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When I'm not here, you may find me wandering the pages below. (If I'm a regular visitor to your site and I've left your link off or mislinked to you, please let me know! And likewise, if you've blogrolled me, please check that my link is updated: thisroamanticlife.blogspot.com. The extra (a) makes all the difference!)

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Body: in sickness and in health

I won't lie; this body and I have had our issues with each other for many years. Body image -- sure. Physical and mental overextension -- comes with being a Type A kind of girl. I still struggle with these things, so they show up from time to time in my writing.

More recently, illness, pure but not simple, has added itself to the mix in a multi-system sort of way. And the challenges in figuring out exactly what's gone wrong are many. As problems have revealed themselves in the last few years, beginning with reactive hypoglycemia in late 2008, I've documented them here, partly to gain a little clarity on managing complex conditions but mostly to give voice to vulnerabilities I feel but don't normally share with anyone face to face. Better out than in, they say, right? (Oh yes, humor is one way I deal.)

The links below cover the different angles I've examined (and from which I've been examined) within that experience.

Travel: neither here nor there

When the person you're married to lives two time zones away, you log a fair number of frequent flier miles. And if you blog about commuter relationships, you log quite a few posts en route too.

Since we're no longer in separate places, I blog less often from airports. But we do travel -- together now! -- which is much more fun to write about. So in addition to thoughts on our years of commuting, the links below cover the places we've been as a pair and, in some cases, the adventures that have happened on the way.

Writing: the long and short of it

Why do I do it? Good question. Maybe it's not so much that I like to write but that I have to write, even when the words refuse to stick to the page. Believe me, I've tried doing other things like majoring in biochemistry (freshman fall, many semesters ago). Within a year, I'd switched to English with a concentration in creative writing and wasn't looking back.

After graduating, I taught English for a few years and then worked as an editor, which I still do freelance. In 2007, I applied and got into an MFA program at a place I like to call Little U. on the Prairie. I finished my degree in 2011 and have been balancing tutoring and writing on my own ever since.

The following links cover the writing I've done about writing: process, content, obstacles, you name it. It's not always pretty. But some part of me loves it, even when it's hard. And this is the result.

Heart: family and friends

I'd have a hard time explaining who I am without being able to talk about the family I grew up in as well as the people I've met beyond its bounds. But even with such context, it's not easy! In the simplest terms, I'm a first-generation Asian-American who has spent most of this life caught between cultures. That, of course, doesn't even begin to describe what I mean to, but there's my first stab at the heart of it all.

That's what this group of posts is reserved for -- heart. The essential parts of my life whose influences I carry with me, for better or worse. The links below cover what I've written as I've learned how these forces work within me, for me, against me, in spite of me. They anchor me even as they change me, and they keep life interesting.

Recommended reading

What do I do when there's too much on my mind and my words won't stick to the page? I escape into someone else's thoughts. Below is a collection of books and articles that have been sources of information, inspiration, and occasional insight for my own work.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The home stretch

Busy times at D's parents' place! We've finished almost all of our wrapping, but holiday activities have been ramping up with the arrival of more and more family members.

Things are quite different here this year -- D's brother, the next oldest in the line of four boys, got engaged in August and bought a house with his fiancée. So we've been given his old bedroom for our stay, which is much more private than the previous part of the house we'd been using before (the sleeper sofa in the basement, right next to the pool table and storage closets, both of which get tons of traffic).

I'm very grateful, to say the least. I'm uncomfortable admitting that I need space from people sometimes, but it's something I can't ignore -- I tried doing that last Christmas and ended up feeling horribly resentful toward everyone, even D, through the endless stream of activities I felt I couldn't escape. So this year, it's been a particular relief to have a little haven where I can get an hour of quiet time. It's made these last few days so much more enjoyable.

We've done almost one jigsaw puzzle per night with the whole family, played board games, shared cooking duties, planned the annual gingerbread construction project, gone caroling, and talked ourselves hoarse. And I've liked being part of it. Tonight, we're off to D's brother's house for dinner and then maybe some cookie decorating.

Hope you're all having good holidays. I'll post more once we're on our way to our next destination.

3 comments:

TKW said...

An hour of privacy during the holiday madness? Priceless! Merry Christmas!

French Fancy said...

I can't imagine what it's like being part of a big and bustling family. I'm an only child and out here there is just Mr FF and his ma who lives nearby (his brother is back in the UK with his wife and kid). I think the idea of a large jolly crowd is probably better than the actuality of it.

I can totally understand you feeling swamped when in the midst of lots of people. I like to be by myself a lot - just as well seeing as Mr FF is leaving for Paris at the weekend.

I'll be dropping by to take lessons in how to cope in the lonely moments. In the meantime I want to wish you and your family a lovely 2010 - with no more medical tests and a thesis that receives plaudits galore.

x
Julie

Contemporary Troubadour said...

TKW -- no kidding! I couldn't believe it. Worlds of difference for which I am hugely grateful.

FF -- you're so right. Jolly crowds are lovely to imagine when you're not stuck in the middle of one. Most of the time they're not truly jolly anyway, just trying to do a good impression of it, and it grates on everybody else from being so forced!

Thinking of you and Mr. FF as you enter this new chapter in your lives. Thank you for the kind thoughts. Warmest wishes to you too for the new year.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The home stretch

Busy times at D's parents' place! We've finished almost all of our wrapping, but holiday activities have been ramping up with the arrival of more and more family members.

Things are quite different here this year -- D's brother, the next oldest in the line of four boys, got engaged in August and bought a house with his fiancée. So we've been given his old bedroom for our stay, which is much more private than the previous part of the house we'd been using before (the sleeper sofa in the basement, right next to the pool table and storage closets, both of which get tons of traffic).

I'm very grateful, to say the least. I'm uncomfortable admitting that I need space from people sometimes, but it's something I can't ignore -- I tried doing that last Christmas and ended up feeling horribly resentful toward everyone, even D, through the endless stream of activities I felt I couldn't escape. So this year, it's been a particular relief to have a little haven where I can get an hour of quiet time. It's made these last few days so much more enjoyable.

We've done almost one jigsaw puzzle per night with the whole family, played board games, shared cooking duties, planned the annual gingerbread construction project, gone caroling, and talked ourselves hoarse. And I've liked being part of it. Tonight, we're off to D's brother's house for dinner and then maybe some cookie decorating.

Hope you're all having good holidays. I'll post more once we're on our way to our next destination.

3 comments:

TKW said...

An hour of privacy during the holiday madness? Priceless! Merry Christmas!

French Fancy said...

I can't imagine what it's like being part of a big and bustling family. I'm an only child and out here there is just Mr FF and his ma who lives nearby (his brother is back in the UK with his wife and kid). I think the idea of a large jolly crowd is probably better than the actuality of it.

I can totally understand you feeling swamped when in the midst of lots of people. I like to be by myself a lot - just as well seeing as Mr FF is leaving for Paris at the weekend.

I'll be dropping by to take lessons in how to cope in the lonely moments. In the meantime I want to wish you and your family a lovely 2010 - with no more medical tests and a thesis that receives plaudits galore.

x
Julie

Contemporary Troubadour said...

TKW -- no kidding! I couldn't believe it. Worlds of difference for which I am hugely grateful.

FF -- you're so right. Jolly crowds are lovely to imagine when you're not stuck in the middle of one. Most of the time they're not truly jolly anyway, just trying to do a good impression of it, and it grates on everybody else from being so forced!

Thinking of you and Mr. FF as you enter this new chapter in your lives. Thank you for the kind thoughts. Warmest wishes to you too for the new year.