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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.

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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.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

How to eff the ineffable

A writer classmate of mine once used that phrase, which she'd acquired from a former professor. I'm invoking it now because, well, there's a lot I'd like to eff.

I don't mean eff as in that wonderfully flexible expletive I would have liked to utter (as noun, adjective, verb, or other part of speech -- thank you, George Carlin) when, at the end of yesterday, my manuscript was not in my hands. Yes, I've e-mailed my professor to get the tracking number.

No, I mean, the unbloggable kind of things I'd like to eff. There are those things that, though usually not trotted out in conversation with acquaintances, I do write about here: thoughts on family, thoughts on illness.

But then there's the stuff of ugly fights, in person, on the phone. The kinds of things you take to a mediator because you just don't have the perspective to work through them in a constructive way. Because both parties involved are raw.

That's been the last month, after many more months of buildup. And I'm not inclined to go into it here because it's not constructive. Not yet.

But that plan for getting through thesis? Well, it works when it's just thesis stuff getting me down. It's not enough for the specific kind of loneliness you feel after you hang up (by mutual agreement), after you sit for hours in silence not knowing what to say or do (because the alternative -- speaking -- will make things worse).

This is what makes my thesis feel so pointless sometimes.

Yes, we have professionals lined up; yes, it's helping. A lot. I don't want to imagine where we'd be without all that in place. We are so new, however, to the changes we've agreed to make, so used to the old habits. Under duress, we fall back on what we know and everything refragments.

I confess: yesterday, I totally effed my plan. Today, I get back to it. And reshape it to address what I can't eff here.

2 comments:

BigLittleWolf said...

Obviously, I don't know what's going on, but I do know the sensation of "raw." And maybe none of us can have the words you might need other than flippant or easy platitudes, so I'll skip those.

Family matters, close relationships, illness - there are no formulas for getting through. Sometimes maybe it's about slugging it out, trusting others, setting things aside long enough to be just a little less raw (always harder when you have several of these challenging stressors working on you at the same time).

I know for me, what has helped just a little is stepping back into some quiet (in my head) - not easy - and thinking about what really matters. Trying to strip down to the barest essentials. Who do I love? Why? What do I contribute to their lives? What can I see through their eyes that perhaps I haven't, given what is pressing on me?

Whatever it is, however many "it's" there may be, I wish for you the time and space and deep breath to figure it out. Or for it to ease just enough, so things are a little less raw.

xoxo

C. Troubadour said...

Hello, wise Wolf. I'm coming up for air before returning to the writing. Have been trying to think of what to say in reply here for these last few days, and with all that is -- yes, you've come up with the right phrase -- pressing on me, I'm having a hard time finding words. Just gratitude that someone out there gets it.

Your questions are good. I'm all about essentials right now. Am carrying your counsel around with me; I know it's making a difference.

xoxo

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Thursday, April 7, 2011

How to eff the ineffable

A writer classmate of mine once used that phrase, which she'd acquired from a former professor. I'm invoking it now because, well, there's a lot I'd like to eff.

I don't mean eff as in that wonderfully flexible expletive I would have liked to utter (as noun, adjective, verb, or other part of speech -- thank you, George Carlin) when, at the end of yesterday, my manuscript was not in my hands. Yes, I've e-mailed my professor to get the tracking number.

No, I mean, the unbloggable kind of things I'd like to eff. There are those things that, though usually not trotted out in conversation with acquaintances, I do write about here: thoughts on family, thoughts on illness.

But then there's the stuff of ugly fights, in person, on the phone. The kinds of things you take to a mediator because you just don't have the perspective to work through them in a constructive way. Because both parties involved are raw.

That's been the last month, after many more months of buildup. And I'm not inclined to go into it here because it's not constructive. Not yet.

But that plan for getting through thesis? Well, it works when it's just thesis stuff getting me down. It's not enough for the specific kind of loneliness you feel after you hang up (by mutual agreement), after you sit for hours in silence not knowing what to say or do (because the alternative -- speaking -- will make things worse).

This is what makes my thesis feel so pointless sometimes.

Yes, we have professionals lined up; yes, it's helping. A lot. I don't want to imagine where we'd be without all that in place. We are so new, however, to the changes we've agreed to make, so used to the old habits. Under duress, we fall back on what we know and everything refragments.

I confess: yesterday, I totally effed my plan. Today, I get back to it. And reshape it to address what I can't eff here.

2 comments:

BigLittleWolf said...

Obviously, I don't know what's going on, but I do know the sensation of "raw." And maybe none of us can have the words you might need other than flippant or easy platitudes, so I'll skip those.

Family matters, close relationships, illness - there are no formulas for getting through. Sometimes maybe it's about slugging it out, trusting others, setting things aside long enough to be just a little less raw (always harder when you have several of these challenging stressors working on you at the same time).

I know for me, what has helped just a little is stepping back into some quiet (in my head) - not easy - and thinking about what really matters. Trying to strip down to the barest essentials. Who do I love? Why? What do I contribute to their lives? What can I see through their eyes that perhaps I haven't, given what is pressing on me?

Whatever it is, however many "it's" there may be, I wish for you the time and space and deep breath to figure it out. Or for it to ease just enough, so things are a little less raw.

xoxo

C. Troubadour said...

Hello, wise Wolf. I'm coming up for air before returning to the writing. Have been trying to think of what to say in reply here for these last few days, and with all that is -- yes, you've come up with the right phrase -- pressing on me, I'm having a hard time finding words. Just gratitude that someone out there gets it.

Your questions are good. I'm all about essentials right now. Am carrying your counsel around with me; I know it's making a difference.

xoxo