Writing, I think, is not apart from living. Writing is a kind of double living. The writer experiences everything twice. Once in reality and once in that mirror which waits always before or behind. ~Catherine Drinker Bowen, Atlantic, December 1957
Muse Tracks is a wonderful blog site to obtain information on all aspects of writing and I hope I’ve contributed a slice of knowledge with my group of articles on marketing. I was all set to continue delving into the overwhelming, and often confusing, world of branding, selling, publishing….blah blah blah , but I have no heart for it this week. Rania, a reader from Greece, stated she believed she might be too romantic for this part of the business. That thought resonated with me.
If you are not careful, it has the potential to suck the creativity, the soul of your writing out the proverbial window. I have taught myself some cool techniques for marketing my book and that makes me happy. It’s empowering to take control of my career. I’ve also let it consume a lot of my time which has weighed on my mind. Do I have the energy to see this through? I can’t answer that today.
So, I’m taking a hard left and travelling down memory lane. There’s a reunion this weekend for the folks that went to the Singapore American School and one next summer for those that attended the International School of Kuala Lumpur. I’ve spoken with many sweet voices from my past and this has left me floating in a pool of memories.
I remember the first time I spotted Malaysia out my airplane window. Vibrations rumbled through the plane’s body as the wheels lowered and flaps were positioned to slow us down. The muddy brown waters of the Klang River became visible as it dissected the city into halves. Tree tops bubbled above the ground bursting in a kaleidoscope of greens. Roads gave way to rice paddies which gave way to tin mines and towering mountains. A sprawling metropolis lay directly below, architecture proclaiming a history rich in many cultures. Kuala Lumpur is a dichotomy of old British colonial grandeur and modernity.
Sprawling freeways wound along the ground like giant snakes baking in the warm sun. Turrets on a mosque covered in tile and glass glistened in the sunlight while it passed under the belly of my giant metal bird. As we descended, people came into view. A young teenage boy herded a water buffalo with only a wooden switch in his hand. Women walked between villages draped in colorful batik sarongs, woven baskets balanced on their heads. Surrounding them were rubber trees that stood in rigid rows on plantations like soldiers guarding their wonderful paradise.
I fell in love with the country before I ever set foot on its fertile soil. That afternoon, so many years ago, began a relationship that lasted for eighteen years of my life. I landed when I was a young girl of nine years and when I boarded an airplane for the last time out of Subang Airport, I was a twenty seven year old woman and my heart was breaking.
You see, I’m what is known as a “third culture kid”. I don’t belong to their culture, I’m foreign, in so many ways, to my own so where I do belong is in a nether land that doesn’t really exist- the third culture. It’s a phenomenon that’s been documented thousands of times by people who were blessed to have had an opportunity to grow up like I did. I’ve made a great home here in the U.S. and I do get to travel. My husband, who grew up in many different countries as well, bought me a ticket to go back to South East Asia for ten days for a giant reunion held in Singapore. Everyone who went all said the same thing as they waited to leave. An overwhelming sense of panic clawed through their insides at the thought of saying good-bye one more time.
Am I sad?
I’ve lived a life of dreams. I’ve experienced things most people only see on T.V. and my journey continues with exciting adventures. Malaysia will always call to me and it will always be the home of my heart. I thank you for letting me share a taste of it with you.
P.S. In letting myself explore memories and what was in my heart, I decided I liked my descriptions so much, I added chunks of this piece back into my novel. As my heroine lands in Malaysia, she now sees what I saw that morning landing in a strange new country.