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  • Writer's pictureGreg

Writing Kept in Cambodia

Updated: Aug 14, 2023

Writing a book is hard. To clarify, writing—that is, putting words on page—is easy. But the editing, organizing, re-writing, incorporating feedback, filling in gaps and corralling everything into a coherent whole that someone might want to read is a [INSERT BAD WORD(s)]. I call the entire process “authoring,” of which the act of writing is, for me, the easiest part.

Village on stilts over water

Authoring is an exercise in dogged perseverance that holds uncertain rewards. I can’t say to myself, “I’m going to bust this out today,” and sprint to the finish. Progress is measured in inches not miles, and I'm running an ultra-marathon. “Stop whining!” you say? That’s fair. I’m a good two-thirds into authoring the third memoir in the Kept series, Kept: An American Househusband in Cambodia, and I needed a little whine with my bagel and lox. Thanks for listening.

People riding motorcycle taxi

To make it up to you, below is a short excerpt. In fact, it's the book's prologue. I hope it intrigues you. If you notice any errors, omissions, or non sequiturs, please refer to the first paragraph herein. - g


The bar is neither big nor small; it's full but not crowded. We’ve come to Desperado for the music and because the owner doesn’t let the numerous sex workers lining the walls hassle us for business.

On stage, the leader of a great Filipino cover band reads a scrap of paper and confesses to the audience, “I’m sorry. We don’t know this song.”

Folks walking on a riverfront promenade
Sisowath Quay, Phnom Penh

A thug sitting near us meaningfully places a handgun on the table in front of him. “Play the song or die,” he says. His beefy bodyguards look on in stony silence.

Wide-eyed, Gaurav and I slowly slide under our table, the gentle whir of the margarita machine the only sound.

Dana and I came to Cambodia with eyes wide open. Paris was always going to be a hard act to follow, but we couldn’t leave well enough alone. We doubled down and asked the State Department to send us to one of the world’s toughest places to live. Why? For the money, of course. After two years of painting Paris red on a single income—my wife’s—we had depleted our meager savings. So, we came to Cambodia for the huge hardship bonus. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but right now, under the table on the floor of this bar, that decision seems rather cavalier. - From Kept: An American Househusband in Cambodia


Motorcycle on red-dirt road


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10 Comments


Martha Macomber
Martha Macomber
Aug 30, 2023

Having lived in the Philippines for 16 years and traveled around Asia (including India), I resonated with every part of your book on India. I am now reading about Paris and can't wait to see your book about Cambodia. I'm sure I will relate to that as well.

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Greg
Greg
Sep 05, 2023
Replying to

Thank you! We spent only a few weeks in the Philippines but really enjoyed it. When you are you going to write your book?

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l.hlove
Jul 11, 2023

Interesting!!

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dottiecruises
Jul 08, 2023

I can’t wait for your next book! I devoured the first ones too quickly. Your prologue has definitely intrigued me!

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Greg
Greg
Jul 09, 2023
Replying to

Thank you! I'm so happy you liked my books.

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kcatco
Jul 08, 2023

Brilliant, as usual. I expect nothing less from you, dear cousin.

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megstaf
Jul 07, 2023

As I prepare to leave for a 390 mile bike ride from Buffalo to Albany, my little trek now seems mundane and oh so safe and predictable. Sure, there may be rain, crowds to access the loo, and a wait for our made-for-us breakfast, but even if our tent is small and the nights are humid, it will all be fine. Even our little leggies will be fine with a little Arnica.


Next installment, please!

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Greg
Greg
Jul 09, 2023
Replying to

Goodness! I don't think there's anything mundane about a 390-mile bike ride. Wow!

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