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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, January 16, 2014

A forecast

Wednesday is my second day returning to routine after being away from home for eleven and hosting my mother for another six. The light's fading, O.'s about to wake, and I'm still in yoga togs. Not because I do yoga these days but because they're wash-and-wear and slightly more presentable than pajamas.

The day started with a rush to get O. up and fed before the fridge repairman was supposed to arrive -- but he was late and the morning was an exercise in waiting, half-resumed chores and plans for a much-needed walk held in limbo. That is what the first two weeks of this year have felt like, a suspension of progress. I'm travel-weary and stiff in the joints from being cramped for decompression time, mental and physical. Though, in the name of efficiency, I've tried to skip the post-holiday recovery phase -- the type that follows overexposure to my parents -- it's clear I need it more than ever. So here I am. Poking erratically with one hand at the keys, the other in a bag of chocolate.

I didn't think of writing as exercise, once upon a time, but after these weeks away from the practice, I know it's my form of meditation. I've missed it not because it's pleasurable -- hell, it's hard going most of the time -- but because I'm much worse off without it. Congestion of the mind is killer, and time with my family generates exactly the kind of cloud that stifles me, confuses me. I'm surer of who I am when I'm away from the voices that continue to try to raise me. For that reason alone, I don't think I remember starting any year with a clear head since leaving home -- most Januaries in my memory hold the spillover of December's return to old nests. Ones that are good for short visits but are, for longer, inhospitable.

I've always wanted the beginning of the year to be what so many people seem to enjoy -- a natural time to take stock of what's in store for us. I've peered into the months ahead, though, and it's looking extra foggy. It's a big year for family get-togethers -- more milestone birthdays, a wedding, and all the prenuptial events on top of the usual holidays. It would be an understatement to say I'm approaching all of it with trepidation.

But the year also promises to be an exercise in this exercise -- writing through it all. In recent years, I've dodged the page because I hated the truths about my family it forced me to examine. Can't you write about anything else? I wondered. Shouldn't you just give up on the subject?

How can you leave what follows you, defines you, whether you wish it to or not.

I don't know. But I suspect this year will offer plenty on the matter to think about.

4 comments:

Good Enough Woman said...

After reading your post, I just want to write,"Don't do it! Skip the gatherings!" But I imagine that doesn't feel realistic for you. As for taking stock and recharging, maybe February is your month?

Either way, if your like me, if you spend too much time looking forward into the fog, you risk staying in that state of "suspension of progress." When I focus on things like that coming up, I am less like to try to establish a routine or buy produce. Even with pending interruptions, I think it will be great if you can take stock and set some routines so that you are not consistently "suspended."

I don't mean to preach, just feeling a LOT of empathy. My kids were just sick for two weeks, and it was very difficult not to feel suspending. Take that much needed walks help tremendously.

Hugs!

C. Troubadour said...

I've *definitely* had the impulse to run in the opposite direction, GEW. But you're right -- it's not realistic to do so. And yes, the fridge is still short on proper meal-making goods! How did you know ...

I'm so sorry the kids were sick! I hope you managed not to catch the bugs yourself. Lots of empathy here too -- O. doesn't always catch what we bring home, but he inevitably transfers it from one parent to the other. I think we've had at least four bugs come through since October. Suspension of progress, big time!

Walks are going to keep me sane :). Fortunately, O. likes them.

loveeachstep.com said...

I'm sitting here, in my own yoga togs, nodding and nodding. So much of this resonates-- from the dodging the page, to the family, to the suspension. Keep writing. It is beautiful!

C. Troubadour said...

Thanks for the encouragement, Heidi. It's comforting to know someone else sees something familiar in what currently just feels like chaos :)

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Thursday, January 16, 2014

A forecast

Wednesday is my second day returning to routine after being away from home for eleven and hosting my mother for another six. The light's fading, O.'s about to wake, and I'm still in yoga togs. Not because I do yoga these days but because they're wash-and-wear and slightly more presentable than pajamas.

The day started with a rush to get O. up and fed before the fridge repairman was supposed to arrive -- but he was late and the morning was an exercise in waiting, half-resumed chores and plans for a much-needed walk held in limbo. That is what the first two weeks of this year have felt like, a suspension of progress. I'm travel-weary and stiff in the joints from being cramped for decompression time, mental and physical. Though, in the name of efficiency, I've tried to skip the post-holiday recovery phase -- the type that follows overexposure to my parents -- it's clear I need it more than ever. So here I am. Poking erratically with one hand at the keys, the other in a bag of chocolate.

I didn't think of writing as exercise, once upon a time, but after these weeks away from the practice, I know it's my form of meditation. I've missed it not because it's pleasurable -- hell, it's hard going most of the time -- but because I'm much worse off without it. Congestion of the mind is killer, and time with my family generates exactly the kind of cloud that stifles me, confuses me. I'm surer of who I am when I'm away from the voices that continue to try to raise me. For that reason alone, I don't think I remember starting any year with a clear head since leaving home -- most Januaries in my memory hold the spillover of December's return to old nests. Ones that are good for short visits but are, for longer, inhospitable.

I've always wanted the beginning of the year to be what so many people seem to enjoy -- a natural time to take stock of what's in store for us. I've peered into the months ahead, though, and it's looking extra foggy. It's a big year for family get-togethers -- more milestone birthdays, a wedding, and all the prenuptial events on top of the usual holidays. It would be an understatement to say I'm approaching all of it with trepidation.

But the year also promises to be an exercise in this exercise -- writing through it all. In recent years, I've dodged the page because I hated the truths about my family it forced me to examine. Can't you write about anything else? I wondered. Shouldn't you just give up on the subject?

How can you leave what follows you, defines you, whether you wish it to or not.

I don't know. But I suspect this year will offer plenty on the matter to think about.

4 comments:

Good Enough Woman said...

After reading your post, I just want to write,"Don't do it! Skip the gatherings!" But I imagine that doesn't feel realistic for you. As for taking stock and recharging, maybe February is your month?

Either way, if your like me, if you spend too much time looking forward into the fog, you risk staying in that state of "suspension of progress." When I focus on things like that coming up, I am less like to try to establish a routine or buy produce. Even with pending interruptions, I think it will be great if you can take stock and set some routines so that you are not consistently "suspended."

I don't mean to preach, just feeling a LOT of empathy. My kids were just sick for two weeks, and it was very difficult not to feel suspending. Take that much needed walks help tremendously.

Hugs!

C. Troubadour said...

I've *definitely* had the impulse to run in the opposite direction, GEW. But you're right -- it's not realistic to do so. And yes, the fridge is still short on proper meal-making goods! How did you know ...

I'm so sorry the kids were sick! I hope you managed not to catch the bugs yourself. Lots of empathy here too -- O. doesn't always catch what we bring home, but he inevitably transfers it from one parent to the other. I think we've had at least four bugs come through since October. Suspension of progress, big time!

Walks are going to keep me sane :). Fortunately, O. likes them.

loveeachstep.com said...

I'm sitting here, in my own yoga togs, nodding and nodding. So much of this resonates-- from the dodging the page, to the family, to the suspension. Keep writing. It is beautiful!

C. Troubadour said...

Thanks for the encouragement, Heidi. It's comforting to know someone else sees something familiar in what currently just feels like chaos :)