Reflections on the year 2016

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2016 was, to say the least, a tumultuous year.

It’s already something of a meme to say that 2016 sucks so much. And yeah, that’s largely true specifically in the political sense anyway.

However, in my personal life I can definitely declare that though it’s been hard I can claim lot of positive growth over the past year. I traveled the world, I promoted some writing, I published here and there, wrote another book, and I even moved in with my girlfriend!

There has been a lot on this very blog worth share. I reviewed, I interviewed. And although at this stage it’s hard to say if it will lead anywhere, one of my personal productive favorites of the year was starting anew on my hobby of drawing silly little comics.

In thinking over this arbitrary marking of the Earth going around the sun that we all mark on our calendars, I have thought about it most nostalgically and created a list of links below. Here, a few posts that stand out to me to sum up the crazy intensities of this most epically year:

 

In February, right after Chinese New Year, I was lucky enough to be detained by the Chinese police after attending an unlicensed rave party. I tested negative for drugs and was soon released, while sadly others I knew tested positive, leaving me with the opportunity to write what proved to be my most popular piece of writing ever. The guys over at Reddit China were somewhat opinionated. But I had my say.

Hey it even led to a piece I wrote for the Wall Street Journal.

 

With my novel South China Morning Blues published — from Blacksmith Books, Hong Kong — in late 2015, I was very focused on promoting the book all over Shenzhen (and Guangzhou, and Hong Kong) over the beginning of the following year and on. It was a big part of my job for months on end. The highlight was definitely in March when I went to both Beijing and Chengdu for a little get-together known as the Bookworm Literary Festival.

 

The travel it did continue. I visited the great country/not country of Taiwan as part of my girlfriend Bronwen’s art residency in May. Absolutely wonderful place. There will be more on Taiwan come the next new year.

And in June it was time to go to Israel for the bi-annual visiting of the family. What a trip I met some little nieces and nephews, saw my parents, had emotions, all the while some legal complications came up and had to be dealt with.

 

One event that really stood out in the summer was the art exhibition by Bronwen and some other locally sourced artists over at Sin Sin Fine Art in Hong Kong. Great work. I happened to write an article about it.

 

At last, the dreaded subject of American politics. Over the second half of 2016, I carried on with my life and moved and wrote and promoted, meanwhile in America (totally affecting the rest of the world) it all went well and truly insane. I became rather consumed in following the politics of the horrible election cycle. Finally, of all things, I was forced to start writing political columns. The anxieties of the day before, then November’s horrific results, and a touch of conspiracy theory commentary.

Sadly, at this rate I will probably have yet more to say in 2017. A lot more. Despite the apocalyptic scenarios at hand, I’ll try to be optimistic about the new year. What’s certainly true is that nobody knows what will happen next.

 

Thus was the year. I and you survived. Thanks for paying attention to me and my humble perspective. On a concluding note, let us mourn the actual concept of truth and facts with this cartoon by Tom Tomorrow… RIP truth~

Good luck to 2017, we’ll need it!

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Attending the Bookworm Literary Festival: Beijing and Chengdu

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http://bookwormfestival.com

 

Next week I will be continuing my book tour to all-new heights: I will be traveling to Beijing and Chengdu to participate in the Bookworm Literary Festival!

This is my first time attending, and I’m very excited.

 

Beijing Bookworm Festival

On March 14 (Monday), I will be discussing and reading from my novel South China Morning Blues, at 7:30 p.m., at the iQiyi venue located next to Bookworm. The moderator will be City Weekend’s Adam Robbins. Attendance is 50 RMB.

 

Chengdu Bookworm Festival

Then on March 19 (Saturday) I will be traveling to Chengdu. The talk there is at 4:00 p.m. at The Bookworm Chengdu. Tickets are also 50.

 

Please click on the links for more info.

I haven’t visited Beijing since 2009, and it’s unbelievable that it’s been so long. It will be my first time in Chengdu ever. I’m really looking forward to further traveling in China, and meeting other authors and readers. Most of all, I am grateful – and lucky – for the opportunity to be a part of these events.

Hope to see you there!

South China Morning Blues: Promotional Update(s)

Hello readers and prospective readers, time for an update.

(Because it went so well in my last Chinglish post, I have decided to just link to my Instagram instead of reuploading pictures. Feel free to heart!)

I have been through a lot since my book was finally published for reals. It’s been quite the busy time, organizing event after event, hoping that people will be interested in said events, and generally promoting myself. Self-promotion often being as shameless as possible.

The first weekend after the book I had a launch party and signing here in Shenzhen, and the Book Exchange group in which expats meet up to exchange hard-to-find English language books.

I think the flyer turned out very well, if I do say so myself 🙂

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I had a reading, and even sold a few.

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#BookLaunch Success - lookin' smug?

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My #reading. And dare I say think it went well

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Let me state, that my book is officially published in Hong Kong and future Western outlets to come. You know all the Hong Kong bookstores that carry it.

The mainland, however, is a different story. Legit publishers tend not to deal with undeveloped countries like so. Therefore, if I want distribution in cities like Shenzhen and Guangzhou, I need to do it myself. Treat it as an import, if your wondering about censors, and it is doable. Obviously, this is not an English-speaking country — unlike Hong Kong — but I think it’s worth doing.

Hence, I arranged a meeting with the bosses at Old Heaven Books in the hip OCT neighborhood of Shenzhen and they bought a good number of copies. My first for sale in China. More to come.

Felt good to see it on a bookshelf.

 

 

Then came the big time.

This very week begins the Hong Kong International Literary Festival, and on Sunday @ 3:30 yours truly will be in a panel on the topic of cross-cultural love with several other great writers…

 

http://www.festival.org.hk/program/cross-cultural-love/

Over the last decade, there has been an explosion of expat memoirs set in China, however many of these fail to depict romantic relationships.

But when foreigners arrive in China and Hong Kong, these amorous connections are often a central part of setting down new roots– and they are becoming more and more common. Susan Blumberg-Kason, Ray HechtShannon Young and Marshall Moore address writing about cross-cultural relationships from all angles.

 

Last Friday I was invited to an opening party for writers affiliated with the festival, and had an excellent time! Although a bit intimidating to be around such well-regarded authors, I made the best of it and hopefully left a good impression. I met Shannon Young in person, author of Year of the Fire Dragons. Susan Blumberg-Kason, of Good Chinese Wife fame, wasn’t in town yet but I look forward to seeing her at the panel next week. Please check out the link above and I hope you can make it.

And it was great to see my humble book stacked up against these great works in such an official capacity:

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