After wrapping up another Lighthouse Young Writers workshop in Denver, I’m again struck by how much the young generation understands about the meanings, intentions, and motivations that lie under the surface of our lives. Maybe you wonder whether teens really get it when adults tell them that choices have consequences. If the short stories I see in my classes are any indication, they do. Choice and consequence are what their stories are all about, whatever walk of life or level of academic achievement they come from.
The stories by my recent group from Denver Online High School seem to weave two primary threads: love and violence.
I was looking for any excuse to get out of town. It was election time in Cambodia. This year marks the first time since the Khmer Rouge that the opposition party, the Cambodia National Rescue Party, has had significant support. The campaign season was crazy, with huge rallies for both sides anywhere you looked.
While it was common knowledge that the ruling party would try to rig the election, suddenly it became more of an issue. In the weeks leading to the vote, the embattled leader of the CNRP, Sam Rainsy, who had been in self-exile (that or face a long prison term in Cambodia for phantom charges), was granted a royal pardon by Hun Sen himself, and returned to the country.
Eager to avoid Phnom Penh’s election madness, we headed south to Koh Rong Island.
With my flat-mate itching for a vacation and both of us eager to avoid Phnom Penh’s election madness, we hopped in a taxi and headed south to Koh Rong Island.
My guest today is author Donna Fletcher Crow, whose novels revolve around the history of her favorite places in Britain. She and I are sharing a blog exchange today, writing about how our love of travel has influenced our writing, and vice-versa. After you finish here, you can read my article on “Letting Go of Excess Baggage” at Donna’s blog, Deeds of Darkness; Deeds of Light. Donna and I know each other from our participation in the new e-book 25 Years in the Rearview Mirror: 52 Authors Look Back, so please check that out, too. It’s an essay collection meant to warm your heart and raise your spirits. You can follow our book’s blog tour here. For now, let’s find out where Donna and her characters like to travel:
Trekking Through History
by Donna Fletcher Crow
I’ve always loved to travel and I’ve always loved history. So I guess it’s natural that Felicity, the heroine of my Monastery Murders series, would love to travel through historic sites. Well, at least she is learning to love it. Let me explain. In A Very Private Grave, the first of the series, Felicity Howard, a thoroughly modern American woman, finds teaching school in London to be boring, so she goes off, on something of a whim — as Felicity does most things — to study theology in a college run by monks in a monastery.
I’ve always loved travel and history. So I guess it’s natural that the heroine of my Monastery Murders series would love to travel through historic sites.
When Felicity finds her favorite monk brutally murdered and her church history lecturer standing over him with blood all over his hands, she and Father Antony are launched on an adventure that has them fleeing across most of northern England and southern Scotland, chasing and being chased by murderers. Along the way Felicity learns how important clues hidden centuries ago can be.
March 26, 2008
Mong Kok, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Yesterday morning, Fiona Zhu and I ate breakfast at a noodle shop. I ordered rice noodles with pork in soup. I expected little bits of pork, and was disconcerted to see an entire chop in my bowl. It was tasty, although I could see why some people think Cantonese food bland compared to Szechuan, or other, spicier regional cuisine. Our waitress also brought us a pile of steamed Chinese greens. The bitterness was a sweet reminder of childhood, when Chinese food with Gramma and Grampa at a small Cantonese restaurant in East LA was an almost weekly part of our lives.
March 25, 2008
Anne Black Guest House/YWCA
Kowloon, Hong Kong
I have no idea what time it is, only that it’s still a dark time of morning, and few cars are passing on the usually busy streets of Kowloon, eleven stories below. I feel a fragile safety in my tiny cocoon of a room, about 10-by-8 feet, with a shared bathroom across the hall. It’s much like a college dorm room: clean, tiny, sterile, with two small twin beds and a sink, behind an anonymous door at the beginning of a brief row of anonymous doors.