Zìjǐ Xiězuò (自己寫作) I Write for Myself: Manipulating the Narrative

ORIGINAL CONTENT

I’m erasing myself from the narrative
Let future historians wonder how Eliza reacted when you broke her heart
You have torn it all apart, I’m watching it Burn

(Hamilton)

The fragility of the narrative is an interesting one. As Eliza’s broken hearted anthem to “erase (herself) from the narrative” insinuates that any narrative can be molded and shaped to produce a certain desired perspective for future generations.

Perhaps one of the most successful narrative manipulation was achieved by a group of southern socialites called the United Daughters of the Confederacy. They picked and chose what to highlight and what to omit, delivering this pseudo-history of the South’s participation in the U.S. Civil War, not as a war of keeping slaves but rather one to be revered, full of heroes.

As I journal / scrapbook in my Hobonichi, I come to realize that I am recording pieces of not only my life but the lives around me, the world as it is today. In the same vein, that which I choose to omit will be as if it never existed, or happened, and with time, it will simply fade out of existence.

What a horribly powerful tool the written word still remain.

So the true question here is should serial killers, mass shooters, and all the ills in the world be forever commemorated for future generations to read about, for the few misguided to be worshipped, perhaps even emulate? Perhaps a pact should be made to report on these atrocities but no name and no photos – deprive them of their narrative but still allowing the world to see the extremes travesties humanity can create.

Twenty years from now, how will January 6, 2021 at the U.S. Capitol be remembered, be taught, be talked about? How will the COVID-19 pandemic be reflected in history? Will there be a continuous debate whether over 600,000 American deaths were staged like the moon landing?

When I was in my journalism class we learned about the different truths and how few things we read are actual truths. As human beings, it is near-impossible to write without any underlying biases. However, I do believe if we are conscious of the fragility of truth as truth actually is, then perhaps we can continue to strive for the lucid unicorn.

Zìjǐ Xiězuò (自己寫作) I Write for Myself: A Day in the Life

ORIGINAL CONTENT

There’s a constant gentle breeze nudging the nearby trees sway this way and that. The air is dense and warm, feels sort of like trying to breathe in a plastic bag and it is only mid June. Large dark ominous clouds scattered across the sky, with the sun totally hidden.

My hand dangled off the side of the bed and I am slow to wake to the licks of the Weimaraner. He’s telling me it is time to leave the comforts of my fresh cotton sheets but I resist and withdrew my hand underneath the covers. The Dane makes a huge commotion on the bed getting up, turning around, and lurk at me patiently. I opened one eye to see a set of nostrils and floppy face, in fear impending slingers, I leap out of bed and begin my daily routine.

It’s my day off and I am especially slow in my movement. I looked forward to going to an early morning OJ class so that I can go about my day. The Weimaraner caught a glimpse of the Lucky Japanese Jizo Family Praying garden statute temporarily propped up on top of the bookcase in the living room and growled at it. He must have forgotten it was there after barking at it for a solid 15 minutes the day before. My day is filled with the jingling of dog tags, the low hum of the refrigerator, and the ceiling fan leisurely circulating the air between the air conditioning coming on.

I sit at the kitchen table procrastinating on writing with a few rounds of Bejeweled. Then I searched for a new featured image to top off my posts, followed by refilling all the dogs’ water bowls with fresh water. I glanced over at the sink full of dishes and at last, I chose to open a new daunting blank page to fill with words.

It’s rear to be off work, at home, without the constant blaring of the television. It has almost become an anomaly as the Hubs prefers the background noise where as I prefer the stillness, the calm, the elusive hush which allows me to think and formulate coherent thoughts. It’s a compromise that I have learned to accept after 26 years of marriage. However when moments as today surfaces, I cherish it as a gift, a reward, one I should not waste on playing MouseCraft.

Writing, like any other art form is a perishable skill. However, on the flip side of that, is the more one writes the easier it is to write more – at least it is true for me. I have committed myself to journaling/scrapbooking in my Hobonichi everyday in order to be accustomed to the act of writing daily. It has provided a very liberating platform to write as I please while capturing glimpses of my day-to-day life. The act of having to formulate a complete and coherent thought has made a significant difference in fostering a more consistent blogger which I hope is one step closer to finishing my CNF manuscript.

Much Needed R&R

It had always been a personal life goal to earn a masters degree. As an immigrant who came to the United States knowing only two English sentences, I take particular pride in my accomplishments. I was the first in my family to earn a bachelors and now a masters.

The online masters in Creative Writing was both satisfying and frustrating. In particular, the capstone curriculum seemed to have been polluted with busy work and/or repetitive fruitless exercises which, at times, greatly hindered the reaching of the mandatory 50,000 words goal.

After what seemed like an unusually long two and a half years, I celebrated my achievement with splurging on the framing of my diploma and not writing anything for the next five months.

I had completely burnt out.

I didn’t even turn on my computer except to play an occasional Bejeweled.

It has only been within the last six weeks or so that I didn’t mind sitting down at my keyboard and type. The state of my blog can attest that I had to vacate any and all exercises which remotely resembled homework.

So hello there & welcome to my blog!

Please take a look around & rummage about.

Bit of Fiction: Tension [1200 word limit]

emma-watson-regression-poster

The Cupboard

She huddled in the fetal position in the pitch darkness of the tall and narrow cupboard next to the built-in refrigerator and its lulling hum. The space was cramped for her near 6’ lanky frame. There were awkwardly stowed limbs everywhere, like a contortionist practicing a new act but without the elegance. It was at least 10 degrees warmer in the cupboard and the musty stale air of forgotten dry goods impaled her nostrils. A blinding light seeped in from underneath the door making her eyes water when her gaze had outstayed their welcome. She tightly clasped her hands on either side of her knees wrapping her arms around her legs, uncomfortably forced against her chest. ‘Boobs. Boobs would make this more tolerable,’ she considered. ‘Boobs,’ she repeated, ‘it would at least offer some cushioning’ her mind distracted by her current physically distressing position.

Sweat was beading down her forehead committing hara-kiri on the top of her knees. If she was lucky, the bead of sweat would run its course down over her shin bone. But the current path of choice was running all the way down her inner thighs and straight towards her crotch. ‘Just lovely! If someone finds my body they will no doubt deduce that I inevitably wet myself in my last moments,’ she sulked in the thought. And for a moment, a calmness flirted with her. For a moment, there was peace. For a moment there were even an absent of her current condition.

Then quite suddenly the sound of the squeaky doorknob interrupted her moment and swiftly replaced calm with panic. The door swung open with a little too much force and crashed into the wall with a thunderous bang. The sudden break in silence startled Audrey to let out a small muffled yelp. Quickly followed by both hands covering her mouth as if the gesture can promptly retrieve the sound waves which so freely passed through her lips. The thick rubber soles of a workman’s boots grazing insidiously against old wooden floors caused her anxiety to escalate with every step.

“C’mon please, please, please” she whispered through clenched teeth. Each step seem to have vibrated the floor joist beneath her jabbing her protruding butt bone just enough to make her wince. Adding to her physical discomfort. Adding to her growing angst of what’s about to come.

‘Oh wonderful, now I have to go to the loo?’ she thought to herself with certain indignity. The heavy footsteps ensued with a certain clumsiness. As the wearer of the boots came closer in proximity the steps served to announce its amplified insidious intent. The only barrier separating Audrey and the wearer of the boots was a paper thin plywood cupboard door. She slammed her eyes shut and turned her face from the light to listen. To pray. To beg whoever or whatever was listening. An ardent student of atheism, who was she praying to? What was she praying to? Begging pardon with? Asking to be spared? God? The Universe? Leprechauns? Rainbow Unicorns? Audrey could not resolve to believe in the intangible but at the first sign of impending doom the archaic notion of ‘being a slave to outdated notions of a commoner’ came back to possess her. ‘pffft, famous last words – this is karma for you Hughs’ she thought regrettably.

Audrey listened with such intensity that her racing heart and shallow breath dominated the conversation. She squeezed her eyes even tighter in an attempt to muster additional concentration, as if magically her hearing would broaden its reach. But she heard nothing. Not one sound. Not even the sound of the curtains fluttering ever so delicately in the warm summer breeze. Silence fell because there was nothing to hear. The footsteps had halted. As abruptly as it started it ceased with equal unapologetic bluntness. Her scrawny frame instinctively began to slightly rock back and forth as dismay settles into her bones. ‘Why wasn’t there anymore footsteps? It was not possible to reach the cupboard doors in so few steps. Where the bloody hell are the boots?’ She frantically reasoned with herself in an attempt to employ logic over borderline hysteria ‘Open your eyes Audrey Grace! Open – your – eyes – you – little – coward!’ she berated herself. She let out a soft exhale and obscenely slow peeled her left eye open, then her right. Squinting at the terrible white light, her irises rebelled adamantly making her light green eyes water in an instant. She did her best to clear them, tilting her head and alternating turns rubbing on each perspective shoulder; leaving streaks of tears, mascara, and foundation on her pale yellow shirt. ‘Bloody freaking hell, that’s not going to come out in the wash’ she irritatedly assessed. She blinked feverishly and as the white blur came into focus, she desperately cocked her head in the most unnatural way in hopes to catch a glimpse of the world beyond. Anything. A crumb. A shadow. A sign. Any sign. Any gesture of where the wearer of the boots may have taken up residency.

A shuffling could be heard. Then a step. Then another. Before Audrey could consider the situation her fight or flight instincts kicked in full force and she sprang out of the cupboard with a crazed gleam in her eyes. The wearer of the boots leaped across in no more than three steps triumphantly yelling, “GOTCHA!” His arms wrapped around Audrey so keenly that he could touch both sides of himself. He hoisted her off the floor with her legs flailing and kicking like a fish desperate to find its way back to water.

Audrey screamed loudly in despair and every inch of her body convulsed as if she was having a fit. She squirmed, twisted, and kicked to break free but it was a futile attempt. Her initial fight had relinquished itself to being defeated. Audrey’s entire body fell limp in his arms. A broad cheesy smile flashing his perfect pearly whites encompassed his face. Audrey’s brother 5 years her junior had finally surpassed her in height, strength, cunning, and evidently cockiness. He gave her a few good shakes and Audrey’s arms lifelessly flopped up and down with each shake as if she was a string puppet.

“Say it!” he demanded, “Say IT Audrey!”

With an exaggerated sigh and her head drooping lifelessly she mouthed the words of defeat.

“Oh c’mon! I can’t hear anything! Fair is fair Audrey – say IT!”

With another exaggerated sigh she duly recited the oath of losers. An oath which she created when they were children. An oath that he had recited almost exclusively until now. An oath of complete surrender. An oath that now she had to attest, out loud, browbeaten. Her reign over him is officially over.

“You’re the best. I’m the worst. You’re kung-fu is the greatest” Audrey uttered void of spirit.

Rong Rong Name Stamp

Grasshopper

2015 7-27 Intro Quote

I have finally decided to pursue my dream of obtaining a Masters degree and I am quite excited! MA in English – Creative Writing in the Non Fiction track. The goal is that by the end of the program I will have made significant progress towards my memoir if not completed entirely.

I am currently on my third class in the program and is suffering through some forced fiction. Instead of letting it go to waste I thought I’d share them here … in the infinite world of the internet.  My hope is to post something every Monday so please check back & enjoy!

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The secret to writing a bestseller…

EXACTLY! The secret to becoming a published author is not about blogging, or Tweeting, or even pimping ourselves endlessly to establish an ‘online presence.’ It is simply about writing!

250 Words or Less

This is a test of what 250 words looks like. When I visit a blog or reading an online story, I personally find a ‘wall of text’ greeting me a bit daunting to tackle – especially when I am short on time. And let’s face it, time is a scarce commodity these days and most of us can’t seem to cram enough hours in a given day. With the popularity of mini blogging (Twitter) or for the more visual folks, Pinterest, I think keeping a blog entry intentionally restrained will complement the heavy taxed modern lifestyle better.

As with anything, more is not necessarily better. As I peruse a wide variety of news stories daily, I find myself to be quite the fickle and selective reader. If an author / journalist don’t grab me within the first few sentences I tend not to continue reading, especially if it is a particularly long piece. However, even if the story fails to command my undivided attention immediately if it is a shorter piece I tend to punch through it and finish reading.

Sadly it seems that it isn’t really a matter of one story was more enticing or more entertaining than the other; it is just a matter of sheer convenience and time available. So has the vast amount of information at our fingertips become an added demand for our attention? Or has the massive influence of social media made us more impatient – feeding the instant gratification monster that defines a generation?