Writing Adventures in Shanghai
By Kristin Bair O’Keeffe
Happy New Year, writers! Here in China, 2007 is the Year of the Golden Pig, a rare event that occurs once every 60 years when the pig sign coincides with the gold element. According to Chinese zodiac lore, babies born this year will have good fortune, especially in financial issues. (Translation: Golden Pigs make big bucks.) In preparation for this auspicious year, couples all over China have been scurrying to make babies. (According to The Shanghai Daily, a local English newspaper, the Shanghai Population and Family Planning Commission predicts that 131,000 babies will be born in the city this year, up from 123,901 last year. Now that’s a lot of Golden Pigs.)
Since I missed my shot at being a Golden Pig by about forty years, I’ve sidestepped the Chinese zodiac calendar and dubbed 2007 the Year of the Golden Writing Adventure. In 2006, I married and moved to Shanghai, and ever since, marriage and China have been the two subjects that compel me most as a writer. These two wonderfully spirited, complex adventures command my attention every day. I ponder them over cups of chrysanthemum tea, roll them over my tongue like stones, dream about them in the wee morning hours, blog about them, wrestle them to the ground, admire them by starlight, explore them with my husband, and of course, write about them.
My goal for the Year of the Golden Writing Adventure? Get it on the page and get it out there to readers. All of it. Novel. Essays. Articles. Blog. Even that poem that’s been poking at me for the last few months.
What does the Year of the Golden Writing Adventure have in store for you? Where does your life coincide with your writing? What tugs at your attention? At your heart? What do you obsess about? What do you want to say? Think about this for a few minutes, then grab your journal and write it down. Pour it onto the page…everything you want this year to bring. When you’re done, when you’re sweaty and spent, when your tears have smeared the ink, tear out the pages and hang them above your desk with a little sign that reads “2007—The Year of the Golden Writing Adventure.”
Kristin Bair O’Keeffe is a writer and writing teacher living in Shanghai, China. Her first article about The Middle Kingdom will appear in Highlights for Children. In addition, her work has been published in The ELL Outlook, PortFolio, The Gettysburg Review, The Larcom Review, Permafrost, and Hair Trigger. As a teacher, Kristin has been inspiring and motivating students for the past thirteen years. Her blog, “Shanghai Adventures of a Trailing Spouse,” explores the curiosities of life in China and garners the interest of readers all around the world. To learn more, visit “Shanghai Adventures of a Trailing Spouse” at http://web.mac.com/kristinokeeffe.