from Asia with Love was inspired slowly, mainly from friends.
It began when I first moved to Asia and found the need to keep in touch with family. As a “sanity check”, I literally wrote home to a group of 30 friends every day. They didn’t ask me to. Most of them read every post. They thought the stories were interesting and looked forward to them every day.
Originally, I included the Bible passage I read that day as I have read my Bible every day since 1999 when I decided that a “roller coaster” life was just not acceptable anymore. (The only exceptions were some all-nighters, plus one day, about seven days missed in total.) The more ways we are stable, the more stable we are.
After about one year, I looked for a way to integrate the “dailies”, as they were called, into a blog. That actually got me into WordPress. I was unemployed—crazy times worth writing every day about—when I searched the Internet for a way to host my own blog. I found WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla. Then, I got to reading and trying things. Five days later, literally, I had not slept, I had ordered local Pizza Hut delivery once a day (because they knew who I was and what I ordered, though we didn’t speak the same language), and had a full-fledged homepage by the end of the week. I took a five hour nap Friday afternoon, went again all weekend. Slept two days. Then went another four days, no sleep, Pizza Hut delivery every day. That was how I got into blogging, writing, and website hosting, all thanks to looking for a way to get daily letters home.
In the end, I never did publish the “dailies” to the web, at least not many of them without password protection.
My writing continued for nearly four years until writing became a long and laborious task. I was writing up to two hours a day about my life—so much time writing about life that I wasn’t spending time living life.
When I went home for the first time in seven years, one of the original recipients, Mrs. Sheffer, said that she missed reading about the wild stories and crazy coincidences that would happen to me. So, when I got back to Asia, I started writing again. That led to fromasiawithlove.net.
At the same time I would write daily, I also wrote pente-quarterly letters to a group of just over one hunderd friends. Since writing from Asia—and handwriting every address and return address in Chinese—I signed those letters “From Asia with love,”
Here we are.
Now, there are a few rules to my writing.
- I change some names, not all.
- I conflate and separate days and events. Keeping facts skewed prevents stalkers.
- I will not put pictures in posts or time lines. Including pictures in posts would be photojournalism and thus information would not be kept askew. Pictures are available on the Twitter and Instagram accounts: @ASIAwLOVE. But, these are not tied to specific posts, stories, or people.
- The truthfulness of the “wow” events and coincidences don’t change at all. Some specific dates and names may, if they are not consequential. No “wow” is invented whatsoever.
- I do not include my Bible reading for the day because these are not daily. Moreover, some days are so packed that I have to put them into two or three posts. And, this also keeps things askew. But, I still read my Bible every day.
- I do not share details that are too personal nor regrettable feelings. The original daily letters home did because that was with my confidant group. I told them anything and it wasn’t gossip because it was told to them. I toned-down some of the personal details so that I could share the good with more people.
- I do not write every day. Living life is more important than writing about life lived. This is a pillar value.
- Many days may be written within a week, rarely that same day. Everything posts long after the fact.
- These posts will be pulled down after several months. Subscribers only have access to a “window”. Read and enjoy while you can. Once I pull posts down, I hope to make them into eBooks also available for purchase, but much later. The subscription keeps you up to date.
- I do not ever edit. These are first type drafts and I never re-read or edit them. I never have. These are fresh, green, wet behind the ears log entries served straight up. However, if I recall events later, I occasionally go back to fill-in some details. When I do, these changes are as low-impact as possible so as to keep every entry as a first-draft.
- Don’t redistribute these. This is a reason these are not emailed. Check the full Terms of Service.
- Payments use the Stripe payment gateway via stripe.com. Stripe keeps actual payment information which is why many websites use it. I won’t compare Stripe to PayPal here because so many other people already have, as a Google search will show.
- Letters publish Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, the best days of the week for routine. Any more requires my life to be too normal. I can’t write every day. And, you can’t read every day.
- Each entry is about half of a page to two pages (letter-size paper). Shorter is quicker for you to read. Longer gives you more content. Each is a yeah-boo. I try to mix it up to give you the best of both worlds. I want these to be enjoyable. More words is not always better.
- I debate the ethics of telling some of the less-pleasurable sides of some people’s personal lives. Believe me, there is a lot garbage about other people that I don’t tell. You have no idea. I have discussed the fact that I keep a kind of journal with some of my more frequent friends and thy don’t mind me reporting as I do. Most people don’t know that they may make an appearance in a log entry, but I take into account good journalistic practice, ethics, shielding and altering meaningful facts as to their personal lives, and this is one of the reasons many people either have pseudonyms or aren’t named at all. So, if you ever get annoyed by describing “that one guy on the motorcycle at the corner last week”, just remember that naming him or giving more details would be unethical.
- The voice of these entries is truthful. The amazement, the coincidence, the emotions—all of that much is true and not made up. If I told you what changes I made, you might argue that those changes don’t count. If I told you what I left out, you would probably tell me that you don’t care about it anyway. If I told my friends what I report about them, they would say I wasted their time to tell them. That’s what this is.
This is meant for good reading. The website uses WordPress and should be readable on any computer or hand held device, perhaps even an eBook reader that can browse the web. The background is toned for eyes.
So, enjoy. Get your routine. I have mine.
From Asia with love,
An American in Asia