Monday, July 27, 2009

Dig Deep

Another insight Anne Sibley O’Brien shared with the Korea SCBWI chapter is to dig deep in our stories. She encouraged us to search our feelings on race issues and emotions that want to bury themselves deep down when living in another country/culture.

Then she asked us how it made us feel when the locals treated us differently, hated us or embraced us as one of their own. What were the reasons for them rejecting us, putting us up on a pedestal or treating us as family? Because all those dynamics are there as an expat whether we choose to realize it or not.

There are other things too. Like how do we feel when we see something done a different way or are we open to trying new things and seeing the world in new ways?

And then she challenged us to bring those emotions into our writing. Not to be afraid of them but to express them. Not to ignore them but push them out.

I hope I can do just that.

On another note, I have a winner to announce! Ellen has won a copy of Anne Sibley O’Brien’s The Legend of Hong Kil Dong.

And NO! It wasn't rigged. I'm so serious. I put all the cute notes in a hat and WOW, Ellen's name popped up. I had to laugh because Ellen REALLY wanted this book. So maybe this is a sign of more of her dreams coming true!

Congratulations Ellen! Please email me your address to Farley dot ChristinaL @ gmail dot com so I can send you this gorgeous book.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Anne Sibley O'Brien and Korean Graphic Picture Book Contest

I'm long overdue in blogging about my Korean SCBWI's chapter dinner event with Anne Sibley O'Brien last month. We ate at a Korean kalbi restaurant complete with grilled beef, rice, various types of lettuce, garlic cloves, kimchi and pineapple. Yum!

A little about Anne. She is an alumni of the school that my husband and I teach at, Seoul Foreign School. Her family were missionaries here in Korea in the 1960's until she graduated. A much different Korea than we see today.
Anne speaks fluent Korean and was a big help for us in ordering the food!

Throughout the dinner, Anne graciously answered our questions and even shared with us some of her upcoming projects like After Gandhi: One Hundred Years of Nonviolent Resistance and What Will You Be Sara Mee? published by Charlesbridge.

One of my son's favorite books of hers is the tale of The Legend of Hong Kil Dong. Many of us in the Korea chapter write multi cultural fiction and Anne had some excellent insight for us. She talked about using authentic language to brings the mood and feel of the culture we are writing about. Yet at the same time, we as writers must still make the story relateable to readers of the modern culture too.

The balance is tricky: incorporating foreign words and objects of ancient cultures while capturing our modern day audience's attention.

The fascinating part of The Legend of Hong Kil Dong is that it's a graphic novel and one of the first of its kind. Anne explained how integral it is to have an editor excited about your projects and willing to back you up to try something innovative and new.

What an honor it was to hear Anne speak to my students as well as chat with the authors of our chapter. And because I'm so excited about her book, The Legend of Hong Kil Dong, I bought two. One for myself and one for my fellow readers on my blog!
If you'd like to enter my contest to win a copy of The Legend of Hong Kil Dong, make a comment below. If you're a follower, you get an extra entry and if you post on your blog about this contest and Anne Sibley O'Brien, you'll get an extra entry too!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Blast Off!

One of the highlights of our summer was watching the space shuttle, Endeavour, shoot off through the clouds and up into the atmosphere.

We would have missed it too if Mom hadn't called me up saying the space shuttle is taking off in ten minutes. I quickly flicked on the TV and we watched the countdown. Then one minute before the shuttle blasted off, we ran outside into the street spinning around in circles wondering which way the shuttle would come up from. We must have looked like idiots but we sure didn't care.

And then we saw it, like a shooting star going the wrong way. It was a red fiery ball heading up and through a cloud and then out of sight.

Amazing stuff. Have you ever seen the shuttle live? Or how about when it comes back into the atmosphere and you can hear the huge sonic boom?
Picture from Washington Post

Friday, July 3, 2009


No, I haven't dropped off the face of the earth! I've been traveling and visiting family and friends. I haven't had much access to Internet so I've been amiss in my emailing and blogging.

Right now we're in Orlando and having fun seeing my side of the family. It's so nice and warm and humid here. I love it! We'll be visiting Disney soon too. I'll try to post pictures. And of course, I work there every summer too.

But if you're looking for a good contest, check out Ellen's blog where she's giving away a beautiful Chinese book, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon.