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.

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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.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Not biting

Back in July, after my thesis received final approval from Little U., one of the last tasks I had to complete to tie up loose ends on the manuscript was to get it copyrighted. For Ph.D. dissertations, Little U. makes copyright mandatory and takes care of this detail to ensure the filing with the U.S. Copyright Office actually happens. For MFA degree holders, you retain the right to pursue official government protection -- or decide your thesis is so objectionable to your artistic eye that you'd rather not afford it such an honor.

I have to say, by the time I was done with my manuscript, I felt only 40 percent of it was really decent enough to consider reworking for future use -- as smaller essays to send to literary journals or as a jumping-off point to reshape the work into a very different book. As it stood, 75 pages wasn't enough to sell as a complete work, especially since it had no ending. (Yes, it stops, but it has no sense of conclusion.)

Because that 40 percent had merit, though, I did go through with registering for a copyright. And within a few months, I started to get postcards from a certain company claiming interest in publication.

Don't get excited yet. This is not a company that likely pays its authors for their work. It is a subsidy press, also known as a vanity press, which will ask its "candidates for publication" to cover some or all of the printing, distributing, and advertising costs. Obviously, I haven't done further research on the particular organization that mailed me, but it is generally safe to say that any group that calls itself a subsidy press does not follow the standard publishing model -- possibly to the author's financial, if not reputational, detriment. So if you've ever been contacted by one of these companies, be forewarned (and then laugh, as I did, because you've seen through their attempt to flatter for money).

How did they even find me, you wonder? Well, per the postcard, a "researcher" "discovered" my registration -- not my manuscript, my registration -- with the Library of Congress; i.e., someone who regularly trolls the record of copyright applications, which is in the public domain, picked out my name along with hundreds of others and put me on a mailing list. How do I know no one has actually looked at what I've written to determine its literary merit? Well, when the postcard is addressed to a "Mr. Contemporary Troubadour," it's pretty clear. Really, if the work is written in the first person and begins at the patient check-in desk of an obstetrician's office, you'd guess the writer was a woman, right?

2 comments:

Good Enough Woman said...

I'm trying to think of a way that a reader would not infer that a narrator checking into an OB appointment isn't female.

Nope. Can't think of anything.

C. Troubadour said...

Right?! I couldn't come up with anything either.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Not biting

Back in July, after my thesis received final approval from Little U., one of the last tasks I had to complete to tie up loose ends on the manuscript was to get it copyrighted. For Ph.D. dissertations, Little U. makes copyright mandatory and takes care of this detail to ensure the filing with the U.S. Copyright Office actually happens. For MFA degree holders, you retain the right to pursue official government protection -- or decide your thesis is so objectionable to your artistic eye that you'd rather not afford it such an honor.

I have to say, by the time I was done with my manuscript, I felt only 40 percent of it was really decent enough to consider reworking for future use -- as smaller essays to send to literary journals or as a jumping-off point to reshape the work into a very different book. As it stood, 75 pages wasn't enough to sell as a complete work, especially since it had no ending. (Yes, it stops, but it has no sense of conclusion.)

Because that 40 percent had merit, though, I did go through with registering for a copyright. And within a few months, I started to get postcards from a certain company claiming interest in publication.

Don't get excited yet. This is not a company that likely pays its authors for their work. It is a subsidy press, also known as a vanity press, which will ask its "candidates for publication" to cover some or all of the printing, distributing, and advertising costs. Obviously, I haven't done further research on the particular organization that mailed me, but it is generally safe to say that any group that calls itself a subsidy press does not follow the standard publishing model -- possibly to the author's financial, if not reputational, detriment. So if you've ever been contacted by one of these companies, be forewarned (and then laugh, as I did, because you've seen through their attempt to flatter for money).

How did they even find me, you wonder? Well, per the postcard, a "researcher" "discovered" my registration -- not my manuscript, my registration -- with the Library of Congress; i.e., someone who regularly trolls the record of copyright applications, which is in the public domain, picked out my name along with hundreds of others and put me on a mailing list. How do I know no one has actually looked at what I've written to determine its literary merit? Well, when the postcard is addressed to a "Mr. Contemporary Troubadour," it's pretty clear. Really, if the work is written in the first person and begins at the patient check-in desk of an obstetrician's office, you'd guess the writer was a woman, right?

2 comments:

Good Enough Woman said...

I'm trying to think of a way that a reader would not infer that a narrator checking into an OB appointment isn't female.

Nope. Can't think of anything.

C. Troubadour said...

Right?! I couldn't come up with anything either.