THIS MORNING, sometime between the hours of three and five AM, I opened my laptop to Skype home because I couldn’t sleep. Mom said the drought in Lake County has abated but the rain won’t stop. She said it’s cold and that a new grey tabby likes to sit outside the kitchen window and watch her putter. She named it “The Cat” and I named it “Ash”…
I want to go home. This year China will be my home.
There is so much to do, and I’m glad, even though it’s been keeping me up lately. I’d rather be too busy than bored. I made a word cloud out of my “About” page just to get clear again on what I want this space to be and the biggest word in the cloud was “Life.” Next came “year” and “write” followed by storytelling, spiritual, and direction. The more I looked it over, the more this blog became less of a mission statement and more of a feeling, less set in stone and more fluid. I realized that by over-defining (in my head) the essence of this blog, I was limiting my creativity and actually making the sharing process more intimidating. There’s going to be a lot more showing up here because of that cloud.
(Suggested reading: 6 Ways to Figure out Your Blog’s Brand Essence)
This year I’m reading classic and contemporary literature that takes place in the American South. A year ago I drove from Birmingham, Alabama to Blakely, Georgia to spend Christmas with my biological father. On that road there was rain and a tiny tornado and Christmas lights lighting up the rural dark like beacons on a pitch black sea.
Together my parents and stepparents are natives of Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, and Texas. The stories my mom and step dad told me about growing up in the South fueled my lifelong craving to read as many books about the region as possible, which in turn shaped my voice as a writer. Next year I’ll be starting my first book based on a supposition from my grandmother: my great great grandmother was a Muscogee woman that fell in love with a tar black man named Moore. They got married and that made people upset.
Since I will be spending the next year in China, reading stories that take place in the South and writing about them will help bring the supposition about my great great grandmother alive. Later this week I’ll post my reading list for 2015 and post one review/impression per month.
Skills ‘n Stuff
Next month I will be starting my first postgraduate diploma course with the London School of Journalism. As I work my way through the two year online track I will share tidbits about my experiences with the course, tutors and instructors as a whole, and work load in case others are interested. I’m also more than happy to answer questions through my contact form.
If time allows I will also enroll in a General Assembly web design course to pump up my coding skills. And finally, I will be finishing up my coursework with MatadorU’s travel journalism course in the next month or two.
As my year with EPIK comes to a close I’m preparing for my first job as a university professor teaching academic writing to Chinese college freshmen and sophomores planning to study at universities in Canada, Australia, and the US.
In twelve days I’m going to Vietnam to sleep on Halong Bay, tour the Mekong Delta, bike Hoi An, and possibly enjoy a meal of cobra meat in the snake village of Le Mat. My biological father was a Sky Soldier during the war in Vietnam so I’ll be making a stop by the War Remnants Museum and the Vietnam War Memorial in Hanoi as well. It only seems fitting since living in Hawaii (wear my late dad served in the navy), and South Korea (where my grandfather served during the Korean War) that I should make this paternal pilgrimage as well. I’ve been wanting to cross this off my bucket list for a while.
This summer I want to buy a trans-Siberian rail pass and enjoy slow travel from Beijing, through Mongolia, and on to Moscow. If that doesn’t happen, a hiking trip to Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, the region that inspired the landscape of the moon-planet Pandora in Avatar, is definitely in order. I’m not a destination writer, but something is bound to happen in these places that winds up on these pages. I hope to find you there.
I still want to go home. I want to meet The Cat and watch Clearlake fill back up, but hashing everything out here has given me a lot to look forward to over the next twelve months. When I do make it back it will be nice to know that I pushed through. And just to finish this off, here’s a word cloud for this 2015 post. Try making your own.