The Little Mermaid & Literary Diversity

Over the long, luxurious holiday that was Chinese New Year (Happy Year of the Monkey, y’all!), my husband and I had a few visitors: Tien, a Foreign Service Officer from another post, and her one year old daughter, Violet.

I’m still on the fence about whether I should be proud or embarrassed that I had a DVD of Disney’s The Little Mermaid on hand for Violet’s entertainment (I have no little kids of my own on whom to blame this). Regardless, the film quickly lulled her off to dreamland, leaving her mommy and I to chat about childhood memories of our favorite red-headed mermaid.

I still adore Disney‘s fun-and-song-filled take on the story. But adulthood made me curious about Hans Christian Andersen’s original tale. Reading it left me jaw-dropped… and kind of grateful that Disney pulled the wool over my three-year-old eyes, safeguarding my innocence. Continue reading “The Little Mermaid & Literary Diversity”

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Impromptu Poetry & Lit Lectures

This time last week, I was giving a lecture for a Chinese audience at one of the U.S. consulates in China. I’ve done several of these now and they’re always fun. My game-show-style lecture on “Women in the Workplace” made rapidly apparent the difference between American and Chinese perspectives on women’s professional contributions to society. My lecture on America’s Prohibition showed that, shockingly, Al Capone takes a backseat to F. Scott Fitzgerald when it comes to Chinese familiarity with infamous 1920s Americans.

This go-round, the trusting folks at the Consulate made the strategic error of letting me lecture on literature–a dangerous move, as it’s a topic on which I tend to wax more than poetic (pun intended!). To anybody who may ever be tempted to chat books with me, I’m warning you now: beware! It’s not until a film of boredom glazes over my conversational partner’s eyes that I pick up on the cue to STOP TALKING.

If you’re lucky. Continue reading “Impromptu Poetry & Lit Lectures”