Please help me write a book.
I realize that lots of letters and prayers might start this way, but mine is unique, I swear. This is not a Kickstarter pledge, nor is it the pitch letter I hope to one day write. This is the kick before that step. This is the I-have-something-in-mind-and-in-order-for-it-to-realize-its-full-potential-I've-got-to-do-a-lot-more-research step. A long step, yes, but a crucial one. One that you, Internet, could hurry me along.
When I was 22 I moved to Fuengirola, Spain, to work as an educational assistant at an elementary school that was implementing its first year of a bilingualism program. I was naive and my Spanish was high intermediate at best and I more or less flew by the seat of my pants and nothing too terrible happened and I'm a much better person for having lived alone, thousands of miles from home, in another language, for the better part of nine months.
That is not the story I am writing. The story I am writing is way more interesting. The stories I am writing are about all the things I feared would happen, an amalgamation of immigration stories that six-year-olds told me, whilst learning to add and subtract, and the stories their moms and dads told after school, and perhaps most interesting, the glaring difference between the two. The stories I want to write are about living between languages, cultures, countries, identities. The stories I am writing are about expatriates -- those that embrace the label and live each day homesick, those that slip right in while no one's looking, those that exist in limbo until the day someone finally notices.
So where do you come in, Internet?
Well, here's the thing: I've written six stories so far, and hope to write at least five more. My characters are American, Spanish, German, and English; but I want to include much more. In order to do this I need a better understanding of how people land in Fuengirola, what their life is like there, and what kinds of fears and desires they have. Don't worry: I do plan to do my homework - I will read what you recommend, and I will sit my ass in my chair and flail through the words as they come or don't come - but more than anything I need to know what life is like for expats in Fuengirola today. Now.
Note: I am not asking for money, or space, or anything fully tangible. I'm asking for people who currently live in Southern Spain, or who have in the past, to answer a few simple questions about their life abroad. This will be a piece of fiction and I am not interested in using other people's experiences or words. What I want are your impressions of life abroad, and what reflections you may have about your own nationality during your time away.
What will you get? A very kind email from me, a written acknowledgement if this thing ever gets published, brownie points in Heaven.
If you are still reading and are interested in chatting with me further about this project, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you, Internet, for letting me post such a long letter. I owe you one.