Wow, can you believe that it’s been nine years since I wrote and published my first story?

I find it incredible that I wrote my first story to provide insights into my trip and preparations to hike theKokoda Track (Papua New Guinea) back in October 2011.

My intent at the time was to bring everyone along on the journey who had donated to my fundraising campaign for Cancer Research in memory of my dad who had died earlier in the year (February).

My weekly writing exercise was cathartic, and was an outlet to share my journey of grief…

It also marked the awaking of something deep inside me.

Who would have thought that my love of writing would be born from my fathers loss? Over the intermittent years I’ve successfully written and published two books – Indelible Adventures and Una Storia d’amore.

I’m also on my fifth essay series if you count both the Indelible Adventures series in two locations.

A whopping total of 495 essays, plus a further 100 episodes of my serial!

On average each of the essays are about 900 words = 445,500 words.

And that’s just the essays alone…

The episodes for Hanoi Posting are on average about 300 words each = 30,000 words.

To put this into some perspective the epic by Leo Tolstoy “War and Peace” is some 587,287 words or 1,225 page.

For many authors this is the yardstick that many use to gauge their literary ability in story telling…and patience! 🙂

So, if I do the math and keep writing I should surpass War and Peace in another 157 essays – or roughly 3 years from now.

Few would have thought, especially me that I’d be still writing all these these years on. But it’s more than that, I’ve fallen in love with the act of writing on my journey of self discovery.

Certainly the encouragement I received from all of my readers over the years was huge encouragement.

Interestingly, when I decided to write and publish my first book I thought that all of stories were a slam dunk in terms of content.

Of course there is a tale to all this…. 🙂

With the kids away at summer camp I had set off for a month in Italy at Lake Como as I love to do, renting an apartment in the village of San Giovanni near Bellagio.

I was all set to cruise through the month and do a minor edit here, another there thinking that I’d be all done with a finished manuscript for my publisher at the end of the month.

Day one started innocently enough, however as I began reading my early stories my smugness soon turned to dismay…

Both my writing style and composition of my content were abysmal!

So for the next month I rewrote the entire book – all 220 pages of it and returned exhausted by triumphant in that I actually had a manuscript that I could stand behind and feel proud of.

Even today, if I go back and begin rereading my earlier work I often times feel compelled to want to rewrite it. 🙂

I suppose that’s the natural progression of things in terms of becoming a writer.

Another story I’m sure you’re interested in is Hanoi Posting. My unfinished, fictional masterpiece.

Let me share the genesis of this and where I’m hoping, at some point to spend more time completing it.

Ideally perhaps a screenplay? Who knows…

My Hanoi Posting serial developed on my trip to Vietnam back in 2014.

I still remember standing under an awning during a torrential afternoon thunderstorm. Yes, you know the ones where the sky empties itself all in one short, sharp burst.

Literally like someone is pouring buckets of water on you at once its so heavy!

What’s interesting is that Vietnam, with its population of almost 96 million people it also has one of the highest scooter to person ratios in the world with more than 60 million scooters.

Hanoi alone had more than 6 million scooters…

Riding a scooter during a tropical storm is a recipe for disaster. So as soon as it begins to rain the streets instantly become deserted and peace descends on the old city.

It was the same on this particular afternoon…

However, once the rain had abated it was back to normal within a minute or two.

Which was the perfect time for a photographer like myself to begin snapping shots from under the safety of my still dripping awning.

The reality was that I probably stood there taking photos for less than five minutes.

By now the rain has stopped fully and I was able to continue my journey of exploration of the back streets and alleyways of Old Hanoi.

Later that night when I got back to my hotel I took the memory card from my camera and downloaded them onto my computer to see what gems I had taken over the course of the day.

Lo and behold there were some great shots!

However, the real prize lay in one particular shot that I must have taken as the scooters were flying by without noting it at the time.

I literally gasped when I saw the photo…

A woman casually dressed, but with a ferocious look about her that screamed “I am the story, write me”.

Right then and there I began noodling the idea of a fictional story set in Hanoi.

I reasoned that it had to be set somewhat recently, far enough back to not have technology impinge upon its story line, but not too far back as Vietnam had been in a country in conflict for many years.

I settled on the 1980’s as the time period as it was beginning to open up to the west after the most recent “American War” as they call it.

As a warning it had adult themes, so if you’re a wallflower best not delve into its murky depths. Enjoy, as I know you will!

And, the rest as they say is history…

Until next week!