june do

Hello, readers.

Here are things I would like to do this month.

Finish the second draft of my book.
Get married.
Hang out with my sister and friends.
Travel through Paris.
Finish a short story or two.
Critique a friend’s book.

So, if you don’t see me on the blog, this is why.

Hope it’s an excellent month for you all.

See you in the future.


on mad max and my possibly mad mom

on mad max and my possibly mad mom

Hello, readers.

Welcome to another week. This one’s way better than last week which was so three minutes ago.

Before that, when I was a kid, my mom introduced me to Mad Max, a dusty trilogy of post-apocalyptic westerns. I don’t remember the how’s, or the why, I just remember my mom had a crush on Mel Gibson and would often shake her head at the oddity of a woman seemingly so gentle, and against violence, finding such joy in films that carved bone from flesh.

Guess I’m just crazy, she said, and she was, and that could be quite frustrating, at times, but in her love of certain things I think her presumed insanity was really just a cover for enjoying things that, perhaps, she wasn’t supposed to enjoy.


But, here’s the thing with those Mad Max films. They were not a mindless celebration of violence, so much as a celebration of the fight, and, in fact, the very fast running away to avoid fighting. There was, amidst the so-called psychopathic violence, some bit of soul, some moral compass, to those films. The world was a scorched, weary, violent place, and here was this man, made mad by the loss of those he loved to a world grown increasingly more violent, who was left just trying to survive.

I think my mom found something, whether she knew it or not, in the story of a man with the weight of a lost world on his shoulders, carving a lonely path, the weight of his past holding him back even as it pushed him forward.

I think she loved the love Max sought, and sometimes discovered, in the wake of having lost everything.

That was, at least, part of Mom. She could be gentle, and she could be mad, and it did very much seem like, from time to time, the weight of some lost world would visit her shoulders.

Later this week, I’ll be seeing Mad Max: Fury Road. I’m so excited and so full of thoughts of Mom and what she would make of a Max not played by Mel. I think, considering what people are saying, she would have loved it. I think she would have found its rebellion led by women something to cheer. I think, perhaps, she might have developed a crush on Tom Hardy, or, who knows, Charlize Theron. We’ll see.

Here’s something A.O. Scott said of this most recent version of Max.

Even in the most chaotic fights and collisions, everything makes sense. This is not a matter of realism — come on, now — but of imaginative discipline. And Mr. Miller demonstrates that great action filmmaking is not only a matter of physics but of ethics as well. There is cause and effect; there are choices and consequences.

This captures, a bit, of what maybe Mom, and certainly I, have grown to appreciate in Miller’s post-apocalypse.

The weight of things.

Of the past, of action, of consequence.

It’s a mistake a lot of action movies make, allowing their pace, and their explosions, and their BAM/POW to escape gravity when really it’s the gravity of things that holds it, and us, all together.

Happy Tuesday, readers.


the heart of a fourteen-year-old girl

Hello, readers.

One afternoon at City Grocery in Oxford, before my father died, and after one or another trip home to spell my sister from taking care of him in his less than self-sufficient state, I mentioned to Barry Hannah how spending time with my dad, and listening to his collection of Abba and Enya and love for Sarah McLachlan, that it was more and more apparent to me that he possessed the heart of a fourteen-year-old girl.

To which Barry Hannah, a gloriously and infamously unpredictable man, known as much for shooting a hole in his car’s floorboard to drain floodwater as for writing the sort of stories where people killed each other with uprooted tombstones, said to me, “And what’s wrong with having the heart of a fourteen-year-old girl?

And I said, “Nothing’s wrong it.”

And he said, “Sometimes I think that’s what I got.”

And I said, “Me, too.”

If at all possible one should choose one’s role models so that a fair share of them are men possessed of the heart of a fourteen-year-old girl.


Regrettable things our white relatives have said to us.

You’re not like other Asians. You know, the real Asians.

Were you closing your eyes in that photo? I can never tell with you.

Of course I was surprised when your parents adopted a Korean, but I wasn’t unhappy about it.

Happy monday, readers.

tuesday nostalgia

Hello, readers.

It occurred to me, as it often does, how my life divides itself around moments. For example, it’s been 18 years since Buffy premiered on the WB. Which is a longer amount of time than I had been alive at the time of that premiere, which I didn’t actually watch. I didn’t start watching until a few episodes in. For shame.

Also, this happened in Seoul, during protests surrounding the sinking of the Sewol Ferry, this being the anniversary of that.

Speaking of anniversaries, Facebook, and companies like Timehop, enjoy reminding us that every day is the anniversary of something.

Nostalgia was originally thought of as a mental illness. Swiss doctor Johannes Hofer coined the term in 1688, combining a pair of Greek words: nostos (homecoming) and algos (pain). Nostalgia, in other words, was homesickness — an affliction suffered by Swiss students and soldiers who went abroad. Some doctors of the era considered it a “hypochondria of the heart,” and thought it could be cured by shaming sufferers until they stopped feeling nostalgia, or by covering them with leeches. If nostalgia got bad enough, some believed, it was possible to die from it.

Now, less so.

The researchers began bringing people into their lab and trying to trigger nostalgia, sometimes by showing them certain photos or playing certain songs, but most often just by asking them to write about fond memories. Their stories almost always involved social memories, created with friends or family years ago — and when surveyed afterward, participants reported feeling significantly more loved and connected with others, and had higher levels of self-esteem, compared with a control group.

The above come from “The Nostalgia Machine” by Joseph Stromberg.

It’s funny to think that a long time ago, in more or less this galaxy, people couldn’t see their past. And then they learned to draw, and they could see a representation of it. And then they took pictures, and that was still a representation, much in the way that film and sound and, I suppose, tweets or posts are. There’s a whole Radiolab episode about time and objects and the tangibile intangibles of things, including email.

I just finished listening to a Mutant Enemy Reunion podcast done by the Nerdist Writers’ Panel.

Once, I told someone that Joss Whedon was the most important man in my life that I never met. This is probably true.

See you next time, readers.


cider on the floor

Hello, readers.

Presently, here in London, the sun’s striking the rain-dropped window and it’s a bit like living in a disco ball.

Last night, I had dinner with eg and vi and spilled some cider on the floor. It was a thing involving how the server explained that you were meant to poor Spanish cider in one of those up and down motions that make you look cool unless you spill it on the floor. I tried it twice. Once, it worked. I got cocky and tried again. It worked less well.

Somehow I ended up telling the story about my first day of kindergarten in which I didn’t make it inside the school. What I remember is sitting on the sidewalk with mom and crying until we went back home. The next day she got me in the door by promising to stay where I could see her in the parking lot. I still remember seeing her out there, drinking from a pepsi bottle, keeping watch on her boy.

I have probably written about this before. But, the thing is, last night, after I finished telling that story, vi asked what I was afraid of and it felt wonderful to be asked. A lot of people aren’t so vocal with their inquisitiveness. Maybe it’s because she’s a fellow writer. Or, maybe, as eg said, it’s a sign of deepening friendship that one feels free to go spelunking into the caverns of each other’s fears.

Possibly a little of both.

Happy Tuesday, readers.

Careful with that cider.



Hello, readers.

The last ice storm I remember (other than those featuring a young, pre-ringbearing Elijah Wood), occurred in 1994. I was thirteen. We had a landline. Possibly a rotary phone. When you went for a walk everything was quiet except for the sound of everything slowly breaking, ice melting in the sun, refreezing at night, branches and wires unaccustomed to the weight bending, bending, and then, at last, falling. It was wise not to walk under things during this time.

School was cancelled for a week. I don’t remember doing anything much different than what my sister and I did a few weeks ago, sled and play video games. Sometimes kneel and look at frozen things. Leaves, blossoms, paint brushes. Stillness in unexpected places.

Something else that happened in 1994 was Friends.

I watched the pilot yesterday. It reminded me of that year and of being thirteen and of fearing stillness and sex and not always understanding what the people on tv meant when they said things but wanting and trying to understand the world through this box with the people. What’s amazing is how looking back sometimes feels like looking forward. I can see myself in episodes of Friends looking forward to who I am now. I can see myself wondering when I will date and when I will kiss and when I will fall in love in such a way as to warrant standing still in the pouring rain full of unexpected hope.

So. I watch. And I wave to myself. Hello, I say.

Nice to see you after all this time, I say.

Dear god, my past self says, this parachute is a knapsack.

Chandler was an early role model.


ttfn, 2014

Hello, readers.

This, most likely, will be my last post of the year. Tomorrow, EG and I will board a train for somewhere Kentwards, as has been noted, and very likely on this trip, I will refrain from very much in the way of blogging, though not from writing, in general. And maybe sketching. I may not refrain from that. I plan to bring a notebook and sketchbook in which to note and sketch.

Over the course of this year, a great many changes have occurred, as so often happens every year because of time.

Later, perhaps, I will write some of them.


I must wrap things.

ttfn, readers.

see you soon.