just any morning here in SCal








taken with iPhone.


camp nanowrimo

The writing camp is starting in 1 day, and there are currently 26,472 users online.

What is this all about? You can look it up at campnanowrimo.org. Basically, in addition to November, the National Novel Writing Month, the marvelous Nanowrimo.org is hosting a similar event in April. The only difference between the camp event and the normal November event is, in the camp event each writer can define his/her own goal, and in the normal November event each fiction must be 50,000 words or longer.

But I’m not sure I’m ready for April yet. I’m not yet ready to close the chapter on Q1. Plus, I think I need another 50,000 words, which means 1,667 words a day. It could take me 2~3 hours on a good day, but 9+ hours on a bad day. Although I successfully completed 50,000 words (the first half of the book) last November, I don’t know I can do it again.

I don’t have a camp mate yet. Hopefully when I wake up tomorrow morning I’m assigned a cabin. Even so, I don’t know whether I can do it. Having done it once, the task just seemed too daunting to do it once again.

In any event, I want to give myself enough leeway to ameliorate possibility of success, so I decided to have “super light” blog entries for the month of April. Maybe it will contain only 3 things:

• a photo of any kind
• # of words written that day
• exercise/work out done during the day

As I said, super light!

did today happen?

IMG_1317Today is a holiday for me, but not for hubby. I took him to the airport at 9a and picked him up at 6:30p. The whole time he was away working, I was in bed reading another online novel. The day simply disappeared, and I was in another dimension altogether.

I’m grateful for having the luxury of making a whole day disappear in my life, but this is not going to get me anywhere. It is the quarter end. It is time to reflect on my progress.

Once upon a time my life view was such that as long as I experienced life to its fullest, there was no need to have a goal. I used to think of life as a sailboat in the ocean, and as long as the sail was full, I should not care where the boat was going. That life view had served me well for many years, until one day I looked back and found my boat was floating alone in the middle of the ocean and I was idly waiting for the wind.

That’s when I realized that I needed motivation. I know I can achieve anything I want, if I want it enough. But what is worth wanting? What kind of love and passion can guide me from daydreaming to action? I do not know.

I have been seeking the answers ever since. This blog was one of the outcomes of this pursuit. Strictly speaking, if I have to evaluate against progress towards goal, utilization of time, etc, today is a very bad day. But in truth, it was a good one for me.

So what if I spent another day waiting for the wind?

will try again

IMG_1196-002I said in my first post after my China trip that I was touched by the people and their authenticity. What I didn’t mention was that it had influenced the fiction story I’m writing. I wrote half of it last November and haven’t touched it since. Before the trip, I had planned to dedicate the month of April to writing the second half of the book, provided there were no unforeseeable events or trips. But with the new inspiration from the China trip, I now have to rewrite majority of the first half as well.

Because during this trip I realized one thing, that is people are more true, more constant, more ingenuous over there. Maybe that’s a way to cope with the changes that are happening in incredible speed around them everyday. I do not know the cause. Yet, I have noticed the difference, the deeper connection that was rare in my life in the States. I could be feeling this way because I’m an outsider, but I don’t think so, I don’t think I’m the only one who feels our lives need more true human connections in this ever digitalized age.

This is a roundabout way to say that I realized during the trip that if people behave so differently across the ocean even in today’s flattened world, the difference in human interactions must be a whole lot greater between modern days and historical times. And since my fiction is a historical romance, my characters would naturally be purer, more devoted and steadfast in love and less calculative and conniving in dealing with feelings. That is not to say the inner world of the characters are not as complex as their modern-day counterparts, just that a different environment could foster different ways of treating life, people and relationship.

Therefore, even though it would push my completion date further down the road, I still look forward to the rewriting.

writing for the sake of writing

I don’t need an audience, I’m not seeking friends, I’m writing because my thoughts are scattered, and I don’t know what’s in my mind. Somehow fingers and keyboard together translate thoughts into words, not perfectly, sometimes not even correctly, but at lease I can peek into my own mind briefly, like opening up a random chapter of a book. How wonderful it is to get some clarity, even if the clarity is only the emptiness after dumping massy thoughts out to the world.

Oh, but you don’t understand, I could have been so happy, if the mind can quiet down, and let life be. Others look at me, at my life, envy the simplicity and easiness of it. And I cannot complain. I am grateful. I should not be greedy.

But in the middle of the night, I lie awake, wanting to grab my iPad to write down my thoughts. For what? I do not know. As thoughts I have in abundance, and I need not to accumulate more. Could it be that I’m writing just for the sake of writing?


translation attempt

Honored or humiliated
I’m not taken aback,
Leisurely I observe
the blooming and falling of the flowers
in front of my chamber;
Leave or stay
I do not care,
Easily I go with
the tightening and smoothening of the cloud
in the sky beyond.

I came across this Chinese poem today, written (or first published, I’m not certain) during the beginning of the 1600s, and I was completely blown away by its beauty and wisdom. The above is my first attempt of translating it into English.


just say no

IMG_1197Sunday is usually a Yoga day for me, but two yoga instructors alternate for the Sunday class. I only like instructor H, not L. After only 5 1/2 hours of sleep, as I read till 3 am again, I called the yoga studio this morning in bed and asked, “Who is teaching today?” After getting assurance that it would be H, I dragged myself out of bed and showed up at the class, only to find L there.

The reason I did not like L was that she was nagging too much. If I needed someone to push me, I would get a personal trainer or sign up for a Pilates class. Yoga should be calm and serene. Therefore, I had been deliberately avoiding instructor L.

But I had already stepped into the studio, and it would be too obvious and embarrassing to leave, so I stayed for the class.

Today L had a series of poses for us, targeting shoulder muscles. One particular pose was Dhanurasana (Bow Pose). L came over behind me and lifted my shoulders, and my body was off the ground a lot and formed a “full bow”. “Look at how high you are getting! Hold there!!!” L enthused at me while releasing her hands. My body sank back towards the floor as soon as she let go.

A few minutes later, L said: “Let me tell you a funny story when you all rest a bit. As you get older, you don’t listen to instructions well. As you get further away from adolescence, where you still get instructions and follow instructions all the time, you start to forget how to listen to instructions.” So far it was not funny, and none of us laughed. L then walked to a young woman, and did the same thing to her like what she had done to me a few minutes earlier. Then she said, “Hold!” Amazingly, that young woman was able to hold the high / full bow position. The whole class laughed and probably thought it was funny, even though I doubt any of them had seen my failed attempt earlier and made the comparison.

S?x%! L was calling me “old” and “not able to listen”.

L and I tried the same thing for the second time. My body still fell down like a rock after L released her hands, despite my mental effort of trying to listen to her instruction.

Therefore, when she asked the class to do a chair shoulder stand later on, I didn’t even bother asking permission to skip it. Instead, I happily put my legs up the wall and opened and closed at the same rhythm as the others. If you were to look at the students in the class one by one, you would see tall, tall, tall, tall, short, tall, tall, but moving in synchronization. Quite funny, actually.

L asked: “Are you not doing the chair shoulder stand?”

“No.” I happily replied.

Indeed, L was not that bad of an instructor. Maybe I would not avoid her from now on.