Tuesday, 20 January, 2015
#DailyWings: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” -Martin Luther King Jr.
Back in November, I saw that my good friend and fellow fantasy writer Sara Letourneau had posted the To-Be-Read (TBR) Book Tag on her blog. It was so much fun reading her post that I knew I wanted to do it, too! Who says you have to be tagged in order to participate in a blog tag? ;)
I don’t read as much as I should or want to. There’s not much time during the day for me to read for pleasure. Luckily, that’s what my lunch breaks at work are for. Right now, I’m re-reading “Fakebook” by Dave Cicirelli, a memoir about a social media experiment that inspired my senior honors thesis, “Behind the Blog: The Connection Between Online Social Media Personas and Reader Perspectives” (but that’s a topic for another day). I’ve been reading 15 pages a day, which I’m proud of. I hope to maintain this stride for a long time.
Reading, like writing, is an action for which you need to invest lots of time. But it’s worth it. There’s nothing better than getting transported into another dimension of time and space whenever you want to, even if it’s in your mind. You make new friends with characters and even the authors who create them. You can travel, fall in love and live a thousand lives when you read books. To me, that’s a priceless gift.
Today, I present to you my book tag Q&A:
Tuesday, 13 January, 2015
#DailyWings: “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.” –Eduardo Galeano
I was at work when I learned about what had happened in Paris on January 7. At the office, we have about seven or eight television screens, all of which display breaking news from CNN or sports on a daily basis. I walked past the largest TV during lunch, a napkin and utensils in my hand, when I saw the headline about terrorists on the loose in Paris. People were wounded, even dead.
“Why would anyone want to attack the French?” was my initial reaction. Admittedly, I don’t know much about France outside of the stereotypes revealed to me through movies and other media growing up, and unfortunately I don’t follow French news the way I follow Chinese, American and UK news. Even with the underlying knowledge that French people aren’t all alike, I’d always viewed them as being romantic, chic and peaceful foodies.
It wasn’t until later that I learned three masked individuals — later discovered to be Islamists — had attacked the headquarters of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical Parisian weekly newspaper known for publishing crude, controversial material (mainly about religion and politics). The attacks didn’t stop there. Two days later, terrorists related to the first incident attacked people in a supermarket where many Jewish Parisians live and congregate.
Tuesday, 06 January, 2015
#DailyWings: “You have everything needed for the extravagant journey that is your life.” -Carlos Castaneda
Over the years, the term “New Year’s resolution” has gained a bad name for itself. In the last week alone, I saw so many posts on social media with catchy lines like, “My New Year’s resolution is to keep all the ones I had from last year” or “Whats my New Year’s resolution? To have none.”
If you’re the type of person who thinks New Year’s resolutions are tedious, useless or just plain silly, you are probably going to laugh at me. I am a New Year’s resolutions geek. (Edit: This sentence has be translated into: understatement of the year – so far.)
Every December (since 2009), I review my resolutions and check off how many I’ve kept during the last 12 months. Then, I plan out an extensive list of new resolutions for the upcoming year. For each list of resolutions, I break down different categories of my life (e.g. health, personal, writing, blogging, education) and list sub-resolutions underneath. My resolutions are saved as a simple Microsoft document, and I use Chris Guillbeau’s Annual Review spreadsheet to track my progress. Now here comes the are-you-bonkers-Wendy? part.
Tuesday, 23 December, 2014
#DailyWings: “Only a generation of readers will spawn a generation of writers.”
Back in November, I partook in the Writers of Color: Lit Mag Diversity Spotlight Contest hosted by Writer’s Relief, one of my favorite online writing resources. I loved their message of promoting diversity in literature, particularly literary magazines that explore identity topics (e.g. race, gender, sexuality, class), the histories of specific regions, bilingualism and much more.
The rules of the contest were simple: You had to subscribe to two of the print literary journals on the Writers’ Relief: Writers of Color Lit Mag Resource, sign up for the mailing list of two literary journals or donate two to of the online journals (or some combination of these choices). Like many giveaways, you could win additional points by spreading the word about the contest on social media.
I didn’t really intend on winning. After all, the prize pack looked amazing and I figured tons of people would enter the contest. So you can imagine my surprise when, a few weeks later, Writer’s Relief emailed me, saying I’d won! I received my package a couple days ago and I wanted to show you all what the prizes were – not to brag, but to share the different literary magazines out there that you may not already know about. And if you’re still on the hunt for the perfect Christmas present, a literary magazine subscription would be the perfect holiday gift for a lit lover. Without further ado, here they are:
Monday, 15 December, 2014
To call yourself a writer, you don’t need to be published. You don’t need a qualification. You don’t need to have been writing a long time. The only thing you need to do to call yourself a writer is write. And yet…sometimes that’s easier said than done. On those days when you know you should spend time on your work-in-progress but can’t muster the motivation to sit down and actually write, your willpower may need a helping hand. There to offer said hand is a little bit of psychology. Here’s one simple way you can conserve your waning willpower and get yourself writing on days when you feel like anything but.
The first thing to understand is that self-control—being able to deny your impulses and say no to temptation—is not a limitless resource. If you do something that requires a fair bit of willpower, like coaxing yourself into going to the gym or spending a full day at work or school, then you’ll have less available to will yourself to write. So, if you can’t just cut out activities aside from writing that require a lot of self-control, what can you do to make sure you have enough willpower for writing?
Tuesday, 09 December, 2014
#DailyWings: “Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counsellors, and the most patient of teachers.” – Charles William Eliot
This week, I am back on my regular posting schedule! Today, I present to you – as promised – my long-awaited book review on “Writing Down the Bones” by Natalie Goldberg. But first, I’d like to take a moment and apologize for the roller coaster that was last week! Thank you for bearing it with me, and many thanks to the people who sent me kind well-wishes via social media! For those of you who were spared the details before, I caught a nasty cold and also had a mild case of gingivitis (characterized by swollen, bleeding gums – ew!). Truthfully, I’m glad I took some time off for self-care and for the sake of my physical health. I’m feeling a lot better now!
It’s been over a year since I last wrote a book review. My sister’s boyfriend, Aron, gave me “Writing Down the Bones” as a Christmas gift last year, and I only got around to reading it in August. It normally takes me forever to finish a book, but “Writing Down the Bones” is broken up into three-to-five-page chapters that are easy to fly through if you have a few spare moments.
Tuesday, 25 November, 2014
#DailyWings: “When I write about a 15-year old, I jump, I return to the days when I was that age. It’s like a time machine. I can remember everything. I can feel the wind. I can smell the air. Very actually. Very vividly.” -Haruki Murakami
It was about six years ago: November 30, 2008. Minutes before midnight. I had just reached a little over 50,000 words for my NaNoWriMo novel, Sophie. All the endless nights of writing. All the story maps, character profiles, 20-page long chapters, granola bars, hot chocolate and word count math. After 30 days of literary frenzy and thinking nonstop about my novel, I’d finally reached my word count goal and won National Novel Writing Month for the first time.
It’s the same kind of rush that I’ve felt the last few months while creating this website. Besides NaNoWriMo, I can’t think of any other writing project that I’ve worked this hard on. The website just started out as a “new idea for a blog” way back before the summer even began. It was only when I asked my web designer and good friend Kimberly Li to work on a design with me that the idea started to take concrete form.
Wednesday, 19 November, 2014
Welcome! Whether you’re a newcomer or one of the original readers of my previous blog, The Red Angel, I’m so excited to have you visiting my new writer website! Earlier this year, many of my friends started asking me, “I haven’t seen a post from you in forever. How come you stopped blogging?”
I graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in May. During the last two years of college, I changed not only as a person but also as a writer. My writing style became more flexible, my dreams and goals shifted, even parts of my personality were different. With my mind focused on potential careers for myself and a network of people close to me who taught me to be more confident in my abilities, it felt like my identity was no longer in sync with my blog. I felt lost.
I started toying with the idea of re-creating my blog. It never occurred to me that I would get tired of the layout of my last blog, but I was. I wanted to start fresh, to re-brand my social media presence and really invest in my personal writing career. Finally, at the end of my college graduation, I decided it was time for me to take a leap of faith and believe in myself enough to create what you now see in front of your eyes.
Friday, 07 June, 2013
#DailyWings: “It’s all right to do things the way you want. There is no map to life, no blueprints to survival, you can create your world day by day if you have a clear vision and an unwillingness to give up.”
The first time I drove a car, I was seven years old. My back was propped up against the seat of an arcade racing game at one of the pizza joints in Boston. My two best friends at the time, twin sisters wearing ponytails and matching choker necklaces, watched and waited eagerly for their turns to play. I clutched the plastic wheel in front of me, eyes fixed on the screen. But the whole time, all I could focus on were my friends’ cheers in the background and the shadow of our mothers hovering above my head.
I ended up maneuvering around like an old grandma – I was either too fast or too slow, and kept bumping into trees and the vehicles in front of me. After a few moments, my friends looked away, bored with my game. The race ended as all the cars braked to a screeching halt, and two pixelated words showed up on the screen: Game over!