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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.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Still scattered

Post-vacation brain fog continues to dog me. A new week is in progress but I'm somehow still standing at the starting line. Am I losing the ability to focus? Or maybe it's all the change in general that's been going on around here. Transitions mean feeling like I have two left feet. Not especially effective for maintaining a straight trajectory ...

But, in taking stock, I can say that by the end of last week, I did turn in a 30-page chunk of work to my independent study advisor. Not the same advisor directing my thesis, but another professor on my committee who happens to be supervising some summer research I've been doing on the side. It's thesis-related, just not formally so. The work is quite different from the kind of writing I've been trying to do, so much so that it almost feels like a completely separate discipline. But it examines the same material -- family -- and I've needed a new angle from which to examine the past: one less fraught. My instincts tell me to keep going even though the other part of me, the one having fits that I've written so little on the actual thesis, is sighing and wringing her hands. "This is just procrastination! You'll never finish if you get sidetracked so easily!" she says.

Well, 30 pages, whatever they're about, is 30 pages more than I ever got staring at the thesis file for the last two months.

In between sessions with the research, there have been other happenings afoot. Or shall I say, not-happenings. I took this shot while waiting to get on the highway, going home from my counselor's office.


After telling him that I didn't want to continue with him anymore.

Okay, I didn't say it quite like that -- I said I needed a break of indeterminate length. I couldn't, for my own sake, truly abandon the work I've done with him by closing the door for good, so it's there, in storage. But the end result is the same: no more awkward silences in his office when I've run out of things to say, waiting for feedback from him that almost never comes. I was dreading the conversation because of that very silence I was sure I'd be met with, but I got through it. And he seemed to understand.

Just in case things ended up going particularly badly, though, I reminded myself right before my appointment that I had this waiting for me at home:


She was originally our latest foster, but after a week, I knew she was the perfect kitty for both me and D. We have slightly different tastes in cat personalities -- he favors the enthusiastically playful ones; I like the mellow ones who will cuddle -- and this little lady has both traits in abundance. Not a typical combination, in our experience! So we made her an official part of the family Troubadour right before we left for Victoria.

She says hi. When she's chosen a name for herself, I'll post it (yes, even kitty gets a pseudonym). But for now, she wants to go back to enjoying my lap, which she just discovered as a prime napping spot. I was afraid she'd never try it out, but today -- !!!


For more !!!, check out the Intentional Happiness project here and here.

10 comments:

BigLittleWolf said...

30 pages means solid progress. If I were you, I'd be very proud of that. And it's the first step toward doing more.

I think you get a double dose of !!! for that chunk of work. It's hard plugging away at complex and long term projects.

Sherlock said...

Wow 30 pages! Good going! While it may be a different angle, sometimes that's a good thing as we get a new perspective. And that rejuvenate enthusiasm for the original work. Rather than looking at it as procrastinating, think of it as exploring :-) Love the photos of the newest member of the family!

Good Enough Woman said...

Sorry for the summer fog. Yay for the 30 pages! And Yay for awesome kitty! :)

medieval woman said...

congrats on the new furry addition to the family!! I'm glad you found exactly the right one!!!

And awesome on the 30 pp!!

Bev said...

!

C. Troubadour said...

BLW -- it ishard. Much of the work was transcription, but it was sustained thought and interpretation on what I was observing too. Anything to get some kind of insight. (Can you hear the desperation?)

Sherlock -- enthusiasm, how I need it! That part is still sort of missing. Hoping for it, though.

GEW -- awesome kitty says hi to awesome kitten :). How's house-training going?

MW -- she's a sweetheart. Though today, we discovered that she likes to scratch the sofa and had been doing it for a while (without any damage and an unusual sound that we didn't recognize as scratching), so now we have to redirect her interest to the scratching post I picked up today. Unfortunately, she doesn't have the gene that makes cats crazy for catnip, so she's not responding to the liberal amounts I rubbed into it ...

Bev -- <3

TKW said...

I am thrilled for you--not sure which merits more !!!--the 30 pages, the dumping of the inadequate analyst, or the new fuzzy face. All are wonderful developments.

Good Enough Woman said...

The kitten is really great, CT! Getting bigger but still so cute. Playful, but also a love bug. And she seems to be finding the litter box whenever I move it to a new spot (I'm so glad to have it out of the bathroom and into the laundry room!). And she and the dog are doing well together! I think it's going to be time to get her fixed soon . . .

C. Troubadour said...

TKW -- they're all different kinds of !!!, I think. Variety is good, no? ;)

GEW -- awwww, that's terrific! I'm SO glad she's getting along with the dog. I think I remember the previous kitty didn't work out because a detente could not be achieved. Lots of good wishes for continued peace.

SuziCate said...

So proud of you that you had the courage to break those ties....and happy you have thirty more pages...YAY for you! And kitty is adorable.

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Monday, July 19, 2010

Still scattered

Post-vacation brain fog continues to dog me. A new week is in progress but I'm somehow still standing at the starting line. Am I losing the ability to focus? Or maybe it's all the change in general that's been going on around here. Transitions mean feeling like I have two left feet. Not especially effective for maintaining a straight trajectory ...

But, in taking stock, I can say that by the end of last week, I did turn in a 30-page chunk of work to my independent study advisor. Not the same advisor directing my thesis, but another professor on my committee who happens to be supervising some summer research I've been doing on the side. It's thesis-related, just not formally so. The work is quite different from the kind of writing I've been trying to do, so much so that it almost feels like a completely separate discipline. But it examines the same material -- family -- and I've needed a new angle from which to examine the past: one less fraught. My instincts tell me to keep going even though the other part of me, the one having fits that I've written so little on the actual thesis, is sighing and wringing her hands. "This is just procrastination! You'll never finish if you get sidetracked so easily!" she says.

Well, 30 pages, whatever they're about, is 30 pages more than I ever got staring at the thesis file for the last two months.

In between sessions with the research, there have been other happenings afoot. Or shall I say, not-happenings. I took this shot while waiting to get on the highway, going home from my counselor's office.


After telling him that I didn't want to continue with him anymore.

Okay, I didn't say it quite like that -- I said I needed a break of indeterminate length. I couldn't, for my own sake, truly abandon the work I've done with him by closing the door for good, so it's there, in storage. But the end result is the same: no more awkward silences in his office when I've run out of things to say, waiting for feedback from him that almost never comes. I was dreading the conversation because of that very silence I was sure I'd be met with, but I got through it. And he seemed to understand.

Just in case things ended up going particularly badly, though, I reminded myself right before my appointment that I had this waiting for me at home:


She was originally our latest foster, but after a week, I knew she was the perfect kitty for both me and D. We have slightly different tastes in cat personalities -- he favors the enthusiastically playful ones; I like the mellow ones who will cuddle -- and this little lady has both traits in abundance. Not a typical combination, in our experience! So we made her an official part of the family Troubadour right before we left for Victoria.

She says hi. When she's chosen a name for herself, I'll post it (yes, even kitty gets a pseudonym). But for now, she wants to go back to enjoying my lap, which she just discovered as a prime napping spot. I was afraid she'd never try it out, but today -- !!!


For more !!!, check out the Intentional Happiness project here and here.

10 comments:

BigLittleWolf said...

30 pages means solid progress. If I were you, I'd be very proud of that. And it's the first step toward doing more.

I think you get a double dose of !!! for that chunk of work. It's hard plugging away at complex and long term projects.

Sherlock said...

Wow 30 pages! Good going! While it may be a different angle, sometimes that's a good thing as we get a new perspective. And that rejuvenate enthusiasm for the original work. Rather than looking at it as procrastinating, think of it as exploring :-) Love the photos of the newest member of the family!

Good Enough Woman said...

Sorry for the summer fog. Yay for the 30 pages! And Yay for awesome kitty! :)

medieval woman said...

congrats on the new furry addition to the family!! I'm glad you found exactly the right one!!!

And awesome on the 30 pp!!

Bev said...

!

C. Troubadour said...

BLW -- it ishard. Much of the work was transcription, but it was sustained thought and interpretation on what I was observing too. Anything to get some kind of insight. (Can you hear the desperation?)

Sherlock -- enthusiasm, how I need it! That part is still sort of missing. Hoping for it, though.

GEW -- awesome kitty says hi to awesome kitten :). How's house-training going?

MW -- she's a sweetheart. Though today, we discovered that she likes to scratch the sofa and had been doing it for a while (without any damage and an unusual sound that we didn't recognize as scratching), so now we have to redirect her interest to the scratching post I picked up today. Unfortunately, she doesn't have the gene that makes cats crazy for catnip, so she's not responding to the liberal amounts I rubbed into it ...

Bev -- <3

TKW said...

I am thrilled for you--not sure which merits more !!!--the 30 pages, the dumping of the inadequate analyst, or the new fuzzy face. All are wonderful developments.

Good Enough Woman said...

The kitten is really great, CT! Getting bigger but still so cute. Playful, but also a love bug. And she seems to be finding the litter box whenever I move it to a new spot (I'm so glad to have it out of the bathroom and into the laundry room!). And she and the dog are doing well together! I think it's going to be time to get her fixed soon . . .

C. Troubadour said...

TKW -- they're all different kinds of !!!, I think. Variety is good, no? ;)

GEW -- awwww, that's terrific! I'm SO glad she's getting along with the dog. I think I remember the previous kitty didn't work out because a detente could not be achieved. Lots of good wishes for continued peace.

SuziCate said...

So proud of you that you had the courage to break those ties....and happy you have thirty more pages...YAY for you! And kitty is adorable.