Well, here’s the official mini-bio/byline version:
Ava Norling lives in Saudi Arabia and writes in airports, undergrounds, and tuktuks. With roots in northern Canada and a heart wedged in the Colorado mountains, she’s learning to embrace the gorgeous chaos of an expat life. Email her at email@example.com.
…and all of the above is true. Except for the name part.
Living in a censored country means taking certain precautions regarding a writer’s identity. So while you, dear reader, will (hopefully) find funny, interesting, and thought-provoking posts on life in a place affectionately known as the “Magic Kingdom,” you also won’t find a few things. You won’t find references to my spouse’s occupation/posting, our exact location, or our actual names. But you like a little mystery, don’t you?
When we moved to Saudi Arabia in January 2010, it felt like we’d embarked on a voyage to the edge of the world–perhaps over the edge. In keeping with that sense of piratey exploration, you might hear me refer to my husband as “Cap,” my daughter as “First Mate,” and my son as “Skipper.” Yeah, I know… just roll with it.
Pseudonyms and not-exactly-original nicknames aside, why do I write? Well, frankly, there’s a heckuva lot to explore right here, right now, right within reach: the logistical pretzel that is expat life, the cultural oddities all around me… and–not least–the places we’re fortunate enough to visit for work or pleasure. All of these things beg to be photographed and written about.
Lastly, this site is a step into the world of producing great literary fiction. I’ve spent the past seven years studying craft; I graduated summa cum laude from the University of Colorado-Denver with a B.A. in Professional Writing in 2014, and recently earned an MFA in Creative Writing (Fiction) from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA.
I’ve recently begun sending work out to literary magazines–mostly short fiction, with a pinch of creative nonfiction and dash of prose poetry thrown in for flavour. The results of these forays into publishing (check out the blog for more) have been encouraging, and I try to engage with the literary world in other ways, too. I’m currently on the short fiction reading committee for Carve magazine (est 2000, quarterly issues), and recently conducted an author interview for Carve with the lovely Miriam Cohen for the Winter 2017 edition.
Yes, there’s a novel. Of course there is. I look forward to posting more about that larger project when the time comes.
Unless otherwise noted, all photos are from my camera: ©Ava Norling. If you’d like permission to use anything, please ask first.
Drop me a line!