When I began traveling to China, I read as many books about the country and its people as I could get my hands on, so I always took along a few on my trips (this was pre-eBooks). I’d read them on the long flights and during the half-hour bus ride to the shipyard where the Mei Wen Ti was built.
While I’ve always enjoyed reading the works of Chinese poets, it was during one trip that I discovered one which became a favorite; China’s renowned Tang Dynasty-era poet, Li Po (618-907 AD). I used one of his poems, “Ballad of the Voyager” in the opening of the book to help describe my own personal journey.
I think the reason I like this poem so much is because I think of myself as an “ocean voyager.” I have crossed the Pacific many...
In 2005, I wrote this entry in the guest book that my daughter Lynn kept on board the Mei Wen Ti for overnight guests to leave comments. Boy does time fly!
While building a wooden boat in a foreign land had its challenges, writing a book was certainly a bigger challenge than I imagined. But ten years, two revisions, and a complete title change later, the tiger image on the spine of "No Problem, Mr. Walt" smiles back at me from the shelf, and I feel glad I stuck with it!
I recently received this terrific review of 'No Problem, Mr. Walt' by Malini Seshadri of The Book Review Literary Trust magazine and wish to sincerely thank Ms. Seshadri for her generosity and kind words shared in her elegantly written article.
"A piano instructor told a student’s mother, ‘Madam, I have been teaching piano to generations of students. I have heard students play on the white keys, and I have heard them play on the black keys. But your son is the only one who can play in the spaces in between.’
Walt Hackman’s book plays all the notes between the keys, and often many at the same time. It produces music of a kind that defies a label. It scoffs at the concept of ‘genre’. It is the story of an in...
If you've read either the hard copy, Kindle or Nook version of "No Problem, Mr. Walt" you might have noticed that I dedicated the book to my late son, Walter B. Hackman, Jr. The dedication reads:
“To the memory of my son Wally.
'.......forgetting seems to take the longest time.'
-Willie Nelson, from the song 'Forgetting You Was Easy'"
This week while I was on my regular search for book bloggers and fellow authors to review my book I ran across the website RonovanWrites.
After perusing the website, I decided to contact Ronovan Hester about a book review, and while searching for his contact info came across his weekly Haiku challenge that looked interesting. This week's challenge requires the use of the w...
During one of many visits I took to Shanghai, I thought it might be interesting to see where Communism in China was established.
As I was traveling back and forth between the states and China, I kept a little book of travel notes and places I'd like to visit if the chance arose. On this particular trip, I took the opportunity to visit a museum that was built in the area where the first meetings of the First National Congress of the Communist Party of China were held in 1921.
Before I left the hotel I had the front desk clerk write on a slip of paper the Chinese characters for 76 Xingye Road, Xintiandi, Huangpu District. Many years ago I learned this trick while traveling off the beaten path in Japan, and it got me to an...
I have often wondered why China's former leaders and the current leader, President Xi Jinping, have such an impartial view of Mao Zedong's brutal legacy as the head of the Communist Party from 1949 until 1976.
After much reading and quite a few trips to China, I've concluded the reason all Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leaders have given Mao a pass was established when Mao declared, "Only the CCP can save China!" When Mao made this declaration, he permanently embedded himself politically to the Communist party, thereby establishing no room for renunciation of the party line. In other words, denouncing Mao is denouncing the Communist party which is unacceptable. No leader since has allowed Mao's legacy to be formerly critic...
After the Mei Wen Ti arrived in America, it became my new home. I had fulfilled my dream to live on a wooden boat and it was everything I expected it to be.
My new home was docked in a brand new 20' x 50' slip in the recently rebuilt Ventura Isle Marina in Ventura Harbor, a little south of Santa Barbara, California.
I loved it, and spent many happy years living there. While the sadness of losing Wally was still agonizing, life seemed a little easier a little at a time, and rebuilding a life - while different than I had expected my life to unfold - was working out. Mei Wen Ti was a home unlike any other I had known - literally and figuratively.
As it turns out, my wife Virginia, who was wido...