Everything I Write Is About You

I have this memory of being on an elevator, having an awkward conversation with someone who wanted me to tell them what I ‘wrote about.’

Everything I write is about you, I said.

I’m in San Mateo, sitting in a Starbuck’s near my sister’s house, dealing a little with my email account getting hacked, and getting out letters of recommendation for students applying to grad school. The hard copies have been mailed, and now I’m doing the online letters, which are remarkably easy to deal with. Next to me a pair of silver-haired men are involved in some Christian Bible study. One of them just said, very loudly, “I can tell that to my Jewish friends!” I’m sorry I wasn’t eavesdropping more carefully, or I would tell you.

Instead I’m telling you about the year here, which was a pretty successful year. I moved my blog off typepad to wordpress, which I prefer, and which you also apparently prefer, as traffic is up over when I was at typepad. You, my readers here, apparently like the writing, book and publishing-driven posts best. Most of you who find this blog are searching for me by name: ‘alexander chee’, ‘alex chee’, ‘koreanish’, and then combinations of these. Many searched for information about some of my favorite young writers: Paul Yoon, Nami Mun, and Justin Torres. Some of you are searching for the Akira film poster image, which I do have illustrating my blog entry on Akira. Most of you find this blog through those searches, some come through my Wikipedia entry. Many of you are regulars, off of jockohomo, jonkoy, novaren, dolphinsaturday, and nobodypasses, and to those bloggers, and to everyone who links to me, thank you for linking to me.

Many of you then go on to check out my About page, my Books page, my excerpts online, and then when you leave, the majority of you click off to either my anonymous love poem blog or my prepublication blog for my next novel, The Queen Of The Night.

The majority of you who never knew me before found me looking for help with MFA in writing applications and for advice about them, and whether or not they’re needed to be a writer (the answer is still, so far, no).

Thanks for the beautiful year. Thanks especially to all of you who’ve written to me to tell me how much you love my first novel, Edinburgh. There were many, many times this year when before I sat down to write, I was treated to reading from one of you who took the time to tell me how much you loved that novel, and that means a lot. I know this is a poor sop against the way I don’t yet have my second novel out, and I hope to have news on a relative date sometime in the first half of this year, when I turn in the rest of the manuscript. I’m going to be launching an official author site for myself soon, and this will be linked off that site, and there’ll be exciting Web 2.0 web addresses for everything involved. Who knows. I might even go retro and buy back my .com. But I don’t know about that. I’m considering some password-protected posts available for pay. Eventwise, in April I’ll appear at USF for their Emerging Writers Festival. In June I teach again at the Wesleyan University Writers Conference, my five-day lecture class in the writing of novels.

As I finish this, a very nice woman is sitting reading a book with her coffee. She has her Louis Vuitton purse as a prop for her book, which is a metaphor for something. Something good, I think.

I’m going to get on a train on New Year’s in Bakersfield and head north to Portland, OR, to play for a few days, and then might go on to Seattle and then LA, before I go home to Amherst, and I’ll be posting from all of those places. Until then, I wish you a happy holiday season, and a Happy New Year.


  1. Belated Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year. It has been an interesting year and I have no prognostications as to what 2008 has in store. As one of those people who loved Edinburgh, I am anxiously awaiting “Queen of the Night”. I keep waiting for you to come to Boston to speak. Enjoy the rest of ’07 and your travels in the west.

  2. I think I told you already, I bought your book but have yet to read it– still enthralled with Atonement…
    I envy you your beautiful life. And I look forward to hearing about it as often as you wish to reveal it. You are my new literary crush, I think. The next year is going to be even better– I can tell. Tell me all about it.

  3. I love that answer, “Everything I write is about you.”

    Looking forward to more of this blog, and I’m one of the many readers eagerly awaiting your next novel… Happy New Year!

  4. Tony: When you mean speaking, do you mean, slurring my words over a martini at one of those rapidly vanishing gay bars? Because that sort of engagement can be arranged.

    Lance: Fanciest pants EVER I am sending you so much New Year’s love.

    Jeffrey: I adore you.

    Jocko: Thump goes my heart when I see your handsome head.

    RJ: It didn’t occur to me that I had a beautiful life until I read that, but I think that’s a part of the holiday season stuff. Also, lately, I feel like I’m living inside of the beginning of one of your stories…

    Nova: Stay brave.

    To all of you, thank you again. Happy New Year!

  5. I’m totally going to steal your “Everything I write is about you” line the next time somebody asks me that.

    I’ll give you credit, though, just as I do when I use your cultural taboos exercise in my beginning fiction class.

    Happy new year.

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