Sunday, August 21, 2016

Did you ever blow up a marshmallow in a microwave? My life in 2016.

I know, it's been a while since I blogged and filled you in on my life and other writerly things. So let's catch up, shall we?

By now you all know I live in Ecuador. And Ecuador suffered a devastating Earthquake in April. And I'm consumed with helping the people on the coast to recover.

What I haven't mentioned is I have health issues which prevent me from going to the coast. So I am filled with pride for my friends that left their comfy, fun life in Cuenca and headed to the coast and are actually DOING something. And I am left behind. But I'm certainly not alone. Oh No!

So I told you about gathering supplies and sending truckloads of stuff to the coast. And I've told you about my friend Sara Coppler, and Proyecto Saman, the rebuilding project. I posted about the t-shirts my friend Sebastian and I were selling to help raise money. And now I get to tell you about the biggest project yet. But first...exploding marshmallows.

Did you ever think you had a really good idea and it turns out it just wasn't? For any number of reasons it wouldn't work, or couldn't work, or didn't get the expect results? We've all had those, right?  For me, I have a huge trunkful of those not so great, great ideas. But then sometimes, you hit it out of the park. Like putting a marshmallow in the microwave. Right before your very eyes it grows and grows and grows, your eyes widen and bulge and you quickly open the microwave door just before it explodes into tiny sticky particles of nuclearized sugar. (Yes, I do like making up my own words, thank you.)

The last year and a half of my life have been ahhmazing. (Yes, another made up word. I'm confident you can follow along.) One night as I tried to go to sleep I was reflecting on all the things my life is, the people, the places, the experiences. I'm suffering from insomnia. Not like in years past when I worried and couldn't sleep. This is like a small child on Christmas Eve or even Christmas night. Or how I imagine an athlete feels trying to go to sleep on the night they qualified for the Olympics, or won the gold. It's just too good to go to sleep. Most days anyway. So I had this idea. I have all these writerly friends here. Cuenca is overflowing with literary riches. Why don't we write stories about our friendships and sell them as an anthology and donate the money to the coast? Sounds like a great idea, eh? (as my Canadian friends say). I facebooked a friend in the US who participated in a couple of anthologies, a publisher friend in Ireland who works with multi-author sets on a regular basis and a publisher friend here in Ecuador with extensive anthology experience and asked about the pitfalls, the problems, etc. I set out to put together a program that I thought would circumvent all the problems they told me about.

I jokingly would say, if we end up with three volumes, we'll do three volumes! I never dreamed it would happen. (The reason we do multiple volumes is because Amazon will only allow us to list ten authors. So for everyone to get their deserved credit we have to do multiple volumes.) Especially when right out of the gate folks wanted me to change the topic or the title or whatever. All things I had set to circumvent those pitfalls mentioned above. I became my most stubborn self and said nope this is the project. Write or don't if you don't want. And then weird things started happening. I started getting messages from people in other places asking if they could contribute. And then messages from people I didn't even know. Friends of friends and so on. Marshmallow. Growing.

So we ended up with people writing not only from Ecuador, but from France, and Thailand, and the U.S. and Canada.  And on August the 1st I grabbed that handle on the microwave door and opened it before the great marshmallow of an idea exploded. And now I can't wait for you to read what these amazing people have written. All for Ecuador. I get teary every time I think about it. There are so many stories within the stories. Maybe along the way, I'll share them, because I know this blog is getting beyond our attention spans.

With days like this, there is no shortage of inspiration for artist, photographers, musicians and writers. This is the view from my kitchen window this morning.

The books Friends in Foreign Places: An Expat Anthology (Volumes 1-5 and the Complete Works) will release on September 25th, and we hope you will buy a copy. You can follow our progress to launch on my facebook page. Garry Kaulitz just donated the cover art and the covers are being designed. We're having a huge book launch party in Cuenca, we'll take pictures and maybe some videos to share with those of you who can't be here. If you are in Cuenca and would like to attend, message me for details!  But in the meantime, if you want to read about my friend Sara and what she's doing on the coast, check it out Sara's story here or the Proyecto Saman project with our friends Sara Coppler, Sarah Hanenbauer and Geof, you can read here.

Have a great day and I wish for you all that you realize the world is your playground and there is nothing more important than the people in your life. Believe it or not, your best friend may be waiting to meet you on the other side of a vast ocean. Uncover your blessings and cherish them.

How about just one shout out with all the writers who contributed?
Paul Anlee, Karla Arismendi, Madelaine Barry, Carol Boe, Jane Brunton, Brian Buckner, Edie Buckner, Joss Burnel, Susan Burnett, Lennie Charnoff, Dragonfly, Miriam Drake, Suzy Stewart    Dubot, George Forges, Susan Hart, J. Michael Herron, Egyirba High, John Keeble, Lynne Klippel, Billy Kring, Tom Larson, Thomas Longwell, Sandra Materi, Sharon McIntosh, Donna McNicol, Sloan Moorland, Quincy Noelle, Georgina Nunez, Kristen Sawyer, Barbara Snow, Nancy Thornton, Sebastian Vallejo, Garry Vatcher, Fanny Villegas, Rebecca Weldon, Buddy Winston
Thank you for helping my little idea turn into a great idea and for caring about this place I call home.

Scarlett, Loving life in Cuenca!