To be clear: we have all loved our time here in Malaysia. It’s objectively pleasant to be in a country full of wonderful people where the temperature runs in the 70s to low 80s all year round. Beyond that, watching my children learn what living internationally can teach — and the expected and surprising lessons for myself and my lovely and talented wife — are a gift. Malaysia is great. Travel is great. Life traveling in Malaysia is great.
I spent the last 10 days doing absurdly awesome things with absurdly awesome people. In two weeks, I’ll spend another 20 days doing arguably even more absurdly awesome things with equally absurdly awesome people. A small representative sample of the activities I’m talking about:
- Swimming in a jungle river miles from civilization
- Teaching my youngest son how to say and when to use the Litany Against Fear
- Watching muay thai matches in Bangkok
- Running up a jungle river to visit orangutans
- Playing D&D at a table with three native languages
- Absolutely not peeing a little when a scorpion the size of a small car appeared a meter from my feet
- Riding elephants on a safari in Nepal
When I share some of these things, or even more pedestrian parts of my life like writing for a living or spending a year abroad, a lot of people say the same thing:
As most of you know, the literary world became much poorer late last week with the passing of Sir Terry Pratchett. Sir Pratchett’s work bridged the gap between fiction and philosophy, and…
…it’s hard to come up with adequate praise for the man’s body of work…
…let’s go with…
…Sir Pratchett’s novels didn’t just make me wish I was a better writer. It made me want to be a better person.
I cannot write well enough to comment adequately on the man’s death. So I’ll leave it to him:
A lot of my readers already know about the Baby Shoes flash fiction anthology that I Kickstarted, and how it beat our funding goals by almost a thousand dollars. I’m hugely happy and immensely grateful for how people have embraced the project, but that’s not the cool thing that happened this week.
The specific cool thing I’m talking about is how my literary hero Joe R. Lansdale has agreed to put a story in the collection. I cannot adequately express how thrilled I am about this. One specific cool thing about it is that the other I wrote him his check and put it in the mail.
Here’s where things get weird.
It’s about halftime for our one-year family journey to Malaysia, so I figured I’d do a quick post about the things I love most about this place, its people and the time we’ve spent here. Later on I’ll do a follow-up about the things I like least, along with the techniques we’ve used to circumnavigate or learn to accept them. But for now…