Beijing Diary

I have been far too busy writing and teaching to have kept up to date with the ol’ blog, here. Since my last entry, my humble little existence here has been eventful.

I have recently completed my book And Where Is She Who Treads Upon the Sea? Except it isn’t a book, now. At a mere 14k words in length, it really is more of a short story. I have put it away for now, and will revisit it later this year to see if I can flesh it out a bit more and bring it up to something more book-length. If I can’t, well, it’ll just be a short story, and perhaps I will put it into a compilation volume with some of my other short stories.

Not long ago, I did something similar with a chapbook of poems. I took many of the poems from my book Nabu’s Ignominy to do so. Nabu’s Ignominy is a collection of short stories, comic anecdotes in the style of Talmudic lessons, and some poems. Compiling the short stories together will essentially be the separation of my poetry and prose into their own segregated books.

In addition, I have completed a series of children’s stories, none of them much more than one thousand words in length. I call them The Adventures of Kitten Kaboodle, and I am trying to decide whether to put them all into one volume as a text-based book, like Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner, or if I should spend the money to find an illustrator and make them into picture books. Though honestly, considering the cost of self-publishing, I am seriously thinking of not publishing them at all. Or perhaps publishing them online only.

Two weeks ago, I was invited to a program at my school on Monday afternoon. It was an afternoon of patriotic socialist songs about China. It gave me something of a heimish feeling, to be at a big school program in an auditorium like that. And not only did I get to see my current students perform, but I got to see my students from two years ago as well. I was even invited to go up on stage with a couple of my classes, but alas; I was unfamiliar with most of the songs they performed.

Tomorrow night, I am going to help judge an English language speech contest. One of my classes practiced their presentations for me, asking for corrections and critiques. Most of them were doing dramatic readings of excerpts from the diaries of Chinese soldiers from the Korean War. Having grown up in America, and of course on M*A*S*H, it was fascinating to hear the story of the conflict from the other side.

I recently got word from the school that our accommodation is being changed, and that we will be moving to new quarters within the school’s own compound. We have to have everything packed up by July 10, and the last day we can stay in the dorms will be July 14. Now, although we have to do the packing ourselves, the school will arrange for our things to be moved. However, since the CoVID restrictions have been lifted, and because they will be spending the summer renovating our new quarters, we cannot stay on. This presents another problem.

I will be too busy trying to get things packed up and ready to move to make my arrangements for any great trips. –Which may be just as well; when researching airline tickets home, I found that it would cost me six or seven thousand dollars to fly home from Beijing, even using Economy class! Outrageous! However, were I to fly out of Shanghai, the cost would be a more reasonable two and a half thousand dollars. But then, I would have to make arrangements to catch the high speed rail down to shanghai and back, and I would need to reserve a hotel room in Shanghai so that I could have time to catch my flight.

It really is too much to deal with while I have to deal with being in the middle of a move. And renting a room in a local hostel wouldn’t cost as much as getting down to Shanghai to fly home. It’s a frustrating situation. The timing is not optimal.

And the sickly-sweet cherry resting atop this cruel sundae? My Facebook account was terminated. Although I appealed the suspension, I was denied, and they refused to tell me why. Now, Just the other day, I had been hacked, and someone was posting some kind of porn on my page. I didn’t bother to look, but I changed my password and deleted as many of the posts as I could find. This is probably why my account was killed. I was already on some kind of warning because (for whatever reason), Facebook thinks I post too much, too quickly. Apparently, I am not human, but some kind of evil bot. I was further in trouble for posting a famous picture from post WWII Germany in which Jewish soldiers set up a chanukkiah to celebrate Chanukkah in what had been Josef Goebbels’ house. But because a swastika was visible in the photo, I was suspended for “hate speech.”

And as my Facebook was disabled, my Instagram was also lost.

I was simply going to say, “Fukkit,” but a friend on WeChat convinced me to try opening a new account. That’s a lot of time to try to recapture—on the other hand, what I really need Facebook for is to keep in touch with family and friends back home.

Still—I wish there was some redress. It vexes me deeply that I am not owed an explanation from the Meta-Lords

That’s all for now. Bonne chance, everyone.

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