The Lady Who…is back!

But this time, she’s the “Lady Who Writes” – much more fitting than the lady who lunches. Don’t you think?

I’ve come back out of my shell, and have started writing again. This time for professional places like BBC America, and a lovely blog called Displaced Nation.

First up, blending weddings on BBC America’s blog Mind the Gap: “Throwing a Perfect Wedding: How to Combine British and American Traditions“. Read this if you’re interested in the subtle differences, and sometimes not so subtle differences, between British and American traditions. Sorry, Scots, it’s mostly referencing the English and the Welsh traditions.

british ladies in hats at a wedding

Second up, ML was kind enough to ask me to write a column on writing a novel! Writing these first two posts actually made me realize how much my location determines how often and how much I write. I knew there was a lack of writing while I was in Chicago, but I didn’t really realize why.

Here’s a part of it (if you want it all, click here):

The odd thing is that I found it difficult to write in my own country. My imagination isn’t sparked like it is when I am abroad, and out of my comfort zone. Living in America (where I’m from), I go through the motions of my day-to-day life without digging deeperand this, in my mind, makes my writing dull and uninspired.

When I’m in Europe, I question more, observe more, and simply write more because I have to in order to survive. My writing in Europe comes almost out of a necessity.

It’s more than that, though. For me, when I’m in Europe, I’m curious about everything around me—I am constantly walking around with a slight tilt of my head, wondering how humans are so much alike and yet so different. I question my own actions and why I do the things I do, because the Brits, the French, the Germansthey don’t act the way I act. Simple phrases I would say without thinking in an American bar, like “double fisting” (to carry and consume two alcoholic beverages simultaneously), can cause serious offense, or fits of giggles, in Britain. Saying my name in France makes people think of a car. Even walking on the sidewalk in England I don’t seem to do right.

When walking becomes a struggle, writing becomes a source of solace.

My next post on the BBC will be about repatriation – what you don’t expect to experience when you return to your own country…

Stay tuned!

6 thoughts on “The Lady Who…is back!

  1. Just a note on a British/American wedding I attended in 1992 on the coast of North Carolina where a very popular beach dance called the Shag was popular at the time. At this time Americans were not aware of the British version of the word.
    The DJ announced “It’s time to Shag, does everyone know how to Shag?”.
    The expressions on the Brits faces, including grandparents, were priceless, the dancing started and they were happily relieved.
    The next day I cut out newspaper clippings for guests to take back to England, they included ads for Shag lessons and Shag competitions.

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  2. I am a Brit who has lived in USA for 13 years and I know what you mean, to some extent it has inspired me to write, for example my book Cocktails at Naptime http://www.tinyurl.com/cocktailsatnaptime

    The problem I have with writing novels set in my new country is just that I simply do not feel like I know enough about American life/culture/history to write a character in a novel who is american. I say this because I have frequently read Americans who write novels set in England which do not ring true in any shape or form -maybe one of the worst examples of this is The Guernsey Potato Peel Pie and Literary Society. I don’t think you can know a country thoroughly until you have lived there probably 20 years. How do you get around this problem?

    Come say hi on the blog and let me know if you feel that Mr Darcy exists in modern day times! Look forward to chatting with you at #mindthechat

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    • Oh how cool! Thank you for taking the time to comment. It is hard to write about a character not from your country. I guess, for me, I write as true to form as I can and have friends from that culture read it for any discrepancies. Mr Darcy existing? Not so sure about that!

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  3. Hiya and congrats on your book. I am a Brit in USA (for 13) years and it did inspire me to write especially my crazy baby book Cocktails at Naptime http://www.tinyurl.com/cocktailsatnaptime. But then after a while what was new and wierd stops being wierd so then the creativity stops! Also I don’t feel confident writing about American society because I know I don’t know enough about it. So many terrible books written by americans pretending they know about American culture like The Guernsey Potato Peel Pie and Literary Society – which was a terrible example of an american author who does not know how English people speak. the easiest thing to do is for me to write about an English girl living in America….what do you think? How do you get around the problem of not knowing one culture very well in your novels? Too complicated sometimes that’s why i stick to non fiction.

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