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, March 4, 2011

Creative writing?

Another week, and still not much progress. My thesis is trying to write itself in the best way it can, but there's no brain behind it. Or rather, no heart. The paragraphs I've strung together have technical finesse, but the words feel hollow and directionless, like a blurry facsimile of the real story I want somehow to tell. And the writer in me knows it. After letting the thesis grow so many lines of text, like mutant tentacles searching for a place to catch hold, my own brain balks. This just isn't going anywhere, it says.

I've hit the point in the narrative where the story is too big for me to see its arc again. Unfortunately, this isn't a block that can be solved by reading the words of other writers for reinvigoration. In a way, it's like I've been trying to work my way out of the center of a bull's eye. The tiny circle in the middle was the first chapter; the next ring out, the four that followed. Finding a vantage point from which to see that second group of chapters took months -- from last February to last August -- and I don't have the luxury of time anymore.

I have some twenty pages to fill and two years' worth of research. Even if the story isn't falling into place, my process of seeking answers is certainly well documented. So my plan, which I've now e-mailed my advisor, is to use all of that to write an afterword. It'll give voice to a lot of questions that haven't yet been asked within the narrative and reveal the as-yet-unaddressed pieces of the story, rough as their introduction there might feel to me.

It's not the way I want to finish this. But finished is what this needs to be.

Addendum 3/6: My laptop fried a portion of its hard drive today. First the adapter cord, now the disk itself? I'm not liking this trend.

7 comments:

TKW said...

Fried discs and technical assholery? Bring out the voodoo doll! Sending you writing vibes!

C. Troubadour said...

Thank you, Kitch!!! (Incidentally, my advisor nixed my plan, so now we're on to Option B. More on THAT later.)

BigLittleWolf said...

Laptop meltdown? OMG. That's like an involuntary verbal partial lobotomy. Or 3 martinis when you're 5' tall.

Time for a long vay-kay. Or a bite-me moment. Or 2 months sleep, and when you wake, the files are magically restored and it was all a bad dream...

C. Troubadour said...

OMG OMG OMG. Yes, BLW, it was definitely a bite-me moment.

Fortunately, the files were backed up -- but the machine itself needed to be reconfigured. Perhaps the universe is telling me to take a break. (I did.) And now I'm back at it, hoping such a crash doesn't happen again!

P.S. Three martinis? I think you could still drink me under the table -- more than one would do it for me ;)

BigLittleWolf said...

Nope. I can't drink a flea under the table. 3 martinis = comatose. (And I guess that was my point.)

My kids LAUGH at me. I mix a martini about an hour before I watch and episode of Mad Men. If I have finished the entire martini an hour AFTER (count 'em... that makes 3 hours), then I'm in about the same state as I was when those sneaky sisters at Momalom had us all half-hammered and participating in a writing challenge for a week!

But I do love the cool glasses that martinis come in. And vodka soaked olives? Ooooo baby!

Good Enough Woman said...

I hope the tech issues are resolved and that you've stumbled onto something that will move the writing forward. So the advisor wasn't cool with the afterword idea? Hang in there! Do you need some port and dark chocolate? Or some good sorbet?

C. Troubadour said...

Port and chocolate, sign me up, GEW! Actually, we baked a carrot cake with some low-carb ingredients last week -- that has been a treat to keep me going (the carrot cake at the end of the stick?).

Yes, my advisor said no to the 20 pp. afterword. But she suggested some other tactics for getting to the finish line, and one is paying off. (Whew.)

I'm laughing because my word verification is "untan." Ya think, after all this time holed up with my thesis? ;)

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 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 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, March 4, 2011

Creative writing?

Another week, and still not much progress. My thesis is trying to write itself in the best way it can, but there's no brain behind it. Or rather, no heart. The paragraphs I've strung together have technical finesse, but the words feel hollow and directionless, like a blurry facsimile of the real story I want somehow to tell. And the writer in me knows it. After letting the thesis grow so many lines of text, like mutant tentacles searching for a place to catch hold, my own brain balks. This just isn't going anywhere, it says.

I've hit the point in the narrative where the story is too big for me to see its arc again. Unfortunately, this isn't a block that can be solved by reading the words of other writers for reinvigoration. In a way, it's like I've been trying to work my way out of the center of a bull's eye. The tiny circle in the middle was the first chapter; the next ring out, the four that followed. Finding a vantage point from which to see that second group of chapters took months -- from last February to last August -- and I don't have the luxury of time anymore.

I have some twenty pages to fill and two years' worth of research. Even if the story isn't falling into place, my process of seeking answers is certainly well documented. So my plan, which I've now e-mailed my advisor, is to use all of that to write an afterword. It'll give voice to a lot of questions that haven't yet been asked within the narrative and reveal the as-yet-unaddressed pieces of the story, rough as their introduction there might feel to me.

It's not the way I want to finish this. But finished is what this needs to be.

Addendum 3/6: My laptop fried a portion of its hard drive today. First the adapter cord, now the disk itself? I'm not liking this trend.

7 comments:

TKW said...

Fried discs and technical assholery? Bring out the voodoo doll! Sending you writing vibes!

C. Troubadour said...

Thank you, Kitch!!! (Incidentally, my advisor nixed my plan, so now we're on to Option B. More on THAT later.)

BigLittleWolf said...

Laptop meltdown? OMG. That's like an involuntary verbal partial lobotomy. Or 3 martinis when you're 5' tall.

Time for a long vay-kay. Or a bite-me moment. Or 2 months sleep, and when you wake, the files are magically restored and it was all a bad dream...

C. Troubadour said...

OMG OMG OMG. Yes, BLW, it was definitely a bite-me moment.

Fortunately, the files were backed up -- but the machine itself needed to be reconfigured. Perhaps the universe is telling me to take a break. (I did.) And now I'm back at it, hoping such a crash doesn't happen again!

P.S. Three martinis? I think you could still drink me under the table -- more than one would do it for me ;)

BigLittleWolf said...

Nope. I can't drink a flea under the table. 3 martinis = comatose. (And I guess that was my point.)

My kids LAUGH at me. I mix a martini about an hour before I watch and episode of Mad Men. If I have finished the entire martini an hour AFTER (count 'em... that makes 3 hours), then I'm in about the same state as I was when those sneaky sisters at Momalom had us all half-hammered and participating in a writing challenge for a week!

But I do love the cool glasses that martinis come in. And vodka soaked olives? Ooooo baby!

Good Enough Woman said...

I hope the tech issues are resolved and that you've stumbled onto something that will move the writing forward. So the advisor wasn't cool with the afterword idea? Hang in there! Do you need some port and dark chocolate? Or some good sorbet?

C. Troubadour said...

Port and chocolate, sign me up, GEW! Actually, we baked a carrot cake with some low-carb ingredients last week -- that has been a treat to keep me going (the carrot cake at the end of the stick?).

Yes, my advisor said no to the 20 pp. afterword. But she suggested some other tactics for getting to the finish line, and one is paying off. (Whew.)

I'm laughing because my word verification is "untan." Ya think, after all this time holed up with my thesis? ;)