My dream, she says, 
is to rest. 

Among the camellias
the rhododendron
and the sweet orange blossoms.
To breathe in the heady scent of the dancing bauhinia,
and imagine a life of blinding colours
in a house that is mine
- my very own! -
standing tall and proud
like the red ginger flower.

This is my dream, she murmurs,
                     and further
from the unbearable burden
of the city’s unrelenting roar.

Dreamer, 2019

I don’t always start out with a truth when I write or when I take a photograph, but a truth always finds me in the end.

I tell stories with words and with photographs. For children, my favourite audience because they are curious, honest, and not yet jaded by life’s responsibilities. For teens, the audience I identify with best, being sixteen at heart. And lastly, for adults, a state of being that I strenuously avoid every day. I tell stories from my own life and from the lives of others – real or imagined, obvious or unseen – but always inspired by the sights, sounds and smells of Asia.

Why do I do this? Because, at the heart of every good story, there is a truth. Sometimes, if it’s an excellent story, there are many truths.

It is because of these truths that storytellers tell stories. Using words, pictures, music, dried pasta and, in extreme cases, taxidermied animals. It is also because of these truths that storytellers are driven by a singular, all-consuming, secret ambition: that each and every story they tell will burst open an emotional floodgate. Make people laugh uncontrollably, cry tears of the broken-hearted, or stare speechlessly into space. And, most importantly, not fall asleep from boredom.

Thankfully, there are multitudes of incredibly talented storytellers out there in the world. When we find them, my children and I read their stories and rave about them on our children’s book review blog, Stories That Stay With Us. The rest of the time, in between being a good-enough parent, wife, daughter and human being, I aspire to become one of those storytellers.

I fervently hope that you will discover at least one truth in the heart of all my stories. And if you find several truths … well, you will have made this storyteller very, very happy.