Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Writing in Thailand

Oh well, sometimes you can be just too busy. I've been invited to teach a creative writing course on Thailand's royal beach, and a whole new array of dates are available - but sadly I'm booked up for all of them.
I last taught in Thailand in 1991, setting up a postgraduate English department as part of St John's College. I loved my time there ... and as proof of whether time in the country can be a boon to creative writing, check out the Thai chapter in my novel Slippery When Wet. The balcony of my room looked out over fields. I sat out there, watching an elephant strip branches off surrounding trees, and felt the pressures of western life lift off me. The notion of writing a book about sacred mountains, eventually manifesting as my On Sacred Mountains, first occurred to me there.
One telling fact of my time there - I never saw a child crying.
I'm sure times have changed the place - the traffic was appalling then, the river the best way to travel, though new transit systems might even have improved things. Up in Chiangmai one day I was probably the most dangerous thing on the road. I hired a motorbike for a day out, never having driven one before, and headed into the hills. Somehow my route back took me through Chiangmai Zoo, wending my way round all its cages. And try out the temple of Wat Po back in Bangkok - Thailand's temples are wonderfully lived in: monks singing or maybe repairing bikes, kids at school, farmers passing through.
If you do head out there, drop me a line! Here's a link for that writing course, write in paradise.


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