Tuesday, 29 January 2013
Yes, this is the busy travel time of this year for me. As busy as it is, though, it's less crazy than last year which saw me hopping back and forth and back and forth between continents with rarely more than a couple of weeks between trips. Now, that was crazy. But much of that, besides family events and my Cambodian workshop, had to do with promoting my books. Last year was full of book signings, poetry readings, presentations and lectures. I love doing all of that, but I realised that I needed a break, and for the last 6 months or so I've been staying in one place for longer each time. It may also seem as if I've been doing less promoting and fewer events, which is almost true, but not exactly.
I have been doing quite a few workshops at SOAS since September. They've been fun and fascinating, and through them I really have been expanding my role of Writer-in-Residence. For example, I have led workshops on "Making Academic Writing Creative," another on character development within a first year Indonesian language class, a third on how to write a film response paper. Soon after I return from this trip, I'm leading a session for MPhil candidates on "How To Write Well" (don't tell them but I'm going to have them write poetry). On the same day, believe it or not, I'll be in Folkestone talking to an M.A. in Creative Writing class about writing across genres and my poetry play, Dreams of May.
So, why am I telling you all this? I think because I need to remind myself of what it is I do. It's an in-between sort of year for me. Nothing new is getting published for a while (at least until the next Cambodian novel comes out), and so I'm not in such a high octane self-promotional mode. But I think I had gotten so used to working hard to "get myself out there," that perhaps I had lost sight of who the myself was and why I was in so many different wheres. Going to the States only to see family, without squeezing a dozen events into the trip, actually feels good. It feels like the difference between doing and being.
Excuse the rambling. I hope I haven't been boring or incoherent. But bouncing around time zones does leave one discombobulated, and to recombobulate myself, I suppose I need to put things into words. That's what writers do, yes?
PS Thanks, Kaplaninternational.com, for the great image.