Monthly Archives: May 2009

a story takes a long journey

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Remember that story I mentioned here?  Back in the fall of 2007? The one that I asked you to wish good luck? (Thank you). The one in which I was writing characters from another culture/race?

The story was as a finalist/honorable mention in a big litmag’s contest recently.  🙂 This news was, psychically, much needed–it will be tacked up on the bulletin board next to my 95+ litmag rejections received in the last year!

The story was the first written from beginning to end after my stroke….the kernel of which was gifted to me by a friend.  (Soooo many of my friends and my wonderful mother told me WONDERFUL stories during my recovery, in a bid to awaken the storytelling side of my brain). A few made it through to my psyche and spurred my idling imagination, like the story my friend told me about a childhood trip to his family’s Japanese farm.

I asked him if I could turn it into a story–and he gave me his blessing.  I added characters, made up my own landscape, and changed the main character’s names and personalities but the kernel of the idea (a farm, a father, a son) is there.  So grateful for the day he told me this story!

It took me over a year (nearly a year and a half) to write the story–frantic at first, then meandering, then put aside, then revised, then restructured, then rewritten, then carefully, then dreadfully…and I am so glad I took the risk to write such a story. As you know, the road back to writing was not always smooth.

And now I wish the story good luck as I continue to send it out, now with a piece of bling around its tiny arm.

Also, I heard in the past week that another one of my stories has been accepted for publication by a small but respectable Japanese litmag. This is when I wish I wasn’t so anonymous so I could give you more details on the contest and the litmag! 😛

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Filed under Writing

Quick May Blog

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This blog is so unkempt and abandoned these days, and every time I sit down to write, I can’t get myself to blog, and I can’t figure out what to blog about…plus there’s twitter. I’m addicted to twitter. Mostly, I tweet as my “irl” name. But occasionally, I’ll tweet as Jade Park…and the tweeting has dampened the blogging compulsion.

But whatever–here’s an update.

Read/Reading:
I FINALLY finished reading Roberto Bolaño’s 2666. Amazing read. I learned so much from his work. (It is looong–remember the last quick blog? I was reading it then). I am now reading The Housekeeper and The Professor by Yoko Ogawa, a very different piece of work but awesome just the same. In parallel, I’m tackling my issues of New York Magazine, The New Yorker (sense a theme?) and Gourmet….plus have decided to read Haruki Murakami’s The Wind Up Bird Chronicle again.

Wrote/Writing:
Have decided to table my memoir until after I’m finished with my novel (after all, once I’m finished with a draft, I intend to set it aside for a few months–so why not take that time to write something else?). So I’m almost solely focused on my novel, even though it’s slow going these days, so slow going that I have to swallow the intense self hatred I have for not progressing more easily. Oh, and this blog post.

Viewed:
I have been watching a serious amount of television season finales these days. L O S T (OMG!) and Grey’s (ho hum but I’m still addicted and choose to ignore the Grey’s writer tic of repeating things like “Seriously? Seriously. Seriously…?” and e.g., “I like you. I LIKE you. I like YOU. I.LIKE.YOU.”  Come on, there are better ways to communicate intensity and confusion!) and House (Hugh Laurie can do so much despite a ho hum plot) and well, you get the idea. I have not seen any movies, even though I am eyeing the new Star Trek and thinking, “IMAX.”

But then again, I have viewed frogs in my backyard. A woodpecker up in the Sierras.  And a jizzload of pollen on my cars.

Memorable eats:
My friend “C” came to visit this week–we hung out for 3 days, she slept over for one night, and we spent most of our hang out time eating or hovering over, food. The food–not always memorable, but the company very memorable. She and I have known each other since 2nd grade and have lived very weirdly parallel lives. But have made different choices–once in awhile, we like to converge and trade notes.

Ate Out:
(Omg this is so perverted). I can’t even answer this question.

But for the record: I went and had CPK’s BBQ Chicken Chopped salad again.

Cooked:
Chicken enchiladas. Cincinnati chili. Yum.

Happenings:

  • My friend C came to town! It was like looking into a mirror and seeing a chiral image–me, but not me, my life but not my life…everything the same, but in reverse but not. It stirred me up and awakened me a bit, and everything inside me pulsed a little louder for the duration she was here. She is as cool as she ever was.  And she has made me think.  A good thing.
  • Job #1: still doing that. Mostly, I feel invisible at that job. Sometimes it’s pleasant to feel invisible, other times it feels utterly demeaning.
  • Job #2: still doing that, too. The VP at the college leaned to me and said I’m “doing an extraordinary job.” Whee! 🙂
  • Running! Can you believe it? I’ve started jogging/running! I’m on the Couch to 5K Running Plan, and I’m taking it super slowww (e.g., my friend Foodie McBody and I both started about 8 weeks ago, and she’s on week 8, and I’m on week 5). But the super slow progress works for me, and I’m enjoying running, and I feel a semblance of fitness again and I am loving how running makes me feel. I wonder if the running/body will translate into my writing/head.
  • Experiencing an onslaught of literary rejections. All those litmag submissions I sent out? They’re coming back–in the form of rejections, whether blank form letters/notes…or whether with handwritten encouragement scrawled on them, or whether they say I was in the final round but didn’t make it. Rejections. I’m adding several week to the stack I have pinned up on my bulletin board (ohyessss, I collect them ALL).
  • Didn’t get a waitership at Breadloaf. Just got the rejection on Saturday night. As consolation, they said I made it to the final round but this year was very competitive. Oh well. Time to move on.  Also, got waitlisted for Junot’s workshop.  I didn’t expect to make it in at all, because I’d already taken his workshop (and they generally do not allow people to take his workshop twice) plus this year was more competitive than ever, owing to the conference’s anniversary and Junot’s Pulitzer.  Plus, I submitted a nove excerpt as my writing sample and I am oh-so-insecure about my novel.  So, not bad.
  • Working on the litmag–there is a workflow delay but that will be fixed soon.  And yes, when I send out the rejection letters, I think about the kind of rejections I prefer to receive.
  • Gardening: the veggies are in the ground and in various stages of growth and maturity! Radishes being eaten. Tomato plants growing hearty and sprouting yellow star shaped flowers. Potato plants green and healthy and I can only surmise, sprouting potatoes underground. So far, no gopher. *knock on wood*
  • Been going to and fro Tahoe–see that picture up there? That’s snow, in late APRIL. We went hiking in the Sierras a couple weekends ago, and we went as far as we could before we hit impassable snow (well, impassable in hiking shoes). Water gushing everywhere. Beautiful.
  • Waiting for the Muse, as always.

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Filed under Life

$17.29 thus far

Ha.  This is the post I was writing about all the submissions I was sending out to various litmags a few months ago.  I’d spend $17.29 thus far, and titled the post (and then wrote nothing else).

Believe me, I’ve spent waaaaaay more than $17.29 in postage since.  And waaay more than that in contest entry fees.

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Things that make me happy

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It’s not a meme, but I do suggest you try it! Just list all the things that make you happy. As many as you wish to list!

my dogs * my husband * Tchaikovsky’s music * snow * an internet connection * taking photographs * people who smile * friends * my family * finding seedlings in my garden * pets and animals * going really fast * sleeping in * good butter * Korean food * a great book * Marc Jacobs clothing * daytime temperatures between 20F and 80F * visiting a country for the first time * galbi jjim * the first spring blossoms * autumn leaves! * wild beaches * a cool breeze * a cold glass of sweet tea on a summer day * chocolate * spotting wild turkeys in my hood * hearing frogs in my backyard * getting good writing done * thinking of new story ideas * Sigur Ros’s music * 80s first wave: Depeche Mode, The Cure, NIN, Erasure * freshly laundered sheets * a deep tissue massage * carbs! * watermelon * a good couch * a great pair of shoes * a great, meaningful conversation

{and then the post ended. i think my perfectionistic self thought this life was insufficient.  but whatever.  i’m a dork when i get perfectionistic, and this post has been unpublished for over a year.  i’m posting it}

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Filed under Memes

reverso

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I am going through all the unfinished blog posts…this blog post only had this picture and the above title, “reverso.” Uh. Dated November 30, 1999. When I had hair long enough for a ponytail. Wait. Did I have this blog in 1999? No.

Anyway. That’s all. I’m just cleaning out the old blog posts but loathe to delete them ruthlessly.

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Filed under Miscellaneous, Uncategorized

boing

Well. Funny that. As soon as I admit I’m struggling…the struggles begin to dissipate. Whoa.

Not all gone, but the outlook’s brighter. Enough for me to go back to my normal whining about not having enough time to write…and when I do make time, staring at the page and feeling uninspired…

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Filed under Miscellaneous