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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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For posts on frequently referenced topics, click the buttons to the right.

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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.

Friday, January 7, 2011

2011

... is off to quite a start.

For the moment, I'm going to ignore the fact that I'm writing this on a borrowed laptop -- mine suffered a catastrophic loss of power yesterday that will only be remedied with a new adapter -- and focus only on the previous week. It was a decent one.

Given the mess that was 2010, I consider that fantastic news.

I had my concerns as the last moments of the year approached. Please, I said to myself, snuggled into a booth at a wine bar, where my family had opted for a late dinner after the concert we'd attended at Lincoln Center. Please let 2011 be better. Really, it wouldn't take much, all things considered.

I don't have a faith I can fall back on, having grown up with a mix of Buddhism, Catholicism, and atheism coloring various years in my spiritual development (none of the aforementioned schools of belief actually stuck). But the wish I couldn't give voice to, as the final seconds of December fell away, might very well have been a form of prayer. To whom, I don't know. Of late, especially as I've written more and more about family history for my thesis and studied the beliefs that shaped it over a generation or two, I've felt the ghostly presence of my ancestors in the aftermath of their influence. Whether they handed them down whole or in parts, their values -- cultural, philosophical -- had their role in making my parents who they are. So as I've attempted to bring my parents to life on the page, I've found myself consulting, in some ways, with the dead, trying to understand and illustrate my parents' ways of being as they stem from their families of origin.

My grandparents believed that their ancestors watched over them and, in some ways, protected them. In the absence of any other spiritual influences in more recent months, I'd say my own meditations on my ancestors have brought them -- or at least the idea of them -- close enough for me to feel their metaphoric gaze.

So perhaps, my wish for a year better than the preceding one was meant for them to hear. Certainly no one else would have been able to as the New Year neared -- everyone, including my family, was playing a horn or other noisemaker handed out by the maitre d', laughing, cheering, raising flutes of champagne. A perfect chaos of anticipation.

I felt some kind of weight lift as the chef and his staff appeared at last, parading down the main aisle of the restaurant while banging pots and pans to signal the official arrival of January. And that lightness has stayed with me, despite travel exhaustion (mostly jet lag), the unceremonious return to post-vacation life (mostly bills and errands and household chores), and lingering uncertainties about how this year will go.

It's a good sign.

Here's hoping the fact that my adapter fried itself at 4:44 (an extremely unlucky number in Chinese superstition because the word for four is homonymous with the word for death) means absolutely NOTHING.

7 comments:

Good Enough Woman said...

Oh my! I don't even want to TYPE the time that your adapter fried. Maybe that event suggests the death of adapting--so maybe you won't have to ADAPT so much in 2011 . . . but then I guess you wouldn't have to adapt without the laptop . . .

Let's go back to it meaning NOTHING!

NYE in NYC sounds fun And festive! Way to boldly welcome the next year, CT. Here's hoping it's a happy one!

C. Troubadour said...

Whee! Nothing indeed. I'm sticking by that :)

Hope your 2011 is going well too, GEW. (From the sounds of it, your first week or so has been grand!)

BigLittleWolf said...

Wishing you a much improved 2011, and communing with anything and everything that will bring better fortune and health.

2010 wasn't a picnic around here (it including the frying of multiple computers and a few health challenges), but ironically, the number you mention has actually been a lucky one for me (really!). When things aren't going well, I think it's easier to be superstitious (I know I am). When many things are going well, it's easier not to be.

I remain cautiously optimistic about 2011 simply because I like the newness of it, and because, well, despite bad days I still prefer to focus on the good days. And believe there will be more to come.

Sending all good wishes and positive waves, with and without noisemakers, in any configuration of numbers that you like!

Bonne année 2011 !

SuziCate said...

I know you have had a less than wonderful 2010...I wish you many beautiful blessings in 2011 and beyond...and that searching that prayer you found yourself doing, sounds like a void you're trying to fill...you will only find the answer deep within you, and yes, it sounds like apiritual thing, in whatever form it comes to you. Each of our truths are different, none more wrong or right than another. I wish you the best in all things.

C. Troubadour said...

BLW -- well I'm glad that number is lucky for somebody :). In general, I'm not particularly superstitious whether things are going well or otherwise, but I just happened to see the time and had to make note of it. If only to laugh, a little ruefully.

You're right, the newness of the year encourages optimism. And after last year, it just feels good to be out of 2010, whatever else may come. Here's to lots of good for both of us on that front!


SuziCate -- thank you. I appreciate the insights. Intuition wasn't something I listened to a few years ago, but it is much more present for me now. I wish you the best too.

TKW said...

Don't fear that 4--you've had enough assholery to last you this whole next year. 4 ain't got no mojo with you. xo

C. Troubadour said...

I need to invent anti-assholery defenses, Kitch. Like antiviral software, only waaaaaaaaaay better. Wanna go into business with me?

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Friday, January 7, 2011

2011

... is off to quite a start.

For the moment, I'm going to ignore the fact that I'm writing this on a borrowed laptop -- mine suffered a catastrophic loss of power yesterday that will only be remedied with a new adapter -- and focus only on the previous week. It was a decent one.

Given the mess that was 2010, I consider that fantastic news.

I had my concerns as the last moments of the year approached. Please, I said to myself, snuggled into a booth at a wine bar, where my family had opted for a late dinner after the concert we'd attended at Lincoln Center. Please let 2011 be better. Really, it wouldn't take much, all things considered.

I don't have a faith I can fall back on, having grown up with a mix of Buddhism, Catholicism, and atheism coloring various years in my spiritual development (none of the aforementioned schools of belief actually stuck). But the wish I couldn't give voice to, as the final seconds of December fell away, might very well have been a form of prayer. To whom, I don't know. Of late, especially as I've written more and more about family history for my thesis and studied the beliefs that shaped it over a generation or two, I've felt the ghostly presence of my ancestors in the aftermath of their influence. Whether they handed them down whole or in parts, their values -- cultural, philosophical -- had their role in making my parents who they are. So as I've attempted to bring my parents to life on the page, I've found myself consulting, in some ways, with the dead, trying to understand and illustrate my parents' ways of being as they stem from their families of origin.

My grandparents believed that their ancestors watched over them and, in some ways, protected them. In the absence of any other spiritual influences in more recent months, I'd say my own meditations on my ancestors have brought them -- or at least the idea of them -- close enough for me to feel their metaphoric gaze.

So perhaps, my wish for a year better than the preceding one was meant for them to hear. Certainly no one else would have been able to as the New Year neared -- everyone, including my family, was playing a horn or other noisemaker handed out by the maitre d', laughing, cheering, raising flutes of champagne. A perfect chaos of anticipation.

I felt some kind of weight lift as the chef and his staff appeared at last, parading down the main aisle of the restaurant while banging pots and pans to signal the official arrival of January. And that lightness has stayed with me, despite travel exhaustion (mostly jet lag), the unceremonious return to post-vacation life (mostly bills and errands and household chores), and lingering uncertainties about how this year will go.

It's a good sign.

Here's hoping the fact that my adapter fried itself at 4:44 (an extremely unlucky number in Chinese superstition because the word for four is homonymous with the word for death) means absolutely NOTHING.

7 comments:

Good Enough Woman said...

Oh my! I don't even want to TYPE the time that your adapter fried. Maybe that event suggests the death of adapting--so maybe you won't have to ADAPT so much in 2011 . . . but then I guess you wouldn't have to adapt without the laptop . . .

Let's go back to it meaning NOTHING!

NYE in NYC sounds fun And festive! Way to boldly welcome the next year, CT. Here's hoping it's a happy one!

C. Troubadour said...

Whee! Nothing indeed. I'm sticking by that :)

Hope your 2011 is going well too, GEW. (From the sounds of it, your first week or so has been grand!)

BigLittleWolf said...

Wishing you a much improved 2011, and communing with anything and everything that will bring better fortune and health.

2010 wasn't a picnic around here (it including the frying of multiple computers and a few health challenges), but ironically, the number you mention has actually been a lucky one for me (really!). When things aren't going well, I think it's easier to be superstitious (I know I am). When many things are going well, it's easier not to be.

I remain cautiously optimistic about 2011 simply because I like the newness of it, and because, well, despite bad days I still prefer to focus on the good days. And believe there will be more to come.

Sending all good wishes and positive waves, with and without noisemakers, in any configuration of numbers that you like!

Bonne année 2011 !

SuziCate said...

I know you have had a less than wonderful 2010...I wish you many beautiful blessings in 2011 and beyond...and that searching that prayer you found yourself doing, sounds like a void you're trying to fill...you will only find the answer deep within you, and yes, it sounds like apiritual thing, in whatever form it comes to you. Each of our truths are different, none more wrong or right than another. I wish you the best in all things.

C. Troubadour said...

BLW -- well I'm glad that number is lucky for somebody :). In general, I'm not particularly superstitious whether things are going well or otherwise, but I just happened to see the time and had to make note of it. If only to laugh, a little ruefully.

You're right, the newness of the year encourages optimism. And after last year, it just feels good to be out of 2010, whatever else may come. Here's to lots of good for both of us on that front!


SuziCate -- thank you. I appreciate the insights. Intuition wasn't something I listened to a few years ago, but it is much more present for me now. I wish you the best too.

TKW said...

Don't fear that 4--you've had enough assholery to last you this whole next year. 4 ain't got no mojo with you. xo

C. Troubadour said...

I need to invent anti-assholery defenses, Kitch. Like antiviral software, only waaaaaaaaaay better. Wanna go into business with me?