On Japan, Magic & Pillow Breath

Japan has been high on my travel lust-list for well over a decade; I even had flights booked to go there on my way back from Australia (via Bali) three years ago, but ended up forgoing them both to stay longer in Oz. Ever since, I have considered it, with yearning, each spring and each autumn (do I want the cherry blossom or the autumn leaves?) and have repeatedly had to cast the country aside for other ventures. I know I’ll go sometime and it will be magical; I think I want it to be a trip in itself – not just a stop on the way to or from somewhere else.

In the meantime, two of Japan’s most unrelated outputs (though halfway through this blog post I promise you a tenuous link) have shown up in my life recently.

Firstly (and I don’t want this to turn into a book review, but…), I have been caught in the avalanche of magnetising media surrounding The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying, a recent, clutter-toppling phenomenon written by Marie Kondo and published nearly two years ago. Continue reading

The Girl Who Went Up…

… Is the title of one of the short stories I’m playing around with at the moment.

For some, utterly bizarre reason I haven’t yet identified and for years didn’t even particularly notice, I have traditionally oscillated between writing poetry and writing novels. (No mid-way; mid-way has been for losers; I’m all about the full-way. Or something.) Many authors, probably quite reasonably and intelligently, recommend building up to writing novels via short stories, as though they are mainly instrumental spurts of intent and skill (maybe pain-staked, maybe accidental), a bit like lifting weights before lifting a car (terrible analogy, sorry; and people don’t generally lift cars*). But I never really bothered.** Continue reading