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!)

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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.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Wordless

So I turned in Chapter 5.

And then I crashed.

Not that I wasn't trying to get the next part of this thesis done -- I spent every day last week staring at a blinking cursor, typing sentences only to delete them or hit enter to move them down the page because they led nowhere. False starts. Words that felt labored and unclear because the direction of the work itself, at this juncture, is nebulous too.

I fear these moments most. Chapter 5 closed a major section of the project -- an accomplishment to be proud of. But with it, the momentum of the story shut down too. There's much more I need to say, and in turning this work into a book after I finish my MFA, I will. But for now, for the next two or three chapters that I must write to make my page count to graduate, I need to know what piece comes next in this puzzle. And because all the previous chapters have so cleanly packaged themselves together (not something I anticipated, but that's where the writing went), it's like I'm starting a new thesis, in a way.

I'm not good at beginnings. And last week, in the face of this unexpected return to one, I thrashed, going back again and again to the keyboard when I should have just given myself a break. You see, I wanted to speed up the process. These blocks don't crumble without a lot of trial and error, and I figured the more time I put in, the sooner I'd find a way through.

It hasn't happened. And after so many miserable days, I need a new approach. So I'm reading other writers' words, hoping for inspiration, and trying to ignore that feeling of powerlessness as the clock ticks on.

It's still staggering.

5 comments:

SuziCate said...

I know all too well moments of drought! But chapeter 5! How great is that?! I think you are inspiring to be honest!

BigLittleWolf said...

Staring at the blinking cursor. Oh God. E-M-P-A-T-H-Y, my friend.

Sometimes, you just need to let your head empty.

Or - you need a game. An inane, unrelated challenge. Ask a writer friend to propose that you craft something silly and for no other reason than the fun of it.

For instance - an Italian sonnet, in which you speak of garlic and cuban cigars.

Or, 500 words of musing on any topic, as long as it includes 8 colors, three little-used adjectives starting with the letter 'j' and the words raucous, mandatory, lithe, simian, and ball.

Add three spices.

See what you get.

Oh - it doesn't have that - but 'twould be fun, no? This is something that an old writing pal and I used to do every few weeks as part of a writing group online, when we'd be too tired from "real life" and parenting and jobs to find the writing soul.

Generally, these exercises shook something loose. Or loosened our laughter at the very least!

xoxo

Repose-toi un peu, quand-meme. Cela reviendra. Ne t'en fais pas.

C. Troubadour said...

SuziCate -- I am excited to have gotten so far. Looking at the point in my progress a year ago, I would never have thought I'd make it to now!

BLW -- I LOVE this game. It made me think of a writing group that would appreciate your experienced contribution. This one, specifically. I was referred to it through another blog whose author I recently met.

Good Enough Woman said...

I am catching on my blog reading, and so I read your most recent post, and then I re-read the post-conference post, and I was struch by how different the two are in terms of your state of mind. In the post-conference post, you seem so inspired, and in the recent one, well, obviously not so much. Isn't it interesting how quickly things can change. I wonder if you were to read, specifically, some of the writers you heard at the conference, if that "language" you mention would strike you and stir your own voice.

Congrats on Chapter Five! I've never written five chapters of anything, so I'm very impressed. :)

C. Troubadour said...

I was just about to post about this, GEW! How uncanny. I actually did check out some titles from the library, all books that I'd heard about or found at the conference. The one I just finished today was a particularly timely read. The wheels have been turning as I've made my way through it, so your advice is/was spot-on this week :). Chapter 6 is established and moving forward.

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Wordless

So I turned in Chapter 5.

And then I crashed.

Not that I wasn't trying to get the next part of this thesis done -- I spent every day last week staring at a blinking cursor, typing sentences only to delete them or hit enter to move them down the page because they led nowhere. False starts. Words that felt labored and unclear because the direction of the work itself, at this juncture, is nebulous too.

I fear these moments most. Chapter 5 closed a major section of the project -- an accomplishment to be proud of. But with it, the momentum of the story shut down too. There's much more I need to say, and in turning this work into a book after I finish my MFA, I will. But for now, for the next two or three chapters that I must write to make my page count to graduate, I need to know what piece comes next in this puzzle. And because all the previous chapters have so cleanly packaged themselves together (not something I anticipated, but that's where the writing went), it's like I'm starting a new thesis, in a way.

I'm not good at beginnings. And last week, in the face of this unexpected return to one, I thrashed, going back again and again to the keyboard when I should have just given myself a break. You see, I wanted to speed up the process. These blocks don't crumble without a lot of trial and error, and I figured the more time I put in, the sooner I'd find a way through.

It hasn't happened. And after so many miserable days, I need a new approach. So I'm reading other writers' words, hoping for inspiration, and trying to ignore that feeling of powerlessness as the clock ticks on.

It's still staggering.

5 comments:

SuziCate said...

I know all too well moments of drought! But chapeter 5! How great is that?! I think you are inspiring to be honest!

BigLittleWolf said...

Staring at the blinking cursor. Oh God. E-M-P-A-T-H-Y, my friend.

Sometimes, you just need to let your head empty.

Or - you need a game. An inane, unrelated challenge. Ask a writer friend to propose that you craft something silly and for no other reason than the fun of it.

For instance - an Italian sonnet, in which you speak of garlic and cuban cigars.

Or, 500 words of musing on any topic, as long as it includes 8 colors, three little-used adjectives starting with the letter 'j' and the words raucous, mandatory, lithe, simian, and ball.

Add three spices.

See what you get.

Oh - it doesn't have that - but 'twould be fun, no? This is something that an old writing pal and I used to do every few weeks as part of a writing group online, when we'd be too tired from "real life" and parenting and jobs to find the writing soul.

Generally, these exercises shook something loose. Or loosened our laughter at the very least!

xoxo

Repose-toi un peu, quand-meme. Cela reviendra. Ne t'en fais pas.

C. Troubadour said...

SuziCate -- I am excited to have gotten so far. Looking at the point in my progress a year ago, I would never have thought I'd make it to now!

BLW -- I LOVE this game. It made me think of a writing group that would appreciate your experienced contribution. This one, specifically. I was referred to it through another blog whose author I recently met.

Good Enough Woman said...

I am catching on my blog reading, and so I read your most recent post, and then I re-read the post-conference post, and I was struch by how different the two are in terms of your state of mind. In the post-conference post, you seem so inspired, and in the recent one, well, obviously not so much. Isn't it interesting how quickly things can change. I wonder if you were to read, specifically, some of the writers you heard at the conference, if that "language" you mention would strike you and stir your own voice.

Congrats on Chapter Five! I've never written five chapters of anything, so I'm very impressed. :)

C. Troubadour said...

I was just about to post about this, GEW! How uncanny. I actually did check out some titles from the library, all books that I'd heard about or found at the conference. The one I just finished today was a particularly timely read. The wheels have been turning as I've made my way through it, so your advice is/was spot-on this week :). Chapter 6 is established and moving forward.