Sydney Aaliyah Writes – Don’t Leave Your Characters in Limbo

I need some writing practice. So, what does anyone do in this day in age when they want more information about an idea. I Googled it and discovered this great site; The Write Practice.  I signed up for The Write Practice writing prompts and will share my practice once a week.  Feel free to join me on your own blog or in the comments below.

Write Practice #1 – Don’t Leave Your Characters in Limbo by Melissa Tydell

Consider a specific setting—a place and time. It could be an indoor or outdoor space; house or building; city or country town; mountains or beach; pleasant weather or stormy; winter or summer; day or night; past, present or future.
Write for fifteen minutes about a scene that features this setting. Be sure the setting plays a role by revealing character, contributing to the plot, or creating conflict.
Every morning at 7:00 am I enter the pagoda. A sturdy and solid red wood structure with four columns and a steel roof top reinforced with additional wooden beams.  I constructed it myself out of the finest materials.
“The best that money could buy,” my benefactor said.
The red brick steps match the color of the wood beams.  I had thought, to keep with tradition, an element of iron should be included in the structure. Plus, it made the place look even more authentic. If that was possible. My benefactor commissioned an iron worker from Mongolia who created a set of intricate iron slats of vines and ancient chinese flowers. The slats are fitted to cover each column, but instead, I decided to attached them flush to the columns.  This gave the pagoda a more spiritual feel.  The structure is not just covered, it is enclosed.
Hanging the bell was the tricky part. With the help of some not so tradition  pieces of equipment, I was able to hang it securely.
As the legend goes, my benefactor’s ancestors stole the bell from a neighboring village.  This theft although never proven, was what instigated several battles between two neighboring villages back in 1322. The bell itself weighted over 500 kgs.  Stealing an item of this weight back then would have not been a stealth mission. Which makes me doubt the truth of this tale, but it makes for a great story.  I do know that the bell is real.  It is made of bronze and the detail of the carvings and characters are in the tradition of the Ming Dynasty.
For building this pagoda I alone have the privilege of ringing the bell every morning and every night.  It is a responsibility I take very seriously.  But, if the people in my village could see me, they would laugh and mock me.
You see, my skills as a pagoda builder were passed down by my ancestors.  My family has been building bell tower pagoda since the Shang Dynasty.  Our bell towers are seen in many sections of the Great Wall, in villages all over China.  But, this pagoda despite the construction is not what you call tradition.
Despite the care I took to maintain the integrity of my ancestors skills and the traditional means of constructing this pagoda (except for hanging the bell), in the eyes of my family, I have sold our tradition to the highest bidder.


 The bell pagoda of my reign sits on top of the 60th floor of the China Taiping Building in downtown Pudong, Shanghai.

Current Move is Long Over Due

This not my new home, but pretty cool.

Before the age of 5, I moved 4 times.  Georgia, Chicago, Denver & Houston. Then, I moved to Dallas when I was 12 and. Dallas is my home town and my parents still live there.  But, since leaving for college, I have not had the same address for more then 3 years at a time.  Is that strange? My friend who is into astrology says that is a trait of my sign; sagitarius get bored easily.  I lived in New Orleans, back to Dallas, Tallahassee (Go Noles!), back to Dallas, Washington DC, Silver Spring, Maryland, back to Dallas, Jacksonville and China.

Living in Shenzhen China for over 5 years for me is a long time.  It is weird to live in the foreignnest (not a word, but I like the way it sounds) of foreign countries for longer then I have stayed anywhere in a long time. But, based on my history, the move to Shanghai is long over due.

Every move has its difficulties, but moving to Shanghai has been especially unique.  Dealing with movers who don’t speak english, highway restrictions and regulations (You can’t drive commercial trucks on city street except during a specific time), moving company employees quitting in route.  One of the guys that works for us who was supervising the move said he had not been as upset in the 6 years he had worked for us combined then he was on that single day of the move.

Moving from southern China to Shanghai is like a native to Alabama moving to New York City.  It is very different.  25 years ago, Shenzhen was rice fields.  Now it is one of the fastest growing urban areas in China.  But, it has a very young population.  For most of the people in Shenzhen, they have come to the city from farms and villagepuff the farm. They work all year long and take 10 – 20 hour train rides home once per year to visit their family and take money home.

Shanghai, on the other hand is one of the oldest cities in China, but it is the most westernized city in China,as well.  There are a lot of foreigners.  Just below my apartment there is a Starbucks, Subway and McDonald’s all in the same block.  And, it has a metro system that takes you all over the city. After being stuck on the outskirts of Shenzhen with no quick access to public transportation, this is going to me mean freedom for me.

I have been doing some research and they have an expat learning center with writing courses, a fitness center from Australia that offer boot camps all over the city.  There are movies theaters with recently released movies and stadium seating.  It has all the comforts of modern living and I am excited to take advantage of it all.  Plus it is China, so even more opportunities to explore this countries culture in history from a new perspective.

I am happy to be moving to Shanghai, it will be a welcome change of pace from the isolated place I have been in for the last 5 years.

My goal is to take advantage of all Shanghai has to over, until I move again.

Have you moved around like me or have you lived in the same place all your life?  How many different places have you moved?   


Shanghai is Going to be Good.

Two days into the move to Shanghai and I am happy to report the following:

Spent the first day observing this for work.

New Golf Course

Then I was free to locate my favorite store

Cool entrance.

Because I am a Mac addict and I need to make sure I know exactly where to get my product.

I had to make sure I find a good place for this and this

Mexican food in China. It was good!
Need my sushi.










I needed to make sure my favorite writing spot was close by

Great coffee and better wifi.

And a necessary back up since the former doesn’t open until 9:00 am on the weekends.

Opens at 7:30 am.

And, found these other essentials.

Need pretty nails to write well.
New Gazelles for new adventures.










All in all, I think this move to Shanghai is going to be good.  And, if I need any other inspiration, all I need to do is look out my window.

When you move to a new city, what do you scope out first?