Sunday, November 25, 2007

On Children

Been thinking a lot lately about children--my future children, the children currently in my life, and the plight of children in general in this country and in this world. I guess it's because the winter holiday season has swung into high gear, and because I'm in wedding-planning mode (went to try on dresses today--what an ordeal, but that's another story) that I have children on my mind. My favorite song about children is 'On Children' by Sweet Honey in the Rock. I was talking about children and that song today with my friend A.--how a lot of people I know who don't even like children all that much are having children and falling in love with them, or at least, fallling in love with their own children, but how many people don't see looking out for the welfare of all children as a priority in their lives. How many folks just want little replicas of themselves running around, and don't understand the unique spiritual role that children play not only in our lives, but in the future of the planet. And that our roles as parents and supportive adults in their lives is not to mold them into our own images, or to treat them like highly prized pets, but to be the stable, rock-steady foundation for them (or 'bows' as Gibran calls us below) so that they can move forward into their own future. A. agreed, then told me something I didn't know, that that song is based on a poem by Khalil Gibran. So I looked it up, and here it is.

On Children
by Khalil Gibran

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let our bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Cylons 'R' Us

I love Battlestar Galactica, the new version, of course (I don't really remember the old one, although H. does, and likes that one too). And we just finished (finally!) watching all of Season 3, with its tear-your-hair-out cliffhanging ending, which included the revelation of the identities of four of the 'Final Five' (or F5 if you're really a geek) Cylons, a different breed of Cylon from the first seven (or 'Significant Seven', as Ron Moore and the other BSG crew call them). There are tons of theories swirling around the blogosphere right now about who the fifth and final Cylon is, and I have my own opinions, which I will be sharing tonite at a Battlestar Galactica Razor screening at Ludovic's place. Fascinating stuff. I don't know if it's just that I love the show so much, or that I'm trying to study and absorb as many ideas about narrative and plot structure from great shows and books and movies as I can as I write my own 'galactic bible' for my novel, but this shit is just so interesting to me. Check out this great write-up on the functions of the F5, as well as this one, written by someone who I hope is at least getting paid good money for his 'study' of BSG backstory and Colonial / Cylon philosophy.

Geeks of the world unite! Frackin'-A!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Oh my Gosh! A Reading!

I haven't done a public reading of my work in ages. I don't count VONA readings because they're only semi-public and are part of such a supportive atmosphere that the butterflies in my stomach beforehand are more about wanting to impress my peers than fearing that I'll be booed off the stage.

So I'm excited and a little bit nervous about this reading I'm doing next Monday, November 26 at Cover to Cover bookstore in Noe Valley in the City. I'll be reading an (as-yet-unfinished) essay on 'togetherness' as a positive trait in immigrant families. I have an idea of what I'm going to write about and therefore read about. Should be interesting. The reading is being organized by my old work buddy Jeremy Adam Smith, quite an accomplished freelance writer and blogger in his own right, who's the managing editor at Greater Good magazine, in which a brief version of my essay was recently published.

So if you'll be in the neighborhood or don't have anything else happening for you on the Monday after Thanksgiving weekend, come through and help me calm my butterflies. I promise I'll do my very best to impress you.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

BSG Razor!

I haven't had time to post my own reactions to the Battlestar Galactica Razor extended episode. I'll cheat and post someone else's interesting take on the feature. If you don't want to read any spoilers, don't bother. Suffice it to say that it's a damn good piece of television, and that I was lucky enough to be one of the thousands of people across the country that got to watch a free big-screen version of it last week. Aren't you jealous?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Crazy (re: SF Bay Oil Spill)

The images of oil-soaked waterfowl and an oil-streaked San Francisco Bay are just heartbreaking, and infuriating. Please donate supplies or money or volunteer as you can to help with the cleanup effort. Officials are warning people not to go to beaches on your own to do cleanup, as the fuel that was spilled is extremely hazardous. You must be trained first to help with birds and other cleanup efforts. The Baykeeper site has updated info.

And, oh yeah, stop driving your car so much! Get on the bus or BART or walk already, for God's sake. This is all just too much.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Food, Love and Moms

Great post here from Renita Weems. Thinking about it as I eat the warming, delicious arroz caldo, which I 'requested' (a word I heard a lot in the Philippines to describe when someone asked for a certain kind of food to be brought back to the States from the islands) my mom make for me this week. I've been sick with a bad cold and cough and it was just what I needed.

I've learned how to make arroz caldo myself, but there's something special about having your mom make you a dish like this. It's made with love and care, for sure, but for me it's also special because my mom and I haven't always had a good relationship. It's been rocky, to say the least, and fraught with many difficult tensions and ongoing dramas that I'd rather not get into right now.

But food has always been something we had in common, something we could use to comfort ourselves and each other, something we both loved. If there's anyone I got my foodie-gene from, it was definitely my mom. She and I like to go to new restaurants (for her) together. H. and I took her to Roy's in San Francisco for her 60th birthday. She tells me she now prefers baby salad greens and balsamic vinaigrette over iceberg lettuce and Wishbone salad dressing. She brags to people about how I introduced her to Vietnamese, faux-meat and gourmet Indian food.

And most importantly, food is the biggest way that my mom confidently, easily can show me that she loves me. And it's the easiest way for me to accept her love, no strings attached and no drama involved.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Insomnia's Good for Getting Stuff Done

Like emailing everyone that's coming to my house this weekend for a one-day writing retreat, including Mel and a bunch of other VONA alumni. It'll be fun to see everyone and to have a space where I can finally focus on my writing for a while.

I've been feeling very frustrated by my inability to write while holding down a full-time job, planning my wedding for next year, trying to have a social life and taking care of my home and relationship. I know, I know, what's wrong with me! I've toyed with the idea of attending an MFA program to help give me this structure, and right now I'm seriously thinking that it might be the way to go for me. I've done my fair share of writing without having that structure to rely on, and it's worked for me to an extent, but I feel like it's going to be really difficult for me to prioritize my writing, deepen my writing practice and really hone my craft unless I devote some serious time and energy to it.

Hence, my late-night Googling to research low-residency programs. I've already received information in the past about Goddard (the alma mater of Junse Kim, one of my writing teachers) as well as Warren Wilson and a few other low res programs that I've heard of from other writers. I'm also checking out the local schools, like Mills, etc., but I'm feeling like I need to get out of my safe little comfort zone of the Bay Area and learn how to interact with other human life forms.

Things at work have been a bit challenging as of late as well, leading me to be dissatisfied with the part of my life that sucks up a good 40-50 hours a week. It's so hard to stay motivated sometimes, I have to remind myself why I'm doing this work and getting paid so little. I'm trying to hold out and stay on track with my own professional development goals, but it's hard sometimes, I'll tell ya.

Okay, back to MFA research. Hope I get to sleep more than a few hours tonite. But if I don't, at least I will have gotten some stuff done.