Thursday, August 6, 2015

Staring Forward By Looking Back

Eight years ago, I started this blog with this post. So much has happened in seven years: I've written and published several short stories (and written many others that have never seen the light of day), written an unpublished novel (am hopeful) and started a second, edited an anthology, participated on panels at conventions, critiqued hundreds of stories and novels, and started a Creative Writing certificate at the university. Not to mention I raised two boys.

So after all that, I looked back at my first blog post and thought, "wow, was I naive."

Much of what I wrote remains true. What's changed is my perspective on Asian fantasy fiction. I fancied that I would write tales of fearless foxes and flying swordsmen, ghosts and hopping vampires (actually, I did write that one). What I didn't realize was how much culturally I was out of sync.

I knew it was going to be a lot of work. I knew I couldn't rely solely on knowledge passed down by both sides of my family.

It wasn't until I travelled to Japan and visited family that I found out how out of depth I really was. The nuances of language and culture, the subtleties of expression, and the meaning of the simplest gesture were impressed upon me. There was so much to consider that were so far out of my normal line of sight.

And then of course, there was the (very high) expectation that someone with my background would just naturally get it right. Any mistake or gaff would be magnified ten-fold.

So what has changed is my perspective: the massive responsibility on my shoulders that if I'm going to write Asian fantasy fiction, I better get the culture right.

We'll see how I do as I shop my current novel and stories around. Hope you'll stay with me for the journey.

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