So i’m living through a military coup…..

First things first – Is the book done?

You’re damn right the books done! I don’t feel 100% happy with the ending at the moment but that’s why its called a first draft! It’s done though. This was BY FAR the hardest book i have ever written, which in turn makes it much more satisfying to say that its done.

So what’s the feedback like?

I’ve only given it to a few people so far and the feedback is much better than the 1st one i did. I gave it to a few people while i was half way through because i was very nervous about it being the ramblings of an idiot. But so far so good.

What about the 2nd one? 

The 2nd one needs a lot of work. When i finished it i knew that deep down. I gave it to a friend of mine who i knew would be critical (which is perfect) and he said it is very difficult to read, in fact he hasn’t even finished it yet and i gave it to him 3 months ago! But that genre definitely isn’t my forte so i’m not too bothered…

What’s it about again?

What the 2nd one or the 3rd one? Well you can find the blurb of the 2nd one on here if you want. The 3rd one is the diary of a killer. Someone who killed a teenage girl at a very young age then gets given a new identity when they leave prison. You can read a diary extract here if you fancy….

Cor! you’re plugging a lot of stuff today aren’t you? So what’s the next step?

Yeah don’t judge me….. So now i’m focusing on getting the first one published. I have NO IDEA what i’m doing so this is more about testing the waters and finding out the procedure of how to do it. I know i have to get a front cover so i’m going to have to pay a professional to do that. Then it’s all about marketing. I have a friend who ran a self publishing seminar a few months ago who helped me quite a bit. It was a three hour seminar but i could only go for 1 because i had to go to work. He kindly enough not only charged me for the one hour but also sent me an email of the full presentation so i couldn’t look at it in my own time. His name is Chris Backe (think of Bar-Key) and this is his site if you wanna have a quick browse…

Stop plugging loser!!

Sorry, i need to get into the habit of swallowing my pride and spamming as many pages as possible in case of the obscure possibly it leads to more sales. Once I’ve done all the free advertising i’m also thinking of going down the avenue of paid advertising. I’m also considering getting by book translated into Thai. The friend i mentioned on my last blog who cooked me dinner mentioned that she was getting her book translated into Thai and it never crossed my mind if i’m honest, but labour is cheap here and there could be a niche market for it, especially as i live here. And if it falls flat on its face then I’ve only lost a bit of money.

Enough book stuff, i’m not interested in your books anyway. Give me teaching stories!!!!!

Nothing to write home about (literally) i’m afraid. I’ve been teaching a Burmese guy at a coffee shop who is pretty shit at life. Well, he can make a mean cup of coffee so i’m told (which i suppose IS his job…) but his English potential is very minimal. Luckily for him he has this contagious smile so it is hard to get frustrated with him. I also met a new friend called Jenn. I first met her about a week ago, she walked right past me as i was dressed up in some random attire about to teach and the first thing that popped into my head was “Yep, this is how i teach!” I saw her in a coffee shop and found out that she was Colombian and had lived in America since she was 12. She’s in Chiang Mai taking a few classes at the University here before applying for a University back in the States. I mentioned that i was a writer (i’m so pretentious now…) and she said jokingly that that’s great because she needed someone to check her application letter.

What did you say?

I said i’d be happy to. I think she was taken aback because she said it as a joke. A few minutes later i thought “Oh shit, i bet its gonna take me hours to do it.” I needn’t have worried; her English is perfect and i only ended up putting some opinions down. Took me 15 minutes tops!

Your title says something about a military coup and you haven’t elaborated on that. COUP ME…COUP ME AT ONCE!!!!!

Yep, i have to be careful what i say as i don’t want to get into trouble. But without going into too much detail the army have taken over and there’s a curfew so we all have to be back in our houses at 10pm. Nothing special really. In fact today it has been changed to midnight so i doubt it will last much longer. I hear that it’s bad in Bangkok but i also heard it was bad in Bangkok 4 years ago when i was travelling and when i got there everything was functioning as normal, i was just told not to go to 3 different streets because that’s where the protests were happening. So it’s probably fine there as well. It’s not that exciting really but if anyone asks i’m gonna milk it and say that i lived through a coup and how dangerous it was.

And finally….?

I’ve been playing a game recently. I basically have started treating my views like an Olympic medals table. This is the top 10 at the moment:

1. Thailand (no surprise there, i live here….)

2. United Kingdom (no surprise there either, i’m from England)

3. United States (Cheers Amurricans!)

4. Germany (The German’s are always very consistent, even when it comes to following obscure blogs!)

5. South Korea (I have a few friends living out there at the moment, plus a lot of former students)

6. New Zealand (Yay Kiwis!!!!!!)

7. Russia (Random, but thanks all the same…)

8. Laos (Cheers neighbours!)

9. Canada (Thanks or merci, you dual speaking beauties!!!!)

10. Brazil (Just enough to sneak the number 10 spot. Cheers guys!)

There are about 10-15 countries lurking just under Brazil, do your part and get your country on the leaderboard!!!!!

 

That’s it for this week. Next week will probably be about how far I’ve gotten towards publishing this schizzle. But who knows, something slightly more interesting might happen…..

 

French girl’s last day

20140516_19362820140516_193452

 

So what’s your excuse this time?

The French girl had her last lesson on Friday, so on Thursday she said as a joke we should dress up for the last lesson

You know me by now: challenge accepted…

I didn’t have anything special to dress up in, so i dressed up in the most unprofessional attire i could find, followed by the hat i wore when i was in the desert in India.

She’s finished already? You’ve only just started teaching her!

That’s the only real negative about teaching private classes like this; as soon as you get to know people and start to enjoy their personalities and mannerisms, their hours are up and they drift off into obscurity again….

So what did the French girl wear?

She didn’t show up! She sent me a message as i was on the way saying she was mentally exhausted and couldn’t come. So i had to turn up to the lesson wearing a desert hat and a t-shirt that said “If you can read this you are probably in my fucking way!” My boss wasn’t too pleased. I told her that it was OK because we were all dressing up. I prayed that the other girl came in all dressed up……she didn’t

Why?

She probably didn’t understand. She’s a lovely, friendly girl but her English isn’t that good, so i half knew that she wouldn’t understand anyway. I got her to wear my hat though…. and took a selfie with her.

20140516_19373020140516_193328

Looking good Clarke!

yeah, I’ve never exactly been the most photogenic person. but i can lean like Michael Jackson upon request….

20140516_193641

Ummmm….. right… Any other stories?

We were going around the class spitting out answers to topic questions as fast as we could. I got to the topic ‘a personal possession that is important to you’

Girl with 80’s hair: My father

(not a terrible answer, as they may hear person instead of personal possession…)

Me: Sorry, i meant something that you own that you think is important

Girl with 80’s hair: (without missing a beat) Losing weight

Me: No, as in an object that you really like

Girl with 80’s hair: Lipstick <I’ve NEVER seen this girl wear lipstick before>

Me: That’ll do…

You’re gonna have to do better than that, someone’s just sent me a facebook game request and i’m tempted to play it….

Well Fuckknowsistan was on target again the other day. We had a reading exam where the students had 20 minutes to choose from 4 different options: CH, HTK, MC and SH (abbreviations of people’s names). After the 20 minutes was up i went over to mark his test. out of 8 questions 2 of them were marked as NB. “What’s NB?” i asked him. Only for him to point at the bottom of the paper where it said in italics:

NB, you may use any answer more than once.

I looked at him in pure shock trying not to say anything that might be classified as ‘offensive enough to be fired’ “What does that say next to NB?” I eventually mustered, trying to hold in my disbelief. He smiled and pretended that i hadn’t said anything. Brilliant! i said. Luckily most Thai’s don’t understand sarcasm, so i get away with a lot by being sarcastic…..

Oh deary me.

Oh deary me is right….. At least he hasn’t booked his exam yet which is a positive i suppose. Hopefully the guy improves and one day gets to go to the university he wants to go to…

That’s nice, good luck to him. Hows the book, you must have finished it by now….

Almost, i’m on the final lap. I can sense the end is near because normally when i can see the finish line i write a lot. I though i was going to finish a couple of days ago and wrote nearly 4000 words in one sitting only to find that i wasn’t as close as i thought. I know what i have to write though and pretty much how to wrap it up. It’s just a matter of physically doing it now. She’s back in Bangkok after breaking up with View (her girlfriend) and meets up with some friends she met in Amsterdam. However this shows how badly her demise has been because they are shocked as to how messed up, angry and bitter she is. They leave and she only gets more angry… and that’s all i’m saying i’m afraid. Hopefully by this time next week i’ll be finished.

That old chestnut…. Has anything interesting happened to you this week?

I’m glad you asked! One of my friends who is a writer (i met her at a writing seminar on how to self publish a book) invited me over for dinner with her and her husband. They live in a beautiful village with its own tennis courts, swimming pool etc… and they cooked me an amazing dinner. I’m very lucky to have met such amazing and genuinely nice people out here! She showed me more of her book and told me that she plans to publish it by the end of this year. I can’t give you a link i’m afraid because her website isn’t ready yet. But when it is, i’ll pop a link on here

Anything else?

Yes actually, i just wanted to say thank you for helping me break over 100 views in one week. I’m extremely flattered that more than 100 people want to click on a guy in a Watford shirt and find out about my life. And that’s me done. SEE YA!!!!!

Oh Forestieri. Oh Forestieri…… (Sing it to the tune of ‘The White Stripes’)

20140508_20473620140508_204730

What. The. Actual. F**k?

One of my students keeps winding me up that i’m colourblind, saying that i’m wearing a purple tie or a green shirt. She sent me an e-mail last Friday saying that she expected to see me that evening wearing yellow.

Challenge accepted…

Obviously i don’t own any yellow shirts or ties, so i thought wearing my Watford shirt would be the next best thing. I made sure i technically abided by the rules and wore a shirt and tie so i couldn’t get fired.

Did you teach like that for the whole lesson?

Yep, 2 hours, didn’t bother me. i like dressing up in funny things (see my blurbs page for a random picture of me dressed as Ali G) I think my student found it more difficult to concentrate though!

Random Mr Bean pose…..

20140508_204849

Give us another dialogue, make it a short one this time.

Me: OK so on the board is different ways to expand on the question ‘What is your name?’, so you can talk about what your name means, if you like your name, yadda yadda yadda….. So lets start with you <gesturing at the kid who wants to take a masters degree in England>:- What is your name?

Fuckknowsistan: In Thai?

Me: Why would you say it in Thai?

Fuckknowsistan: Oh….

Me: <confused looks, trying to remain professional>

Fuckknowsistan: <silence, literally staring at me as if he thinks he has completed the task and is expecting me to give him a plaque>

Me: OK, so what IS your name?

Fuckknowsistan: ………You want me to answer?

Me: Yes please, that’s why i’m looking at you and asking you what your name is…

Fuckknowsistan: My name is….. <4 second pause, no exaggeration>

Me: Do you know your name?

Fuckknowsistan: Fuckknowsistan.

Me: Brilliant! lets move on….

I think you are being a bit too hard on Fuckknowsistan. He probably didn’t understand the question

In most situations i would completely agree with you, but this is an advanced class where they are taking an international test, normally in a few weeks. In one part of this test they have to talk uninterrupted about an obscure subject for 2 minutes. Another part of the test involves a complex reading passage and answering questions where even most native speakers would find it difficult. This guy, in the politest possible way, is fucked. It just amazes me how unprepared some of these students are coming into these exams. In a way it may be a blessing in disguise as they are oblivious as to how hard the test actually is and therefore not nervous. They may even sneak a couple of marks here and there by luck. There’s a French girl i’m teaching at the moment who is much more advanced but she is nervous about the test because she is concentrating on what kind of traps they may lay instead of having belief in her ability and doing the best she can. Point being i can have a proper conversation with her. She’s ready. Some of these students can barely string a sentence together, sign up for a 30 hour course and say “OK, i need to speak English in 2 weeks, lets go!”

Oh oui, you’re teaching a French girl. Hows that going?

Good, very good in fact. She keeps bringing in chocolate for me to eat so shes definitely a winner in my book! I’ve also introduced her to ‘that’s what she said’. We were doing an exam and she said “Argh! this is so long…” and without thinking “that’s what she said!” slipped out of my mouth. I then had to explain what it meant but luckily she found it hilarious. As she was getting on her bike to leave she said “I can’t believe how wet it is…” Yep! just like tourettes, I ‘That’s what she said’ed that shit! I’ve also noticed that I’ve been a lot luckier in terms of how nice people are being towards me. For example on Sunday my next door neighbours were having a moo grata (like an Asian barbeque) i always leave my door open because were on the top floor and i’m the furthest room over so no one walks past. This means i can keep my room nice and cool. Anyway, after they finished the bloke came over with a plate of food and offered it to me. It was so nice!!!!

What’s a moo grata again?

Its basically like a barbeque but you all sit around it and eat with chopsticks. Theres also an area at the side where you can make a brothy soup with whatever you want in it. There’s a picture of me and a Spanish friend of mine at a moo grata on my about page.

Book me! Book me at once!!!!!!

So where were we? i think she had broke up with Will and come close to snapping. She went to Bangkok and had a few crazy nights there before moving on to Chiang Mai. She gets nice and cosy with this bar girl until another girl starts talking shit to her in the bar. She then proceeds to kick the bejeebus out of her shouting that she’s gonna kill her if she tries anything else, obviously scaring everyone in the bar. Her little lady friend freaks out and says they need to disappear for a while and go up to Chiang Rai, where the bar girl is from. Chris falls in love with Chiang Rai and almost immediately buys a house there. A few weeks later cracks are starting to show in the relationship between Chris and his bar girl. They fight and make up, then Chris decides that they should go on a holiday for a couple of days to get away from everything, and that’s about as far as I’ve got at the moment.

You done? i need to get back to playing solitaire, you know i have a 64% win rate…..

Almost. I’ve put a few more pages on here. Now I’ve got book extracts as well. I’m hoping that this generates more interest in my books especially as i’m planning to publish the first one at the end of next month. Oh yeah i forgot to tell you i’m planning to publish the first one at the end of next month…. Barring any complications of course! I have a few friends who are writers and they are helping me out A LOT on how to get published. I swear i would be lost without them! i’m incredibly nervous about publishing it because i’m worried that it either won’t sell or people won’t enjoy it. But i’m sure most authors think the same thing. That nervous energy won’t ever go away, i just have to bite the bullet and do it, i’ll never know if i don’t do it, right?

P.S.      Heres the link to my new ‘Book Extracts’ page if you want to see it.

 

Geography Test

20140504_122454

This is the (admittedly quite scheisse) map i drew when the conversation drifted about Scotland. I thought it would be a cracking idea to explain to The Asian Lauren Whale (registered trademark) about these countries. Here is the car crash……

Me: Right so this is the map of England <pointing at England> (“Shit!” I thought, “I’ve just given her the answer, well done Lewis!”) and the other countries around it. 1st of all, what do you think number one is?

The Asian Lauren Whale: Australia

Me: OK, i just literally gave you the answer 10 seconds ago, but lets move on…. What about number 2?

The Asian Lauren Whale: Italy

Me: OK, i’m just gonna leave that out there….. Number 3?

The Asian Lauren Whale: Iceland

Me: I suppose we are getting closer…..kind of… That one’s Scotland.  How about number 4?

The Asian Lauren Whale: The Netherlands

Me: well, they both start with the letter ‘N’ i guess. Northern Ireland.  And what do you think number 5 is?

The Asian Lauren Whale: <still as confident as ever> Spain

Me: Great! What do you think 1, 2 and 3 is called?

The Asian Lauren Whale: Europe

Me: I kind of want to give you a point there. What about 1, 2, 3 and 4?

The Asian Lauren Whale: Errrr… I don’t know

Me: That one’s the United Kingdom. and finally what is 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5?

The Asian Lauren Whale: Iceland

Me: We have a saying on the Jeremy Kyle show, do you know what it is….? Yep, a full house, you failed every question. I refer back to last weeks quote and say “good job you’re pretty……”

Whoa, 1st of all, who gave you permission to speak 1st? I ask the questions, you answer them. That’s the rule!  Second of all, don’t you think you are being too hard on the poor girl? Stop being so cynical!

Well she is pretty shit…..That’s a lie. She’s good when she listens, but she doesn’t listen and it’s so frustrating. I went on a rant at her last week about her constant insistence on saying one word answers that don’t even apply to the question because she wasn’t listening, was guessing what i’d said and answering as vague as possible to cover all bases. During the rant (which wasn’t aggressive, don’t worry…) i said to her “the reason i get frustrated with you is because you don’t listen. There’s nothing i would want more than for you to be able to study in America or Australia or wherever you want to go, but you have to try. This isn’t an exam you can just half-arse and get the grade you want, This is a very difficult exam and you have to work for it. I can get you to pass but you have to put the effort in.” and i realized something; That’s my problem when teaching here, i care too much. In an environment where the majority of people i taught 2 years ago couldn’t care less and drained my enthusiasm for the job. I still care, but i get annoyed when people turn up to a class completely oblivious to what’s going on around them and say “I need to pass my IELTS exam next month.” Great, you can barely say your own name, but this is why i get paid what i get paid……

So….. What are you getting at?

Well I’ve rediscovered my enthusiasm for the job again which is always a good thing. I’m enjoying my classes which i haven’t done in a long time. Sure, i enjoy the fun classes, but i wasn’t fighting through the brutal ones like i used to, instead of trying as hard as i could to try and get them interested  i would look at them as if to say “You know you’re going on Facebook/the blog after that monstrosity of a comment don’t you?”

Okaley Dokaley, we’ll see how long that lasts….. Have you finished the book yet?

No not yet, i’m churning it out though. I’ve written about 8000 words this week!

Tell me what’s happened in 100 words or less….

So they landed in Malaysia, then flew to Cambodia a few days later. She starts to get annoyed at every little thing that he does and it starts to build up and up until she finally explodes. I’m not gonna say what happens exactly (you have to read it) but they go their separate ways and she heads off to Bangkok and then Chiang Mai, where she is at the moment. Obviously a lot has happened in the middle of that but if i tell you then you won’t want to buy it….

Can’t you just give me a snippet?

No, not yet, but i can say that her mental health is starting to deteriorate now so she’s a lot more angry and psychotic. I’m getting into the book a lot more now (which is worrying considering how disturbed I’m making her…) I’ve also started to make her say angry and bitter put downs to people who mildly upset her which i thought would be quite cool to add. It’s definitely added more shocking action and drama. Which i think was needed heading towards the end of the book.

So you’re nearly done? Yeah yeah… That’s what you say every week…. So is that it?

Almost. I became friends with this author a while ago and he saw that i have just started to become a writer. He asked me if i would want to try and write a dog bio. He supplied me with all the info about the Australian cattle dog then i wrote the first draft, turns out that much of what i wrote made it into the final draft! Here is the link if you want to have a look. I enjoyed getting a bit more practice writing and a real writer having belief in me is a real confidence boost. Siamo finito for this week i’m afraid, c’e Vediamo next Wednesday!!!