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.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Pruning and grafting

My manuscript is somewhere over the U.S. today.

I'd e-mailed the full draft to my advisor last week, as instructed. She wrote me a harried reply late Sunday night to say she'd only started reading it that day, was halfway through, and was exhausted. (She's teaching an overload and is on seven other thesis committees, she said, as she's said numerous times this semester.) She'd been writing directly on the hard copy she'd printed off. Could I give her my address so she could mail it to me, two-day air? Just the first six chapters. On the seventh, she'd had nothing to suggest.

Nothing? That gave me some pause. They say any editor, when she's giving your work the attention it ought to have, should be able to find something.

I gave my advisor the information, hoping she'd keep duplicates in case what she was sending got lost. I almost asked her if she'd do that for me, just for my own peace of mind. But I couldn't quite ask her to make copies. She was already fried. She didn't need to hear my implied mistrust -- of her judgment, the postal service, the universe. I'm working on that last one, but old habits die hard, especially after last year.

When that package hits the front porch tomorrow, I'll need to be in the frame of mind to dive in, assess what and where to add or subtract with my advisor's guidance, limited as I'm afraid it might be. And I knew that, when I sent it off, given her increasingly frazzled notes in the last two months. So I took the last days of the previous week and the weekend to leave the draft completely, to prepare myself: laundry, yard cleanup. I can't edit well when I'm surrounded by clutter.

The lavender we planted two summers ago is turning green again after the winter. And it was looking leggy. I squatted for an hour, clipping away dead wood, tidying, shaping, peering at tiny silver shoots, trying to determine how the plants would look in a few weeks' time when they had filled out.

This morning, I saw them from the kitchen window -- six little fuzzy globes by the flagstone walk -- and mumbled some kind of prayer: let me be able to see what I need to see tomorrow and for the rest of this month.

The routine my advisor and I have kept for the past two years has been more like this: I send her pages; she writes a note back summing up her general impressions with a list of specific concerns at the end. It sounds like I'll be getting the specifics as they appear in the margins, but the big picture, right when it really matters? That's what she won't be pulling together for me; she asked my permission, in a way, to be excused from that. I'm disappointed. If there was ever a time that the larger impression felt crucial -- but I can't worry about it. There just isn't anything more I can ask of her, so enough. I'll make do.

Six little fuzzy globes, six hairy chapters. At least it's not a delicate bonsai ...

Addendum 4/6: No package as of 8 p.m. PDT. Insert choice expletive here.

5 comments:

Sherlock said...

It's great to see the spring buds and blooms. Everything in our yard is green again and some things are starting to bloom. I love it.

Sounds like the writing is also "blooming" -- good going.

SuziCate said...

Congrats on getting your manuscript finished and I love lavender. I transplanted mine a few years ago and killed it. I want to plant some more this year.

C. Troubadour said...

Sherlock -- thanks. Just another two weeks of this and the draft goes to the committee. I keep telling myself this as I sit and wait, sit and wait. The mail makes me nervous as they've lost prescription drugs before from our mail-order company. Also not a good situation.

SuziCate -- lavender is supposed to be calming, I think. We love the scent too and thought it would be nice for guests to walk through it on the way to the front door. A welcome before our welcome.

Jane said...

The waiting will be harder to bear than the writing - at least, for me, anyway. Congratulations on your completed manuscript!

C. Troubadour said...

Thank you, Jane. Yes, the waiting's decidedly not fun. Time to e-mail my professor for a tracking number, I think.

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

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Pruning and grafting

My manuscript is somewhere over the U.S. today.

I'd e-mailed the full draft to my advisor last week, as instructed. She wrote me a harried reply late Sunday night to say she'd only started reading it that day, was halfway through, and was exhausted. (She's teaching an overload and is on seven other thesis committees, she said, as she's said numerous times this semester.) She'd been writing directly on the hard copy she'd printed off. Could I give her my address so she could mail it to me, two-day air? Just the first six chapters. On the seventh, she'd had nothing to suggest.

Nothing? That gave me some pause. They say any editor, when she's giving your work the attention it ought to have, should be able to find something.

I gave my advisor the information, hoping she'd keep duplicates in case what she was sending got lost. I almost asked her if she'd do that for me, just for my own peace of mind. But I couldn't quite ask her to make copies. She was already fried. She didn't need to hear my implied mistrust -- of her judgment, the postal service, the universe. I'm working on that last one, but old habits die hard, especially after last year.

When that package hits the front porch tomorrow, I'll need to be in the frame of mind to dive in, assess what and where to add or subtract with my advisor's guidance, limited as I'm afraid it might be. And I knew that, when I sent it off, given her increasingly frazzled notes in the last two months. So I took the last days of the previous week and the weekend to leave the draft completely, to prepare myself: laundry, yard cleanup. I can't edit well when I'm surrounded by clutter.

The lavender we planted two summers ago is turning green again after the winter. And it was looking leggy. I squatted for an hour, clipping away dead wood, tidying, shaping, peering at tiny silver shoots, trying to determine how the plants would look in a few weeks' time when they had filled out.

This morning, I saw them from the kitchen window -- six little fuzzy globes by the flagstone walk -- and mumbled some kind of prayer: let me be able to see what I need to see tomorrow and for the rest of this month.

The routine my advisor and I have kept for the past two years has been more like this: I send her pages; she writes a note back summing up her general impressions with a list of specific concerns at the end. It sounds like I'll be getting the specifics as they appear in the margins, but the big picture, right when it really matters? That's what she won't be pulling together for me; she asked my permission, in a way, to be excused from that. I'm disappointed. If there was ever a time that the larger impression felt crucial -- but I can't worry about it. There just isn't anything more I can ask of her, so enough. I'll make do.

Six little fuzzy globes, six hairy chapters. At least it's not a delicate bonsai ...

Addendum 4/6: No package as of 8 p.m. PDT. Insert choice expletive here.

5 comments:

Sherlock said...

It's great to see the spring buds and blooms. Everything in our yard is green again and some things are starting to bloom. I love it.

Sounds like the writing is also "blooming" -- good going.

SuziCate said...

Congrats on getting your manuscript finished and I love lavender. I transplanted mine a few years ago and killed it. I want to plant some more this year.

C. Troubadour said...

Sherlock -- thanks. Just another two weeks of this and the draft goes to the committee. I keep telling myself this as I sit and wait, sit and wait. The mail makes me nervous as they've lost prescription drugs before from our mail-order company. Also not a good situation.

SuziCate -- lavender is supposed to be calming, I think. We love the scent too and thought it would be nice for guests to walk through it on the way to the front door. A welcome before our welcome.

Jane said...

The waiting will be harder to bear than the writing - at least, for me, anyway. Congratulations on your completed manuscript!

C. Troubadour said...

Thank you, Jane. Yes, the waiting's decidedly not fun. Time to e-mail my professor for a tracking number, I think.