After what was a great year creatively but a bad year professionally, January 2020 has had plenty of positives.
My tutoring business has had a very encouraging month, particularly of Mandarin (though I also teach creative writing, essay writing, and the guitar).
There have been some reviews:
This was also the month I decided to get strong enough to bench my own weight and reach a higher level in spoken Spanish by the end of the year. Sporadic progress was made on both fronts.
I finished recording both of my albums ahead of the launch party in April. English-language album “TMI-Tastic” and Chinese language album 《失败博物馆》(“Museum of Failure”) should hopefully be available for purchase within six weeks. The latest song to be recorded for the English album is an ode to drinking:
I have also been working on the fourth draft of my millennia-spanning, transcontinental novel (working title “In a Lonely Hour”). After finishing the current draft within the next week, I will leave it for at least another month before tackling the fifth attempt.
I am also halfway through the Comma Press short story course and should have a fresh body of work to show for it afterwards.
I had been invited to go to a wedding in Eastern China in Spring, and I was highly tempted, but ultimately the decision has been made for me by the terrifying Coronavirus.
Dan Harris of The China Law Blog had this to say about it:
“I am angry at the Chinese government for initially trying harder to hide it than to stop. I will never forgive it for arresting the first eight people caught writing about it. I am also angry at the Chinese government for refusing to allow Taiwan to participate in the WHO meetings on the coronavirus, cementing for me that it is still more interested in preserving its own power than in saving human lives. I also do not trust the numbers coming from China regarding the virus, nor do I trust its competence or its willingness to get appropriate help to stop it. I am convinced this virus will spread around the world and thousands will die. And that is the saddest part.”
With my experience of the Chinese government, I am not one bit surprised by what has happened. “Out of Mao’s Shadow” by Philip Pan is a great read on the subject.
With Brexit finally becoming irreversible, marked by a graceless farewell from Nigel Farage, and Trump looking certain to survive his impeachment trial in the United States Senate, it has never been so obvious that there are no grownups in charge.