Recently, I have found myself contemplating my motivation to write, and wondering exactly why I love it so much. So, when my friend and fellow blogger Serina’s invited me to join this Blog Hop, I immediately accepted the challenge. Serina writes about Taiwan-related experiences and culture at taiwanxifu.com, and about parenting while working fulltime at weekendparenting.co. She is also partly responsible for my return to poetry after many years of rejecting it, through her gift of the book “Writing Down the Bones” by Natalie Goldberg a couple of years ago.
This particular Blog Hop was started by Josefa at alwaysjosefa. Blog Hops create opportunities for the contributors and their readers to discover new blogs, kind of like “chain-letter blogging”.
Now, to the questions.
How does your writing differ from others in your genre?
Well, when looking at the poetry I’ve written recently, I’d guess it’s the particular perspectives I bring as a New Zealand woman living in Taiwan, and my own discovery of my inner challenges under these conditions. My short stories are also influenced by my years of living outside my own culture.
What is your writing process?
Fits of madness, fits of madness. I feel a bit whiney when I say I’m very busy, but with several part-time jobs, two children in elementary school, attempts to cook at least two meals a day, and now preparing to move hemispheres, I have to be a bit easy on myself and forgive my haphazard stabs at creativity. I write down thoughts on tiny scraps of paper, backs of receipts, or my palm, and then come home and hope I haven’t thrown them out or washed them off in the shower. Then, i sit down with strong coffee or cheap wine, depending on the time of day, and try to get to the core of what I was thinking or feeling at the time I wrote things down. I wrote one of my recent stories on the back of my daughter’s Chinese homework, and one of my poems was finished when I was hiding in the bathroom, pretending to brush my teeth — for an awfully long time.
Late last year, I joined the Taipei Writers Group, and that has made me very aware of the need to edit and re-edit in order to bring a piece from something for myself as the writer, to something for the reader. Before that, I knew there was something “wrong” with most of my work, but could not figure out exactly why I didn’t feel comfortable sharing it. Joining a writing group has also made me realise that writing is a living thing, that needs to be allowed out into the world to breathe and grow.
Why do you write?
I love words. They flow out of my pen like a river at times. Organising them into a piece that communicates a feeling or message to another reader is a challenge that I enjoy as some people enjoy making patchwork quilts or knitting sweaters. I love trying to find new words to say old things. I write poetry to prevent myself imploding or exploding from emotions that build up over the course of a day, a week, or a month. I write short stories with the desire to create something “great”. Writing both fiction and poetry forces me to be totally honest with myself about my thoughts, opinions, and emotions. I also write travel articles because I am vain, and love to hear positive feedback about articles I have written about life in Taiwan for online magazines or my blog www.kidzone-tw.com.
What are you working on?
Let me give you a sneak peak into my handbag. This is what I am carrying around today:
My current pet project is a piece about my children’s elementary school in Taiwan, for my blog. It’s a pretty special little public school and I want to write a farewell that shows my appreciation for what we have gained from the experience over the past four years of attendance. I also have two hiking articles that are almost finished.
Lots of short stories are at different stages of completion. My biggest challenge is polishing one I am writing for an up-coming publication. It’s pushing me to be very detail-oriented.
A lightning-inspired piece that I started at MacDonald’s this morning. I’m still digging deep to find the courage to complete it. I recently started sharing my poetry on this blog. I hope to get some feedback about it from readers.
I am supposed to be a regular contributor to Taipei Writers Group blog. I highly recommend this blog for writers looking for some inspiration, or for people wondering about creative life as an expat in Asia. I am about two-thirds through my latest post, which I hope to have up by September 20th.
Who do you nominate?
Part of the Blog Hop is nominating three bloggers to carry the chain on. I am really lucky to be surrounded by many energetic and positive women working hard to make the world a better place. They are also busy, so I am confirming they have time to take part in this Hop before publicly announcing their participation.
So far, fellow New Zealander Rachel Goodchild has accepted the challenge. I got to know Rachel mostly online, through a mutual friend in Taiwan. Rachel has successfully taken her experiences in Early Childhood Education, business, and communication and blended them to become a popular strategist, speaker, and motivator. I’m excited to share her new blog.
Watch this space for new blogs!
- Men of Waikaremoana
- Taiwan Tales – Short Stories by Writers in Taiwan