Writing Class

Things are a bit intimidating in my writing class. We were asked to read a bit from our first assignment. We had a word association exercise.  Just write freely without paying attention to grammar, spelling mistakes and bring in your sentences, paragraphs and so on.  Some already had stories written out.  One woman said she edits as she writes.  I’m not used to writing on paper.  Our teacher encouraged us to do this.  I couldn’t read my own handwriting afterwards.

The other students are serious about their writing.  Some have idea journals and daily journals.  Everyone seems to read more than I do.  A lot of them could quote lines from their favorite books.  They knew the author’s history too.  I feel like I’m back in high school again struggling in English class.

Clearly I got my work cut out for me.  But I love the instructor and hope I don’t get too intimidated by everyone.





Centuries ago, in ancient China, there was an emperor who had a young male lover.  This was forbidden and he was very discreet about it.  The empress was a bitter woman and while she loved the throne, she hated the emperor.  She was also very suspicious of him and wanted the be the only person to rule the empire. But the emperor always stayed one step ahead of her.

The emperor’s male lover was a young man whose innocent beauty and demure presence captured the emperor’s heart.  The emperor’s favorite game was to chase the young man around the bedroom and slap his bubble butt.  Sometimes he would catch the young man, trap him in his powerful legs and gently slap his butt while the young man laughed uncontrollably.

One night, the empress got even more suspicious when he saw the emperor’s eye wandering during a royal dinner.  She followed his eyes and saw the young man.  He was even more beautiful than her.  She glared at the young man and her evil mind started to work.

The next day, the empress consulted an evil sorcerer. The sorcerer feared the empress’s cruelty and did not want to disappoint her.  He took a magic potion to peer into the emperor’s mind to find out more about the young man.  After a few days, he told the empress of his plans.  The queen listened and gave her approval.  It would be a very devious plot.

The next day, the emperor looked all over the palace for his young lover.  As he went from room to room, he suddenly encountered the empress.

“Did you lose something?”  sneered the empress.

The emperor ignored her and kept on walking.

“I’ve turned your lover into a watermelon.  You should hurry down to the market before someone else takes it home and eat him.”

The emperor turned pale and ran to the market.  The market goers were shocked to see the emperor there by himself and everyone stood back.  The emperor saw the many stalls selling watermelons.   He went from stall to stall, looking at each, trying to find a clue, if there was one.  His hands rested on a watermelon and he started to caress it.  He moved to another one and then another one.  Each reminded him of his lover’s bottom.  Then he started to gently slap one and then the next one.  The sound of the watermelon being slapped reminded him of his sweet, young lover.

A stall owner finally mustered up the courage to ask “Your highness, may I ask why you are tapping the watermelons?”

The emperor looked up  and said “I’m trying to find my sweet one.”  And then he took one of the watermelons home.  Each day, the emperor returned, tapped the watermelons and took one home.  Eventually the villagers started to emulate him in the belief that they too would find a sweet watermelon.

– – – – – – –

So boys and girls, that’s how this all started.  Remember this next time you’re at the market and tapping a watermelon.


It Was a Long Night

I spent the night at the emergency room of my neighbourhood hospital.  The hospital wasn’t far from my home and while I could have walked, I decided to take a cab.  Besides it was already past midnight.  The front door of the hospital was already closed when I got there so I went into the Emergency Room.  I’ve been here a few times before so I knew what to expect.

Within minutes, they triaged me, had my EKG done, got my paperwork done and led me past the patients waiting to get in.  Some were on stretchers – their ambulance attendants waiting patiently with them.   Heart problems gets you front of the line access to the ER.

The rest of the night was uneventful as they tried to figure out what I had.  Basically my heart started to race although it didn’t go as fast when I had previous problems with it.  The staff was good to me and patiently explained what was going on.  They were hesitant to give me the same medication as before because the symptoms exactly fit what I had before.  I had a bit of time to chat with a nurse.  When he found out I was in IT, he told me his family was all in IT except for him.  I told him he was the smart one.  We chatted a bit about travel and his work.  He had an easy going manner and a good sense of humour which helped to put me at ease.  I complimented him on that.

The ER was busy.  A man was swearing loudly.  The woman beside me had a stroke.  Another patient across from the hallway asked for a bedpan.  The bed I was on was narrow.  Another guy wanted water because he was very thirsty and got angry when he couldn’t have any.  Sometime in the middle of the night, the doctors decided to simply give me a double dose of a medication I was currently taking.  It took several hours for the meds to work.  Before I left, they told me they would follow up on me.  I got out around 6AM.

The sky was still dark and the air was cool.  The 2 coffee shops on the corner were just getting busy.  I passed by a deserted park on the other side of the street.  The elderly Chinese women haven’t come out yet for their Tai Chi exercises.  A skunk wandered out from the park to the edge of the sidewalk. It kept walking in the same direction.  I kept my eye on it just in case it tried to cross the street to say hi to me.

I took a nap later in the morning.  My sleep patterns were all messed up.  I made a couple of appointments, did some chores and just took it easy for the day.   J came by for dinner. I feel fine now but I need to find out what caused this.




I’ve been trying to be more disciplined in my job search.  There are good days and there are those days where negative energy likes to linger.  When that happens, self doubt shows up.  It’s followed quickly by procrastination. It doesn’t take long for them to resurrect any bad habits I have.  Together they all gang up on confidence.  I have to make sure I remain positive and not let those negative thoughts and emotions stay too long.

So I need to be a lot more disciplined at this.  I still need to make time for the things I like to do or need to do.  Looking for a job is a full time job but I also want some “work” life balance.

I’ve started a morning pages journal.  It’s 3 pages of whatever comes to mind written in longhand.  This was recommended to me by my late friend Kelvin years ago.  But I never did it.  It was an odd coincidence that I found it again from some article on LinkedIn after I was thinking of him. So I figured that must be a sign.

I have a spreadsheet that tracks all my action items, networking activities and goals for my job search.  But I haven’t been consistently using it.  If you’re a project manager, this would be similar to your project control book.  I updated it this morning but will need to do it daily. I’ve been doing a decent job of making new connections on LinkedIn.  I feel  more comfortable doing information interviews.  Selling myself doesn’t come easy for me (and perhaps for you).  I have to practice my 30 second commercial regularly.

My wardrobe also needs to be updated.  After a few years of working from home and years of casual dress code, I really don’t have a decent business casual clothes.  I have 3 suits, 1 dress pants and 1 blue blazer.  I need something less formal than suits but more formal than khaki pants.

Mostly I need to stay focused and positive.  Not having a steady stream of income makes me feel vulnerable.  But I also want to make sure I get a job that I enjoy too.  At some point, I’m sure I’ll need to make some trade offs.  But for now, I just got to keep moving forward.