*What, new author song? Yep, here’s the video.

Really, it goes back to this summer’s Young Writers Academy and having to track down a missing paycheck.

Late August, a month after teaching, still no dough—to HSU and Redwood Writing Project office where admin ace, Lisa Waters, intervenes and makes it her mission to get me paid asap.  Phone calls, e-mails, Foundation forms, and in the electronic barrage one message, unrelated to the debacle at hand, from English Comp. instructor Tracy Duckart:

“They are looking for a teacher to go to Xi’an in about a month. They are looking for someone who can teach beginning writing classes. Prefer a Master’s degree and some ESL experience would be nice … but not necessary. Let me know if you know of anyone who’d be interested!

Why not?  I fit the bill, MA English with ESL coursework, experience teaching second language learners. What could it hurt to inquire?

I replied, and within four days not only did I have a Young Writers paycheck—thank you, Lisa!—but I’d been invited to teach English in China. Opportunity, adventure, learning, making and saving money–really, how could I say no?

Latest author = Plath= video here

So, it’s Saturday, September 4th, and here I type, my left arm tingling and numb at the elbow laden with Hep A and Tdap–whooping cough vaccine, apparently there’s a current epidemic in California, possibly Asia. Tomorrow, I commence with Typhoid Mary pills.  Can’t wait for next week’s Yellow Fever Friday.

It’s in motion.  In roughly one month, I leave for China to teach10 months of first-year college English at Xi’an International Studies University.  Really, I can’t fathom how this will affect me. Xi’an’s a major economic hub with a population of more than 8 million; automobiles are gaining popularity among the new middle and upper classes, though the city claims to have 200 bus routes and a subway system under construction; manufacturing and technology abound, and English language skills are in high demand. I am about to embark on an experience that is 180 degrees out from my coastal town, singer-songwriter, yard-work-girl, bucolic existence.

To be sure, I will miss Humboldt clean-air bike rides and cerulean North Coast Indian summer skies.  

I’ll get a bicycle when I get there, and I’m taking my guitar. When asked about the last year of my work history, not accounted for on my resume, the hiring committee was genuinely intrigued with my explanation. I’d re-arranged my life, I said, to be a singer-songwriter; I work a variety of part-time jobs so that I can focus on my craft and perform. I showed them the new CD and explained the Great American Authors Tour concept album. And you know what? They weren’t put off.  They took it all very seriously and commented that songs about American authors would be a great classroom teaching tool. Mary and Guru—yes, those are their real names, the Dean and Program Director—want me to bring the guitar (voice, too) to China, to the classroom. Really.

I know, it won’t all be puppies, roses and rainbows, but it will be an amazing opportunity to learn and grow, see new things, gain perspective. And I know that I’ll return to Eureka, California, enriched—oh, the songs that will come of this!

*For the record I gotta come back, because Willie and Meows and all my stuff’s in Humboldt.

nonplussed puss

I will keep blogging and video-posting, so you all can see what’s up—I understand Facebook and other social networking media are banned, but I’ve heard tell of VPN and a proxy thingy through which I can bypass Chinese censors…continue posting, hopefully not be banished to a north China labor camp.

I’m state-side for at least three more weeks, and I’ve a few gigs (including Bonnie Neely campaign fundraiser) lined up between now and then–I’d love to see you out there, whether singing at Has Beans or walking in Old Town. Don’t be shy–come say say hi, especially if you’ve China 411/ experience, I’d really like to hear your take and impressions. 🙂 ‘Til then!

Keep ya posted!

That video