Children's Books / General / Writing

This Year of the Rooster Better Be Good

because that year of the monkey was really bad. Some weeks of which have been really tough, namely the week of the Brexit Referendum, the week of the US Presidential election, and then there was last week: President Trump’s first week in office. I’ve been making a lot of donations to organisations like Planned Parenthood, ACLU and NAACP, sending emails to my congresspeople and reading updates on credible and established news outlets such as The New York Times, The Atlantic and The Guardian. We are remaining vigilant since we all know that it (the Trumpdom that remains an ambiguous it for now ) is only just getting started. 

But while we are welcoming this new year of the rooster, I wanted to quickly reflect on the year that has finally ended.

In terms of writing, I’ve slowly shifted away from children’s books for the time being. I published an essay on raising my third-generation Korean kids for the Yellow Press on the blog thanks to the invitation from the artist kate-hers RHEE. It was a result of this blog, so I am not stopping.

Meanwhile, **plug plug plug**, I was relieved to have finally completed an editing project in the works for years, which was announced in my last post. If you are curious about expat life in Germany or want to enhance your experience living overseas here, order a copy of Germany for Beginners!

The fact that I hadn’t actually started drafting the middle grade novel I had been workshopping for the last year and a half made me consider participating in National Novel Writing Month. I wasn’t totally convinced about the novel idea, not feeling like I was ever in the right head space, but I was convinced about finding a structure and my ability to meet a challenge. After consulting with my wise fellow writer friend Laurel Decher, I spent October getting my ducks in a row, cooked some extra meals for the freezer, and freed up my social calendar while reading No Plot! No Problem thanks to Gretchen Rubin’s recommendation.

On the 31 October I had coffee with another wise writer friend Cora Gofferjé. I nervously told her about my idea – both the book idea and about doing NaNoWriMo, which was starting the next day. She was supportive, but it was while I was bemoaning about what felt like the 3rd “come to Jesus” talk in six weeks that I had to have with our latest au pair, she turned to me and quickly said, “That’s what you need to write your novel about. Just like that – the way you were dramatising about how your au pair is always late with humour, how she watched the pot boil when trying to cook her first meal for the family – you have to write that novel.” When I asked her about my North Korea novel, she told me that I can still write that novel, but I should write my au pair novel first.

I figured that Cora knew what she was talking about since she had just finished her fourteenth novel which was being submitted for a young adult literature prize in Germany. So I did. I wrote my first draft of my first novel called “The Au Pair Handbook.”

Look out for more from me this year. This year of the rooster when we will not be waiting around to get our asses kicked, but turning around standing our ground and championing for the rights of others and ourselves.


Nothing is getting past this fighter for justice.


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