Wednesday, September 28, 2011



Monday, September 19, 2011

School Daze

Hey folks!

Sorry about the brief interruption.  School's been hectic.  I've been picking classes, getting settled into my room, making sure my credits from last year transfer and that I'm on track to complete my major on time so that I can graduate in the spring.  Now that that's all taken care of, I can make my rounds and start commenting on your fabulous blogs and (I hope) start posting on a more regular schedule.

It's strange being back.  Last night as I was looking over photos from the Beijing trip, it almost felt as though I was looking at someone else's adventure.  My little college in Connecticut is not only thousands of miles away from Asia, it's several cultural arenas away as well.  The skills that I learned while traveling are definitely applicable in the routine of a college life, but they are in the background, like the hand that manipulates the marionette.  For one thing, I'm speaking Chinese way less, but weirdly, when I'm in Chinese class, my brain barely relates the fact that my professor isn't speaking English.

I miss writing.  My work in progress is on the hard drive on my other computer, my old Dell that overheats and shuts down without warning.  I've been thinking of how to bring all the loose ends together, and I was discussing this with another writer friend of mine, who's in the middle of his own projects.

"Do you know how it ends?" he asked me.

I told him that I did.

"Then write it down," he said.  He told me that if I have the ending written down, it'll help for my next episode of writer's block, because I'll know where my novel is going.

So, the next time I get a hold of my work in progress, I'm pounding out that ending.

Also:  I'm turning 22 on Thursday.  I'm OLD.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Who Likes Pictures of Bunny Rabbits?

I got this a while ago from Steph Schmidt, and kept putting off doing this question-y thing because I was busy getting ready for China, then recovering from jet lag, then getting ready for school.  Now that I'm settled, it's meme time!

1. Are you a rutabaga? I don't think so.  It would be upsetting if it turned out I were just a rutabaga dreaming that I was a real person.

2. Who is your current crush? I currently don't have one, which is a first for me.

3. Upload a heartwarming picture that makes you smile

4. When was the last time you ate a vine-ripened tomato?  A while ago.  I regret that I can't remember the last time I ate one.  Tomatoes are the best.

5. Name one habit that would cause others to plot your demise.  Inability to keep my room clean and I turn everything into a debate somehow.

6. What is the wierdest, most-disgusting job you've ever had to do? Look through an inmate's personal belongings to find anything potentially anti-establisment.  It wasn't so much what I found as it was the weird feeling of rifling through someone's personal belongings with rubber gloves.

7. Where da muffin top at? Sitting above the muffin bottom.

8. What author introduced you to your genre? I don't have a specific genre.  I just write fiction about people.  I guess you could say I really clicked with Russian literature in high school, because I like to write about the non-supernatural sufferings of mere mortals and find the twisted humor in it.

9. Describe yourself using obscure Latin words. Lux et veritas (light and truth).

I shall announce the three recipients of the blog on fire award in the comments!  Yay!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Some reflections on traveling

On the Great Wall with new friends.

I've been having some technical difficulties with Blogger this evening, so I'm just going to type away and hold my breath.  I need to get better at using Blogger.  Good thing I'm a writer and student--they are very low-tech kinds of jobs.

Beijing was wowza awesome.  I met people that for the first time in my life I clicked with intellectually and were also incredibly fun to be around.  I talked about politics and economics and culture from morning until night and then went clubbing with my new friends until the wee hours of the morning.  I visited schools for migrant worker children and China's top consulting firm, and attended lectures on art, NGOs in China, health care, and the economy.  Nearly every moment was saturated with provoking questions, deep thoughts, and stimulating conversation.

This year, I lived in Taiwan and visited Hong Kong and Beijing.  These are very different places with people who speak very different Chinese from each other.  The first few days in Beijing were overwhelming as I adjusted to listening to Chinese spoken with an accent that was a world away from what I had grown accustomed to.  The first time I visited China in high school, I had much less of a problem with the accent than I did this time around.  I guess it shows how fast you can get used to doing something one way, only to find that you can get just as used to doing something another way over time.

Things were very different for me a year ago.  I took some very big risks and ventured way out of my comfort zone, but look where I wound up!  I found a wonderful and supportive community of writers, I have lived abroad, and am taking writing more seriously.  I have gained enormous perspective and insight and learned a ton about myself.  I know I'm going to look back on this year as a big turning point in my life, because this was the year that I realized what I am capable of.  And you, my dear blog followers, have played a strong supporting role in that revelation.

But I should warn you: traveling is not a cure-all, nor does traveling in and of itself make you an interesting person.  The experience of travel is merely an opportunity, and it's up to you to make the most of it.  I say this because traveling can also be inconvenient, expensive, aggravating, and even disappointing.  Flying for more than twelve hours and missing your connecting flight is no fun.  A week of jet lag is a pain in the ass.  Culture shock can be daunting, and homesickness is very real.  The excitement can (and does) wear off after a while.  I'm pretty happy to be able to park my butt in one place for a substantial period of time.  But I'm so glad I did it.  I'm living the life I always dreamed of right now, not at some fuzzy point in the future.  Traveling and writing has helped me understand that when you're on the move and spilling your guts across a page, right now is all you've got.

I think that's enough for now.  I'm gonna turn in.  Thank you all so much for your support.



I'm in the Apple store in Manhattan falling in love with a Mac as we speak.  I'd like to take a minute to congratulate Misty Provencher and Michael Offut for getting agented and book deal'd.  You guys are awesome and have been longtime supporters of this blog.  I am proud to be your friend in the blogosphere.

Things are still a whirlwind.  School is just a few days away, and I need to post a longer post about Beijing with a few pictures.  I mean, we need at least one of me on the Great Wall! :)

And I will get around to talking more about the lovely award Steph Schmidt gave me.  Non-jet lagged brain FTW.

Love you guys!