Wednesday, February 09, 2011


Michael's humanities teacher had assigned the students to write fiction. Michael wrote a five-chapter novel entitled FITTING IN, which is especially brilliant, not because he happens to be son of a fiction writer but, because he's been learning English for less than two years.

But everyone in his 8th grade wrote fabulous work, such that the humanities teacher recently set up a "Reading Tea" where parents were invited to hear everyone read their favorite excerpts and then have a Q&A. What a fabulous way to give affirmation to the students' hard work!

I walked into the classroom where the reading was to be held. There was a table by the door with some cookies and hot water and tea bags. Suddenly, my son -- MY PUBERTY-RIDDEN SON! -- was greeting me at the door, guiding me to the table, and asking if I'd like some tea. Startled --THEN AMAZINGLY GRATIFIED OVER SUCH CIVILITY THANK YOU GOD! -- I eked out a "Yes." And I watched my son awkwardly put hot tea in a cup, put in a tea bag and give it to me. Then he led me to a chair where I could sit for the festivities.

THERE IS LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL! My son will yet grow up to be a gentleman, transcending recent knucklehead behavior! YEAHHHHHHH!

Never has tea tasted so delicious!

I am not a tea-drinker, by the way.

Anyway, he read his short story which was about the experience of a newly-adopted boy throwing a party without his parent's permission. It mentioned a hard-working Dad who often traveled away on business -- just like, ahem, the hubby! So the story was actually good in becoming a door to discuss how the hubby doesn't like traveling away from the family but it's his responsibility etc etc.

When you adopt, especially an older child, the "files" you get about their backgrounds are never complete. I've learned things, horrific things, about Michael's past from reading various stories he's written as class assignments. Horrific things ... that become yet part of the steel underpinning to my work-in-progress 147 MILLION ORPHANS. This manuscript also made major progress this week -- I think I figured out how it can become my first book-length poem (in the haybun form).

I've tried writing book-length poems before and failed miserably. And I've been affectionately egged on by my long-time editor Thomas Fink to do this form, in part because...I've never done it! Well, looks like I'll soon be putting a check-mark in that box! When it happens, I shall drink tea to celebrate the successfully-earned intimacy with such an alien!

Poetry is so mischievous with me -- of course that book is likely to be longer than my COLLECTED NOVELS. But, of course....!

Speaking of which, SILK EGG only been out a month. But it's already worth $149! Well,in Hong Kong dollars, that is. THIS IS AMUSING -- love that book description they chose. Guinness Book of World Records, Moi awaits you!

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