Been Busy So Long, It Looks Like Peaceful To Me

Expat life in China

For international readers, allow me to explain: I am an American but I have lived in China since 2004. My city of Chongqing, often abbreviated as CQ, is pronounced Chong Ching to rhyme with Wrong Ring. CQ is a megacity of 30 million people in south-central China, on the Yangtze River. I’ve come a long, long way – 13 time zones to be exact – from my original hometown of Rolla in south-central Missouri, on the Little Dry Fork creek. Depending on how loosely you define “city”, one could argue that CQ is the world’s largest city. In my quest for a simple life, I publish these observations and admonitions from my 18th-Floor Homestead. Some would call these articles drivel; I prefer to think of them as words from the future – 13 time zones in the future, at least.


There is an old American song with the lyrics, “Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer.” In CQ, we certainly have the hazy and crazy parts, but I am still waiting for the lazy. 



Business and Publishing Updates:

Mind Fleet, the new company, edges closer and closer to opening. The demo pages for the company’s new website are brilliant and waiting for final details of product pricing and packaging, then debugging the system. The test mailing of the Postcards From Space series to CS has been without flaws. A QR code and the new Mind Fleet website registration have been requested. CS is eager to wear his custom-designed Postcards From Space t-shirt. All coming – soon, I hope. 

Breaking News: A third series of cards has been added to the line, just in time for the Grand Opening. Tanno and Iguda will now be exploring and learning about volcanos! This new series was penned by Dr. Volcano, Dr. Dougal Jerram, and will add to the excitement and diversity of the series. 

Photo by  Miles Hudson 

Kon-Tiki 2 update:

Torgeir is currently working on refitting his sailboat, the Nanoq, for another adventure (planned for next summer), a sailing voyage across the North Atlantic from Norway to the northern tip of Greenland. He reports that he will be testing the Nanoq in the North Atlantic this month, beginning July 13. A test drive in a sailboat? In the North Atlantic? His life is so dull. He promises to send photos. For now, here are some more photos from a previous raft adventure in 2016.

Photo by Torgeir Higraff

Personal Update: 

Work continues apace on other literary activities. I am considering taking an online course about cat herding to prepare myself for shepherding a group of new authors down the self-publishing path. Details to follow. 

Regular followers of my literary dabs know that I have been quite busy in recent weeks with starting the new business, Mind Fleet. (The official name is “Chongqing Mind Fleet Education Technology Co., Ltd.”). A succinct description of this period might be “a flurry of chaos”. 

Even before starting the new company, my schedule was already full. Like almost everyone I know, I did not have large blocks of free time scattered throughout my day. Indeed, even before the Mind Fleet project, there was not enough time to do everything I wanted and needed to do. Yet, I chose to insert a major new project into an already fully packed schedule. Why? I see this new business as offering a significant new service to many people around me.

Thus the inevitable result was the necessity of instituting a strict filtering process. The criterion for getting on today’s to-do list was to be among the highest ROI or most urgent activities for that particular day. Only meeting the criterion is sufficient reason for making it on the to-do list I prepare each day. 

Writing and self-publishing: The same standard was applied to these blog articles and working on a new book with the working title of Reinventing A Simple Life, hereafter referred to as RASL and there are more. Indeed, this writing and publishing arena is rapidly becoming yet another major project. I will save a full disclosure for later but I will offer this hint: Four distinct writing projects are proceeding simultaneously this summer. I will be involved in writing, editing, collaborating, or publishing in all of them. In addition to RASL, there is the previously mentioned adventure by Torgeir of the drift voyage in the South Pacific – when we can get Torgeir away from working on the Nanoq and back to his keyboard. Third, fans of the classic American comic strip Calvin and Hobbes will either be outraged or delighted with the upcoming Chester and Michael Save the World (working title), perhaps the first of a series of heresies. A fourth writing project is the memoir of a young girl growing up in a Chinese country village, to be released later this summer. It will be a time capsule of simple rural life in the 1980s seen through the eyes of an innocent child. Step by step, each project is progressing toward completion. Each author has a separate but parallel path, but with different formats, conflicting personal demands and commitments, levels of experience, and degree of a sense of urgency. Cat herding, indeed.

Without intending to start anything new at this busy time, it looks like my dream of helping others write their stories is coming true. In addition to satisfying my creative urge, these literary efforts have the potential to offer significant opportunities for people to improve their lives – both the readers and the authors. So, in addition to my own writing plus opening a commercial enterprise, Mind Fleet, I will also be wearing a publisher’s hat. Hm, Little Dry Fork Publishing Company perhaps? 

Blog policy changes:

A new editorial decision is that comments will be welcomed in languages other than English. The only requirement for writing your comments in other languages is that, before publishing it, your comment will include translation into English. If you wish, you can translate and edit it yourself by visiting the deepl.com AI translation site for a free and instantaneous translation into English. Welcome to the wonderful world of applicable AI – with additional annoying accompanying alliteration.

Useful, friendly, and usable comments are welcomed – now in any language you wish.

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