Monday, February 18, 2008

Making New Friends and Extending Hospitality

There's a link to Suitcasing under my writers' blogs. Daniel Wallace is a fascinating young writer from the UK who has lived as an expat in Taiwan and more recently in Syria. Over the last several months he's been applying to a number of MFA programs in the US and will be visiting the states, arriving in New York City in late March. If you'd like to host a charming and talented young English writer during his visit, please get in touch with Daniel. I've been following his adventures on his blog and have had the good fortune to read some of his fiction -- which is fantastic.

Please check out his post on the upcoming trip here.

"On Thursday morning, I received my first offer from one of the MFA courses I applied to. Lots of questions still remain, and I’m still waiting for a response from the other seven colleges, but it has been a wonderful relief. I suddenly have a much clearer idea of what I’ll be doing for the next 2-3 years.

It’s going to be a huge change. My life, especially over the last several months, has felt very stark - living in a strange country with only books for teachers. The thought of being in university and taking classes in Jazz Theory now seems so wonderful.

I’m trying now to handle the waiting period, which is turning out to be much harder than the hoping period. A few days ago, I doubted if I’d get in anywhere, but essentially I felt relaxed. Now that calm has gone, and I feel the urge to check my email every few hours. It’s impressive, isn’t it, how hard ones demons work?

On the positive side, this means that I’m going to be visiting the US soon. I’m going to fly to New York sometime in late March, visit various people on the East Coast, and possibly head into the Mid West if those colleges want me. If you are in the East Coast area, or know someone who might like to have a wandering English writer as a guest, let me know.

I’m going to be living in Syria for one more month, and going to try to stay focussed on my novel writing until I leave. Best wishes to you all; I’m feeling very grateful for the life I’ve been able to lead."


Melissa Marsh said...

Wow. I am just amazed at the courage it would take to do this - live in a foreign country so very different from my own.

Charles Gramlich said...

Yes, it would take courage. But he'll have great memories and some great source material to write about.

Patti said...

lisa, you amaze me with all that you offer to us by way of what you are reading, seeing and experiencing.

Lisa said...

Melissa, He's being doing it for a while and in Taiwan (now I'm not sure if he was in Thailand or Taiwan), he taught English to support himself and really was immersed in the culture. I listened to a great podcast that he did. He also has gone for the total immersion experience in Syria. A really interesting young man!

Charles, He has taken advantage of the expatriate experience in very different cultures like nobody I personally know. He'll have a never ending well of inspiration to last his whole life. I just hope that his experiences here in the states once he figures out which MFA program he'll be going with will prove to be good experiences for him too.

Patti, I often live vicariously, don't I? It's amazing to learn of all the interesting and exciting things other people are doing. The world is a great place!

Julie at Virtual Voyage said...

Great story, Lisa - will be interested to pick up on how things work out in the future. He certainly has a lot of very mixed life experience to draw on for writing!

Daniel said...

Thank you so much Lisa.

I'm not sure I've lived much of a life of full immersion: I've never worked out how to stop being a foreigner around the world. I think I've learned things about Taiwan, and, to a lesser extent, about Syria, but there are people who have dropped themselves very deep into Asian/Middle Eastern cultures, and I'm not sure I'm one of them. I prefer to read and think and watch.

Regardless, it's been an amazing few years. I'm looking forward to the American part of the journey; a little scared.


Lisa said...


I am looking forward to hearing more of Daniel's adventures as he moves to the next phase.


Welcome! I think you've been quite immersed and brave. I lived in the UK and in Europe for a total of six years at one time, but I always took comfort in the fact that as long as I didn't speak, I could hypothetically blend in and wander around inconspicuously. You certainly can't do that where you've lived!

You haven't a thing to be afraid of. Despite our sometimes bad reputations, most of us are all pretty nice and -- bonus for you -- Americans just LOVE the English. You'll tire quickly of how many people tell you how much they love your "accent", I assure you.

If you end up anywhere near Denver, please email me and let me know. I look forward to following your continued journey and can't wait to read more of your work.

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Literary Quote

It is worth mentioning, for future reference, that the creative power which bubbles so pleasantly in beginning a new book quiets down after a time, and one goes on more steadily. Doubts creep in. Then one becomes resigned. Determination not to give in, and the sense of an impending shape keep one at it more than anything.

Virginia Woolf