The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Flowing Water, Falling Flowers by X.H. Collins


This selection, chosen by guest curator and Sundress intern Stephi Cham, is from Flowing Water, Falling Flowers by X.H. Collins, released by MWC Press in 2020. 

Excerpt from Chapter 1: Chicago, 2017

            Women are made of water. So says a Chinese proverb. Water is so soft that it changes itself to fit whatever shape it is allowed to be. But water can also turn an angled and rough rock into a round and smooth pebble, erode the mountain that blocks its flow and capsize a ship it carries.

            If I were an ideal woman, by this notion, I would be soft yet persistent enough to turn Harriton, my angled rock into the round pebble that I could hold on to.

            I met him at an annual conference of our disciplines. We connected instantly, as if we were long-lost friends. We sat next to each other in the audience, during the panel discussions, and at the lunch table. We visited a used book store on the last day of the conference, while his wife was at a flower-arranging workshop. He kissed me between shelves filled with dusty history books, some of them hand-bound. I kissed him back.


X.H. Collins (she/her) was born in Hechuan, Sichuan Province, China, and grew up in Kangding on the East Tibet Plateau. She has a Ph.D in nutrition and is a retired biology professor. When she’s not teaching or writing, she enjoys spending time with her family, reading, dancing (ballroom and Latin), and cooking. She is the author of the novel Flowing Water, Falling Flowers (MWC Press, Rock Island, IL, 2020). She lives in Iowa with her husband, son, and dog.

Stephi Cham is a freelance editor and author. She received her BM in Music Therapy and Minor in Psychology from Southern Methodist University and is pursuing her MA in Publishing at Rosemont College, where she is the Fiction Editor of Rathalla Review. She wrote the Great Asian-Americans series, published in 2018 by Capstone Press, and her writing has been featured in Strange Horizons.

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