Blog Entries
This Week on Writers Abroad 2nd May 2016
Category: Site News
Tags: Writers Abroad writing ex-pat writers

Jo has had to go to the UK and so I am filling the This Week slot for her. As ever, there’s a lot going on.

No shortage of Bragging Stool occupants this week. Alyson is continuing her success with Peoples Friend, who have accepted yet another of her stories. For the 14th week, Sue has a 150 word short story in Ad Hoc and has become a permanent fixture there. A collection of them is definitely on the cards. And after reading 72 manuscripts for a writing competition, Sue’s first choice of a poetry collection was also the judges’ first choice. Well done both. I hope I haven’t left anyone out.

Crilly has supplied a great selection of prompts for this week’s Monday Muse, including several photos. And I just laughed out loud at the one of the man in the tin bath. Plenty of food for thought there! Beike has already posted a very evocative poem.

As she prepares to leave Japan after five years, Alyson has written a poignant Blog Post about what she will miss and asks us what we would remember from our own sojourns in foreign lands if we had to leave. I’m sure we’ll be seeing some Japanese-inspired fiction from Alyson in the future.

The May Challenge is up with a wide variety of competitions, big and small. So have a go at a new competition this time, perhaps.

There are also plenty of Works in Progress or chapters in the Chapter Group being posted at the moment, notably from Hamish and Paulette, among others.

A reminder that Jo recently updated the Planner, so please make sure you know what tasks you are down for over the next three months. If you can’t do one, please shout or swap with someone else.

There’s an informal chat next Sunday 8th May at 11.00 am on Skype. Jo has been asking members’ opinions about staggering the times of the chats and will no doubt come back on that soon.

Please remind me of anything I’ve forgotten and have a happy and productive writing week.



Moving On
Category: Writing
Tags: expat writing

Yesterday I was out hiking all day. I wasn’t writing and I didn’t think about the content for this blog (except for the little niggle in the back of my mind reminding me I had to do it).

            We went to Hakone to walk around Lake Ashi. This is an area of hot springs, thermal activity and Lake Ashi itself sits in the caldera of an old volcano. Mount Fuji is not far away and on a good day can been clearly seen. Hakone is one of my favourite spots in Japan and yesterday was probably our last visit.

            At the beginning of July we leave Japan after five years here. There are many things I’ll miss — the hiking being one. The open, assessable spaces came as a big surprise to me, as growing in the 60’s when anything you bought was stamped with ‘made in Japan’ I envisaged a country taken over by factories and cities. Of course there are places like that but there are also magnificent mountains, quiet lakes, beautiful countryside and unspoilt habitats.

            I will also miss the easy travelling to these places. The trains and buses that run on time to the second, so that if you are fifteen seconds late you’ve missed the bus. The wide transport network that means you can get to almost any remote area at least once a day. The handy onigiri — rice balls with different fillings, wrapped in nori, that make a tasty and easy to carry picnic lunch, and which can be bought at any convenience store. And the convenience stores are conveniently everywhere.

            So we’ve begun a round of ‘goodbyes’ to some of the places and things we love doing in Japan. I’m sure we won’t get to visit everything again. But being an expat we’ve got used to that bitter-sweet feeling of leaving the familiar and comfortable but looking forward to new opportunities and challenges.

            And yes, writing probably has to go on the back burner for a while as I’m busy with other things but hopefully I can include some of my favourite memories of Japan into some works of fiction in the future. I have a lot of memories to pack and take on with me.

            What are the memories you  would take on with you from where you are living now?         


This Week on Writers Abroad 25th April
Category: Site News
Tags: Writers Abroad ex-pat writers writing

We are now 17 members and there’s a lot going on onsite. Sometimes it’s difficult to keep up, so apologies if I have missed anything important below.

Jill is on a roll and is a very worthy occupant of the Bragging Stool this week with a longlisting in Exeter Writers Short Story competition.

Inspired by her recent trip to Las Vegas, Nicola has supplied this week’s Monday Muses, with prompts based on Sin City and a great photo of what I presume is the Grand Canyon. Plenty to get the imagination going there.

Sally has written this week’s Blog Post, an interesting analysis of the exclamation mark and when it should be used. Some think it’s over-used and it’s certainly on the increase in emails and texts.

I will be posting up the May Challenge soon with a variety of competitions to whet your appetites. If you fancy some incisive critiquing on a piece that you plan to submit somewhere, now is your chance. And comments are always gratefully received. In the meantime, the April Challenge is still open with some pieces for critiquing.

I will also post up the minutes of yesterday’s Formal Chat. We had a lot on the agenda, including important items about the magazine’s publication and marketing and the timing of our formal meetings. Watch this space for some possible changes to the latter. Jo has also started a forum to capture ideas about the proposal to offer Honorary Membership to former members.

Jo has updated the Planner, so please have a look and see when you are down for your share of the tasks.

Have a happy and productive writing week.



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