Blogroll

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!)

Archives

For posts sorted by date or label, see the links below.

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

To search this blog, type in the field at the top left of the page and hit enter.

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, February 25, 2011

Note(s) to self

I feel like I need to write them.

I have been, actually. A quick e-mail here and there, just a sentence or two. Don't forget to do this, be sure you remember to pick up that, call this person, mail that letter, tell yourself these things because if you don't, they will blow away like powdery snow that refuses to stick.

But there's more than a list of chores accumulating in my inbox. There are ideas, baby ones, for writing. For essays that will have to wait till the thesis is done.

Trust me, I'd work on both if I could, but I know the limits of my energy and concentration. Still, I'm excited. For so long, I've wondered if all I had was this work, and if it was never to get finished or I lost interest, what then?

What then.

I wrote about inspiration in the days after my conference, and then I found myself without it last week. Out of some instinctive need, I went to the library and turned to the voices of the writers I'd met -- some in person, some through the mention of their work. And the fog in my mind began to clear.

It was not the exact subject or idea that helped me. In fact, reading someone else's work on the same thing you might be writing about can be very intimidating -- it's been done, it's so easy to think. And there are critics who will say that it's true, that love and death and trauma are all tired topics. But it's not the what of the writing; it's the how. One of the panels I attended was dedicated to that idea, what happens when we're told that something is too "done" -- or so the language runs -- to write about anymore.

I came away from that panel with more resolve behind what I'd been trying to do in the last few years. Not that this alone can clear those pesky blocks from my mind when the work doesn't know where it needs to go. But in reading the prose of one of the panel members this week, I was able to get away from my own tangled thoughts and understand, through her way of narrating her story, that sometimes not knowing how to proceed is itself the fiber that can tie words together. Instead of trying to sew up holes, I needed to point them out. And what each person doesn't know, how she navigates that -- this is what fingerprints a work, making it its own.

Chapter 6 is at last under way, and no, I still don't know where it will end up. But I know with certainty now that this is okay. That the examination of the unknown itself may be just where it needs to go.

Thank you to everyone who's sent me suggestions, exercises, and even talismans for kicking the writer's block! It's been incredibly helpful to know you're cheering me on.

4 comments:

TKW said...

Here's my note to you: I love you.

C. Troubadour said...

You know I love you right back, Kitch.

<3

BigLittleWolf said...

You can do it. You can do it. You can do it. (You know you can.)

I have such admiration for those who pursue and finish multi-year projects. It takes enormous inner strength - and for some of us - dozens of tricks and constant struggle.

And you can do it. J'en suis sure.

C. Troubadour said...

Merci, BLW. I do know I can -- I also know my limits, and I believe my latest insights on the scope of the project are telling me that I've reached mine! (At least, within the time limits I have to get this done for the degree.) So I'm reassessing how to complete the thesis in short order so I can move on to the larger work at my own pace. More on that in a post soon to come.

Posts by date

Posts by label

Air travel Airline food Allergic reactions Astoria Awards Bacteremia Bacterial overgrowth Baggage beefs Bed and breakfast Betrayal Blues Body Boston Breastfeeding British Columbia California Canada Cape Spear Clam-digging Colonoscopy Commuter marriage Cooking CT scans Delays Diagnoses Dietitians Doctor-patient relationships Doctors Eating while traveling Editing Endocrine Endoscopy ER False starts Family dynamics Feedback Food anxiety Food sensitivities Gate agent guff GI Halifax Heart Home-making House hunting Hypoglycemia In-laws Intentional happiness Iowa Journaling Kidney stones Knitting Lab tests Little U. on the Prairie Liver function tests Long Beach Making friends in new places Malabsorption Massachusetts Medical records Medication Mentorship MFA programs Miami Monterey Motivation Moving Narrative New York Newark Newfoundland Nova Scotia Olympic Peninsula Ontario Ophthalmology Oregon Oxalates Pancreatic function tests Parenting Parents Paris Pets Photography Portland Prediabetes Pregnancy Process Professors Publishing Reproductive endocrine Research Revision Rewriting Rheumatology San Francisco Scenes from a graduation series Scenes from around the table series Seattle Sisters Skiing St. John's Striped-up paisley Teaching Technological snafus Texas Thesis Toronto Travel Travel fears Traveling while sick Ultrasound Urology Vancouver Victoria Voice Washington Washington D.C. Weight When words won't stick Whidbey Island Why we write Workshops Writers on writing Writing Writing friends Writing in odd places Writing jobs Yakima

Friday, February 25, 2011

Note(s) to self

I feel like I need to write them.

I have been, actually. A quick e-mail here and there, just a sentence or two. Don't forget to do this, be sure you remember to pick up that, call this person, mail that letter, tell yourself these things because if you don't, they will blow away like powdery snow that refuses to stick.

But there's more than a list of chores accumulating in my inbox. There are ideas, baby ones, for writing. For essays that will have to wait till the thesis is done.

Trust me, I'd work on both if I could, but I know the limits of my energy and concentration. Still, I'm excited. For so long, I've wondered if all I had was this work, and if it was never to get finished or I lost interest, what then?

What then.

I wrote about inspiration in the days after my conference, and then I found myself without it last week. Out of some instinctive need, I went to the library and turned to the voices of the writers I'd met -- some in person, some through the mention of their work. And the fog in my mind began to clear.

It was not the exact subject or idea that helped me. In fact, reading someone else's work on the same thing you might be writing about can be very intimidating -- it's been done, it's so easy to think. And there are critics who will say that it's true, that love and death and trauma are all tired topics. But it's not the what of the writing; it's the how. One of the panels I attended was dedicated to that idea, what happens when we're told that something is too "done" -- or so the language runs -- to write about anymore.

I came away from that panel with more resolve behind what I'd been trying to do in the last few years. Not that this alone can clear those pesky blocks from my mind when the work doesn't know where it needs to go. But in reading the prose of one of the panel members this week, I was able to get away from my own tangled thoughts and understand, through her way of narrating her story, that sometimes not knowing how to proceed is itself the fiber that can tie words together. Instead of trying to sew up holes, I needed to point them out. And what each person doesn't know, how she navigates that -- this is what fingerprints a work, making it its own.

Chapter 6 is at last under way, and no, I still don't know where it will end up. But I know with certainty now that this is okay. That the examination of the unknown itself may be just where it needs to go.

Thank you to everyone who's sent me suggestions, exercises, and even talismans for kicking the writer's block! It's been incredibly helpful to know you're cheering me on.

4 comments:

TKW said...

Here's my note to you: I love you.

C. Troubadour said...

You know I love you right back, Kitch.

<3

BigLittleWolf said...

You can do it. You can do it. You can do it. (You know you can.)

I have such admiration for those who pursue and finish multi-year projects. It takes enormous inner strength - and for some of us - dozens of tricks and constant struggle.

And you can do it. J'en suis sure.

C. Troubadour said...

Merci, BLW. I do know I can -- I also know my limits, and I believe my latest insights on the scope of the project are telling me that I've reached mine! (At least, within the time limits I have to get this done for the degree.) So I'm reassessing how to complete the thesis in short order so I can move on to the larger work at my own pace. More on that in a post soon to come.