“You start writing the next one. And after you finish that one, you start on the next, and on and on. And that’s what it is to be a writer, honey. You just keep throwing them against the wall and hoping against hope that, eventually, something sticks.”

— from the film “Tick…Tick…BOOM!”

I like telling stories and making music. Trained as an engineer, worked as a lawyer, recovering from both. Perpetual novice. Enjoying my obscurity. What I’m up to now (with a nod to Derek Sivers for the idea):

My latest story

I have a new sweet romance novella up for sale, my first novella in ten years. The story was inspired by my experience playing in a rock band with my boss and co-workers. Alas, no cute ex-rockstar came to make us sound better!

Learning classical guitar

I’ve been taking classical guitar lessons for over a year now and am falling deeper in love with the instrument the more I learn. It doesn’t have the cachet of violin or piano, which is a shame because it’s such a lovely, romantic-sounding instrument that can create complex music like the piano with the convenience of portability. As an adult student, it’s too bad that I don’t have easy access to performance opportunities like kids do, but I’m brainstorming ways to get around that so I can get over my fear of playing for others.

Enjoying bicycling (again)

I have TWO new bicycles: an Electra Loft 7i (my “home” bike) and a Brompton folding bike (my “away” bike). European-style, people-first infrastructure isn’t going to happen where I live for a long time, but I’m not going to let that stop me from sometimes using my bike for errands and getting around, especially since I’m not a fan of driving. Even when I was a kid, a bike meant freedom, and with the folding bike, I can now also enjoy riding on protected trails near me instead of dealing with car traffic.

(Re)learning Mandarin Chinese

Taiwanese Mandarin, to be exact. My actual first language, but one I lost by the time I started kindergarten. My parents wanted me to assimilate into the United States as quickly as possible (multiculturalism was definitely NOT a thing when I grew up). Language scholars call me a “heritage learner” because I’m not a true beginner. I understand a bit and I can speak a few sentences without much of an American accent, sometimes without even having to think in English first and translating. I can’t read or write, but I recognize a few characters. Most importantly, I’m not intimidated by the task in front of me. I’m just taking it super slowly and treating it as a fun side project.

Language learning technology these days is magical–there are so many resources now for learning and finding conversation partners. I can take online classes, put flashcards on my phone, download a Taiwanese children’s newspaper on my tablet, listen to Chinese-language podcasts, watch Chinese-language videos on YouTube and elsewhere, and find conversation partners online (which I haven’t tried yet).

After slogging through the last few years, it’s nice to spend time on things I love again.

– November 27, 2022