That Time I Went to Shen Yun -
Something I posted on Medium which I’m cross-posting here in case you don’t read Medium.
OONTZ oontz oontz oontz OONTZ
oontz oontz oontz OONTZ oontz oontz oontz
OONTZ oontz I’M… SO… HIGH — A little haiku about the Ultra Music Festival. (via sobehaikus)
Remember how I was working on a self-publishing a book? Or at least, make progress on it? I said I was going to do that. And now it’s been oh, a year and some change, and there’s been nothing.
So what happened?
At first, I was doing really well. Two Christmas’ ago, I had self published a test run of some short stories about my family to some friends and I gave it out to folks at our annual Christmas gathering. I wrote and I edited and I re-wrote again. I worked at Starbucks and I spent a New Years at a cabin in Georgia with no wifi. At the end of the day I had a rough draft that came to around twenty four thousand words - not enough for a novel length piece, just some stuff to see if it got the attention of the people who read it. The folks who did read it - for the most part, liked it.
My next step - and this is the deadline that’s been tougher for me to hit - was to have fifty thousand words of content about my family. The thought is that from there, I could find an editor to help me make it more of a cohesive story, maybe get a Kickstarter to have some assistance write the design of the book, finally cross “write a book” off my bucket list.
But no. Turns out that this has been tougher than I thought it would be, thanks to the following, in order of magnitude of excuses:
"Maybe you should just walk away and not think about it for a while," my boyfriend suggested. So that’s what I’ve done.
But now it’s been a good chunk of time, I need to figure out what to do - either walk away and write this off as a life lesson or, make a final attempt to write (as well as make a serious effort to throw money at an editor to help me figure out if there’s a overarching story to all of these stories.) I think that’s why I’m writing this as well - maybe it’ll nudge me in one direction or another.
Side note to everything: the boyfriend is reading a 340-page memoir of a man who had self-described consensual sex with a dolphin, for “research purposes.” (The book reading for research purposes; not the dolphin sex. You’ll have to read the book or ask dolphin-fucker directly.)
Whenever I go back to San Francisco now, it’s always the same thing: I spend a week with my friends, usually eating as much Asian food as I can possibly handle. Carnitas too, usually in the form of burritos. For the most part, my home base will be in the Mission, where I lived for five years, with ventures into downtown to work at the local co-working spaces. Maybe I’ll be the very tourist I avoided as a local and walk along the waterfront or go to the Castro.
After that, I hop on the BART train to the end of the line, the suburbs in Fremont. I spend the second week visiting mom, in the room that my dad stayed in before he moved out and has now become the computer room. Or in my case, the guest bedroom. It’s a twin mattress, the bed frame I had as a kid. The mattress is super firm and it feels like a cot in the barracks, probably the most suitable sleeping environment for dad. I usually lie to my mom and tell her that I just flew in. I’ve told the truth in the past - that I’m flying to California but seeing friends first - but she doesn’t take it too well.
Staying here has been fine, for the most part. One part of coming home is always the inevitable English or technology based errand. Burn some CDs, make sure she wasn’t being convinced she was dying of cancer when she gets a English reminder about her mammogram. This time around it was to “fix her TooYoo,” by which she meant, of course, making sure her YouTube works.
I upgrade Flash on her Safari browser.
"What did you do?" she asks in Chinese. "Did you purchase something? They always want me to purchase something."
"No, I just installed Flash," I say in English. She has no idea what I’m talking about, so she leaves the room into the kitchen and returns with a parfait glass filled with pineapple chunks. "I salted them," she said. "Kills the germs."
The most annoying thing is the lack of locks on the doors because of Angela. As a result, mom and her opens the door at random times. Do you want some ice tea? Do you want some hot tea? How about some fruit? I cut up some fruit. Have you showered yet? Most of the time I brush her off: no, mom, I’m fine. Seriously. Mom, I’m okay. The times I eventually give in - sure mom, I’ll drink some water, okay, I’ll take a shower at night - I end up feeling guilty, like I’m enabling all of this to happen as a thirty-eight year old instead of an eight year old.
Angela comes in the room as well. “Is that your work computer?” she asks while I type this.
"Do you have friends and freedom?" she asks out of the blue.
"I guess I do." I keep my eyes on the computer.
"I wish I did. I live in a straight jacket." She leaves the room again.
Just a Thursday evening.
Things My Chinese Mom Forwards Me -
When I first got my mom her computer and taught her how to type in Chinese (tracing in Chinese characters using a trackpad) she wrote me exactly three e-mails and then spent the rest of her time forwarding me Chinese language Powerpoint presentations.
You may as well come along for the ride.
As part of Ai Weiwei’s exhibit at PAMM they had a list of the 7000 children who died in the China quake a couple years back. I found a list of these kids with my last name.