Tuesday, September 29, 2015


Salsa Birthday Party

It was my birthday recently. At salsa I was given the customary 'celebrant in the centre' treatment, which entailed dancing with as many ladies as possible, one after the other. These photos are a small selection. I still played the drums, of course, and I do believe I am getting better.

I am exactly the same age as my friend Tseng Lan Hui but she is 50 years old and I am 49 years old. I think this confused people at salsa who gave me a birthday card that said HAPPY 50TH BIRTHDAY.

I was, however, delighted by the gesture. The reason why Lan is a year older than me even though we are exactly the same age is because for Chinese people the custom is to count the time in the womb, which means they are one year old after a couple of months.

Lan is a couple of months older than me. This means she is exactly a year older than me despite the fact we were born in the same year and are both Fire Horses! In other words we are exactly the same and completely different at the same time!

There have been long nights on the beach watching the lunar eclipse (my first total lunar eclipse from start to finish) and stunning sunsets and 'conventional' but still beautiful moonrises. The moon last night was a tomato in the sky, then it was an orange, then a grapefruit, then a metaphor, then it was like a simile, then like some other comparison, then finally it was like itself, the moon.

Life is good. My writing has perhaps suffered in terms of output; but I am really pleased with what I am producing, and I have signed contracts for four new books. One of these I have just delivered, a collection of strange stories that may (or may not) be entitled Brutal Pantomimes when it comes out (if it does come out) next year.

I have also been working on adjusting the contents of my forthcoming collection of tribute stories to authors I admire, The Senile Pagodas. I thought the project was finished, but I have recently completed a tribute to Nathaniel Hawthorne (a 'Tanglewood Tale') and I am working on one to Ryūnosuke Akutagawa. I hope that both new stories will find their way into the finished volume.

Akutagawa is a writer who has had a big influence on me during my working life. And now I have discovered a Chinese equivalent: Xu Lun. Perhaps I will end up writing a tribute story to him too and adding it to this collection. I am beginning to feel sorry for my publisher!

Once again I want to plug the longest single author short-story collection ever...

I know I have plugged this many times already but it's equivalent to a dozen ordinary collections, so I feel I am allowed to do so. It is The Million Word Storybook, available in two editions. The so-called female edition can be obtained from Amazon here.

At some point I want to discuss religion. Perhaps Faith would be a better word. But not today.

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Belated happy birthday dear. Amazing photographs you have shared here with us. I can see that you had enjoyed your birthday a lot! Well dear I am also planning for my birthday party at event venues Chicago, and I will perform belly dance there especially for my friends. I am sure they will like my surprise.
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