China's Take

An excerpt from a forthcoming novel ...

Sometimes, I am amazed and happy about small, obvious things. Like, that my clothes fit into drawers. How marvelous! Who invented drawers? A place for everything, everything in its place. They roll out, they roll in. They disappear--invisible, inner rows, storing treasures of all textures and colors. At top, a place to perch a photo, a glass of water, a watch, a can of beer. Whose idea was this? I'd like to thank them.

I am grateful.

Or that there are roads. Amazing. Think of the complexity and thought that has gone into roads. People came together and planned, rolled out endless sheets of paper onto tables, and then dug and laid hot pavement and built a network so vast, so intricate that one can drive all around in one's own city, never bumping into anything, going everywhere! And, then--even more amazing still--one can leave and drive to another city altogether!

When I think this way, life feels complete. What else could one want when one has drawers and also roads?

In these moments, I realize that it is not what we seek that will make us happy, but what already is. We don't see anything. We don't see anything we have.

And if that's the case, what could we possibly do with anything more?


Excerpt from a novel for young adults ...

I woke up and all I knew was my Mommy was gone, my Mommy was gone. My daddy had never been, and now my Mommy was gone, too. I blinked, and cried, and blinked. I felt tears pool around my eyes and run down sideways across my face to where my cheek rested on, what? something, not a pillow. Something slick.

A soft sadness, and as I woke up more, I realized I was 16 years old and my Mommy had been gone now for a long, long time. I had been wondering where she was for 11 years. But the more important question now, was Where am I?