Capisco

Sometimes, I feel it is the people who have known me the least in person who know me the most. I was thinking about how, today, I was messaging with my buddy in Italy. We haven’t been in much contact the past month or two, mostly because he has been in a big planting season – I think it was planting… oops – and has been working really long, rough hours, and sleeping when he can. But he let me know this would be the case, so I haven’t worried much about it. Anyway, we were messaging today – it has been a more frequent thing the past week or two – and I found myself just suddenly sharing with him about some of my book-writing concerns.

You see, I know I can tell stories, and I know I can write. Yet, I keep not writing for a book. Not officially or directly, anyway. And I was suddenly blurting out the concerns I have around that today. Why? Because it seemed like he was the person who could hear me the best. Despite ay risks of its being lost in translation, of course. 😛 But seriously, it felt like he could respond in a way that wouldn’t give me the excuses that other people in my life might give me. Nothing about why I probably haven’t done it or about how life has gotten in the way or anything like that. He couldn’t feed me any of my own excuses. And that might be because he has been around me the least. He knows the daily me the least, if that makes sense. Because we have had such a low-risk friendship, we have been open in ways that have kept our personal excuses out of the mix, and almost entirely so.

And so, I shared my concerns and how I’m not writing yet, and he asked a couple questions or so, which I answered. And then he just told me to do it. If I want to do it for myself, then do it. If it isn’t for myself, then don’t do it. But, if it is for myself, then go for it, and get started – do what I need to do to make the beginning happen, and now. Just as we say here, he reminded me of the ideas that 1) life is short, and 2) it is better to have regrets for things we’ve done than remorse for those we never attempted. I do not want to live a life unexamined – I want to live a life well-lived, and true to myself.

And part of that is writing books. So, novels, here we come.

P.S. They might be more like novellas, or novelettes, just FYI… I’m not sure they’ll be long Twilights or Harry Potters. ;P

Post-a-day 2020

Beginning with the past

I have begun writing.  And I mean for a book.  It was bizarre at first, wondering what on Earth I would use to start off things.  But, rather than titling the page “What to write first?”, I switched it to “What to write now?”.  It seems simple enough a change, but it was a transformative effect on my brain.  The idea of first suggests importance, that something is the most important, and so should be shared first.  The idea of now, however, just means that I can write about anything at any time, and I just happen to care about what’s on my mind right this minute.  It might change in an hour or a day, or even five minutes.   But, for right now, what’s on my mind?  And that is the question I answered.

And it actually surprised me somewhat, what came up and out.

I have begun writing, I believe, the backstory for the main character of this story.  She is, in essence, a copy of myself, but with certain subtle and not necessarily intentional differences.  An intentional difference, of course, is her name.  However, I have found that, while when recounting something in my own life, I feel a need to be precise and exact, when recounting that same something in her life, I can pick whatever words the person said that still express the same idea.  I do not have to go back and forth with myself, trying to recall if the person used the word “normal” or “real”… I can just pick the one I want to use.  because I am not writing nonfiction here.  I am writing fiction.  It is based on my own life, of course, but the key words here are “based on”… and boy, do they give me so much freedom and ease.  I don’t have to get it right.  I can choose how I want it to be.  And that’s really, really cool.  🙂

Post-a-day 2020

Love Reading

It turns out that, when I really love a book, I can get through it in two days.

And that’s without necessarily changing around my life almost at all – I just read it during every single spare moment, and I stretch a little longer and go for an extra walk, just to be sure I get my reading in, but get to feel extra productive while doing it.

(Because reading isn’t productive enough itself, apparently… my cousin happens to be the same way, too, and we are both working on it.)

And man, did I love this book.

The only down side is that I thought the second book in the series would be a continuation of it…, but it turns out that the book is just another story altogether, only it is written and put together in a similar style as the first (i.e. it is also about young love being discovered in a lovely foreign land).

So, bummer that the story I love won’t continue, but yay that I have another story that I am almost guaranteed to love. (Because sequels risk being total bummers, but separate sequentially-written novels by the same author tend to be delightful more often… in my experience, anyway.)

Anyway, since that is the case, I don’t need to stay up late to listen to more of the story… I am not so invested in this new story yet, so I can just go to sleep instead.

So, yay for that. ;D

Post-a-day 2020

Family

………………….

Journal entry for August 2, 2019

Today, we learned that C— has no penis…

………………….

This evening was an extended family evening, and a rather wonderful time.

There was chatter, discussion, story-telling, and lots of laughter.

At one point, one of my cousins, G—, shared this delightful story with us, and I knew immediately that I just had to write about it, because it was well worth sharing with the world.

She and her husband have two little girls, approximately aged four years and two years, and then a baby boy aged almost ten weeks.

Her husband, C—, was changing the diaper of the baby boy, and A—, the eldest girl, was observing.

A: Daddy, what’s that?!

C: Uh, well, it’s a penis… it’s because he is a boy… he is a boy, so he has a penis… that’s what makes him a boy, instead of a girl…

A:……. But Daddy, you’re a boy and you don’t have a penis….

C:… Actually, yes, I do have a penis…

A:….. Really?????

Conclusion from my cousin telling the story: Emasculated by a four-year-old. 😂

Afterward, my grandma commented that she thought it was such a shame that no one was documenting this sort of thing, – I had already determined that I was definitely writing about it tonight, but I didn’t mention anything about it – and my aunt said that the point was people telling one another stories…

My grandma was worried that the stories get lost, you see, and so my mom leaned over the counter, and starter scribbling with an imaginary pen into an imaginary book, saying aloud, “August 2, 2019: Today, we learned that C— has no penis.”

My uncle, whose son-in-law C— is, and who genuinely likes C—, nearly cried himself out of his chair, he laughed so hard at that – I mean, we all laughed rather hard, but he practically exploded with his laugher.

It was a very good little time tonight. 🙂

Thank you, God, for this blessing.

Note: Yes, yes, I know gender stuff is all up and about right now, however, I am not letting it disturb the hilarity of this particular stupendous father-daughter exchange – the story is not meant to offend in any way; it is merely something that happened that I find wonderful and worth sharing.

P.S. It occurred to me that, while I still am not there with the solo dancing I want to teach in prisons, I am at the very edge of receiving my yoga teacher certification, – a type of yoga that uses lots of meditation and mantra and healing exercises – and I could look into teaching that in prisons… something also incredibly beautiful and powerful and potentially extremely beneficial to those living in prison, especially as part of their preparation to move back into the world outside of prison… So, yeah… I’m suddenly rather inspired to get that certification finished ASAP.

P.P.S. And then, that had me thinking that I might somehow get the opportunity to do portraits of people in prison…. and that could be a beautiful project, be it for their future work portraits or for a neat project of sharing about prisons with the world… yeah… that’s gonna stay on the side in my mind, ready for when the time is right to act on it… definitely… 🙂

Post-a-day 2019

German Rank

By the time I arrived in Germany for my summer of German language courses as a precursor to my Fall/Winter study abroad semester, I had done the whole foreign language study and foreign language immersion thing a couple of times already – I knew what I was getting into and how I wanted to go about it.

True fluency was my goal, and I knew how to manage that.

The day I arrived, however, my German was absurdly limited and rather laughable…. I could hardly ask questions, let alone understand the answers (more on that some other time).

And so, by the time I was visiting with the others in my program’s group (they had also arrived that day), and had met the head of my program, everyone had been socially established in terms of their levels of German ability.

One girl was ‘the head’ of the group, so to speak, another was ‘the absolute beginner’, and the other few were sprinkled in between them… I openly declared my poor abilities that had been used throughout the day, only somewhat successfully, and expressed concern of not placing high enough to receive credit for the German courses back at my college (you had to be at least in the second level for the courses to count, and I was worried that I might be ending up in the beginner, first level, based in the day’s events).

In other words, I was ranked ever so slightly above the absolute beginner girl, and just barely below the girl who’d studied for a few semesters already (two years, I think, actually).

However, I wasted no time in immersing myself with the German-speaking head of our program, and got help from her immediately for the things I knew I would need and want to say starting the next day, when I would be interacting with all the people at the school and taking a placement test and starting classes… again, I had done the foreign language thing before, and I was knowledgeable about how to function on minimal vocabulary and grammar – I could make anything work, so long as I had a certain set of vocabulary ahead of time.

And so, to my delight the next morning, what I had prepared myself to be able to share with others about my absurd travels getting to that small town in Germany, ended up being the essay question on the placement test!

Therefore, to my pleasure and total surprise, I was placed in none of the beginner level courses, but in the first of two intermediate courses!

Since I had arrived late the day before (again with the telling another time), I had missed the regular times for the placement tests, and everyone who had taken them then was already in the first day of classes while I took my own placement test (along with a few other people who weren’t in my program, but who were also studying at the language school that month).

Therefore, when I walked into my intermediate level class – this was after multiple verifications that they were sure they were putting me into the correct class – and I found ‘the head’ of our group sitting at one of the tables, there was a brief moment of shock for the both of us, as I blew apart the ranking of our whole group by jumping rank so obscenely (I use obscene, because it rather was obscene, in a sense).

She was not happy, to say the least.

Two weeks later, when I already matched and, in some areas, had surpassed her German capabilities, I had voluntarily removed myself from the ranking altogether.

Rather than be a part of the group so much, I had become ‘the outside associated’, someone who isn’t truly a part of the group, but who comes to visit and gets along well with everyone whenever she does.

I never spoke English after that first day, not once… and that was enough to set me away from the group hierarchy.

(Okay, I did speak English once… this British guy seemed like he was about to cry one day, while begging me to speak English, because he so desperately wanted to hear how I sounded in English, since he had known me for weeks but had heard none…, but that was genuinely the only time I did it while there.)*

And it was wonderful.

In the second month, we had a similar situation happen with the new group arriving and joining our ranks… everyone was re-ranked, with me still as an outside associate for the first round of people, but ranked in a real place by the new folks (just above ‘the head’ from the first month)…

For that month, I was ranked below a new ‘head’… however, a month or so later, when we had all moved to Vienna, Austria, I was fully removed from the ranking system by all the new people, too… I had real friends who were native German-speakers, and certain parts of my German were better than anyone else (not all parts, though, because five years does teach one a lot, so the new ‘head’ definitely had some knowledge on German that I never really intended to have)… and I still used no English.

However, I eventually started throwing in the occasional bit of English just so they wouldn’t hate me so much – speaking only German had kind of pushed me way off the ranks… almost no association at all anymore…, but I got rather pushed back out by some when they discovered my many friendships with non-foreigners….

So, yeah… essentially, I ended up a distanced associate, and that actually was really great for me… I was there to learn German and learn German-speaking culture, not American anything (which was mostly all that my group had to offer), so I did just that: I learned German and German-speaking culture by being a part of it.

And it was awesome.

And I still found the hierarchy of our group to be hilarious, especially when I blew a hole in parts of it again and again. 😛

That was rather fun, actually.

I wonder how I would have felt had I been a regular member of the hierarchy, and not the super-gifted member that I was… hmm…

Post-a-day 2019

*Something tells me that I might have used the occasional translation with the outright beginner girl for the first few weeks while she got her bearings, but we kept that rather hush-hush and between ourselves, so no one really heard or knew about my occasional English words to her.

“Compliments”

I’m part of a ladies group for my former job in Japan, and someone recently posted about how these old ladies always compliment her nostrils as being proportionate to her nose, and so she wonders if anyone else gets funny compliments from other Japanese people.

In a quick think through, I came up with this for my own experience:

I’m dirty blonde and blue-eyed. Students often complimented my ‘beautiful’ hair, asked to touch it and my arm hair, constantly complemented my ‘amazing’ and ‘beautiful’ ‘high nose’, and even, on occasion, discussed how ‘amazing’ my ‘soft breasts’* were (which, by the way, are proportionate to my body and are a small B cup for US sizing)…

Also, I once had a new student, who had just learned that my eyes are blue, specially request to see my eyes… he then gazed into them for a full thirty seconds, and then thanked me and walked away. 😂

*Because, naturally, they discovered that I was not wearing push-up or padded bras, and so, from the outside, my breasts were ‘soft’ and not ‘hard’, like their extremely padded bras…, which they explained to me by tapping loudly on their own surprisingly solid bras…

Oh, Japan…

I do miss you… ❤

Post-a-day 2019

Gullible

Back in high school, there was, as is likely often the case with high schoolers, a phase of everyone telling each other that “‘gullible’ is written on the ceiling.”

In the middle of that phase of adolescence, I was hanging out one day with a couple or few friends, just outside the school theatre.

Outside the entry doors to the theatre, the building’s roof continues to the sides, creating a large concrete-based overhang/roof over the walkway immediately surrounding the theatre.

We were hanging out in this area, stage left of the entry doors.

Being my usual self, I was browsing my surroundings, including the ceiling above me.

Curiosity struck me, when I came across something unique.

“What does ‘gullible’ mean?” I asked those with me.

They paused to look at me and scoff, or something of the sort.

Having received no useful answer, I explained the reason for my question.

Pointing at the ceiling, I told them, “It’s written up there, on the ceiling.”

The irony of the event and my statement finally struck me, when I learned the definition of the word later on, but I was met with little interest in looking to where I was pointing at the time – no one trusted or believed me.

I eventually – not sure if it was almost immediately or weeks or months later – started telling people about this incident, always chuckling at the whole affair, and was usually met with disbelief and distrust – only on occasion did someone believe me and share in the hilarity of the story and situation with me.

I worked usually in vain to explain how someone could go find the very word himself or herself, always wondering if it even was still there.

Today, more than a decade later, I went back to that same area, and dropped my head back to scan the ceiling…

Over to the side, just as I remembered it, in its pencil-lead-looking ink and terrible handwriting that was likely snuck up there in a huge hurry while teachers were out of sight, was this:

(And a slightly zoomed-in version:)

Snazzy, huh? ;P

Post-a-day 2019

Backsplaining

Sometimes I feel as though I can’t talk about anything without explaining a million other things first…. which then continues the cycle of having to explain more and more, all because I’d wanted to share one little something.

(Perhaps that’s a benefit of having only the same select few people in one’s life forever – never having to do the back explaining…)

Post-a-day 2018

My life/books

I sometimes worry that I read to escape my life.  This is not to say that I find a need to escape my life, but merely that I grow a sort of addiction to a good book, because the story within the book is so much better than my own.  I long for the life I see in the story, and so throw myself into it as much and as often as possible… thereby stepping away from my own life for a good chunk of time, temporary though it is.

Unlike Kathleen Kelly in “You’ve Got Mail”, I do not find interesting things happening in books versus in my own life – I do find myself doing amazing and interesting things that I almost never have read in books.  However, similar to her, I long for something that I find in these books.  I long for the outside influences of people who love one another – I want to be loved like true love in a story.  I have faith in myself for a successful, beautiful story of accomplishments… I am not so sure about others taking up their roles within my own story…  Perhaps this isn’t really making sense… I’ll retire for the night.  I’m stilted, putting these inward emotions into outward words, and I’m not liking the result so far.  Hmm…

Post-a-day 2017

And Unexpected Story From… Somewhere

Tonight, for whatever reason (aside from the part where one thought links loosely to the next, those tiny threads of ideas drawing you quickly along the ever-unexpected path with them, until you eventually find yourself miles from the original thought, wondering how on Earth you got there), I was reminded of something I wrote a while back.  As I mentioned to my friend when I sent it to her, it is rather messy, and it just kind of came out of me.  One day, the words were just in my head, as though urging me to write them down, and so I did really quickly… It was almost like an ‘I have to do it now’ experience.

I have various theories as to how the story came to me, as well as to why my mind wanted me to write it down on paper (yes, the original is with paper and pen, not computer), but I find them unnecessary to include here, as none of them was present when I actually had the story pouring out of me that odd morning (odd, due to this near-overwhelming necessity to write this story, which had never quite happened to me in such a way until that day).

Anyway, it is sad – dreadfully sad to me, anyway – and it is terrible, and it is a miniature story that asked me to write it down, and somehow got back into my head tonight to get me to share it with the world (well, whatever portion of it will cross this weblog posting, at least).  Enjoy… or whatever… you know…

 


“No,” declared Jessica, exasperated, “I’m not going to call him.”

Yet, even as she spoke, she knew deep down that she would be with him again.  So she wouldn’t call him…, but she’d said nothing about texting.  Or his calling her.

Soon enough, perhaps in a matter of hours, she’d be with him again.  And then, in a matter of minutes, she’d be lying there alone, feeling gross, almost wanting to hurl.  Or else hurl something… he wouldn’t hold her, no matter how she wished it.  He never did…  But, for a few moments, she would feel the pressure of him resting on her chest, and it almost would feel as though it were intentional, as though there were someone – right here and now – who wanted to be with her, who cared for her, who loved her.

Though she knew it wasn’t so.

“This is so messed up,” she would say to him…  And she would mean it.

And yet she couldn’t stop herself.

He was in need, and she could help.  Besides, she had been curious in the first place.  Now she knew.  Perhaps that was a good thing.  If nothing else.  And an icy feeling told her there was nothing else good about it all.

Jessica wouldn’t see how he only appeared to be in need – she was too trusting of him and his word; she had looked up to him for too long to question what he expressed to her.  And so, in her time of extreme need for love, she would leave the love of her friends to go to him, and be robbed of what little she still had, knowingly sacrificing her own happiness and love to help, to serve, to please another.


 

Post-a-day 2017