Introducing 38Write: A Global Writing Initiative

[Almost] every Saturday for the past year, I’ve written a blog post under the Expat Sat umbrella, in which I’ve shared info/stories/writing contests/etc. specifically for expat writers around the world. It’s been a great gig, but in recent months, I’ve acknowledged that my interest in sharing/teaching/mentoring/learning from/connecting with writers has expanded to include writers outside the specific expat experience.

Don’t get me wrong. I adore, and will always adore, working with expat writers. Because they’ve hunkered down in countries other than their own for extended periods of time, they’ve got insight into culture and self that no others will ever have, and they (you!) will continue to be a big part of my writing/teaching intention.

But I’m wildly interested in engaging with ALL intrepid, place-passionate, culturally curious, “globally unbound”* writers, whether they’re living as expats in Indonesia or exploring culture right in their own back yards, and I want to invite them (you!) into this writing experience.

And so, with a hearty smooch, I’m closing the door to Expat Sat, and from here on out, I’ll be sharing a weekly blog post each Friday centered on my new global writing initiative: 38Write.

In significant ways, 38Write reflects my own life. I’m from the United States; my husband is from Ireland; my daughter is from Vietnam; and as a family, we lived in China for nearly five years. Despite the fact that I’m once again living in the U.S., I no longer feel purely “American.” Parts of me have been scattered around the world; and in return, I’ve gathered up and now carry parts of the world within me. As a result, I’ve become an intrepid, place-passionate, culturally curious, “globally unbound”* writer, and I cherish this.

What’s to come with 38Write?

Lots of exciting stuff, including a 38Write worldwide writing adventure that I’ll be announcing next week.

Thanks for listening. Stay tuned!

___

*A quick nod to my virtual pals over at Global NicheAnastasia Ashman and Tara Lutman Agacayak—with whom I’ve conversed about global niche ideas over the past year or two. “Globally unbound” is their term…and one of my favorites. Check out their offerings. Wise, experienced, globally unbound women with unique perspective and great fire.)

Image: MR LIGHTMAN / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Expat Sat: Writing Prompt

Welcome to Expat Sat, the culturally kooky, map nonspecific, sometimes bewildering, always fascinating intersection of expat life and writerhead. And where every Saturday, I offer tips for writing, publishing, and thriving to expat writers around the globe.


LOST/FOUND

 

Go! Start writing. Get thee to writerhead!

 

Expat Sat: Travel Writing Scholarship

Welcome to Expat Sat, the culturally kooky, map nonspecific, sometimes bewildering, always fascinating intersection of expat life and writerhead. And where every Saturday, I offer tips for writing, publishing, and thriving to expat writers around the globe.


This is such an amazing writing opportunity for some youngster or oldster who fits the criteria. Check it out. (Please note that all information has been taken from Travel Writing Scholarship. I’m just sharing the goodness.)

 

DESCRIPTION:

“Do you want to be a published travel writer?

“This year we decided to shake things up a bit and instead of choosing just one country for our scholarship…we’ve decided to send you off to three different countries in Southeast Asia! Once on the ground, you’ll have the opportunity to see for yourself life beyond the banana pancake trail, and get to know Southeast Asia from the local perspectives, through the eyes of three amazing writers.

“Here’s the triple-dip deal:

“First you’ll head off to Singapore to go on assignment for five days under the mentorship of Rough Guides writer Richard Lim to review and update ‘The Rough Guide to Singapore’.

“Then you’ll fly to Bali and meet up with Stuart McDonald, founder of Travelfish, the online travel guide to Southeast Asia, before heading off on six days of cultural insight and adventure in Indonesia.

“For the last leg of the scholarship, you will be whisked off to Malaysia for a food odyssey through Kuala Lumpur and Penang with former local and cookbook author of award winning hsa*ba Burmese cookbook, Tin Cho Chaw, to explore how cuisine shapes the lives of Malaysians.”

HOW TO ENTER:

To enter, you must:

  1. write and submit a 2,000-word essay
  2. fill out and submit an entry form

Topics and details are here.

PRIZE

See description above.

DEADLINE:

April 23, 2012 (Write! Write!)

WHO CAN APPLY:

* This opportunity is open to students, emerging and non-professional writers and lovers of travel looking for a career change.

* The scholarship is open to all nationalities, however, you must have a high degree of proficiency in written English.

* The opportunity is designed to give you a taste of what it’s like to be a travel writer on the road, so you must be comfortable doing some travel on your own.

* Minimum age 18 by the date the scholarship application close (April 23, 2012)

* A current passport with at least six months before expiry

* You must be available as per the dates set out. Please note these dates are not changeable in anyway, you must be available for the entire assignment.

* You should be an exceptional writer with a lust for adventure travel, a desire to experience new cultures (and eat them!)and above all, a burning desire to become a professional travel writer!

THE KICKER:

None that I can see.

THE UPSIDE:

Duh.

ADVICE:

Check out the Travel Writing Scholarship. There’s lots more information there. Then get busy and write.

_____

Image: worradmu / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Expat Sat: “Shanghai Calling,” the Movie

Welcome to Expat Sat, the culturally kooky, map nonspecific, sometimes bewildering, always fascinating intersection of expat life and writerhead. And where every Saturday, I offer tips for writing, publishing, and thriving to expat writers around the globe.


All my Shanghai/China/expat pals, look out! “Shanghai Calling” is a’coming to theaters near you. Check out the trailer! (Look/sound/feel familiar?) I love this!

Expat Sat: Thin Places

Welcome to Expat Sat, the culturally kooky, map nonspecific, sometimes bewildering, always fascinating intersection of expat life and writerhead. And where every Saturday, I offer tips for writing, publishing, and thriving to expat writers around the globe.


As I move into writing my new novel (which mostly takes place in Shanghai), I think a lot about why China affects me so deeply. Why it’s become such an integral part of my being. Why I can’t shake it. Why when I’d never planned to love it–and when it pisses me off in a lot of ways–I do.

Last week in the New York Times, Eric Weiner wrote a piece about “thin places.”

I know, huh? What the heck are “thin places”?

Weiner describes “thin places” like this:

“They are locales where the distance between heaven and earth collapses and we’re able to catch glimpses of the divine, or the transcendent or, as I like to think of it, the Infinite Whatever.”

And then:

“A thin place is not necessarily a tranquil place, or a fun one, or even a beautiful one, though it may be all of those things too. Disney World is not a thin place. Nor is Cancún. Thin places relax us, yes, but they also transform us — or, more accurately, unmask us. In thin places, we become our more essential selves.”

And there it is.

Quite unexpectedly, in China, I became my more essential self.

This piece–and this idea of “thin places”–has given me some real insight into this next novel of mine. So thank you, Eric Weiner.

And to all you expats/nomads/wanderers out there, what’s one of your “thin places”? Where have you become your more essential self?

_____

Image: thepathtraveler / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Expat Sat: Speeding Around the World

Welcome to Expat Sat, the culturally kooky, map nonspecific, sometimes bewildering, always fascinating intersection of expat life and writerhead. And where every Saturday, I offer tips for writing, publishing, and thriving to expat writers around the globe.


I’m curious…how does this video make you feel? What does it inspire you to write? Do? Where does it inspire you to go?

Me?

I’m off to commune with the elephants…

Expat Sat: Submission Opportunity at Painted Bride Quarterly: Displacement

Welcome to Expat Sat, the culturally kooky, map nonspecific, sometimes bewildering, always fascinating intersection of expat life and writerhead. And where every Saturday, I offer tips for writing, publishing, and thriving to expat writers around the globe.


I love sharing a great writing opportunity for expat writers around the globe, and this one is perfect for you!

The theme of upcoming Issue #85 of the fabulous literary magazine Painted Bride Quarterly is (drum roll, please)…

DISPLACEMENT

Hello?

Could this theme be more perfect for you, the intrepid expat?

It could not.

So get busy. Get writing. Get thee to writerhead.

When you’re ready, submit.

(And yep, they accept fiction, essays, and poetry.)

_____

Image: Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Expat Sat: China Is The Big, Bad Monster

Welcome to Expat Sat, the culturally kooky, map nonspecific, sometimes bewildering, always fascinating intersection of expat life and writerhead. And where every Saturday, I offer tips for writing, publishing, and thriving to expat writers around the globe.


Yesterday I was reading the “Amazon Will Kill You” blog post by Joe Konrath at the same time I was reading the “Amazon, Innovation, and the Rewards of the Free Market” post by The Authors Guild. (If you haven’t read these two pieces, I encourage you to do so. But in essence, JK says that publishing has already changed, that we—readers & writers—are responsible for that change, that Amazon is not the devil it’s made out to be, and that those who don’t embrace the change will be left behind. The Authors Guild says pretty much the opposite.)

This conversation reminds of the “China debate” folks often rope me into. Because I lived there for a good while, they expect/want me to be leading the “China is the big, bad monster” parade…the monster that stole our jobs. But while I am often hollering about China’s flaws and challenges (especially when it comes to freedom of speech and human rights), I love China. And here’s what I believe:

  • The U.S. gave China our manufacturing jobs, and now it sucks because we’re feeling the repercussions of that act. We didn’t think ahead. We just saw $$$$$$.
  • Because we gave our manufacturing jobs to China (and for a whole lot of other reasons), the world economy has changed. In big ways. Forever. Some are embracing it; some are resisting.
  • Those who embrace will soar; those who resist will stay stuck in the mud.
  • We can’t go backward.
  • Get out of the mud. Innovate.

_____

Image: chrisroll / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Expat Sat: 4 Questions Expat Writers Need to Ask Themselves

Welcome to Expat Sat, the culturally kooky, map nonspecific, sometimes bewildering, always fascinating intersection of expat life and writerhead. And where every Saturday, I offer tips for writing, publishing, and thriving to expat writers around the globe.


You’re an expat. You’re a writer. You’re ready to start a new project. You’re not quite sure how or where or what to begin. Here are four questions to help you get started.

1.  Am I writing about myself in this place?

2.  Am I writing about this place without “me” in it? (Meaning, you’re an observer, a gatherer of information, not a participant.)

3.  Am I writing fiction or nonfiction?

4.  What is it about this place that inspires me?

_____

Image: think4photop / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Expat Sat: Writing Prompt: There’s Nothing To Write About??!!

Welcome to Expat Sat, the culturally kooky, map nonspecific, sometimes bewildering, always fascinating intersection of expat life and writerhead. And where every Saturday, I offer tips for writing, publishing, and thriving to expat writers around the globe.


Earlier this week a writer said to me, “But there’s nothing to write about.”

NOTHING TO WRITE ABOUT!!!!!!

Holy crap-a-majoli! Nothing to write about? Nothing to write about?

(short pause, while I sit down and breathe)

FOR PENELOPE’S SAKE, NOTHING TO WRITE ABOUT???

To help this writer and any others who have come to this desperate state, here’s a writing prompt to prove that no matter who or where you are, THERE IS ALWAYS SOMETHING TO WRITE ABOUT!

Now…get to work.

STEP 1: Go outside and hunker down on a corner. (Yes, I know “corner” will mean something different to each of you. If you’re in a cabin in the woods, go to a bend in a path or a river or a creek. If you’re in Mumbai, go to a nearby intersection. You know what I mean…)

STEP 2: Wait for something to happen. (drums fingers on knee)

STEP 3: While you wait, see what takes your attention. (Who’s pulling their gutchies out of their crack? Who’s smooching on the corner? What is that smell?! Have you ever, ever seen that shade of green before? How would you describe that old woman’s limp? And so on…)

STEP 4: When something happens (AND IT WILL!), go somewhere and write. Get it all down. The whole hot sticky spilling-over-the-sides mess of it.

STEP 5: When you’re done, post a few lines of your piece in the Comments section below. I want to see what’s happening around the world.

_____

P.S. I know, I know, a few weeks ago I made a big promise. I sent out a “Save the Date” for today. Ugh! My apologies for postponing. But stay tuned. It’s a’coming.

___

Image: sakhorn38 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net