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.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Where to begin

The hour on D.'s old alarm clock glows green on my nightstand by a pile of unread lit mags and a Valentine's Day card that isn't really one but a blank-for-your-message Papyrus selection. D. has written in it in pink gel pen. Where did he even find that? I wonder -- every ballpoint, felt tip, and roller ball we've dug out to write Christmas thank-yous is dried up or nearly so. In the top right corner, in his tiny print, is the year. Before he met me, the keeper of family histories and their artifacts, he never added that to his cards.

I, too, have picked out a blank card by the ubiquitous overpriced paper goods imprint this year -- maybe to make up for this occasion on which neither of us has much more to offer.

There is no card for "I have a brain tumor and I'm sorry it is completely fucking up our lives" (D.). There is no card for "I am holding my shit together as best I can for you and the kids but I know I'm not doing a good enough job" (me). And we're not about to write those things in our respective valentine stand-ins. That would be admitting too much about the beating our marriage has taken in recent months. Okay, years. Illness exacerbates the things that haven't been working and makes them impossible to table indefinitely.

We are trying, in spite of it all. To the outside world, we are managing.

At this time of night, though -- last baby feeding done, late-night TV guiltily consumed in a separate bedroom, resistance to the arrival of the next day keeping me from sleep -- I know our efforts aren't even countering enough of the damage to make this a zero-sum game. The silence I've kept here, protective as it is meant to be, is serving no one.

In a few weeks, I will file our valentines with the rest of our letters to each other, spanning almost 18 years. I have not paged through them recently. I don't want to read between the lines and find the little fissures before they became cracks and then shear points. But leaving the card on my nightstand for six months, as I did last year, is just as much a reminder of my reluctance to face our history.

I never imagined that this was the life waiting for me, for us, when I started writing in this space, and that bears some unpacking. It's been too long. But I'm here.

3 comments:

Good Enough Woman said...

Oh, CT. I'm so sorry.

(((((((CT))))))))

C. Troubadour said...

((((((((GEW))))))))!

Hi! Thank you. I hope you're well, and that there is much port and chocolate over at your place. Reading your blog was what introduced me to that lovely combination.

Good Enough Woman said...

Yes, still lots and lots of port and chocolate over here. I'm glad to have introduced you (despite the fact that it can be a pricey habit.)

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Where to begin

The hour on D.'s old alarm clock glows green on my nightstand by a pile of unread lit mags and a Valentine's Day card that isn't really one but a blank-for-your-message Papyrus selection. D. has written in it in pink gel pen. Where did he even find that? I wonder -- every ballpoint, felt tip, and roller ball we've dug out to write Christmas thank-yous is dried up or nearly so. In the top right corner, in his tiny print, is the year. Before he met me, the keeper of family histories and their artifacts, he never added that to his cards.

I, too, have picked out a blank card by the ubiquitous overpriced paper goods imprint this year -- maybe to make up for this occasion on which neither of us has much more to offer.

There is no card for "I have a brain tumor and I'm sorry it is completely fucking up our lives" (D.). There is no card for "I am holding my shit together as best I can for you and the kids but I know I'm not doing a good enough job" (me). And we're not about to write those things in our respective valentine stand-ins. That would be admitting too much about the beating our marriage has taken in recent months. Okay, years. Illness exacerbates the things that haven't been working and makes them impossible to table indefinitely.

We are trying, in spite of it all. To the outside world, we are managing.

At this time of night, though -- last baby feeding done, late-night TV guiltily consumed in a separate bedroom, resistance to the arrival of the next day keeping me from sleep -- I know our efforts aren't even countering enough of the damage to make this a zero-sum game. The silence I've kept here, protective as it is meant to be, is serving no one.

In a few weeks, I will file our valentines with the rest of our letters to each other, spanning almost 18 years. I have not paged through them recently. I don't want to read between the lines and find the little fissures before they became cracks and then shear points. But leaving the card on my nightstand for six months, as I did last year, is just as much a reminder of my reluctance to face our history.

I never imagined that this was the life waiting for me, for us, when I started writing in this space, and that bears some unpacking. It's been too long. But I'm here.

3 comments:

Good Enough Woman said...

Oh, CT. I'm so sorry.

(((((((CT))))))))

C. Troubadour said...

((((((((GEW))))))))!

Hi! Thank you. I hope you're well, and that there is much port and chocolate over at your place. Reading your blog was what introduced me to that lovely combination.

Good Enough Woman said...

Yes, still lots and lots of port and chocolate over here. I'm glad to have introduced you (despite the fact that it can be a pricey habit.)