If I Were Here

If I were here.

If I were here I would spend the morning steeping ground coffee over fireplace embers. I would sip a cup full of it by the window as I curled cat-like, my fingers slowly warming around the clay mug.

I would open the door to let the first light in and it would cast a gold-specked ray of dawn on the floor. Read More

A Story About a Story: How a Writer Found Inspiration

For the past week I’ve woken up every night in a cold sweat. It’s not the thought of bills, chores or work that wake me… it’s my novel.

That’s right… my novel.

As yet, it is unwritten. A buried acorn. A bamboo shoot. A baby in the belly.

No sentences yet. No words. Not even the swashbuckling slash of a single em-dash. Read More

This is How it Ends: A Near-Death Experience in Phuket

This is how it ends.

That was my first thought when, surrounded by couples at a honeymoon resort in Phuket, a fish bone lodged in my throat.

Choking, I scanned the beach-side restaurant, my only access to first-aid, an overpriced mojito.

I turned wide-eyed to the couple sitting next to me. The woman was preening in the fire-side filter of her iPhone, puckering her lips and tilting her head at the screen like a puppy.

I clutched at my throat. This wasn’t death-by-selfie which is totally a thing now, but death-near-selfie which is considerably more pedestrian and that’s really saying something.

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The Heart is a Library Hunter

My first memories belong to the surreal landscape of childhood. Cushioned in tenderness, they flicker a blurred reel of mango trees, mud pies and mosquito screens.

Occasionally, through the fuzz, concrete moments come into focus.

For me, the first of those is the imprint of a rainy afternoon in a library.

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What Remains: Cebu after the Storm

Acres of sand greeted me on the morning I woke in Cebu.

Arriving on the midnight flight from Hong Kong, my Filipina host and her German husband had collected me from the airport.

For three hours our trinity drove north into darkened jungle. But for the occasional village-party exploding wild by the roadside, the tableaus before dawn were dimly-lit. Read More

Where the Bookish Bed Down: Accommodation for Bibliophiles

When booking a hotel everyone has a wish list.

Is there room service? Twenty-four-hour reception? A spa? All valid questions and certainly necessary to know.

However, no matter how fluffy the bathrobe or late the check-out the one drawcard that never fails to entice the final digit of my CVC is a hotel with books. Read More