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Just a brief note.

My ode to San Fran won the Lonely Planet #twities competition this week! The weekly contest sponsored by the Lonely Planet travel book series (@lonelyplanet on Twitter) asked people to tweet about San Francisco, New York or both (!) this week.

Golden Gate Bridge (not in my tweet, however)

I won the San Fran tweet, and thus got my pick of a lovely Lonely Planet travel guide. (You’ll have to guess for which country.)

Lonely Planet #Twities competition

Here’s my tweet:

Ginsburg’s Howl riding on Carl’s cat paw fog comes to yum cha in San Fran, tweeting about a new start up, rainbow flag flying

[Sadly, I spelled Ginsberg incorrectly. I was tweeting quickly. Yes, I know. Excuses, excuses.]

Here’s the link to Allen Ginsberg’s poem Howl for all those interested. And here’s the link to Carl Sandburg’s poem Fog.

For a short NYTimes article on Ginsberg, Howl, San Francisco, City Lights (the publisher of “Howl” and fabulous indie bookstore), Lawrence Ferlinghetti & a new movie about them (starring James Franco!), click on Howl/San Fran connection.

And click here for the amazing City Lights Bookstore.

See you on Twitter! (@mayleechai)

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You can now follow me on Twitter @Mayleechai or @ChinaAtoZ (tips on Chinese culture, etiquette and politics written by me and my father, Winberg Chai). 🙂

My father has his own political-oriented tweets @winbergchai. (He’s a political scientist, after all!)

Me and Woman Warrior painting

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Today I received another question about my story “Saving Sourdi.” I thought the writer had some very good insights and thought it might be helpful to other students so am posting his letter and questions below. I will not put his name on this post unless he emails me with his permission to do so.

***

Ms. Chai:
My name is _______. I am a Peruvian citizen making a career in the United States. I am a sophomere student and I’m taking English composition II , and as my final essay I decided to write about your story ” Saving Sourdi”. Would you mind giving me some tips about it? …
I have a big brother that raised me like a son because my parents were always working, so I pretty much understand the relationship between brothers that grow up together and have a strong realtionship. When my brother grew up, I was still a 12-year-old kid and I felt betrayed when he did not play with me anymore. When I read the story, I remember my relationship with my brother and I felt a kind of sadness. My brother told me once that I have to remember with happiness because the memories would always be in my heart.

P.S. I really love your story, thanks for reviving my happy memories. It touched my heart…

QUESTIONS:

I think that the story is about the bond between the two girls, and how Nea is jealous and selfish of her sister. I mean she loves her, but she doesn’t understand what is happening to Sourdi. The little sister feels betrayed by her sister, but in her inexperience she is worrying about her older sister.
My question is if I am in the right track? Or am I totally lost?
Please write me back.

MY RESPONSE:

Hi!

Thanks for your question.

Actually, I think your analysis is very good. For me the core of the story is indeed the relationship between the two sisters, Nea and Sourdi. Nea loves Sourdi very much and, in my opinion, is genuinely concerned about her sister’s well-being. Because neither Ma nor Sourdi will discuss their true feelings with Nea, Nea has come to assume the worst about Sourdi’s relationship with her husband.

Whether this is out of a kind of selfishness and jealousy is for you to decide. I think Nea has many complex emotions and some of her emotions are based are unselfish reasons, some are based on her own personal need for her sister.

I deliberately wrote the story in such a way so that Sourdi’s situation is ambiguous. It is impossible to know if she is in danger or not when Nea receives her phone call.

I want the reader to have to think about the complex relationship between the two sisters. In this way, I wanted their individual personalities to be at the center of the plot.

I hope this helps.

Thanks for writing!
May-lee Chai

Join my Facebook fan page for updates! Click here–Facebook Fan Page for May-lee Chai

For updates on DRAGON CHICA–the novel about Nea,  Sourdi, and family–follow @Dragon_Chica on Twitter.

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