August 16, 2006

Hot Blooded (check it and see)

I’m not sure if my fever ever got up to 103, but I’ve been sick, sick, sick. China finally got to me. More specifically, traveling by bus and train to remote parts of Guizhou province got me. First it was the dreaded “xie duzi”–yes that’s Mandarin for the runs. Then it was fever and chills and the worst cold I’ve ever had. I’m still feeling miserable after eight days but at least I’m back in my apartment where I don’t have to scoop water out of a wooden basin to wash myself and endure constant cigarette smoke blown in my face by the men occupying the other bunks in the “hard sleeper” train sections. And I’ve discovered a wonderful remedy for congestion–heat vinegar to boiling and inhale the vapors. Works like a charm and lasts for twelve hours.

Of course it wasn’t all desperate trips to the toilet and air pollution. I saw some stunning scenery, met many wonderful people and ate tons of amazing food. And I wrote constantly. I decided not to bring my laptop, and something about the simplicity of pen and paper, coupled with our mostly rustic accomodations, made me realize that I need to bring my writing back to that elemental level–back to the sheer joy of using my imagination to fuel creativity without over-analyzing my target audience or the confines of my chosen genre. The beauty of traveling is the need to embrace extremes. And in so doing, you free yourself from the tedium of habit and the lull of comfort. I’m not saying I’m happy to be sick, though. Far from it. But I am pleased that I started writing my next full-length novel. It will be a true gothic this time, in every sense except the use of first person narrative. I’ll write more about it, and post pictures from the trip, when I’m feeling cooler.

Oh yes, the other good news is that blogger seems to have been unblocked here because I’m suddenly able to access it without using Anonymouse. Yeah!