Writing in Asia

The first time we came to India was way back in 2008 and that move inspired us to actually start the blog that you are reading today.

Taj Mahal South Entrance

It was a momentous decision that led to one of the most inspiring events in our lives.

American Author Dena Hankins

Prior to that first India trip we were down and out, wage-slaving in the armpit of the Pacific Northwest, Moses Lake, Washington, in hopes that we could make some profound changes in our lives. We were apartment dwelling and saving up to get back on the water after selling our boat in Hawaii to pay off all of our debts.

My Feets

The plan worked for the most part. We saved up some money and we even ended up recording some pretty good music with Dena’s dad but Moses Lake is a disgusting well of conservatism and we both felt like being there was a step backwards in our lives.

(I didn’t take a single photograph while we were in Moses Lake…That’s how uninspiring that shithole is!)

One night while grabbing a bite at a local all-nighter Dena said to me (James), “I hate this place, I hate this country and I hate not being inspired. Let’s go to India and write our books!” So we did.

Dena's First Puja

We sold everything we owned that we couldn’t carry on our backs and moved to India. We traveled the northern subcontinent from Amritsar to Varanasi and the experience was a lot less inspiring than we had hoped.

Bike Rickshaw

Dena broke her foot in a bum-fuck little city called Allahabad so we made our way south to Kerala.

Boat Ride

We traveled all over Kerala but ended up loving a little neighborhood in Thiruvanathapuram called Kallatamukku. We rented a flat on the second floor of an empty six bedroom house and wrote our books, though Dena was sick most of the time. She went from broken foot to terrible pregnancy to miscarriage.

Bedroom

Upon our return to the U.S. we bought a boat, S/V S.N. Nomad, moved to Baltimore and onward, and Dena published the book she wrote in India, Heart of the Liliko’i, and two others.

North Sails

We sailed up and down the eastern seaboard of the United States for almost a decade before returning to Kerala in 2017 to get my teeth rebuilt.

The Gang

The second time we were in Thiruvanathapurm wasn’t like the first time for me. I was in pain all the time from multiple oral surgeries and the focus really was on my health but we managed to co-write a wonderful first draft of a novel we called Indoor Boh.

Us

This past year after buying a new boat in Maine and working off some of that debt in the New York Hamptons we decided to return to Kerala over the winter to finish our co-written manuscript and dedicate our lives to doing what inspires us — our art — and what better way to do that than to return to India.

At PTC

…So here we are, back in Kerala, eating the best food in the world and enjoying being inspired by Asia once again.

On the Coast Road to Varkala

We have completely restructured our manuscript, trading much of the original text for an inspired new version. The writing has been consistent and prolific, and we’re both in good health this time!

SeriousBusiness

We have riden our bikes all over Thiruvanathapuram and even rode all the way to Varkala, an 80 km round trip.

https://flic.kr/p/2hAAzNe

We remodeled our apartment here to reflect our inspirations and most of all…

From the Rooftops, printed on canvas and hung in a living room in Thiruvanathapuram, Kerala, Hindustan.

We have inspired each other, once again!

Us at 23

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2 comments

  1. So happy you have returned to such a beautiful and inspiring place. Always a lurker and have followed you since the beginning. Congratulations and cannot wait to read your next installment to the meaning of life.

  2. Hey Linda,
    Thanks for finally speaking up!
    Blogging is sometimes a very lonely existence because most people (like myself) tend to read a blog from a feed and just move on to the next thing in the feed or…
    Don’t care to reply!
    Regardless, I (James) get it and am always happy to reply no matter how long a person has been reading our stuff!
    Again, thank you and welcome aboard!

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