The Wizarding World of… Southeast Asia?

38th Trial: I wonder so much as to Joseph Conrad’s undeniable skill at detail. I have read ‘Heart of Darkness’, but have began ‘Lord Jim’ as I ironically began a 4-day boat trip through Indonesia, and am even more fascinated with his abilities. And now when I write, how can I describe better the brown of her hair? The sound of the wind and the emotions it stirs? Conrad has become a model of description for me overnight, and can be apart of my blog- as he did learn English while in England!

Weekly Hours Spent Writing or in the Pursuit of Plot: 4 hours

Weekly Choice of Tea: Luwak Coffee, Bali

Biggest Success: Began typing up Chapter Six, sailing the islands of Indonesia, climbing Mount Merapi Volcano in Java, and not getting eaten by wild Komodo Dragons as I walked within their reserve. Amidst all my travel, I am lucky to have found time to write and work on my novel!

Do I have a blog focused on British influence and literature, and not yet have a post dedicated primarily to Harry Potter? I cannot imagine that to be true, and those who know the far reach of my love for those novels wouldn’t either. So I hope that I am repeating sentiments that have been illustrated before, and swim once more in the imagination of the world of Harry Potter. I am sure I can sit down and analyze the many ties that link that imaginary world to ours, and the powerful political, psychological, and ethical morals inlaid in its own illustration of life and humanity. But instead I wish to save my breath and my effort, because these books speak for themselves. You read Harry Potter, and you know Rowling’s imagination is a reality to her, and the world around us is a magical place. Many people may see my love for these books as juvenile, but it is my love for imagination and its ability for truth, love, courage, and to link endless possibilities to our own potential.

I know this, more now in Indonesia than I felt it back in America. Many Europeans have traveled in Southeast Asia, and I imagine Rowling did the same. I see so many things here, settings and people, that remind me of the wizarding world. Southeast Asia can be a playground for the imagination, and I sense the reality of that mystical and magical touch within the reach of my eyesight daily. I marvel at the acute sense an artist has, to look upon the ordinary lifestyle and the monotony of the daily lives of some, and wonder, what if? What if that motorbike can fly? What if I walked through that archway, and disappeared? I have no idea if Rowling did ever come over here, but I appreciate her novels even better now. I have said it before—look around you, there the stories and the inspiration are derived from for any piece of art. But not just in its reality, but in its potential and possibilities. For those who are interested in reading further, here is a small list of the things I have witness and thought Rowling’s eyes must have witnessed too.

The Knight Bus:  I rode in a night bus from Koh Rong to Siem Reap. It’s “beds” were flat to the floor of the bus, with a bunk-bed above me. While they did not move and swing above in Harry’s experience with the Knight bus, one could imagine it–especially because the roads and drivers here are truly insane. You move to and fro, and I have found out that it makes not difference if you are in a seat or not. “It’s going to be a bumpy ride!”

The Weasley house:  its shape is slanted so much to a point that magic must hold it erect.  I see houses here stacked impossibly on one another, and the angle of lean makes you wonder at how the splinter and broken walls still have a vertical element.

Harry and Dumbledore’s boat trip into the cave in search for a horcrux: In peninsular Thailand we visited many caves, and one cannot help but imagine the stone walls opening to a secret passage with the offer of blood. It was in Phang Nga Bay that we canoed through a cave where darkness was disrupted by just one ray of light from our headlamp. We saw the flowing rock formations and stalactites loom in the background, and no sound came from the black water as the paddle passed through it. A part of me was scared to disturb the water, should a zombie-skeleton hand reach up and grab me.

Hagrid’s Motorbike: There are many types of interesting transportation methods in Southeast Asia, and the motorbike is the most common. When in Phuket we were sitting in the back of an open taxi, watching the traffic build up behind us. One man pulled up behind us, sitting on the motorbike with one of his legs hidden by the attached cart. Inside the cart was a family clustered together, and it was apparent that it was used for businesses as well. I thought instantly of Hagrid’s motorbike J

The Veiled Archway:  While in Siem Reap, the many Angkor temples give a ghostly lure. More specifically, while at the royal palace of Angkor Thom there was an open doorway that say near the top of the staircase. No stone walls or sandstone sculptures rose beside it, and it looked as eerie and empty as the veiled archway in the Ministry of Magic. As I stared into it, the same whisper seemed to pass with the wind that I hear with most of the temples here—an old wisdom telling of its age and infirmary.

The Mirror of Erised:  The royal palace in Bangkok, Thailand is, as a friend of mine put it, a jewel box. But within it, we entered a stone building that showcased many ceremonial chairs and decor. Upon exiting, we passed an open room roped off, where nothing but a large mirror stood. It was very tall and wide, surrounded by a frame of engraved metal. It seemed oddly placed, as if there by chance or in changing its location. Maybe being moved deep into the heart of the palace, where nothing short of charming a dog, giving into nature, finding a key, grabbing a drink, passing a knocked out troll, and playing a game of chess would gain you access to see.

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Canoeing Phang Nga Bay

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Canoeing Phang Nga Bay

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Royal Palace, Angkor Thom

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Angkor Temples

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Rive homes in Bangkok, Thailand

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Gateway in Angkor

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Motorbikes in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

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Two Cultures, Both Alike, in Dignity…

36th Trial: Taking a true inventory of my memories, as that is what my writing has become nowadays, a library of what I know in a land of completely new stimulation.

Weekly Hours Spent Writing or in the Pursuit of Plot: 3 hours, mainly while on the beach or at a quaint, adorable coffee shop.

Weekly Choice of “Tea”: Coffee! I will rue the day I drank coffee in Thailand

Biggest Success: Beginning to read The Alchemist

Being displaced from the scenes that have been the background to my story makes my writing now a process of filing through memories. I cannot see the busy town my character walks through, from my usual seat at Smelly Cat Coffee. So many exotic plants, fruits, and people surround me now, and it is as hard now not to mix oil with acrylic. Two cultures separate me, and while I look upon the beautiful tropics of Thailand, I am forced to look back to American culture as I continue writing. It makes me miss home, honestly, and I have to try very hard not to put a coconut tree in the front yard of my character’s home.

Southeast Asia, from what I know of Cambodia and Thailand, has taught me a great deal so far. The Alchemist has described this learning flawlessly, calling this transmission of knowledge a “universal language”. I do not speak the languages here, and yet the common tread of tourist establishes an understanding, and I have yet to feel out of place. Through their beliefs and way of life through Buddism, a universal intellect is in the form of enlightenment. I do not sit in this paradise and pick nervously at my fingers trying to figure out what comes next, how will I finish my novel, or will I find an office to work in upon my return. There are signs, omens if you will, that have brought me here, and will bring me home. It is my choices on a daily basis that will acquire everything I need in life. It is my actions that will complete this novel, that will open the doors to my very own chiropractic office one day. It is a power in us all, which is so thrilling and enticing. Stop waiting. Stop waiting for things to be the right moment an utilize your time so that you are working towards that dream. My novel is a dream, and as many who know me, I have far too many dreams to keep track of. But today I worked towards a purpose, and tomorrow as I climb the waterfalls of Koh Samui, I will work towards that same purpose.

 

 

Heartache Motivates in the Land of Smiles

35th Trial: Wanting to go back and alter a past description or illustration, and realizing the manuscript is back home and I am across the world with only an empty notebook. Taking mental notes does not suffice anymore, and so I am making pages of things to remember to correct. I am finding it easy to change that which is already written, than brainstorming on that which needs to happen.

Weekly Hours Spent Writing or in the Pursuit of Plot: Since last post, I would guess-timate around 2 hours

Weekly Choice of Tea: Chrysanthemum iced tea and Thai Milk Tea

Biggest Success: Visiting Angkor Wat temples and getting a spiritual Sak Yant Tattoo in Bangkok, Thailand! I am currently in Chiang Mai, and this backpacking trip has been the most thrilling, let-loose, connecting with humanity I’ve ever done.

My writing has been more in the forefront of my mind than I thought it would be. Grant it, I have not the time or energy to actually write–even more so than when I worked back home. My days have been filled with temples, site-seeing, and documenting through my notebook and travel blog. Facebook is getting its fill of pictures and videos on a daily basis. I am writing more than I ever have because the documentation portion of this trip has been the most consuming, and I find that it is still an exercise for my writing. I had not planned on writing any chapters while abroad, and yet I find I cannot detain myself! I love that I miss writing my novel, and I love that I miss Chiropractic. My life does not seem without or wanting, and seeing this new world in Southeast Asia strengthens my inner character rather than filling a void.

I have a stirring passion to pick up chapter six where I left off in January, primarily due to finishing the novel “Villette” two days ago. Charlotte Bronte is a mastermind. Her ability to grip the heart and tear apart one’s world is only paralleled by her sister’s ability. Whatever gene they have that makes them professors of unrequited love and debilitating despair sadly ended with their much too early deaths, and the world is at a loss without it. While I admire their ability to crush my soul into bits with loss of love, I have a cautious relationship with the Bronte girls. I can trust them only so far. I can rely on them heightening my spirits by connecting to my deepest desires, but am appalled that they could then treat me so brutally afterwards.

Regardless, I am so inspired by Charlotte. In regards to somethingmorebritish, it is ultimately authors like her that motivate me to write. I put down “Villette”, warming my sobbing heart with the thought of my own novel, and how I can end it however I wish. Love with always triumph–you’ve heard me say it before. However, I must learn from the Bronte’s how to pull at the heart stings a bit. Just a little.

Some Travel Photos for you 🙂 see more at http://www.blankpproject.com, my travel blog!

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Something More…Oriental!

33rd Trial: Putting it all aside to pursue a 4 month adventure around Southeast Asia

Weekly Hours Spent Writing or in the Pursuit of Plot: 4 hrs. I was not able to conclude at a good stopping point, but time waits for no man.

Weekly Choice of Tea:  Mint Tea

Biggest Success:  Fitting everything I packed into one backpack. I have no idea how that was accomplished.

This week I travel to Southeast Asia, and shall continue to greet the adventures that await me for the following 4 months! I shall not forget my purpose in literary pursuit nor chiropractic philosophy, and expect my time in these countries to inspire me to create. How interesting it will be to see what influences I can bring to the humble neighborhood in my story, though an Indonesian volcano cannot be the backdrop in countryside Ohio. But at least in seeing new lands and new cultures I can focus on the story’s morale, the heart that beats within the pages. I will not be able to progressively write the chapters as I have been doing, but I can progress it in other ways.

I look forward to sharing with my blog what I see and what will translate in my writing. But also, the beauty and knowledge that new landscapes bring. Here is an introductory to the trip:  in Vietnam we will kayak Halong Bay’s islands, caves, and clear water. In Cambodia we will walk around the ruins of Angkor Wat. The vast beaches, islands, and monasteries will meet us in Thailand. We will see Malaysia’s large tea plantations and the world’s oldest forest. In Singapore, we will go on a night-time safari and see the incredible city. Indonesia will amaze us with an orangutan reserve, crater lakes, active volcanoes, and the best surfing spots available! Boo Radley really, really wanted to come, but she will be happy spending time with her grandparents!

Boo for SEAsia

I am happy to bring you along on the trip, as much as Wi-Fi spots and down time will allow! See you on the flip-side of the world!

Follow our trip at:  www.tofallup.com