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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 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, March 21, 2011

Feelers

I've been quiet here, I know. It's a mixed silence, some of it imposed largely out of respect for the devastation in Japan. What sorts of things that I normally write about here have any importance in the face of the aftermath there? I've watched the headlines, counted my blessings. Inched forward with writing elsewhere -- thesis, primarily, and other notes to self.

I'm on the home stretch, despite my advisor's rejecting my most recent plan to get my page count where it needs to be. We don't do analysis in this program, she said; it's not required. By which she meant, no, I don't want a report. I want more of the story.

So I went back to my draft. She'd looked it over and sent good comments, so I had new ideas on how I might make Chapter 6 grow. Early last week, I forwarded a revision to her. Now, with Chapter 7 under construction, I have just nine pages or so to go.

It's a relief -- April 1st is my goal for the final chapter -- but it's also meant a certain amount of living under a rock (beyond reading the online news). I'm taking it in stints. Each weekday, a morning session, an afternoon session. Nights off. At the worst part of the struggle to get Chapter 6 started, I was staring at the screen at all hours, still getting nowhere.

To counter the feeling that I'm turning into an earwig, I've imposed mandatory outings that involve interaction with people. To get lunch with new acquaintances during the week (a girl has to eat). To peruse an art exhibit on a Saturday afternoon, to attend the symphony with D on a weeknight, even to ski. For that last one, I took the thesis with me and nearly got carsick working on it while D drove into the mountains, but it was worth the effort. I wrote until I was nauseated and then skied until my legs threatened to buckle. Went back home with a clear head, which, above all, is what I need to keep my writing brain moving.

It's not what I expected my writing process to be, but it's true that you can't write well if you spend all your time with your attention turned within. So I'll take it, even if the workaholic in me keeps tapping my shoulder and pointing at the time.

Nine pages. The end's in sight.

Addendum 3/22: Airline tickets for the defense have been purchased. No turning back now!

8 comments:

French Fancy... said...

Aren't deadlines dreadful. They loom up and also hover in the background - they are never out of our minds, whatever else we are doing. You have my complete and utter sympathies - but look, the end is indeed in sight and how wonderful you will feel when you push the chair back from the monitor, heave that proverbial sigh of relief and shout for joy that you have finished.

I'm rooting for you, CT and I've missed you

x
Julie

TKW said...

Nine pages? Rock on!! You will prevail, my friend. xo

Good Enough Woman said...

I am so impressed by the fact that you're meeting your deadlines! Way to go! And I think your schedule sounds great. Those kinds of diversions are exactly what writers need (or so I've read). Walks, friends, the arts. Skiing. No justifications necessary. Whenever I read writer's diaries or letters, that's the kind of stuff their lives are made of. Sounds like a wonderful balance (even if you don't feel especially balanced right now).

And, yes, the devastation is Japan is, for me, apocalyptically unimaginable.

Hang in there!

C. Troubadour said...

Hello, FF! I look forward with great relish to that sigh of relief. I've missed you too.

TKW -- thank you. Today's break will involve the sewing machine. Yes.

GEW -- I cannot believe I'm within shooting distance of my deadlines. I just need everything to keep going in this vein for another week and a half. Fortunately, the activities are keeping me from thinking about that too much, another function of the whole diversion strategy ...

Sherlock said...

Way to go!! Deadline in sight! I know you'll be glad when it's done.

C. Troubadour said...

Hi Sherlock -- yes, so very close. Can't wait!

BigLittleWolf said...

Sometimes it takes an extraordinary effort and amount of time to get where you want to go. But you do. Truly.

And yes - Japan, the Middle East. It's hard not to feel it looming. But each day we have living to do. The business of living. Our little piece in the puzzle of our families and offices and communities. We have to keep going. What else is there?

And you, chere CT - keep at it. You'll get there!

C. Troubadour said...

I know you know, BLW, the extraordinary efforts needed sometimes for the distances we have to make ourselves travel. Thank you for the encouragement. Progress this week has been two steps forward, one step back. But my net gain is still positive!

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Monday, March 21, 2011

Feelers

I've been quiet here, I know. It's a mixed silence, some of it imposed largely out of respect for the devastation in Japan. What sorts of things that I normally write about here have any importance in the face of the aftermath there? I've watched the headlines, counted my blessings. Inched forward with writing elsewhere -- thesis, primarily, and other notes to self.

I'm on the home stretch, despite my advisor's rejecting my most recent plan to get my page count where it needs to be. We don't do analysis in this program, she said; it's not required. By which she meant, no, I don't want a report. I want more of the story.

So I went back to my draft. She'd looked it over and sent good comments, so I had new ideas on how I might make Chapter 6 grow. Early last week, I forwarded a revision to her. Now, with Chapter 7 under construction, I have just nine pages or so to go.

It's a relief -- April 1st is my goal for the final chapter -- but it's also meant a certain amount of living under a rock (beyond reading the online news). I'm taking it in stints. Each weekday, a morning session, an afternoon session. Nights off. At the worst part of the struggle to get Chapter 6 started, I was staring at the screen at all hours, still getting nowhere.

To counter the feeling that I'm turning into an earwig, I've imposed mandatory outings that involve interaction with people. To get lunch with new acquaintances during the week (a girl has to eat). To peruse an art exhibit on a Saturday afternoon, to attend the symphony with D on a weeknight, even to ski. For that last one, I took the thesis with me and nearly got carsick working on it while D drove into the mountains, but it was worth the effort. I wrote until I was nauseated and then skied until my legs threatened to buckle. Went back home with a clear head, which, above all, is what I need to keep my writing brain moving.

It's not what I expected my writing process to be, but it's true that you can't write well if you spend all your time with your attention turned within. So I'll take it, even if the workaholic in me keeps tapping my shoulder and pointing at the time.

Nine pages. The end's in sight.

Addendum 3/22: Airline tickets for the defense have been purchased. No turning back now!

8 comments:

French Fancy... said...

Aren't deadlines dreadful. They loom up and also hover in the background - they are never out of our minds, whatever else we are doing. You have my complete and utter sympathies - but look, the end is indeed in sight and how wonderful you will feel when you push the chair back from the monitor, heave that proverbial sigh of relief and shout for joy that you have finished.

I'm rooting for you, CT and I've missed you

x
Julie

TKW said...

Nine pages? Rock on!! You will prevail, my friend. xo

Good Enough Woman said...

I am so impressed by the fact that you're meeting your deadlines! Way to go! And I think your schedule sounds great. Those kinds of diversions are exactly what writers need (or so I've read). Walks, friends, the arts. Skiing. No justifications necessary. Whenever I read writer's diaries or letters, that's the kind of stuff their lives are made of. Sounds like a wonderful balance (even if you don't feel especially balanced right now).

And, yes, the devastation is Japan is, for me, apocalyptically unimaginable.

Hang in there!

C. Troubadour said...

Hello, FF! I look forward with great relish to that sigh of relief. I've missed you too.

TKW -- thank you. Today's break will involve the sewing machine. Yes.

GEW -- I cannot believe I'm within shooting distance of my deadlines. I just need everything to keep going in this vein for another week and a half. Fortunately, the activities are keeping me from thinking about that too much, another function of the whole diversion strategy ...

Sherlock said...

Way to go!! Deadline in sight! I know you'll be glad when it's done.

C. Troubadour said...

Hi Sherlock -- yes, so very close. Can't wait!

BigLittleWolf said...

Sometimes it takes an extraordinary effort and amount of time to get where you want to go. But you do. Truly.

And yes - Japan, the Middle East. It's hard not to feel it looming. But each day we have living to do. The business of living. Our little piece in the puzzle of our families and offices and communities. We have to keep going. What else is there?

And you, chere CT - keep at it. You'll get there!

C. Troubadour said...

I know you know, BLW, the extraordinary efforts needed sometimes for the distances we have to make ourselves travel. Thank you for the encouragement. Progress this week has been two steps forward, one step back. But my net gain is still positive!