Granny Gao and the Flower Shop


Granny Gao’s flower shop has been an unwavering source of beauty and generosity in the Old Mile neighborhood for decades. But the neighborhood is no longer what it was, and it seems the time has come for Granny Gao’s shop to finally close its doors. When she learns of her grandmother’s plan to close, twelve-year-old Miao Yan takes it upon herself to save the flower shop. In the process, she learns more about her grandmother, her neighborhood, and herself than she could have imagined.

I want to turn this short story into an illustrated book for young readers, as well as an animated film. If you’d like to read the full story and/or connect about this project, please e-mail me at

(Excerpt Below)

The next morning Granny Gao crawled out from under the covers of the firm bed. She nudged her sleeping granddaughter’s shoulder until the child woke up. Miao Yan followed behind as Granny Gao opened the doors and welcomed the morning air. This time she pulled two chairs out onto the balcony. She sat on one, and Miao Yan sat beside her on the other. Miao Yan set her hands on her knees and straightened her back as her grandmother did.

“Now,” Granny Gao said, “let’s close our eyes. Breathe. Where does the breath come from? Where does the breath go? Can we feel it moving through us? Can we feel ourselves, all the way to the tippety-tips of our fingers, our toes, and our nose?”

They breathed. Their bellies moved out... and in... and out... and in...

“You are made of love,” Granny Gao said, in a voice so low it sounded just like breathing. “And I am made of love. This whole world, and everything in it, is made of love.”

Then, something strange happened. Suddenly, Miao Yan found she could not remember the words. The meaning of the words was no longer in the words. It was a force that seemed to spring from deeper, even, than all her deepest thoughts, and feelings, and memories, and imaginings. It seemed this force had always been there, flowing under everything. Now, it filled her. She could feel it all the way to the tippety-tips of her fingers, her toes, and her nose. She needed nothing more than this force, as warm and familiar as her grandmother’s smell.

Together she and Granny Gao let out one very long breath, so long it was hard to tell where it started.

Miao Yan heard birds chirping. She opened her eyes.