Amsterdam and I have had a fickle (read: so downright disastrous it causes hysterics amongst friends) love affair over the years. Since 2010, each incident occurring on a separate visit, I've:
* been on a train when its electrical wiring exploded and was evacuated underground
* had flights cancelled by wildest snowstorm in 30 years
* stepped off a gutter, sober, not even caffeinated, and broke my foot
* got food poisoning part 1
* got food poisoning part 2
* was wrongly directed at night onto a train out of the city instead of into the city
* been on return flights that were grounded by the Dutch police upon landing for sexual harassment reports with the customers behind me, and on the way home rerouted to Sheffield for the woman beside me who was in physical distress and needed medical help.
This summer though, Holland, and Amtserdam turned up the light and I (cautiously) basked with my whole heart.
I've been home and in hermit mode for the last 10 days, letting the things raised and learned during the Mindfulness Self Compassion course settle. Also, relishing own bed. My lovely fella. My writing desk. My flowers and plants. My kitchen. And...I've gone deep into the dark wood of final copy edits. Latest revelation of a first-time novelist: writing REALLY IS editing: endless, endless, ENDLESS editing. Which I'm very grateful to count as the biggest challenge in my life right now.
Thanks as ever for sharing in these adventures with me. I hope you are able to bask today.
Last week, on the day before my birthday, I got a phone call which was probably the best Birthday Eve gift I’ll ever get in my life. Today, it’s official.
The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart will be published in France, 2018, by Fayard.
150 years after its creation in 1857, Paris-based publisher Fayard is run by CEO Sophie de Closets, and publishes French and foreign literature. Earlier this year they announced their acquisition of French publishing rights for a little memoir by, oh, the Obamas.
I can't stop shaking.
I went to Paris for the first time In 2009, with my oldest friend by my side. Through many dark years I'd dreamed of seeing this sight with my own eyes. In my memory of this photo being taken, the air smelled like white flowers, like my childhood when Granny and I spent hours together in her tropical Queensland 'fairy garden'. We always gathered around the creamiest, most- fragrant flowers. “Smell these French Gardenia, Holly Darling,” Granny would say to me. I inhaled their perfume and always looked at her incredulously. “That's Paris,” she’d whisper. Granny hasn’t ever been to Paris. When I arrived in the UK I went for the both of us at the first chance I got. Today, knowing Alice will be published in French, by Fayard, in a city that struck me on my one and only visit (so far) as the place where they keep all the light, is a gift, an honour, and is beyond anything my fainting goat brain can grasp.
This is what it is because I can share it; thank you as always for being in the arena with me.
HOLLY RINGLAND grew up barefoot and wild in her mother's tropical garden on the east coast of Australia. Her interest in cultures and stories was sparked by a two-year journey her family took in North America when she was nine years old, living in a camper van and travelling from one national park to another. In her twenties, Holly worked for four years in a remote Indigenous community in the central Australian desert. Moving to England in 2009, Holly obtained her MA in Creative Writing from the University of Manchester. Her essays and short fiction have been published in various anthologies and literary journals. She now lives between the UK and Australia. To any question ever asked of Holly about growing up, writing has always been the answer.