Tag Archives: writing

Kim’s Expat Reading List

Photo by moriza, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons license.

Greetings from the island of Taiwan, which in the last few months, has gone from balmy in temperature to downright tropical!  What is there to do, then, when the days get exceedingly hot and more humid, but to go inside, crank up the A/C, and read a good book?  (Note: going to our local outdoor pool and taking a nice long swim also helps.)

As classes and events at Zheng Da have ended for the year, and my research has evolved– turning south to Silai (Siluo/Xiluo/西螺) and to interviewing important historians and figures in the history I’m writing about–my daily routine has changed drastically. Sometimes I spend the days interviewing people, traveling, reading research that I’ve gathered, or just writing. I’ve also spent more and more time reading– both for research, and for pleasure. And I’ve found some books that really resonate with the “expat experience,” and with my expat experience.

So here is the guide to Kim’s Expat Reading List from the last 10 months, with books grouped by category, or perhaps more accurately, “mood” to read in. Continue reading

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Calculated Madness: Confessions from the Writer’s Studio

Writers sure look crazy

Photo by Drew Coffman, couresy of Flickr Creative Commons license.

Sorry for the absences, dear blog readers– I have some good news and bad news. The bad (but not really that bad) news: I have been inundated with historical research, some in English, much in Chinese, and a little in Japanese. It’s been a bit overwhelming. As a result, blogging has taken a backseat to working, and to living– Taipei’s winter was surprisingly cold (without central heat) and surprisingly grim (without much sunshine). However, the good news is this: the project has grown considerably, there are MANY ANSWERS to my many questions about the Liao family and the evolution of Taiwan’s controversial past.

Also, for me, most importantly, I’ve been WRITING.

Not blog posts, obviously. But the book. The WORK, as it were, is chugging along at a new pace, with a new tone, revised structure, fresh scenes, and a new perspective on what its starting and ending points are!  The book is moving!!!!!  (going off to have a little dance party now)

Wonka's chocolate river

Click here to see Willy Wonka (aka Gene Wilder) sing about "Pure Imagination."

The trouble with all of this, is the danger that all of you writers out there understand and share, when the work is plentiful and the inspiration flows like some kind of wonka-land chocolate river. HOW TO STOP IT FROM STOPPING?

And now I come to the point of this post. Trying to write when you’re in the zone (and for me, WRITING the major component of my project), and doing anything else at the same time, is a bit like trying to pat your head and rub your belly, standing on one leg. Completely drunk. Maybe in the rain. Or with a bird pecking at one shoulder. Continue reading

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My 2011: Resolving Not to Resolve

Click here to see the fireworks we saw shot off from Taipei 101: captured for your viewing pleasure on Youtube!

My first fortnight of 2011 is going remarkably well.  (And yes, I just used the word “fortnight”– oh English language, how I miss thee!)  Research and Chinese classes continue to progress, friends in Taipei are doing well, and best of all, I am not failing at any of my ill-conceived or over-ambitious New Year’s Resolutions, as I usually do at this time every year in January.

Why, might you ask?

Because I didn’t make any this year!!!!  (Cue the dance party!) Continue reading

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Week in Review: Books, Views, and Brunch

It’s hard to believe another week has flown by!  I think the shock of culture of shock is finally dulling into the gradual acceleration of familiar time… punctuated by new Chinese vocabulary words, meeting new friends, and trying to balance maintaining a lifestyle with exploring a new place!  I am starting to get the urge to travel around our beautiful island of Formosa in an upcoming weekend, but this week, I satisfied my wanderlust by climbing a local “small mountain park” near my apartment, braving the wilds of the Zheng Da library, and seeking out an American style weekend brunch.

You have not paid your expat in Taipei dues until you've photographed Taipei 101 in a glamour shot and posted it on the internet. Can check that one off the list!

Some finds included: a gorgeous view of Taipei from the top of Fujoushan park, a whole collection of books in English on the 4th floor of the main library at Zheng Da, including the first volume of the recently published collected letters of Samuel Beckett (!!!!!), and a plate full of eggs, bacon, and hash browns!

It was a good week. Continue reading

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How Did I Get Here?

 

 

 

 

airplane mid-route

photo by Yuichi Kosio, courtesy of Flickr creative commons

Here, here?  By here, I mean, Taipei, Taiwan (although to be fair, at the time of writing my plane has not yet taken off). I mean how I am able to have this opportunity to do research and write this book. In two words: obsessive curiosity!

To introduce myself as a guide to the readers who don’t know me well–or perhaps, for those who don’t know my career aspirations but merely my favorite coffee, morning pastry, bbq meal, favorite writers, or usual drink order at the Tam–let me explain how I got here.

Continue reading

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