A Bit of Writing

/* just writing stuff; this is fiction

I stopped showing my emotions when I was 10.  It happened at my birthday dinner.   I was sitting at the kid’s table with my cousins and friends.  I was laughing and joking with them.  It was my moment to be in the spotlight and I enjoyed it.  Then I was pulled up from my seat.  I turned around and it was my dad.  I thought that was funny and I laughed.  That’s when he slapped me on my face.  The sound and the force of the slap stunned me.  My cheeks felt hot.  The pain followed.

“Your mother has been calling you and you just sit there like a spoiled prince!”

I looked around.  No one said anything.  Not even my mom.

/* ok – that was kinda dark

I’m starting to write again.  Sometimes it’s just a line or two.  If it sounds good or interesting, I’ll put them in my idea file.  I still remember my writing instructor telling us to look at the ideas or what we’ve written.  “See what it’s trying to tell you.” Like everything, I need to devote time for this and schedule.  Otherwise it’s not going to get done.






Trying To Pry A Writer’s Secrets

I reread Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for The Time Being a few weeks ago.  It captured my imagination a couple of years ago when I read it while vacationing in Taiwan. I was already in a different world and Ruth Ozeki transported me into her world every time I opened the book.

This time,I would would read it again but armed a bit of knowledge from my creative writing course.  Maybe I can figure out how she did it and learn some of those skills.  As I reread the book, I tried to stay objective and not get carried away by her words.  But that didn’t work.  The book seduced my imagination before the first chapter even ended.  The words drew me in. I was soon walking with the narrator on the shores of Vancouver Island and then to Japan.

I gave up trying to pry the book’s secrets and allowed the book to take me away.  I had forgotten parts of the story.  It was good to rediscover them.  When I finished the book I was a bit sad I didn’t figure out her secrets.  But I did enjoy the ride.

I’m rereading Wayson Choy’s All That Matters now. This time, I decided to just let the author take me for a ride.  If I can glean a bit of his technique then I’ll be happy.  I really need to carve out some time to write.

My Writing Class

I’ve completed my writing course a couple of weeks ago.  I enjoyed it and I miss it. I did “dread” the weekly deadlines to write a 3 to 4 page story highlighting certain elements (e.g. dialogue, detail, mood…).  Sometimes I couldn’t figure out what to write.  But I always managed to write something.  What I found interesting was no matter how different my stories were, the instructor felt it was the same narrator. She thought my stories were intertwined.

The class was small and that meant there was more time for us to ask questions.  It worked out well.  The instructor was very knowledgeable and enthusiastic.  The readings she handed out were very useful and illustrated the themes of each lesson. She gave us some very good tips and advice.

One thing I wasn’t used to was reading my story to others and listening to other stories.  I was always nervous.  The instructor told us that when we’re editing our stories, read them out loud. Focus on the sounds and rhythm.  Sometimes a short sentence might work better.  Perhaps we want to use hard consonants to emphasize a point.  We read a passage where there was a series of short sentences.  The sounds of the sentences mirrored the passage of a man, in chains, walking down the hall.

There were days when I would spend hours writing and revising my story instead of focusing on my job search.  I justified that by telling myself it was a good investment of my time.  *rolls eyes*  I was glad to take the course.  It was a last minute decision because of the cost.  But it was worth it.  I have a lot better appreciation of the craft of writing.


Do You Like to Write?

While we were playing with letter tiles, she asked me “Do you like to write?”

“I do.”

She continued to organized the letter tiles from Bananagram into piles of letters.


“Because it’s fun.”

She paused.

“Once you learn more words, you can read more books and do more with words.”

A conversation I had with my 7 year old “student” at the library where I volunteer.  It came out of the blue.  Earlier that day, I was thinking about my writing class and how passionate the teacher was about the craft of writing.  I saw the same passion with my other writing teacher too.

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.