“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.

(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.

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). I even have a phone app that has live OCR so I can translate food labels at the Chinese grocery store in real time!

So yeah, my life is full now, but after slogging through the last few years, it’s nice to spend time on personal projects again.

– August 12, 2022