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 6: Three Rivers, 1905

            The old woman did not like Iris. From an early age, Iris learned that she needed to be as quiet as a mouse when her grandmother was in the vicinity, or better yet, she should simply stay in her room, so she wouldn’t cause her grandmother a headache by appearing in front of her.

            Lady Han kept her head down and her hands busy with needlework and other household work. She set up a small altar for Guanyin in her room. She draped a small table with red velvet cloth and carefully put a small Guanyin statue, about three inches tall and made of white porcelain, on the table. The statue was a gift from her husband when he came home from one of his trips. In front of the statue, she laid a small bronze incense burner.

            And she prayed and prayed. She burned bundles upon bundles of incense. She saved and donated her allowance to the Guanyin Temple in Cloud Gate and to the Huguo Temple near Diaoyu Fortress.

            And finally, Guanyin heard her prayers and You-jun was born. All was good, and all was forgiven.

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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