On Writing (and editing) a memoir
My New Book, Spin the World Around, is available now on Amazon
At the end of my trip around the world through 24 countries, I found myself with a 750,000-word draft “travel book.” It was gargantuan. After months of editing, I realized I needed to split it into two books, and of course, continue editing. The first book was a guide for someone to travel deeply and cheaply entitled How to Spin the World Around. Now, I present a nonfiction narrative entitled Spin the World Around, in which the protagonist (me) essentially discovers the methodology of travel later outlined in the first book.
The experience of writing a memoir has been a time-consuming process, and it taught me about how we can play with time. Just the other day, I was cleaning out my garage and I found a journal in a filing cabinet. I opened it to an entry I had written when I was in high school, and it was about the desire to travel the world for adventure. “I’m not afraid of death,” was one of the lines written in the journal entry. I hadn’t read this entry probably in decades, but I’m sure it’s no coincidence that the same line written in my high school journal was later said during a key moment by a person I met years later in this book I’m about to release – about my world travel adventure. Be careful what you wish for; I’m glad that’s behind me. Then, I realize that this book I’m about to release actually ended about 3 years ago, and the protagonist was not only growing and changing over the course of the book, but once the book ended, I continued to grow and and change. I realize and accept that I am no longer the person I was in this book, just as a river is ever-changing and never the same moment to moment. That said, capturing the river in a given moment with a photograph or a story is a worthwhile creative endeavor. Learning to look back at our past selves with compassion is also worth it.
A certain amount of time was needed between the completion of the events and the manifesting of storyline omniscience. This allowed me to write a nonfiction narrative instead of just regurgitate a slew of chronological journal entries. Editing became key, as well as generating a story arc and developing a writing style. I worked with several editors and learned something from each of them. Before I even split to two books, I was encouraged to focus on action-based parts from the first editor. “More Action! Action! Action!” she’d write in the margins. The second editor was actually a writer who I paid up front through a proxy, but they never got back to me after they got paid. One guy offered to edit, but after reading the first chapter, he claimed to already know how it ended, so I knew I was in for another re-write. The editor I ended up crediting on the title page spent the most time with me and made the most impact on the writing style. The entire process helped make me a better writer… and editor. The good editors would generate writing assignments for more writing to be further edited. This process could go on for infinity, but eventually I needed to let it go. I encourage everyone to write their own memoir, if only to learn about oneself through creating it and become a better writer (and editor). In the mean time, I hope you enjoy my story and find my message valuable.
With that, I present to you – Spin the World Around. Available now.
This is the first of a series of travel blog posts I'll be hosting in partnership with a subsidiary of TripAdvisor, one of the Internet's greatest travel sites. Let us take you away! As a company out of the UK, please excuse the British spelling, but if you hear the English accent in your mind's voice, it's all the better! Tired of tinsel and turkey? Fancy a Rudolph-free zone? Join Holiday Lettings in some alternative holiday destinations, from Istanbul to The Bahamas.
Why dream of a white Christmas when you can bask on a beach with sand as white as alpine snow? In the Maldives the sapphire skies meld beautifully with the azure ocean waves and the palm trees sway gently on the shore. Just sit back with a coconut cocktail and watch a mesmerising sunset turn both sky and sea a gorgeous golden hue.
If you can drag yourself off the beach, dive into the warm water to see the neon-coloured fish and coral reefs. Feel the breeze in your hair as you try your hand at surfing or sailing. Then fall hook, line and sinker for night fishing (and the taste of your own barbecued fish).
Sigalovada Sutta: The Buddha's Advice to Sigalaka translated from the Pali is a take on worship, which involves abandoning impure actions, realizing the six ways of squandering wealth, having an awareness of the four good-hearted friends and the four enemies disguised as friends. It discusses a 6-directional prayer of gratitude, affirmation, and intention.
"What four impure actions are abandoned? The harming of living beings is an impure action, taking what is not given is an impure action, sexual misconduct is an impure action, and false speech is an impure action. These four are abandoned."
"Young man, be aware of these four good-hearted friends: the helper, the friend who endures in good times and bad, the mentor, and the compassionate friend.
"Young man, be aware of these four enemies disguised as friends: the taker, the talker, the flatterer, and the reckless companion.
This is the full text
Bring Me Up, Bruce
"I am learning to understand rather than immediately judge or to be judged. I cannot blindly follow the crowd and accept their approach. I will not allow myself to indulge in the usual manipulating game of role creation. Fortunately for me, my self-knowledge has transcended that and I have come to understand that life is best to be lived and not to be conceptualized. I am happy because I am growing daily and I am honestly not knowing where the limit lies. To be certain, every day there can be a revelation or a new discovery. I treasure the memory of the past misfortunes. It has added more to my bank of fortitude." ~Bruce Lee
Full Map of my Trip!
Above is a full map of my trip around the world. Click on the word "Tripline" for details
So, when i was 6 months into my trip around the world, I was sitting in my friend's flat and decided to write a retrospective on where i'd been. It was quite the journey, and it was only 2/3 of the way finished! Here is my report!
The universe provides.
Check out my book!
I got a deck of tarot cards. These are the pages I use to interpret the throws:
Anyone can throw tarot cards. Just shuffle, set an intention and ask a question. A subject, a question, etc.
Follow the celtic cross spead one by one by having the person pull the cards one by one. You can lay them out in a large fan and let the person pick one by one, and interpret each one together...
Celtic Cross Spread
Drinking from the Merlion
The adventure never ends. Singapore is a unique city in many ways, and my experience there definitely fit into that category. It's been a while since I've posted a blog entry. Basically, I decided to write a book when I get back that brings all these travels into a cohesive full story, so I'm now leaving things out of the blog and saving them for the book. I did a little bit of that in this story, but for the most part, most of what I have to say about my stay in Singapore can be found on my travel entry for this lovely city, which is also a country, as well as an island. It sits at the southern edge of Malaysia, and it is it's own little world. Check it out!
It's More Fun In the Philippines!
I visited a paradise called the Philippines as my second stop on my trip around the world. It was amazing! Two weeks on Palawan island and a great couple of days in Manila! Check out my story! It's all about the LOVE! This is an updated version of this blog, which, when originally published, got over 1,000 hits in just a day... but unfortunately, it offended enough people where I had to make some revisions. Fortunately, this version is way better anyway, and still fully from the heart, though I did leave part of it out so can save it for the book I will write at the end of my trip! Enjoy!
Hong Kong and Beyond
My guardian angel, according to my birth year
My third stop along the way around the world was Hong Kong, Special Administrative District of China. I had a really great 5 days there, and learned so much. I am so happy to share it with you!
Read all about it!
Copyright (c) 2015 Russell Eric Dobda