Celebrating 5 years of blogging (and livin’) overseas

angst-lani
The blogger in her natural element, over water, overseas… Prayao, 2013

Woohoo! Hot diggity damn. Has it been five years already? Now, I might have mistakenly said it’s been four years in August, but as everyone knows, I can’t do math – and yes, it’s embarrassing.

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Things I’m liking (sharing the love)

my-new-kindle
Heavenly goodness = reading in bed.

1) Ever since we moved to Chiang Rai, I was concerned about the lack of access to English books, as there are not as many expats here as there is in Chiang Mai. So, I decided to buy a Kindle. They are more expensive in Thailand, so I had a friend who was visiting the States bring one back. Thanks JP! Zing!

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Downtown Chiang Rai (in pics)

I remember the first time I was turned on by poetry. I was in high school Freshman or Sophomore English, and the poem was Carl Sandburg’s Chicago. Generally speaking, I was greatly turned on by the poetry we were reading, but Sandburg’s Chicago was different, gritty, and decidedly real. It wasn’t about love, or love lost, or nature or some abstract feeling. It was a dirty workman’s boot stomping in front of your face and I loved it.

Now I realize Chiang Rai, Thailand is so far removed from Chicago, Illinois, and it isn’t even a similar kind of city, but the buildings that I have been photographing in downtown Chiang Rai have a quality that reminds me of Sandburg’s poem.

white-building
At one of the “fresh” market’s entrances, Trairat Rd.

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Liebster Award #2

I've graduated from the school of Liebster, right?
I’ve graduated from the school of Liebster, right?

Jenny from And Three To Go nominated me for my second Liebster Award. How sweet! She’s a travel/expat/mommy blogger exploring Phuket, Thailand (and many other places), with her husband and little girl. I really like Jenny’s point of view and even though I do not have children, I find her relateable. Thanks Jenny!

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What is inspiration?

inspiration

When Kiersten from She is Fierce started exploring this idea, I became inspired to write about it. I began to think about what it is and what it means to me. What do you think?

To me, being inspired is about paying attention. Looking up from your phone. Taking in the surroundings. Noticing a spider on the ceiling. Pausing to see the shape of a fern unfurrow and the flowers drooping brown. I think it’s also about being well-read and I’m not talking about literary classics either. I’m talking about the pop culture blog post about the latest movies, books and music. The article about Jennifer Aniston or the latest archaeological discovery.

But this is me. This is not contrived stretching, this is what I’m truly interested in. I was an Archaeology major and after reading about The Other Neanderthal, I clicked over to the article on Jennifer Aniston because it was subtitled “a monomyth”. Unfortunately, it wasn’t what I hoped it to be, but since I’m really into myths and fairy tales, I wanted know what it was about. And as far as pop culture goes, what can I say, I’m curious what’s got the crowds going crazy about.

Everyday people are also a source of inspiration. I know there is a story behind every person that I see and meet. I like hearing those stories, and sometimes making them up. There are stories behind objects, too, like how a dress got to you, where this book has been, or how that song led to three unforgettable nights. Inspiration is about curiosity.

My favorite reading or listening activity (I like audio books and podcasts) is to take notes. This is when my inspiration meter is soaring. It’s like I’m back in school and I’m writing down what I want to remember or I’m spinning off in a direction that I previously didn’t realize I even wanted to go. Although, I don’t write in books anymore, I have my notebook handy and I write down quotes or phrases that switch me on. Inspiration is catching those quick flashes. If you don’t catch it, you probably won’t hear it fly by again.

On Thursday, my certificate-level class had their writing test and one of my students wanted to listen to music while he wrote. I said no because it seemed like the teacherly thing to do. He begged and I consented. Not because he pleaded, but because I wanted to say yes all along. I know how important it is to write while you are comfortable and to him listening to music was his inspiration. He said he hated the silence. He’s also the most creative kid in the class.

I read that Stephen King listens to heavy rock music while he writes and that made me smile. It seems fitting, no? I can block things out and I think that is what helps me to concentrate and write. But I used to write in coffee shops because that seemed like the cool-cat thing to do. It’s fun to riff off of what other people say and imagine storylines. Poetry comes easier in these kinds of environments, too. Actually, writing in public spaces can be inspirational. Chuck Palahniuk writes in coffee shops. At least, he used to.

What I love about this question, “What is inspiration?” is it’s like asking, “How do you start a fire?” There are many ways, answers and avenues to get to your destination. What inspires you? What are your fire building techniques?


For your inspiration. Isabel Allende (love her!) on Tales of Passion. Have you seen it? You should!

writing in a journal

[the Writing Process tour]

the-writing-process
How do you write?

It’s like the magical mystery tour, but different. The writing process tour involves answering questions about your writing style and practice, and then choosing three other bloggers to participate. Marielle from This Flooded Sky invited me because: a) she has good taste, b) she’s cool like that, and c) she loves my writing. Woo-hoo!

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My favorite WordPress.com feature

Update: as of today, 19th of November, 2014, Random Post is no longer an option.

My favorite WordPress feature is the Random Post option. It’s the equivalent of flipping through a book and landing your finger on a page to find a quote you like or today’s meaning of life.

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