“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 about 1.5 years 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. I’m now tiptoeing into actual classical guitar repertoire, such as Lagrima and Spanish Romance. They sound effortless and experts make it look easy, but the barre chords and finger gymnastics they require are no joke, especially for a beginner like me. Still, it’s exciting to start working on what my teacher calls “grown-up guitar music.”

Learning how to bicycle like the Dutch

Since the 90s, I’ve wanted to use a bicycle as a form of transportation, and even as late as 2011, I couldn’t find a sturdy, utilitarian bicycle that could do the job. My latest attempt was retrofitting a skinny-tire hybrid bike with fenders and a rack. The fenders fell off after a few rides. The rack itself was fine, but the bike got squirrelly when I tried to haul anything heavier than a small bag of groceries. Now that I have an actual upright city bike, I’m running more errands by bike despite the non-existent infrastructure where I live. I stick to quiet residential streets, which isn’t ideal but still better than dodging cars. I’m now saving up for a real Dutch bike and I hope that eventually the infrastructure will allow me to use it the way it’s meant to be used.

(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.

– February 3, 2023