Shanghai, Here We Are!

Yesterday, after way too many hours in an airplane, we made it to SHANGHAI!!!!!! So happy to be back.

Our journey to our new son has begun. Spending a week in Shanghai, getting over jet lag, revisiting old haunts, touring around with Tully to all the places she frequented as a little kiddo, reconnecting with our China roots (and doing a bit of research for the new novel…).

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Baggage claim in Shanghai!

 

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View of the Huangpu River from the hotel. Lovely.

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I so missed the attention to umbrella care!

First glimpse of the Oriental Pearl Tower!

First glimpse of the Oriental Pearl Tower!

Mojo Monday: Abigail Washburn Builds U.S.–China Relations With a Banjo

It’s Mojo Monday, and as always, I’ve got a little something-something to lift your creative spirits, buoy you up, help you get your mojo on, and nudge (or better yet, catapult) you into writerhead.


As a (reluctantly) repatriated expat in China (nearly 5 years in Shanghai), I think a good bit about U.S.–China relations. I took one look at Abigail Washburn singing in Chinese and playing her banjo, and I thought, “Wow, I sure hope Obama is using her in delicate negotiations.” (If, like me, you’re smitten after watching this amazing TED talk, you can check out a schedule of Washburn’s upcoming performances here.)

Watch. You’ll see what I mean.

 

38Write: Worldwide Writing Workshop Launches Tomorrow

38Write—my new global writing initiative—is a series of online writing adventure workshops for place-passionate, culturally curious writers around the world. Each writing adventure focuses on one particular aspect of craft or the writing life (for example, writing kick-butt descriptions), and during each 38-hour adventure, you’ll be connecting with me and 38Write writers around the world via a Twitter hashtag. It’s new. It’s different. It’s mad fun! (For more info, click here. To sign up, click here.)


38Write | Description launches tomorrow! Sign up today!

So far, 10 writers in 6 countries!

China

India

the United States

England

France

Australia

Click here to join in the fun and make your writing sing! La la la la!

 

Happy Mother’s Day

I’m a lucky mom. I’ve got an amazing daughter who changes my life in wonderful ways every day. I became her mom via adoption nearly four years when she was just a baby, and though I don’t know Tully’s birth mother, each year I proudly share this day with her. After all, she created and gave birth to this amazing kiddo.

On this day—and many other days—I talk to Tully’s birth mother in my head and heart. I tell her what an incredible, loving, giving, smart, creative, heart-centered, silly-as-heck kiddo Tully is. I tell her how much love Tully gives and receives in her life with us. I acknowledge the sacred connection between us.

So today, I wish all moms a happy Mother’s Day.

If you’d like to read more about my journey as Tully’s mom, here we are in 2008 on our very first day together, and here we in 2009 on my first Mother’s Day.

xo

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

 

Writerhead Wednesday: Magnetic North and the Shanghai International Literary Festival

Usually on Wednesdays, this: Welcome to Writerhead Wednesday, a weekly feature in which a brilliant, charming, remarkable author talks about her/his writerhead…a precious opportunity for looky-loos around the world to sneak into the creative noggins of talented writers and (ever so gently) muck about.

Today…


Every year at this time in Shanghai, the world’s best literary festival takes place: The Shanghai International Literary Festival (SILF). Even though I’ve been living back in the United States for over a year now, SILF is my literary magnetic north. Not only do many of my favorite authors flock there (this year, Edward P. Jones!!!), but throughout the glorious three-week festival, you’re pretty much guaranteed at least a handful of compelling conversations about China, India, our world, East/West, etc. (And to top it off…it’s a helluva good party.)

Since I can’t be there this year (watch out, 2013!), I’m going to appease myself by attending as many local author readings as I can (tonight, Margot Livesey), slipping into writerhead as often as possible, and trying like hell to ignore the compass needle that keeps flinging around wildly.

So…where’s your literary magnetic north?

_____

Image: digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net