Hi! I’m Z. A. Coe.
I live in South Korea, where I teach English and ride my bicycle as often as I can.
When I was a kid, I had two posters in my room next to my bed. One was of the planets in outer space, and the other featured a raging T-rex scaring other dinosaurs. If you’d asked me back then what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have given you two answers: an astronaut or an archaeologist – because, at that age, I didn’t know that archaeologists just dug up boring stuff like broken pottery. I thought they were the ones who unearthed dinosaur bones, and my friends and I were always on the lookout for the next big fossil discovery. After all, we were digging a tunnel from America to China, and there had to be some skeletons in all that dirt somewhere!
At some point I abandoned my dream to be a paleontologist/archaeologist. Maybe at around the same time we abandoned the tunnel, which was when we hit clay too deep to dig through – around three feet down or so. I can’t remember when I gave up on going into space, but it’s a good thing that I did, because I can’t even swing too high at playgrounds anymore without feeling a little queasy.
Instead I shifted into writing. I’ve always had a DIY bent, and writing was no different. I wrote tons of stories, too, but I never just stopped there. I wrote stories and I made them into books. I folded paper in half and drew the chapter headings and worked my way across half-pages.
When I was finally allowed access to my parents’ typewriters I upgraded from half-page books of elementary scrawl to half-page books of unforgiving type. I rarely finished stories then, but I was great at starting them.
As the years went on I kept on writing and I kept on making books. In the 90’s we got our first computer and I spent hours making books in Microsoft Publisher, typing straight into the text boxes, playing with the drop caps, and making over-the-top word art.
When it came time to go to college I had to pick a major. I’ve always been better at teaching myself things than learning in a class, so I thought long and hard: What could possibly hold my interest in a classroom setting for four whole years?
There was only one answer: writing.
So I majored in writing, then promptly failed to get any decent jobs after I graduated. I served my time in retail and office work but found they cost more than they paid. I finally got a great job moving packages at UPS – to this day one of my all-time favorite jobs – but couldn’t work part-time forever.
I wanted a job that paid enough to pay the bills, health insurance, and an affordable place to live in a safe neighborhood. Who doesn’t? That’s part of the American Dream.
So, naturally, I moved to South Korea.
My schedule fluctuates a lot, but as of this writing, I work ten hours a day and squeeze writing into the edges of my life. When it’s sunny out I squish everything up even tighter to make room for bicycle adventures.
But at the end of the day I’m still a writer, and writers write.
I rarely write by hand anymore – who has time for that? – and have long abandoned typewriters (not that they’d have made it past the baggage check with their weight anyway). These days I use laptops and Adobe software.
But I’m still writing stories and I’m still making books.
Welcome to CoeWriting.