Thursday, July 23, 2015

Separating real life from the writing life

Last night Writer Abroad told Husband Abroad that she was doing pretty well separating herself from her work.

He replied, “But you ARE your work.”
The Vox Article
Writer Abroad disagreed. “No, I am not my work. I emotionally detach myself from anything I write after I write it,” she said.

He didn’t get it.

Is Husband Abroad his IT? Does being Manager of Lots of People define his soul? No. So being a writer shouldn’t define Writer Abroad’s—even when she’s writing about real life. Her life. 

So Writer Abroad added, “I can’t worr
Which lead to the tabloid article
y about what half a million people reading my latest piece think. I have to ignore their comments. Ignore, in a way, that my work is even out there—while at the same time promoting it."

Finally he said, “I guess I can’t relate. I get 5 likes on my Instagram photos.”

Here's the thing: I don’t think anyone who is not a writer—especially one who is writing personal essays or memoir—can relate to how one must go about living with having part of their soul out there. The key word, though, is part.

The world knows a small part of Writer Abroad’s story today. Her photos and an exaggerated version of the story are once again in one of Switzerland’s tabloids this evening. Her latest story was tweeted 1600 times and counting since yesterday. 53,000 Facebook shares. And counting. Which in turn sold over 50 books that tell yet another story about her life. The cycle of a writer goes on and on.

It’s overwhelming. It’s scary. But luckily, Writer Abroad has learned how to deal with readers knowing more about her life than she knows about theirs (even if some of them tell her quite a lot about their own story in their emails) by separating her life as it is shaped on a page and her life as it is in reality. It’s a subtle difference. But it’s an important one.

Do you separate yourself and your work? If so, how?

Monday, July 6, 2015

3 New Memoirs on Expat Life in Asia

If you're like Writer Abroad and love a good travel/expat memoir–specifically one that deals with Asian cultures, go East, dear blog reader, go East. In June, three new memoirs by women writers were published. One of the books is by Tracy Slater, who previously contributed to Writer Abroad back in 2013.

The Good Shufu is a true story of multicultural love, marriage, and mixups. When Tracy Slater, a highly independent American academic, falls head-over-heels in love with the least likely person in the world--a traditional Japanese salaryman who barely speaks English--she must choose between the existence she'd meticulously planned in the US and life as an illiterate housewife in Osaka. Rather than an ordinary travel memoir, this is a book about building a whole life in a language you don’t speak and a land you can barely navigate, and yet somehow finding a truer sense of home and meaning than ever before. A Summer ’15 Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection, The Good Shufu is a celebration of the life least expected:  messy, overwhelming, and deeply enriching in its complications.
Putnam/Penguin, June 30, 2015
When a bookish 22-year-old follows her Eurasian boyfriend to his hometown of Hong Kong, she thinks their long distance romance is over. 
But a month later his company sends him to London. She embarks on a wide-eyed newcomer's journey through Hong Kong—alone. 
The city enchants her, forcing her to question her plans. Soon, she must make a choice between her new life and the love that first brought her to Asia.
Blacksmith Books, June 7, 2015 
At 30, Californian Leza Lowitz is single and traveling the world, which suits her just fine. Coming of age in Berkeley during the feminist revolution of the 1970s, she learned that marriage and family could wait. Or could they? When Leza moves to Japan and falls in love with a Japanese man, her heart opens in ways she never thought possible. But she’s still an outsider, and home is far away. Rather than struggle to fit in, she opens a yoga studio and makes a home for others. Then, at 44, Leza and her Japanese husband seek to adopt—in a country where bloodlines are paramount and family ties are almost feudal in their cultural importance. She travels to India to work on herself and back to California to deal with her past. Something is still not complete until she learns that when you give a little love to a child, you get the whole world in return. The author’s deep connection to yoga shows her that infertile does not mean inconceivable. By adapting and adopting, she transcends her struggles and embraces the joys of motherhood.
Stonebridge Press, June 2015


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