I’m so happy!!! A friend told me that my teeth look perfect now—like American teeth. So I’m glad I can finally represent my country with my mouth? Also because:
2. It’s time to leave Thailand
It’s been fun. I’ve made friends, I’ve gotten my teeth tortured into shape, and I’ve eaten enough khao soi and coconut shakes to last a lifetime (or at least a few months). As much as I’ll miss Chiang Mai, I’ve had one too many massive cockroaches in my apartment the past few weeks and it’s time for a break from nature.
I’m just bummed that I won’t have time to see this movie. I’ve seen the trailer half a million times while sitting at the coworking space at the mall, and I feel called to share it with you all. It’s about a haunted classroom and it may be the best zombie film ever made:
3. Next stop: Los Angeles
I’m so excited to be heading back to LA! I get to hang with Aileen, finally meet her baby, and hopefully eat lots of donuts while I’m in town. I also get to reunite with The Nook—my #1 favorite working spot at Aileen’s house. Not sure if it’s weird to have a favorite spot in someone else’s home, but The Nook has a long list of fans—it’s just so cute and sunny!
The Nook is my Happy Place
We’re signing up hosts for the Quanta Reset blog tour. Jump over to YA Bound if you’d like to join in on the fun : )
5. More Quanta
Aaaaand, hold tight for more Reset news. The book should be live on NetGalley by the end of the month, but subscribe to the Ink Monster Newsletter if you want to be the first to hear about it. You should definitely get on the list regardless, because I heard a rumor that Shattered Pack news is coming soon, too ; )
Not that I’m biased or anything, but Meredith’s story is awesome. If you’ve enjoyed the Alpha Girl Series so far, you’re going to love reading from her POV.
Hi from Northern Thailand! It’s 8 a.m and I’ve discovered the secret to productivity. Do you want to know???
Surprise. It’s ROCK HARD BEDS.
When I’m home in the US, I sleep on a cloud comprising several layers of down, more novelty pillows than you could count, and piles upon piles of snuggy blankets. My bed in Thailand is like sleeping on a rock. A boulder topped with one paper-thin sheet.
My hips are bruising from this nonsense, but I’m not changing a thing. Why torture myself, you ask? Because when I pop awake at 5 a.m. I am SO READY to get up and get to my computer. Staying in bed lazing around sounds like a miserable idea for the first time ever. As much as I miss the cloud bed, I’ve discovered that I’m happier being productive than I am being comfy.
Wooden desk chair = heaven compared to the flat torture sleeper.
Productivity is good for everyone. I’m reading lots of Shattered Pack and Cursed and finally getting back to work on Quanta Reset, which is a wonderful thing. The past few months were a bit rough at Dodge Ranch, so my mind has been twisted up like a ball of yarn scraps–now I’m FINALLY getting back to doing what I love and it feels amazing.
And the big news for you guys [[[drumroll]]]: the Quanta Reset cover reveal!!!! I can’t wait to share this one because it came out so SO COOL. I’d just show you now, but I’m not allowed thanks to a blood pact with that little blueberry of an Ink Monster mascot.
It’s officially burning season here in Chiang Mai. The farmers in the countryside are burning off their fields for a very rational reason that I don’t know (something about rice fertility) and because CM is in a valley, the smoke gets trapped; since there’s no rain this time of year, all those schnasty particles keep floating around in the atmo causing mass hysteria among prospective tourists. Seriously. People in the forums I follow are panicking and talking about scrapping their international travel plans.
We’re just getting started, but so burning season isn’t that bad. We’ve been hovering in the 60s-80s in air quality, which is considered moderate.
I see the reason for the panic, given that most of the U.S. is all green all the time. My home town is hovering at a crisp, fresh 28 right now.
But compared to the rest of Asia????
There’s a 454 up in there. That’s like doing away with oxygen and breathing in coal-dust gelatin. Also why I have no plans to go back to China.
Since I’m sitting pretty over here with zero allergies or respiratory concerns, burning season is no big deal until it gets a lot worse than this. Which it will, but I’ll wear a mask and cope if/when that happens.
My bigger concern? Noise pollution.
I was sitting at my desk this morning and a buzz saw ripped into action across my alley at 8 a.m. In the few moments the saw paused I heard: several jets taking of and landing; a gong being pounded to death; at least two Thai advert trucks stuck in traffic, blaring songs and slogans; some sort of concert down the road with call and response action and rolling applause; the daily chorus of screeching breaks; and more motorcycles revving/drag-racing/breaking the sound barrier than I care to count.
Not exaggerating. Needless to say, I left the ranch to go sit at a cafe.
I’m not moving out by any means (not when the milk tea situation is so on point) but if I were ranking my annoyances, I’d put the noise pollution way above the environmental kind. Case in point: it’s Friday night, so I have to wear earplugs or I’ll get woken up by late-night karaoke…but I’m still keeping my window open.
Welp. After almost eight months stateside, I’ve had all I can take. It’s time to hit the road, and now I’m off to Chiang Mai, Thailand for a few months of R&R (readin’ & ritin’?). People (you know who you are) have been grilling me about this choice, so let me go ahead and answer your burning questions.
1. Why Chiang Mai?
For the same reasons so many other freelance types head there. Creative energy + low cost of living. I’m super influenced by the vibes of the place I live, and I’m my best self when I’m somewhere with lots to do and see—even if I don’t do or see anything. Sometimes I go into full hermit mode, but I need to know that options are available just in case I start jonesing for hipster tea houses and/or hippy-dippy salads.
2. What are you going to do there?
Same old, same old. Writing and some research—I’ve been kicking around a novella set in Bangkok and being back in Thailand might give me the push I need to get it polished up. Chiang Mai also has a crazy lot of coffee shops, so I’ll spend most days parked at a table typing and sampling random cafe snacks.
3. Can’t you do that in America?
Yeah. But see #1.
4. When are you going to settle down?
Dunno. There are parts of living abroad that are a total drag (language barriers, layovers, third world toilets) but I’m at my most inspired when I’m in an environment that challenges me. As of now, as long as I can keep traveling, that’s what I plan to do.
5. What do you hope to accomplish there?
A whole lot of nose-to-the-grindstone page writing. Thailand allows one to outsource everything for super cheap. I’ll have an apartment with cleaning service, send my laundry out, and buy street food instead of cooking, all for less than what I’d pay for a car payment, insurance, and gas at home. Without the distractions, I plan to dig in to the plots that have been eluding me.