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Archipiélago de Colón

Better known as… the Galapagos Islands! (I.e., where Darwin developed his theory of evolution.) And barring any crazy/awful mishaps, that’s where Andy and I are right now.

This vacation has been a dream of Andy’s for a long time. We planned this way before I decided to write full-time, so while it’s a little weird to go on such an amazing trip just 1 month after “starting my new job”… ah well! That’s life, I’m just rolling with it.

(We try to take 1 international and 1 domestic vacation every year anyway. Just the two of us. For mental health and broader horizons, you know? Oh, and for plain old fun. That’s reason enough in my book.)

If you’re curious, this is a video of the ship we’ll be living on for a week, along with some highlights of the excusions.

Neither of us are particularly strong swimmers, but we’re both looking forward to the snorkeling. Supposedly sea lions will just come right up to you, and the little ones might even nibble your toes!

Andy’s greatest wish is to see a real live sea turtle, and an Orca if possible. My greatest wish is to bring back a blue-footed booby. Think I can sneak one past the TSA? I mean, there’s no liquid involved…

Shedding

On the eve of my last day of work, and on the first day of the Chinese New Year, I came home to find my leopard gecko shedding her skin. The symbolism didn’t escape me.

(Please ignore my obnoxious commentary…)

My mom called me during dinner and said, Gong xi fa cai! That’s the standard Chinese New Year saying and means, more or less, Best Wishes, Make Money! Then she said, “Well, I guess you’re probably not going to fa cai this year.” No, Mom, probably not.

Explanation to follow

For now, enjoy the music:

How fiction breaks us out of walls

I had never heard of Turkish author Elif Shafak, but after hearing her beautiful and intelligent TED talk, I will definitely be checking out her books.

“He wanted to see the manifestation of my identity. He was looking for a Turkish woman in the book, because I happen to be one. We often talk about how stories change the world, but we should also see how the world of identity politics affects the way stories are being circulated, read, and reviewed.”

“When the interviewer tried to pigeonhole him as a gay writer, Baldwin stopped and said, ‘But don’t you see? There is nothing in me that is not in everybody else, and nothing in everybody else that is not in me.’ When identity politics tries to put labels on us, it is our freedom of imagination that is danger.”

“It was just a story. And when I say ‘just a story,’ I’m not trying to belittle my work. I want to love and celebrate fiction for what it is, not as a means to an ends.”

“Identity politics divides us; fiction connects. One is interested in sweeping generalizations, the other in nuances. One draws boundaries, the other recognizes no frontiers. Identity politics is made of solid bricks; fiction is flowing water.”

The end of publishing? Think again.

WIP update: Just topped 17,000 words and am getting to the heart of Chapter 5. Strangely, writing feels easier now that the two MCs (main characters) are split up. Not sure what exactly that means yet, but I do think it means something. I guess I’ll address it in the revisions. (That’s my new motto for everything, haha: fix it later!)

To make the most of today, my last Friday of not working (at least for a while), I’m in Houston visiting my parents for the weekend. Trying hard to relax, and to get a lot of writing in. Because next week, the real chaos begins. (Carpets cleaned, locks re-keyed, alarm system upgraded, FURNITURE AND ALL OUR JUNK MOVED IN, unpacking, re-adjusting. Oy.) A workplace move really cures you of wanting to look for houses, by the way. I’ve started to think Andy and I could live in our condo forever.

Anyhoot, I’m off to read and write and relax (and go to the rodeo! yeehaw!) but first, a video. Those of you who follow me on Twitter may have already seen this, but it really is worth seeing again, particularly if you’re into reading or you’re aspiring to be part of the publishing industry.

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