Monthly Archives: June 2008

scary moths and butterflies

I was watching a moth fly around, batting itself against the light…when I realized that I was watching in both awe, curiosity, and fright.

Fright. I don’t think most people are scared of butterflies and moths. Bees? Yes. Praying mantises? yes. Millipedes? Yes. Scorpions? Yes. Butterflies….?

When I was child, I guess I loved butterflies and moths. I guess I tried to catch them and hold them in my hand. I guess I must have tried to rub my eyes after touching them with my hands. I don’t remember that part.

But I do remember when my mother told me, “Butterflies and moths will make you blind–if you touch them and then you touch your eyes, YOU WILL GO BLIND!”

I can only guess she was saying that in reaction to some behavior of mine–you know, chasing them around, touching them, and then touching my eyes. My mother doesn’t usually make stuff like that up. She’s a nurse and knows better. But maybe she was alarmed and wanted to put me off butterflies and moths forever. To this day, there is a part of me that thinks they will cause blindness.

And so today I blanch when I see a moth or a butterfly flying at me.

(and while we’re at it, why is blindness the greatest threat to children? Isn’t that the same threat associated with masturbation?)


Filed under Funny Shit, Funny Stuff, Life, Miscellaneous

When I feel like it


As I stated earlier, I’m blogging less. I’m taking quite a novel approach to this activity: blog when I feel like it, abstain when I do not feel like blogging.

I decided that there are enough things in my life that I do out of obligation. Like go to work and earn a living, for instance; that activity alone takes up about 12 hours a day. These obligations compete with my list of deep desires. Like write my novel, an activity that ought to take up 12 hours a day but sadly does not.

When I was on vacation…I got to a calm place in my head, a place I had not visited in quite some time. Things finally became still, in a good way. I got a bit of clarity. I wondered why I had not taken better care of myself. I wondered why my daily activities were not aligning with my longterm priorities. And given the Chinese ban on blogging, I experienced a change in my writing routine: I could not and did not blog for two weeks. And that granted me even more clarity.

So–I decided to make a change. I would focus my energy on obligations/duties/responsibilities…and on things I really WANT to do (when it comes to the things I do have a choice about). Starting with blogging. I would not blog unless I really WANTED to blog.

Anyway, that’s just boring reiterative stuff.

Today I want to blog. My hubby has left town on a long (more than two nights) business trip and I am going crazy with loneliness. I spent half the day in bed with the covers over my head, feeling the heat of the day pound through the walls, despite the air conditioning. Then I went grocery shopping, an activity that makes me oddly happy. Produce makes me happy. Yes.

And now I’m back at home again, feeling…empty. It sucks. I miss my husband already.

I have all the time now to write my novel and I cannot, because this emptiness overwhelms me. It overwhelms all thought. Perhaps I could write about my main character in his greatest loneliness (ugh! I should log off this post pronto and get on that!).

Okay, thank you blog, for getting me on the right vector.

p.s. the above picture was taken at Shanghai’s Pudong airport.


Filed under Life, Writing

bye bye Cody’s

bleah.  Cody’s books is closing for good next month.  Bleah.


Filed under The World

we interrupt this silence…

I interrupt the silence on this blog for a big incredible woohoo! Today is a huge day for marriage equality, for civil rights, for gay rights. Of course I choose today to forget to bring my camera–otherwise I’d be posting pictures of San Francisco’s City Hall–of the man waving a rainbow flag on the steps, the gay couples lined up to get married. Momentous.

Can you believe it? This year–we had a war veteran who made sacrifices for his country run for president, a woman run for president, and an African American run and win nomination on a major party ticket for president. And in California, the right for gay couples to get married.

My heart is full, my eyes are brimming with tears!

To top it all off-it was a picturesque day, a brilliant backdrop to love.


Filed under Inspiring, The World

Why aren’t you blogging?


A good friend of mine asked me via email, “Why aren’t you blogging?” And then another friend of mine asked me the same question via IM.

I guess my blogging has been reliable throughout the years–even after my stroke, I blogged. But I haven’t been blogging for the last couple of weeks.

So here’s the answer I provided to my friend, and one I’m sharing with you:

I took this break from blogging from China, mostly forced because they didn’t allow access…and I rather liked it. I was surprised that I would enjoy a break from blogging–but I am. I have thought about blogging about a number of things, but none of them were so pressing and interesting to me as to spend the time to post them. So I’m waiting for my burning desire to blog to return before blogging again. And in a way, I’m intrigued by this “conserving of writing energy” and perhaps only channeling it to my novel (hahaha.)

Without access to blogs, and without any good TV on the boobtube…what did I do? I got a bit more sleep. I let my mind wander and cull some more thoughts. I went to the gym and exercised (seriously!). I went out for walks. I saw an ARMY of people just spending hours and hours reading in a bookstore! I went to the market and pondered eating scorpion kebab (seriously!). I saw The Great Wall (amazing!). I saw The Forbidden City (wowzers!). I toured the West Lake in Hangzhou (beautiful). I went on an interesting taxi ride to the Longjing Tea Village and had the most interesting consumer experience of my life (more interesting than the backalley purchases in Korea’s Itaewon).


My mind is full, my body is rested. I did not want to return to my daily life. In sum, it has been wonderful to detox. I took better care of myself. Oh man!

I had no idea how many poisons were in my life, especially in the wake of a sort of Tough Year (my stroke, the untimely death of an immediate family member, other troubles, then my father’s heart attack). It was time to go away.

I thought about blogging about Bookfox’s list of Top 12 online literary journals, and recalling Perpetual Folly’s 2008 Pushcart Prize rankings. But no. It wasn’t enough to break the quiet.

What would bring me out into the blogging spotlight again?

Something very stupid. But something very toxic, that I think would be better aired than kept festering in my brain.

I signed up for another workshop again. I have heard SO many good things about this particular Famous Writer and his work as a mentor. And so I applied! It turns out that the workshop had filled up. So no dice. But in the last couple of weeks, a spot opened up, and it was given to me!

The manuscripts were sent out via email this week. But first, like any seasoned workshop participant…I scanned the email list. Did anyone look familiar? What did I know of them?

Remember the gal who said she wished she could blame her short term memory problems on a stroke? She is in the workshop. I am no longer as sensitive as i was then (I credit time and actual healing of the brain to this), but…still not looking forward to revisiting her.

And the guy who gave me FOUR SENTENCE feedback in my MFA workshop? He’s in the workshop too.

A friend and I have already decided that if he pulls that 4-sentence-feedback stuff, we’re going to confront him this time.

Okay. Feeling better. See how stupid and toxic these little “papercuts of life” can be?

I need to learn to let things go a lot faster.

Even so, I’m having my swells of emotions these days. Perhaps I’m coming to a turning point in my life. All I know is that I must turn a concerted effort towards focus. Because I am not working on my dreams, and it makes me cry, cry, cry when I acknowledge that fact. When I know I’m capable, but not focused enough to complete this novel.

So there’s a second mission here. Focus. And that might mean a lot less blogging and communicating with the world.


Filed under Life, The Novel, The World, Travel, Writing