Writing Life

Critical Voices on Voluntourism and the Classism of Literature

Critical Voices on Voluntourism and the Classism of Literature

I’m chipping away at my manuscript one daunting page at a time, but I’ve also been doing some continued hefty research on the topics it addresses. I’m interested in sharing what I’ve found this week in order to spark your thinking. I encourage you to leave your thoughts in the comments so that everyone can benefit from your point of view.

NOTE: If you’ve never considered that voluntourism can have negative effects, the following might be a hard pill to swallow. And if you’ve never considered service abroad to be problematic, I’m very glad you’ve decided to read this post. I wish I would have known about or considered these perspectives decades ago.

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I'm not just making sentences these days. I'm making sourdough.

I'm not just making sentences these days. I'm making sourdough.

Aside from the thrill that he remembered my silly convo starter from months back, I got another thrill. An idea. Perhaps I could bake bread! What was stopping me now from baking delicious bread, making my own sourdough starter, churning out some unique flavor combinations, and selling to friends? I had a home now. A working oven. I had time. And most importantly, I wasn’t worried about money just yet (that’ll come… thankfully I planned for this income drought).

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How hard did I bomb my 2018 New Year's Resolution?

How hard did I bomb my 2018 New Year's Resolution?

I like the idea of New Year’s resolutions in the same way I like the idea of year-round goal setting and constant self-improvement. That was something I enjoyed about my two- to five-month stints abroad for work. My TGS terms sectioned life into manageable time periods in which I could feasibly take on challenges, improve skills, change habits, or assess a shift in my thinking from start to finish. I was always reflecting on the pre- and post- trip “me.”

For the last few years, I’ve chosen reading challenges on New Year’s, and for the last few years, I’ve fallen short of every resolution. 13 out of 20. 29 out of 40. If I counted all the books I started, then both years would have been “missions accomplished,” but what’s the point in cutting corners with personal challenges? Though we humans seem collectively terrible at keeping NYE resolutions (just observe gym attendance alone throughout the year), I don’t believe they’re made to be broken.

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Take stock of your writing life with these eight questions

Take stock of your writing life with these eight questions

Using Roxanne Gay’s 2013 AWP article as inspiration, I answered these questions for myself as an exercise of reflection in this somewhat solitary practice of writing. If you’re a writer looking to take stock of your own progress and engagement with writing, I encourage you to try this for yourself! It required me to put into words what I had been struggling to communicate with my friends and family regarding the third draft of my WIP and my new stationary writing life.

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