Check out Paul's confessions and 2017 resolutions.
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Happy new year, everyone! Here's an update of events, media appearances and general musings for the well-informed citizen of the world, plus something a bit more personal.
In the spirit of sharing (and I hope not over-sharing), I've resolved to add some more personal touches to these newsletters in 2017.

Speaking of which, I have a confession: The holidays are not my favorite time of year. I know, I know, call me a Scrooge. But it can be kinda tough when you're an expat like myself and your family is scattered across the globe.

The thing I've noticed as I get older is that memories -- the happy ones in particular -- combined with that separation can make me quite melancholy, especially around the holidays. I think it's because it's a reminder of how ephemeral life can be. Makes me think of this passage from The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles.

“Because we don't know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, an afternoon that is so deeply a part of your being that you can't even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four, five times more, perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps 20. And yet it all seems limitless.” 

On that uplifting note, let's dive into this month's goodies.
There's been some very intriguing news lately regarding North Korean defectors -- in particular, diplomats. (For those of you who haven't read Half Life yet, that's a central storyline of the novel.)

In particular, Thae Yong-Ho, who was N. Korea's No. 2 guy based in London before he defected with his family in August 2016, recently spoke to the press in Seoul for the first time and provided some insights into Kim Jong-Un's nuclear ambitions. He also told S. Korean lawmakers how impressed he was with the recent large-scale demonstrations against embattled S. Korean President Park Geun-Hye. (As you might imagine, not a lot of that going on in N. Korea.)
He also spoke about the two things N. Korea is having trouble keeping out of the country: Drugs and S. Korean pop culture. Kind of amazing when you consider how restrictive the country is about internet traffic. Reminded me of this scene from Jurassic Park.
"Life finds a way."
This is one of the most wide-ranging interviews I've done while promoting Half Life. Many thanks to Dan Manley of WMST radio in Lexington, Kentucky, for having me on his live show "Mornings on the Main" on Dec. 15 to talk about writing, journalism, and my book. Check out the recording of the broadcast by clicking the image below.
Thanks to Jill Sheets at KOPN radio in Columbia, Missouri, for having me on her show to talk about Half Life. I'm keeping an eye on the show's podcast archive page to see when KOPN uploads the podcast of the show. Please follow my Facebook author page or my website and I'll let you know when the podcast becomes available. 
I also did a long taped interview with Suzanne Lang for her show A Novel Idea on KRCB in northern California. I'll let you know when that airs.

Wishing all of you the best for 2017.
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