Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Borneo Post: Writing Workshop in Kuching--17 December 2011!

*To enlarge, click, right click, view, zoom

Are you serious about writing?
Are you up to the challenge?

Turn your Personal Experience into 
Published Articles!
ROBERT RAYMER takes you through the brainstorming 
and the writing process to produce a complete first draft, 
if you're up to the challenge!

Take the Fear out of writing and replace it with Fun!

 
**Announcement latest workshops:  Writing Your Life Stories Workshop—Kuching! 23 June 2012 (with links to other workshops and writing tips!) and also a workshop KK on 17 June 2012!


***Here the link to my website, to MPH online for orders for all three of my books, including my latest, Spirit of Malaysia and for Trois autres Malaisie.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Creative Writing Workshop—Kuching! 17 December 2011

Are you serious about writing?
Are you up to the challenge?

Turn your Personal Experiences into 
Published Articles
ROBERT RAYMER takes you through the brainstorming 
and the writing process to produce a complete first draft, 
if you're up to the challenge!

Take the Fear out of writing and replace it with Fun!

*UPDATE: THREE DAYS REMAIN; NO DEPOSIT REQUIRED!
SEE YOU AT THE WORKSHOP!


When:  Saturday, 17 December
Time 9.00-12.00 or 2.00-5.00pm
(one session/two-time slots)  
*register 8.30/1.30

Cost:  RM120 adults/
          RM90 students
(full-time), above age 14
Who:  14-70+ years old, plus your
friends and relatives
WhereKuching, Open University Malaysia, Sarawak Learning Centre, 9 1/2 Mile, Kuching-Serian Road
Next:  Email your name, contact phone number, email address, and your preference morning or afternoon session to robert@borneoexpatwriter.com  



Not Sure?
Why not treat yourself or a relative to an early Christmas present or get a head start on your  
New Year Resolutions!

Areas of learning:  pre-writing techniques, probing questions; 5Ws and IH; primary and secondary emotions; sensory details; narrative structure; organising and outlining; four killers of narratives; and some valid reasons for editing-it's not just about grammar!

Writing tips: Links to Robert’s article in The Writer on pre-writing techniques, (click, right click, view and zoom to read) and the expanded version in Quill Annual 2011 , “Judging Tips” , "The Power of Five",  "Writer Envy-Get Some Editing", “Tree Methodology” and “Prove Them Wrong!"
   
Challenge: Start and complete the first draft of your narrative in the workshop and have a final draft before the New Year to start your New Year in a new direction!
     
      Workshop Bonus: Plan and start an additional piece of fiction.
       
       Help your friends and relatives find out about the workshop by sending them this link! Thanks!

Bonus New Year Tip: A fun way to raise your self esteem and build your confidence for the New Year! And Leap for Success in the upcoming Leap Year.
Bio: Named as one of the “50 Expats You Should Know” by Expatriate Lifestyle, American Robert Raymer has taught creative writing for 13 years at two Malaysian universities, has judged short story competitions including the 2009 MPH National Short Story Awards, published over 500 short stories and articles, and conducted numerous workshops on creative writing.
 
He is the author of Spirit of Malaysia, Tropical Affairs: Episodes from an Expat's Life in Malaysia and Lovers and Strangers Revisited, winner of 2009 Popular-The Star Readers Choice Awards, taught in universities and translated into French.

Robert’s interviews and book reviews can be found on his website http://www.borneoexpatwriter.com

* Comments from recent workshop participants (below article) and a link to the actual workshop in Kuching,

 
**Announcement latest workshops:  Writing Your Life Stories Workshop—Kuching! 23 June 2012 (with links to other workshops and writing tips!) and also a workshop KK on 17 June 2012!

***If you are interested to bring my workshops to other organizations or associations in Sabah/Sarawak/West Malaysia/Singapore/Brunei for 2012 please contact me at robert@borneoexpatwriter.com  Thank you!

****Here the link to my website, to MPH online for orders for all three of my books, including my latest, Spirit of Malaysia and for the French translation of Lovers and Strangers Revisited Trois autres Malaisie.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

“Dark Blue Thread” published in Westerly 56:2


Westerly 56:2, a literary journal in Australia, with the tagline “the best in writing from the West” arrived in the mail yesterday.  It was a special issue of Westerly, “South/East Asia”, and it contained my Malaysia-set short story “Dark Blue Thread” from Lovers and StrangersRevisited.

It’s always exciting for the author to get their hands on that first copy, a validation.  For years I believed in the story, which had a lot of early success as noted in The Story Behind the Story, but then I kept changing the characters' names and finally overhauled the story, adding more backstory and a whole new ending that doubled the length of the story.  This was the version I had believed in and frustrated me that it wasn’t getting out of Malaysia.

Persistence does pay off, so does rewriting.  The final rewrite came earlier this year, when I went through all of the stories in Lovers and Strangers Revisited again before passing them to Editions GOPE for the French translation, Trois autres Malaisie. I wanted the best version out there both in English and in French.  Ironically, “Dark Blue Thread” was one of three stories left out of Trois autres Malaisie (since the theme was similar to another story, “Only in Malaysia” that was added to the MPH version of the collection).  Editions GOPE wanted to keep the length of the collection down—seems translating into French adds about 20% more words. 

Then Westerly, after accepting it, gave me another chance to revise it, so I went through the story again, tweaking it here and there, and now I have this latest testimony to the endurance of those short stories from Lovers and Strangers Revisited that I first wrote over 20 years ago that are still being read today.

*Update, the 20th anniversary of Lovers and Strangers Revisited
** Here's the link to my website, to MPH online for orders for all three of my books, including my latest, Spirit of Malaysia and for Trois autres Malaisie.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Boy Swallowed by a Python

A 16-year old boy was found dead in Malaysia (*these photos may be from a previous incident in Indonesia, East Borneo - see comments 3, 5) after being swallowed by a 10 meter-long python. Camping in the jungle is always a risk, even on a school outing to a national park.  I don’t wish to name the national park to give it any bad press--I spend four wonderful days there and even used it for the setting for one of my short stories.  I once sketched out a story about a man on a death wish who gets swallowed by a python, so this story struck close to home.  Besides, this could happen anywhere where pythons live. 

In the late 1980’s, a man was attacked behind his rural house and the photo was on the front page of all the newspapers with the python wrapped around the man with its head over the man’s head and shoulders where it apparently became stuck—it was a rather large man.  (Yes, this was the inspiration for my story idea.)  I’ve also seen photos of a python trying to eat a wild boar.  So a boy would not be a too big of a problem.

I’ve also seen plenty of photos of children and adults being cut out of crocodiles, including one at a different national park taken days before I had visited there with my then 16-year old son, and we had even come upon crocodile on a trail; it was crossing an old river bed into the nearby sea.  The moment it saw us, it fled. It was either him or us.

At a third national park, a park ranger told us about how we had just missed a ferocious fight between a python and a proboscis monkey in plain view.  At the same park, as far as I know, a python still lives beneath a popular canteen feeding off the rats and perhaps a stray monkey or two.

In my 25 years of living here, I have heard plenty of stories of adults being killed by wild boars, elephants (they grab you by the trunk, throw you down and stomp on you) and of course tigers.

Anytime you go into the jungle and camp you’re at risk, but the odds of you seeing a python, a wild boar, an elephant, or a tiger are quite rare, let alone being attacked by one.  So don’t worry too much about it.  Enjoy the beauty, but also don’t take unnecessary risks.

As for me holding that crocodile, that wasn’t in the jungle or along a river but on the set of Anna and the King, also filmed in Malaysia  The handlers were right beside me along with a couple of edgy elephants that looked like they too wanted to have a go with me.

As a father of three boys, my heart goes out for the parents. This is an awful way for your child -- for anyone -- to die.
        Borneo Expat Writer

*Here is a more recent account of a man found inside a 7-meter long python in Indonesia.

 *** Here's the link to my website, to MPH online for orders for all three of my books, including my latest, Spirit of Malaysia and for Trois autres Malaisie.
-    

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Introduction and Excerpts for Trois autres Malaisie

228 pages, 13x19 cm, ouvrage illustré.
Trois autres Malaisie is printed and now available!  Editions GOPE has just provided me the introduction to Trois autres Malaisie, written by the translator, Jerome Bouchaud, as well as the excerpts to four of the stories.

Orders for Trois autres Malaisie, the French translation of Lovers and Strangers Revisited, a collection of short stories set in Malaysia and winner of 2009 Popular-The Star Reader's Choice Award, can now be made at:
           
ACHETEZ TROIS AUTRES MALAISIES, 17.90  € (-5%, LIVRAISON GRATUITE)


           
           
           
           
           
            couverture livre


Click on the middle book will link you to the introduction and excerpts of four of the stories. Editions GOPE is offering free shipping to anywhere in the world and 5% discount.  The books are now available.

Again, please inform others who speak French, even as a second or third language (or are learning French), and who has an interest in Malaysia or would like to know more about it.  Think of your family and friends back home or those living overseas, even those who might have been here years ago or are thinking about visiting someday.  Or send them a copy of Trois autres Malaisie as a present!  Thank you!
*Update: Here's a link to the intro and excerpts, and links to four reviews of Trois Autres Malaisie in eurasie.net, Malaisie.org, easy voyage.com, and Petit Futé mag.


**Update: Book orders for Trois autres Malaisie  E-book orders.  Or recommend it to your friends, especially those who would like to know more about Malaysia or have an interest in Southeast Asia.
 
***Here’s an update to the French blog about Trois autres Malaisie and my meeting the French translator Jerome Bouchaud in Kuching, and my involvement in a French documentary for Arte (June 2017) on The Sensual Malaysia of Somerset Maugham.

*Update, the 20th anniversary of Lovers and Strangers Revisited, my collection of short stories set in Malaysia.


La Malaisie vue de l'intérieur avec 14 nouvelles de Robert Raymer.

***Here's also the link to my website, to MPH online for orders for all three of my books in English, including my latest, Spirit of Malaysia.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Fun, Practical Way to Raise Your Self-Esteem and Build Your Confidence for the New Year by Listing Your Top 25-50 Achievements!

Here is a quick practical way to raise your self-esteem and build your confidence for the New Year (or anytime of the year) which I first learned from Jack Canfield.  Just list your top 25 achievements.  Then billionaire Bill Bartmann recommended listing your top 50 achievements (you can go all the way back to primary school!) to remind yourself of who you are and what you’ve done.

This list is really you, and not how you might be feeling right now, especially if you’re achieving less than you think you deserve, or not doing as well you know you can.  In life, we all go through our ups and downs, but dwelling on those downs when you are down, really down, can be fatal, especially during the holidays.  This is when you need a quick pick me up to raise your self-esteem, and that’s what your list of achievements is, your very own reminder of who you are and what you have done and what you are capable of doing in the future. 


Now and then, when things are really going bad, you may need to dwell on your list to remind yourself what you had to go through to achieve what you accomplished, and then apply that same skill, perseverance, and tenaciousness again to get you back up to where you belong.

By the way, your list has no bearing on anyone else (doesn’t mean you’re better or worse than anyone else); others may not even care one twit about your list, other than a passing curiosity—Oh, I didn’t know you did such and such…What they really care about is their own list and that’s perfectly fine!

So, if you want to start feeling good about yourself, I urge you to compile your own list—you’ll be surprised by how many you've forgotten about.  Even if you’ve already done this before, try it again (I did back in 2006 but then revised and expanded it from 25 to 50 and added stuff that I did forget.).  Then every now and then, when you’ve had less than a perfect day and you’re getting down on yourself, review your list and start feeling good about who you really are, the person who has already done so much in your life and is capable of doing a whole lot more. 

Good luck with this—it can be a real eye opener and a rather nice reminder, too!  At the same time, be grateful for those who may have helped you along the way.  Rarely do we achieve anything totally on our own. I know I had plenty of help along the way, even when back­packing solo or writing my own stories…

In case you are curious about my list—here’s my top 50 achievements.  I was tempted to start with 9th grade, my first big accomplishment, winning some school award, but I ended up starting after I graduated from Miami University, in chronological order.  My latest achievement is finding myself on Wikipedia, but that’s merely an offshoot of having my collection of short stories translated into French, my last major achievement so far. 

1) Backpacking solo through Europe for three months, after my initial plans fell through. 
2) Moving to Colorado from Ohio and working for Kinko’s and rising to assistant manager by age 23. 
3) Climbing Long’s Peak in Colorado. 
4) Negotiating a manager deal to take over the Madison store (and getting a company car with a two month break to travel -- at age 24!) 
5) Backpacking solo to the Far East and Southeast Asia for two months.
6) Spending ten days in China, soon after it opened up to the West (arriving April 1,1980). 
7) Speaking at a national convention for Kinko’s. 
8) Backpacking around the Yucatan Peninsula and Mexico for a month. 
9) Becoming a Regional Manager for Kinko’s and setting up ten stores (eight on my own).
10) Retiring from Kinko’s with a full-fledge retirement party at age 28 (to move to Malaysia and write). 
11) Driving across the US and then backpacking seven months on my own, en route to Malaysia.
12) Surviving dysentery in Nepal and making my way to Malaysia (to a rural kampung past midnight) to recover.
13) Publishing first short story, “Mat Salleh” in New Straits Times and also My Weekly, UK (with color photos of my first wedding).
14) Being the Coordinator of Malaysian-American Commission of Educational Exchange in Penang for two years.
15) Being a tango dancer in the film Indochine.
16) Having my first son, Zaini, and having the article about his birth published and used by the delivering doctor in his Lamaze classes.
17) Being a stage manager for Penang Players (with no experience, turning a nightmare into triumph).
18) Playing Santa Claus, as a last minute replacement (another nightmare and triumph).
19) Publishing Lovers and Strangers with Heinemann Asia. 
20) Giving my first talk in Malaysia/Singapore at 1993 Singapore Book Fair.
21) Being featured for the first time in a newspaper or magazine, Her World, November 1993.
22) Being an extra and working behind the scenes in Beyond Rangoon.
23) Being an extra in Paradise Road. 
24) Surviving a divorce and a custody battle and getting back my son Zaini!
25) Taking Zaini to the US for Christmas (when my lawyer told me it would be impossible—it took six months of planning and legal maneuvering; I only got permission via my ex-wife’s lawyer on the eve of our flight).
26) Being an extra in Anna and the Kingi.
27)  Setting up creative writing course for USM in Penang where I taught for ten years.
28) Being a single father for four years (I had Zaini during the week and he was with his mother on the weekends).
29) Marrying Jenny in Sarawak and having two more boys, Jason and Justin.
30)  Publishing “When Tastes Collide” (“Cross Cultural Dinner”) in Reader’s Digest, April 2004.
31) Being the editor of Silverfish New Writings 4.
32) Being tennis doubles champions at USM for three straight years, after injuring my ankle in the semi-finals.
33)  Publishing Lovers and Strangers Revisited (SF and MPH)
34) My short story “Neighbors” being selected to be taught in SPM literature throughout Malaysia.
35) The Lovers and Strangers Revisited book launch sponsored by Penang Players, who read excerpts of four stories and did a play reading from an adaptation of “Neighbors”, with over 100 in attendance.
36) Buying first house with Jenny, moving to Sarawak, and decorating it in record time since Jenny was seven months pregnant.
37) Putting up a website and finding a way to the Maui Writer’s Conference (after I had initially canceled).
38) Writing “Merdeka Miracle” with Lydia Teh and Tunku Halim for Going Places in one month of frantic writing with two writers I had yet to meet.
39)Lovers and Strangers Revisited winning 2009 Popular Reader’s Choice Award.
40) Hiking the 7-hour “Big Loop” with Zaini at Bako National Park.
41) Publishing Tropical Affairs: Episodes from an Expat's Life in Malaysia.
42) Giving my first full day creative writing workshop at Unimas.
43)  Being chosen as one of “50 Expatriates You Should Know” by Expatriate Lifestyle (January 2010)
44) Being interviewed on the national TV talk show Kuppa Kopi.
45) Having my 100th short story published.
46) Publishing Spirit of Malaysia. 
47) Having my 500th publication.
48) Giving my first two-day workshop for Malaysian Nurses Association
49) Living as an expat for 25 years in Malaysia 
50) Having Lovers and Strangers Revisited translated into French



*Update: Within a month of posting this, I got a new one, Ohio University is adapting my short story "Home for Hari Raya" into a film!  Now I can add this to 2012!  When you focus on your accomplishments and look ahead, they expand!   Also check out Leap for Success this Leap Year with five practical tips to make 2012 your best year ever. Good luck with your own list and 2012!

** Just ran my first marathon!

**Here's the link to my website, to MPH online for orders for all three of my books, including my latest, Spirit of Malaysia and to the French translation of Lovers and Strangers Revisited Trois autres Malaisie.
     --Borneo Expat Writer.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Robert Raymer on Wikipedia!

Wikipedia has just accepted my profile!  Always wanted to end up in an encyclopedia someday. . . . This was first proposed by Jerome Bouchaud, the French translator of Trois autres Malaisie,  during our meeting in Kuching.  Initially, I thought it was a great idea, but then  later, when Jerome sent me a mock profile, I was slow to respond.  Had some self doubts.  Perhaps I was just waiting for Trois autres Malaisie to finally come out.

*Update: Here's a link to the intro and excerptsto four reviews of Trois Autres Malaisie in eurasie.net, Malaisie.org, easyvoyage.com, and Petit Futé mag, and also to order a copy or recommend it to your friends, especially those who would like to know more about Malaysia or have an interest in Southeast Asia.
 

Jerome, who has access to the inner workings of Wikipedia (there are certain steps you need to follow to get yourself and what you post approved), will now translate this into French.  The profile, for the time being, is considered an “orphan” since there only a few Wikipedia links to it, such Living People, the Year of my Birth, American Writers, and Miami University Alumni, but hey, it's a start.

Still it feels cool knowing that it is there and that it’s been approved by Wikipedia.  This was something I learned from Joel Roberts:  Own Your Credentials.  Sure, others have accomplished way more than I ever will, but then, you never know what will happen in the next twenty years.  I feel like I'm just waiting to break out; have felt it for years.  The potential has always been there.  Just need to keep at it; keep knocking on doors, keep writing, keep publishing more books. 

For those who would like to get their hands on a copy of Trois autres Malaisie, please go to this site.   Or if you’re interested in the English versions of my other three books, then try here.  Thanks for checking me out on Wikipedia.  No doubt I’ll be soon seeing you there, too, if you’re not there already.  Who knows what the future holds for us…

Here's a link to my article "Getting Known Through the Media"
              --Borneo Expat Writer 

***Here the link to my website, to MPH online for orders for all three of my books, including my latest, Spirit of Malaysia and for Trois autres Malaisie.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Advance orders for Trois autres Malaisie!

228 pages, 13x19 cm, ouvrage illustré.
Orders for Trois autres Malaisie, the French translation of Lovers and Strangers Revisited, a collection of short stories set in Malaysia and winner of 2009 Popular-The Star Reader's Choice Award, can now be made at:
   
ACHETEZ TROIS AUTRES MALAISIES, 17.90  € (-5%, LIVRAISON GRATUITE)

   

   
   
   
   
   

    couverture livre

*Update, the 20th anniversary of Lovers and Strangers Revisited, my collection of short stories set in Malaysia

**Update: Book orders for Trois autres Malaisie  E-book orders.  Or recommend it to your friends, especially those who would like to know more about Malaysia or have an interest in Southeast Asia.
  
Here's a link to the intro and excerpts, and to four reviews of Trois Autres Malaisie in eurasie.net, Malaisie.org, easyvoyage.com, and Petit Futé mag.

***Here’s an update to the French blog about Trois autres Malaisie and my meeting the French translator Jerome Bouchaud in Kuching, and my involvement in a French documentary for Arte (June 2017) on The Sensual Malaysia of Somerset Maugham.
 

La Malaisie vue de l'intérieur avec 14 nouvelles de Robert Raymer
*Here the link to my website, to MPH online for orders for all three of my books, including my latest, Spirit of Malaysia and for Trois autres Malaisie.