garden in Sydney, Australia.

So while I'm oscillating with excitement at the prospect of all the fabulous things we'll see on this trip, I'm also feeling more than usually angsty. Luckily for me, I found Alain de Botton's book, The New Art of Travel. It gave me a way to look at my seesaw of emotions without making myself dizzy. Here's my review: Word-painting.

De Botton also led me to think, not only about the things I'll miss, but why I feel so attached to them. So in case you're wondering what I'll be missing, here they are in this week's blog post: My Favorite Things.

Between the packing and the panting, I continue work on my short fiction and essays. I'm flogging them to any journal I think might bite. If you're an emerging writer, too, you might take heart reading this article I wrote for the International Writers' Collective on submission strategies.

This is newsletter #6 in the countdown towards take-off. That means that this Sunday will likely be my last public appearance in the Netherlands this year. So join Caoilinn Hughes and me at her Master Class on poetry versus prose, short fiction versus long, and the art of writing a novel of ideas.

The Royal We
The Devil’s Bargain
Banned Books
Novel Navigation

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