It’s been a year since I last left Taiwan. Though a year may not sound like a long time, it’s surprisingly the longest unbroken stay I’ve had in one country since I first ventured to South Korea over five years ago.
This also happens to be my first trip to Thailand. How I’ve managed to live in Asia for five without making it to Thailand I can’t say, especially considering that Thailand is one of the continent’s most popular tourist destinations.
I guess I just like to do things a little differently than most. Perhaps that meant making Thailand wait.
I’m not bringing my laptop, but I won’t hesitate to write in a notebook if I hear a few sentences rattling around in my brain. It’s been a few months since I released anything, so I hope this trip will provide me an opportunity to pen one or two brief stories to tide you over until the next installment of The Northland Chronicles comes out this summer.
Being laptopless doesn’t mean I’ll be completely out of touch. I’ll still have my tablet (Is it even possible to travel in 2015 without Google Maps?), and I’ll be keeping an eye on my inbox. Don’t hesitate to drop me a line.
I know, I know: Ten days without Henry! It’ll be rough, but I trust you can keep things together until I get back.
Keep it real. I’ll be sure to share photos with you upon my return.
Thousands of years have passed since mankind invented the written word. In that time many innovations have further improved upon this ancient art, to the benefit of both reader and writer alike. For example:
Well before the birth of Christ, the Phoenicians and Greeks pioneered alphabets that allowed the common man to learn how to read and write with ease.
In the 15th century Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press, ushering in the age of mass communication.
The 19th century witnessed the introduction of the paperback, a development which lowered the price of books considerably.
In the early 1990s Al Gore invented the internet paved the way for speedy and unlimited access to online reading materials.
On a simmering July day in 1994, Jeff Bezos launched Amazon.com, a service which now delivers affordable books all across the globe.
From scratchy letters carved in stone to books delivered to your doorstep overnight, reading has come a long way. Yet despite the indisputably brilliance of each and every one the above innovations, none can compare to that which I am about to show you.
For today, ladies and gentlemen, together we cross boldly into the final frontier of the written word: the shower.
Well, lookee here. After much delay, I finally have my own business card.
I toyed with a few different designs before going with the style above. One side of each card lists my contact information, while the other side features one of three book covers.
Moo, the service I used to print the cards, made it easy for me to print multiple designs in a single order. In fact, they allow up to 50 unique designs per order. That means I have 47 more books to write before I run up against the not-so-proverbial “Moo Wall.”
(Writing 47 more books should only take me a year or two, right? Maybe three years if I allow myself to indulge in a few hours rest on Easter and Christmas.)
Anyhow, in all seriousness, the cards look great! I chose the gloss finish option and I couldn’t be happier. Although I uploaded ready-to-print images I’d designed myself, Moo also has user-friendly tools to help you quickly create your own professional-looking cards.
Interested? If you order cards using this link, you’ll get a 10% discount and I’ll receive credit to apply to my next order — a next order that, having seen the quality of these cards, I’ll undoubtedly be placing soon.
There is something magical about those wee hours before the sun rises. Maybe it’s an internal thing, a chemical state you can only experience when you should rightfully be fast asleep. Or could it be that a creativity-inducing substance permeates the heavy night air, only to evaporate at the first hint of dawn?
I, for one, am unwilling to discount any possibilities.
Two ideas collided in my brain well before sunrise this morning. But rather than exploding on impact and leaving a trail of fiery wreckage in their wake, the two ideas instead merged into one, perfectly coalescing into a greater whole.
Speaking concretely, let’s just say I realized that I have been working on two separate but related projects that should be packaged together. The stronger, more ambitious project will consume the one not quite capable of standing on its own, and both will turn out better for it.
The progress meters on the sidebar tell more of the story. That is, if you’ve been paying attention.
Now, if you’ll kindly allow me to leave you with an a-ha moment of your own …
This year I’ll start out with an epic that has been sitting on my to-read list for quite some time: Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace.
Although I was hoping to start War and Peace right at the dawn of the new year, my final read of last year, The Left Hand of Darknessby Ursula K. LeGuin (which is a spectacular book, by the way!), took me longer than expected to finish. So here I find myself, finally starting my first book of 2015 nearly two weeks into the calendar.
After deliberating over which translation of the original Russian to read, I settled upon the tried-and-true edition version by Aylmer and Louise Maud. I chose it because:
Tolstoy himself gave it his seal of approval.
I hear it’s clear and easy to read.
That’s right. Because of its age, this translation has slipped into the public domain. I snagged my copy from The University of Adelaide Library website. If ebooks aren’t your thing, you can probably also find a cheap copy of the Maude translation at your local used bookstore.
Meanwhile, because War and Peace will likely take a few weeks to complete, I figure it might be good to fit in a little bonus fiction on the side. Fortunately, I just so happened to see a very intriguing read at my favorite used bookstore last week.
I’ve had my eye on The Dresden Files for a while. The series, fifteen books long and counting, looks like a fun, well-crafted wizardly romp. If I ever feel too bogged down by my epic war with Russian literature, I’ll step into Jim Butcher’s mystical version of Chicago for a little variety.
As always, you can visit Goodreads to see what I’m reading. What will you be reading in 2015?
Though their original destination remains unclear, reports suggest it may have been Florida, Texas, or Southern California. What we do know is that this high-flying couple hit violent turbulence somewhere in the skies just above Chicago, which immediately knocked out all of their navigational equipment – radar, radio, GPS, even their Spider-Sense.
After hours spent adrift in the tumultuous skies, just as the last desperate threads of hope were about to slip free of their grasp, this pair of snowbirds finally caught sight of land on the horizon. Eager to end their arduous journey, Gaila and Gary touched down at the first airport they found, which just so happened to be Kaohsiung International Airport, located a Jeremy Lin-size leap from the southern tip of Taiwan.
Unsure what to expect in this new and strange land, Gaila and Gary were pleasantly surprised to discover that the island was very hospitable, indeed. Ultimately they stayed in Taiwan for three weeks, enjoying the melange of sights and sounds.
Despite the intense media interest in their stay, I was fortunate enough to receive an exclusive opportunity to interview this peculiar pair.
What did Gaila and Gary have to say about Taiwan? Read their illuminating answers to all of my burning questions below. Continue reading