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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.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

In between

Chapter 4 of the Thesis That Would Not End is off to my advisor as of last night. Which makes 40 pages of semi-polished work (as opposed to the 40 pages of not at all polished work I had at this point a year ago). I need 35 more by the second week of March for that fun little deadline known as First Deposit. Essentially, the work has to be "complete and in final form" for the graduate college to review before I can schedule a defense.

It was so much nicer when I thought I didn't have to have all this put together until mid-April.

I'm catching a breath and squeezing in some housework before plunging back into Chapter 5, which is easier said than done. Between D's brother and sister-in-law visiting for the last week (they left yesterday) and some other stuff (yes, I'm being vague because it is way too complicated to go into on a breath-break), my concentration hasn't been at its best. But I have this amazing tool drowning out the indignant howls of the kitty, who is wondering why the heck I've been holed up in the bedroom, where she's not allowed. I can't write with her begging to hop into my lap (or while she's in it), as much as I have tried. So the low hiss coming from my speakers -- rather D's; I'm still waiting on new adapter parts after the hissy fit my old power cord threw -- is kind of helping me focus ...

Emptying the dishwasher and cleaning all the sinks and mirrors in the house should not be all I count toward my measure of productivity today, but everything else feels so much less concrete.

5 comments:

Sherlock said...

Congrats on sending off Ch4! YAY! It's always nice when company leaves. Our older son and I have the same philosophy -- it's great when family lives close enough you can see them more often for fewer hours at a time :-) Love my family but never liked extended visits.

BigLittleWolf said...

40 polished pages sounds none too shabby! I hope those next 35 will not be complicated by any more technical difficulties. (Don't you wish we all had a "hypnotize" button we could apply to ourselves, so some of those tough tough jobs (like writing) we could breeze through?)

That's the gadget I'd like. The AutoHypnotize button.

C. Troubadour said...

Sherlock -- having company in town would have been a little easier if it didn't follow on the heels of a very long holiday trip. (They came for a conference, so the dates weren't very negotiable.) Honestly, the Christmas/New Year's travel marathon was infinitely more stressful if only because managing our diet and other sorts of things that are routine in our own home but not on the road took a lot more of my mental resources. Must lobby for about half the travel time for this year! (Then anyone could come in January and I'd be just fine, I think.)

BLW -- I like this AutoHypnotize button idea! I find I can write with focus for about an hour; after that, I start trying to force words and ideas together more than they flow. So I have to take a break. That's not easy when I know I need to be doing so much more!

SuziCate said...

Sounds like you are pounding it out! And kitties are forgiving...she will just be happy to have your lap back!

C. Troubadour said...

And she always is, SuziCate :). Hopefully laptime will be more frequent by April!

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

In between

Chapter 4 of the Thesis That Would Not End is off to my advisor as of last night. Which makes 40 pages of semi-polished work (as opposed to the 40 pages of not at all polished work I had at this point a year ago). I need 35 more by the second week of March for that fun little deadline known as First Deposit. Essentially, the work has to be "complete and in final form" for the graduate college to review before I can schedule a defense.

It was so much nicer when I thought I didn't have to have all this put together until mid-April.

I'm catching a breath and squeezing in some housework before plunging back into Chapter 5, which is easier said than done. Between D's brother and sister-in-law visiting for the last week (they left yesterday) and some other stuff (yes, I'm being vague because it is way too complicated to go into on a breath-break), my concentration hasn't been at its best. But I have this amazing tool drowning out the indignant howls of the kitty, who is wondering why the heck I've been holed up in the bedroom, where she's not allowed. I can't write with her begging to hop into my lap (or while she's in it), as much as I have tried. So the low hiss coming from my speakers -- rather D's; I'm still waiting on new adapter parts after the hissy fit my old power cord threw -- is kind of helping me focus ...

Emptying the dishwasher and cleaning all the sinks and mirrors in the house should not be all I count toward my measure of productivity today, but everything else feels so much less concrete.

5 comments:

Sherlock said...

Congrats on sending off Ch4! YAY! It's always nice when company leaves. Our older son and I have the same philosophy -- it's great when family lives close enough you can see them more often for fewer hours at a time :-) Love my family but never liked extended visits.

BigLittleWolf said...

40 polished pages sounds none too shabby! I hope those next 35 will not be complicated by any more technical difficulties. (Don't you wish we all had a "hypnotize" button we could apply to ourselves, so some of those tough tough jobs (like writing) we could breeze through?)

That's the gadget I'd like. The AutoHypnotize button.

C. Troubadour said...

Sherlock -- having company in town would have been a little easier if it didn't follow on the heels of a very long holiday trip. (They came for a conference, so the dates weren't very negotiable.) Honestly, the Christmas/New Year's travel marathon was infinitely more stressful if only because managing our diet and other sorts of things that are routine in our own home but not on the road took a lot more of my mental resources. Must lobby for about half the travel time for this year! (Then anyone could come in January and I'd be just fine, I think.)

BLW -- I like this AutoHypnotize button idea! I find I can write with focus for about an hour; after that, I start trying to force words and ideas together more than they flow. So I have to take a break. That's not easy when I know I need to be doing so much more!

SuziCate said...

Sounds like you are pounding it out! And kitties are forgiving...she will just be happy to have your lap back!

C. Troubadour said...

And she always is, SuziCate :). Hopefully laptime will be more frequent by April!