I finished my first novel yesterday.
There I sat, in east Bali, at the mercy of a mobile phone connection to the internet, antenna atop a bamboo pole, voltage stabilizer on the computer... I held my breath. I was to upload a 550 K document to a location in uber-wired Hong Kong.
Not thirty feet away from this 21st century setup is the bamboo and palm frond hut of one farmer named Nengah Sukarsa, who keeps ten chickens and a quarter acre of beans and corn (in rotation), who each night plays a lovely Balinese chorus of drums and flute, depending on who shows up at his shack for a jam session. His lovely performance, on cue at sunset, definitely keeps things in perspective for me.
Yet I was able to upload my novel and rest assured that I am in the running for a great honor... the Man Asia Literary Prize.
Many thanks to my husband Jay, my writer pals Nury Vittachi and Jane Camens, and everyone who cooks my food and pulls my weeds and washes my dishes (Komang, Cedok, Gede and Gunung).