To write or not to write...

I have been thinking for a long time about trying my hand at creative writing. But, being highly prone to procrastination, I never really did anything about it. Then one day in 2017 I went to Hong Kong and walked along one of the city's finest hiking trails from the district of Wanchai and up to the Peak to admire the view of the city below. It was a spectacular walk, and one I remember vividly to this day. When I came back I challenged myself to write about the walk, about the impressions I received and about the people I met along the route. Nothing particularly exciting or remarkable happened on that day when I walked up to the Peak: I didn't see a traffic accident; I didn't witness a robbery and help catch the thief. All I had to write about were the things seen along the way, the weather which transformed all that was seen, and the ordinary people I met, who went about their ordinary work.

I like the process of writing about small and ordinary things. Writing means reflection, and I know for sure that there are things I can only fully understand, fully appreciate, and be articulate about if I have written about them.

So here we go...

Nebula; Or a Trip to the Peak

Click the image to read my story about a trip to Hong Kong's Victoria Peak

Walking is Healing

In June 2018 doctors in China told me that I was suffering from infective endocarditis. Always eager to learn, I asked them "Really? What is that, actually?" They said "it is a bacterial infection in your blood which has wreaked some serious havoc to your heart valves. You need heart surgery NOW!" "Holy cow!" I thought to myself, "what a bother!" What followed was an emergency operation and two months recovery in a Chinese hospital. If you click on the image you can read my story about the experience and the subsequent path to recovery.

Enlisting for Life

This fine and pious young lady is Henrietta Hall Shuck. She was an American missionary who travelled from Virginia to Hong Kong and Macau in 1836. She was the first western woman to settle in Hong Kong. I read about her in a book about old Hong Kong and was curious to know more about her, so I went to visit her grave and I read all I could about her life and work in Hong Kong. And I decided to make some observations in writing about her life.

(work in progress)

A Brief Interview with Mr Charles Ford

Charles Ford was the Superintendent of Government Gardens in Hong Kong from 1871. He was responsible for the project of planting the Peak of Hong Kong in the 1870s and he published annual reports on the progress of the work. I began to read these reports, which impressed me with their detail and beautiful writing style. I began to wonder what it might have been like to meet Mr Ford, and I wrote a fictional interview, in which I imagine a modern man travelling back in time to talk to Mr Ford. Click on the old picture of the Peak to read the interview with the man who changed the look of old Hong Kong.

Mr Abelard Looks at Things in Hong Kong

Finding inspiration in Italo Calvino’s remarkable short novel Mr Palomar, I wrote this short story about an eccentric, elderly man who walks around in Hong Kong and whose responsiveness to places and sights is instantaneous and profound. I wrote this as a fun and light piece, but also as a reminder to us to look at the world with observant eyes and always to wonder and think so that we may truly know the things that surround us.