Hmmmm… this title is somewhat misleading because I barely published more than five times this year, but you know what? That’s still more times than I did last year! WHOOOOO!

Oh wait. I published 48 times at the Sagebooks Blog. Yeah, I’m gonna have to brag about that, too.

I guess this means I will have to be a big girl and organize my other posts into a coherent, easily clickable manner. But that doesn’t mean I can’t still talk about my five favorite posts that got published somewhere else because that’s what I learned this year: to Just Go!

So, without further adoooooooo… Here are Mandarin Mama’s 5 Favorite Posts Published Elsewhere of 2018.

1) This Is Not My Beautiful Life

Two of my favorite posts were published in Diverging Magazine this year. I have thoroughly enjoyed writing for them because I am that demographic! Plus, I have completely stressed out about trying to write fiction, figuring out how the heck to write a Lenten devotional, as well as figuring out how to write through a very specific Asian American Christian lens all the while going through a mid-life crisis.

This was my first published fiction piece and it’s supposed to be a fantasy/fable/myth based off of our family history. I was originally going to write about my grandfather escaping China to go to Taiwan after WWII, but I decided to go with the story that resonated most with me at the moment – MINE.

One day, I will spin this off into a novel, but until then, I am pleased to stretch beyond Alias fan fiction. The premise (if you don’t want to be spoiled, stop now) being the idea that a mid-life crisis is your teenage self showing up in your adult life and being all, WTF DID YOU DO TO ME? The title is based off of the song, Once in a Lifetime by Talking Heads. (Incidentally, I never liked that song until I got married, got a mortgage, and had kids.)

2) Perfection Is a Lie We Tell Ourselves

As I mentioned in My 5 Favorite Posts of 2018, I had a rough year where it culminated in several BURN IT ALL DOWN AND RUN AWAY type posts. This piece was published on my 40th birthday, also at PAAC. You can tell it has similar themes and lines as my fiction piece. I even mention the Talking Heads song!

Seriously, if there is a song that perfectly captures how I feel in my adult life, it’s that one.

The theme for August was Perfection and as before, I was in the midst of wrestling with the idea of HOW IS THIS MY LIFE NOW but in non-fiction form. I really loved the rhythm of the article and the ending line. Also, I think I may have traumatized the younger members of the PAAC group.

They should thank me for the warning even though they won’t get it until they hit it.

3) Helping Kids Learn Chinese When English Is Everywhere

Ok. Technically, this is not something I wrote but spoke. Which is kind of like writing but easier because there is less typing and editing. And since I write like I speak, it all ends up a wash. (Well, except the editing.)

I loved this interview because Wes Radez, the man behind Chinese American Family, asked me a bunch of insightful questions and allowed me to run my mouth on the topic I discuss ad nauseam on this blog. Except he made me sound smart! His site is an excellent resource for Chinese culture – including topics such as food, holidays, and identity. It was an honor to be considered worthy of an interview.

4) Why I, a 40 Year Old Asian American Woman, Love BTS

This piece marries my love for BTS and the Asian American issues of representation, sexual desirability, and identity into a piece for Overachiever Magazine. This was yet another way for me to test out a new style of writing (a more journalistic and informational slant) and it was tougher than expected!

However, I think I did a good job – both in the delivery of facts and background information, as well as the personal aspect. One day, I will write more about how BTS profoundly affected my 2018 and pulled me out of my flaming trash heap of a mid-life crisis. But until then, this article will do as a nice stop-gap.

5) Use Questions to Stimulate Thinking and Writing

Yes, I realize that on the face of it, this post is all about thinking and writing in Chinese. Here’s what it REALLY is: my treatise on the writing essentials of any type, form, genre, or language.

Also, my example at the end makes me laugh even now. Both because of the very real questions I have about how insurance companies would operate in a world where super heroes exist and the fact that I slipped it in an otherwise matter-of-fact piece about writing in Chinese.

One day, when I get my act together, I will write a series on writing. However until then, this piece will suffice. Actually, it’s part of a series on Chinese Linguistics and, if I do say so myself, the series as a whole is probably one of the best (and most difficult) things I’ve written this year. I stretched my writing skills, distilled my thoughts and beliefs about writing and language, and got paid to do so.

Alright. When I get my life together, I will have a full post of all the places you could find me in 2018 (several places wherein I got PAID to be there!) so you can be a Super Fan and read everything I have ever written everywhere.