Friday, November 23, 2007

From the Anatolian Plains to the Tibetan Plateau

In 1996 I was traveling through the Anatolian Plains with my friends Marianne and Maureen. Each of us chewed on sunflower seeds and stared out at the moody plains while internal conflicts chewed inside us. It was during a particularly long bus trip to Ankara that Marianne had a dream. In this dream she placed all her troubles and fears into her sunflower seed hull and then stuffed the hull into the dirty ashtray in her seatback. She woke all excited about this idea and each of us concentrated our turmoil into the small space before grinding our hulls in the ash of many Turkish butts.

In the spirit of Marianne's sunflower seed dream, I want to take all the energy I've put into this novel and stuff it into this blog. Cheng's world has taken up an enormous space in my life and I'm not sure I'll be able to walk away. This is my first step.

I started work on The Secret of the Plains the last week of December in 2003. I thought it would just be a short story, but it wouldn't let go. Since then I've been researching, pondering, writing, and revising. For one year I spent all my free time in the Asian stacks at Powell's and the library and only read Chinese and Tibetan writers. I went to three different Buddhist Centers in town. I interviewed Tibetans I met at craft fairs, in the Portland Tibetan stores, and at Tibetan Festivals. I watched Chinese and Tibetan films. And I mulled over all these ideas, talked them over with understanding friends, and wrote and rewrote. In February 2007, I joined a group of writers, Leora, and began the last few revisions. It is now November 2007, and I'm sharing my last six chapters with Leora. I've begun researching my second book, and thinking about submission.

No comments: