Sunday, September 21, 2014

I'm Not Chinese

I have a special treat for you today.  I'm sitting with author Ray Wong who's here to tell us about his new book, I'm Not Chinese:The Journey From Resentment to Reverence.

Welcome, Ray.  Let's start with the basics; please tell us where you live and if you're married and have children.
Sure.  I live in San Diego, CA.  I am grateful to have been married to my wife, Quyen, for 16 years. We have two children, Kevin--13, and Kristie--10. We feel blessed that both children are avid readers.
How long have you been writing?
I took my first creative writing class in the early 1990s at Grossmont Community College and have been at it since.
What type of writing do you normally do?

I'm interested in people and why they do the things they do. This is probably why I studied counseling for my graduate degree. I also earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University LA last year. Writing allows me to combine my fascination about people with the creativity to uncover truths about life. I specialize in creative nonfiction.
Give us a brief synopsis of I'm Not Chinese: The Journey from Resentment to Reverence.
I'll give you the first two lines from my prologue: "The first thing you need to know is I'm not Chinese. My name is Raymond Wong, and I stopped being Chinese at the age of five."

What prompted you to write this book?
I had been running from my culture and family all of my life. A trip to Hong Kong and mainland China in 1996 forced me to stop running. I had to write about it. There was no other choice.

How long did it take you to write the book?
I started it in 1996 and finished my first draft in 1997. I worked on revising it right up to the fall of this year.
Do you have a favorite line from the book?
I think every line in the book has to connect and have a purpose. The first two lines from the prologue launched me on this journey of self-discovery so if I had to pick a favorite, I owe it to those two lines for giving me a start.

Is this book published and, if so, when and by whom?
It will be launched on October 1st, 2014 by my publisher, Apprentice House, in Baltimore.
How can my readers get a copy?
It will be available on my website: It will also be available on Amazon and through the publisher's site.
What do you do besides write, Ray?
Is there time to do anything else? I haven't really even had time to write lately with the book about to be launched. Setting up speaking engagements and practicing my presentation have taken up all my writing time these past couple of months.
What’s next for you?
Hopefully a Pulitzer!  :-) I have started a project, which I haven't been working on lately, so I might get back to that once the marketing end of things quiets some. I actually have a few ideas for books so we will see which one grabs hold of me and won't let loose.
Ray, what is your advice to would be writers?
Live and write your truth. Even in fiction, find the truth of the story and what the characters want to teach you.
One final question, Ray.  What do you wish you knew when you started your writing career?
How truly crazy you have to be to become a writer! You have to write because the madness sinks its claws into you and won't let go.
Thank you, Ray.  It's been a pure pleasure having you here today.
Folks, I've spent some one-on-one time with Ray in the past and I urge you to get his book as soon as it comes out in October.
Quote of the Day:   What thou lovest well is thy true heritage.  Ezra Pound
Answers to questions posed in my last post:  1 (a); 2 (b); 3. (c); 4. (a).

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

It's All Techno Greek to Me!

A good part of writing is the research that goes into a story or article. I am glad to be writing in this day and age when information is at the tip of my fingers. I can stop writing, go to Google and ask a question, and get right back to writing, all in a matter of minutes. No more going to get an encyclopedia or making a trip to the library.

As part of Willard Manor, I had to look up a variety of items and dates. For instance,

1. When was the telephone first in general use in this country?
A. 1880s
B. 1860s
C. 1900s

2. How many slaves escaped via the Underground Railroad?
A. 10,000
  B. 100,000
  C. 300,000

3. Prohibition lasted from?

A. 1900 - 1941
B. 1915 - 1936
C. 1919 - 1933

4. The Amendment giving women the right to vote is which one?

A. 19th
B. 20th
C. 16th

I also had to look up the years of WWI, the battles of the Civil War, the Great Depression, the Woodstock festival, how to grow marijuana, septic tanks, indoor plumbing, electricity, and how to demolish plaster walls, among a host of other things.

What amazes me, is that ALL of that information is available on line. Someone, somewhere, inputted all this information. I don’t care what question you type in Google, or any other search engine, someone has already asked that same question and the answer is there. I keep thinking I’m going to come up with a question no one has yet thought to ask, but I don’t.

Thirty years ago, I bought my son a Commodore 64 computer. It was amazing. He learned programming by writing three pages of instructions to make a ball bounce. I saw how much work went into that small task and I think of it every time I see a video on the computer or find an answer to any question I may now or any time in the future ever ask. Someone, somewhere, had to input that information. It blows my mind. But then, the idea of a radio and voices coming over a wire, or heaven forbid, a wireless radio, can equally blow my mind.

I have learned to accept that even though I don’t understand how all this works, I am very glad someone does and I can benefit from it. Take a techno geek to lunch today to thank him or her.

Quote of the Day: The computer is no better than its program. Elting Elmore Morison.