Amongst the Rare

51st Trial: The first 30 minutes of the writing process. The sitting down, the picking of the pencil, and the blank and sometimes uninviting white paper.

Weekly Hours Spent Writing or in the Pursuit of Plot:  8hr

Weekly Choice of Tea: Earl Grey

Biggest Success: Successfully snowboarding down the mountainside in Northstar, near Lake Tahoe. I fell, I landed hard, and I conquered.

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Jane Austen claims that one who can write a letter with ease, cannot write ill. Yesterday as I struggled with the chapter’s momentum (I have started chapter eight, happily enough) those words wrapped me in an innocent bubble, because I can write letters easily. In this bubble I do not feel the weight of my own expectations or of those brilliant writers that any novel will be compared to. But instead I fell alone, and my writing and my story are what they are. My technique compares to mine alone, and my voice echoes from my own mind. It does not give me confidence that I do in fact write well, but at least I cannot write ill. I find, like with most letter writing, beginning it is the toughest, whether you are starting a new chapter or picking up where you left off. About 30 minutes into my writing do I then become involved and pick up speed, but those 30 minutes are dreadful.  Must look beyond dreadful – mental note!

I wished I had seen Austen during the book fair I went to during my Valentine’s day treat! It was in Oakland, and it was the largest rare book collectors fair in the world. Jamie took me there as a surprise, little knowing that any book there ranged from $400 – $100K. I looked through the rows of vendors, pining over the Dickens, the Brontes, the Wordsworth, and the Shakespeare. I held tightly to Arabian Nights only to have to put it down again. The series of Tennyson sat nobly overlooking my puppy set eyes. Austen though, evaded me. I felt her, along with my favorite stories by the Bronte sisters, in the booths of particularly dusty, well-used, and sometimes stained books. There were large world Atlases that reminded me of the young Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility, and there were thick books of anatomy, horticulture, and beetles that took me into Mr. Rochester’s library. Rarity comes with a price, but it was worth it to hold and flip through the pages of History and Time itself.

Happily I found a first edition of Harry Potter, which came home with me later that night!

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A Perfect Perspective

49th Trial: What sentiments have I not already covered?

Weekly Hours Spent Writing or in the Pursuit of Plot:  2hr

Weekly Choice of Tea: Turmeric and Ginger

Biggest Success: To date, my work-in-progress is 70 pages typed

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I am a Chiropractor living in San Francisco, not far from the famed painted ladies of Alamo Square. I have started slowly writing my novel, a life goal of mine that seems to share the over-cramped room of my Ambition with other careers, other desires, and other interests. Currently, my tongue is raw from a pack of sour patch kids and my Alice in Wonderland mug is steeping tea. These are the hard facts for the start of 2017 and for my first yearly blog post. Might I remind all readers that this blog is to hold myself accountable to the purpose of my writing, as well as a faithful narrative of my journey. If only there were a way to hold myself accountable for up-keeping the blog…

2017 has started as most of my years do:   an outburst of all that I want to accomplish, followed by a deep, long stare, which inevitably sinks me into a state of mild depression. So, what will I do with the challenges I have placed at my doorstep? I’m willing to tell ya. I’m wanting to tell ya. I’m waiting to tell ya!!!

My first action step was to feed the lethargy with Gilmore Girl episodes, and luckily I did so. There was a moment in the episode that illustrated how perfect, the perfect perspective can be. To accomplish any dream or desire, is to simply fall in love with it. Become in awe of it. Be humbled by it. I am not a writer because Jane Austen or the Bronte sisters inspired it. I am a writer because I am a part of their legacy. We, non of us, are our own stories that do not share the stories of everyone around us or before us. My time on this planet is minuscule, and the importance of my novel even less. However, I have contributed to the inhalation and exhalation of San Francisco’s eclectic city as it builds and progresses. Every patient of mine has allowed me to become a part of their health. I get the distinct pleasure of sitting in the front row seats of Jamie’s life and that of Boo Radley’s.  I write to support the love and legacy of literature. Those thoughts alone bring purpose to itself.

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A Top Hat-less Hillside

46th Trial: Liking what you have written. That comes in phases!

Weekly Hours Spent Writing or in the Pursuit of Plot:  6hr over the past two weeks

Weekly Choice of Tea: London Fog Tea Latte

Biggest Success: I have finished Margaret Atwood’s “Handmaids Tale” and began Dicken’s “Bleak House”!

 

Isn’t it funny, how life just relentlessly goes forward? Even after the events that we feel will end us, or will hold us back from where we should be or ought to be? Timelines, examinations, milestones, detachments, and displacements are things that most humans experience–some more than others. It wraps us in its momentum or makes us feel stuck in a bucket of concrete, and we will believe that Life begins afterwards.

These past two weeks have been wonderful. My brother, whose heart is rapidly mending from his past, came to visit. We indulged in the present bliss of the “nowness of life” while we swung off the side of San Francisco cable cars, confident that the passing rain and fog over the city would not prevent us from moving forward. Worries, stresses, and heartbreak do cloud so much of what we see and what we experience;  but we realized that San Francisco was still there. And Madame City was just beautiful.

After he left Jamie and I explored a bit outside the city, and I came to a realization myself. We were walking through Briones National Park, when I became engrossed in its wide open fields, rolling hills, and grazing cattle. The green grass has returned with the wet season of Northern California, and the dead tall blades of spanish grass lay limp, replaced, and only in scattered patches. It was a sight that astonished me:  had I found in America what I dream about in England? The wide open fields, people on horseback (though without top hats and tail coats), and hillsides that give those inspirational views?

I cannot tell you how often I think, I will finish my novel in the Lake District. My dream and destiny is tied to me being in the place that has always inspired me the most. While nothing in my opinion compares to the Lake District in England, I am comforted in the reality that life will not wait for me to be there. In the meantime, I must run along beside it, finding as many open fields and hillsides along the way. And one day I will be in that smokey cottage beside the stone walls and grazing sheep, but my life will not be on hold for that.

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Grounding Gravity

42nd Trial:  Keeping that which grounds me a part of my daily habits

Weekly Hours Spent Writing or in the Pursuit of Plot: 1hr

Weekly Choice of Tea: Lotus Tea from Vietnam

Biggest Success: Getting SH** done! At the speed of lights. I feel coasting speed up ahead

“Dark have been my dreams of late” -LOR

I dramatize, naturally. However, I feel the way one does when they lay on a exercise ball backwards. The chest expands and each breath has so much more space to fill. With working 60 hr/wk, taking certification tests, getting DMV-prepared, and getting my former life changed over to California (which if you didn’t know, is another country. I’m serious), I had found little time to actually write.

Luckily, with the new lung capacity, I dove in and was able to write for an hour today during my lunch break. Jamie sat beside me, and a warm chai tea latte set the mood. I met my second Camilla (though this one started with a “K”), the first being a travel companion in Malaysia and Indonesia. Camilla is my main character, and I find it absolutely serendipitous to meet this unknowning child on the day I begin writing after another month off.

Even describing this to you is so thrilling to me. Innately, my breathing follows the passions and inspirations that make me a chiropractor, an individual, and a writer. Universally, worlds revolve around gravitational pulls. My world is no different, and the positive energy I put into myself, the universe surrounds me with force, interaction, and grounding gravity.

Dark may have been what filled my hectic days, but knowing that light endlessly travels in a void puts me farther away from a universal enlightenment (metaphorically). Putting gravity back in my life, such as writing, family time, swimming, and positivity, give me back ME. And my revolving world.

I appreciate and love all you readers!

The Air is Full of Spices…

37th Trial: Walking through Kuala Lumpur’s largest bookstore, and experiencing two trials:  what NOT to buy and the oppressive intimidation that my writing faces when I look onto these great writers.

Weekly Hours Spent Writing or in the Pursuit of Plot: 6 hours

Weekly Choice of Tea: Teh Tarik and Malaysian White Coffee

Biggest Success: Where to begin…FINISHING chapter SIX! Also, finishing the wonderful Alchemist while traveling through the beautiful countryside of Malaysia.

“The air is full of spices.”

One of my favorite lines in the movie Sense and Sensibility is by Colonel Brandon, the voice and beautiful performance by the beloved Alan Rickman. He is talking about his time in the East Indies to the little Margaret Dashwood. I love Rickman deeply in that role, and even more so, I hear his line as I travel through the same countries his character was likely referring to. If not, I will imagine otherwise. Especially in Malaysia, where the cuisine is greatly influenced by many cultures, Indian and Malay curries here can be smelt and tasted as you walk the streets lined with open shops and restaurants. My literary and movie enthusiasm seems to follow me through the country side, and that one line continues to sound in my head as if on replay. It is like the fly that keeps landing on my arm or shoulder blade, though without the nuisance.

Maybe Jane Austen heard of travel here, heard of the exotic cuisine and the boiling nature of the tropical sun. Her novel Sense and Sensibility has made its way to where her characters supposedly traveled, and where her admirers currently do. If only Austen could have traveled here, what wonderfully colorful stories would come from it! I look to my own novel, already having the plot within a much different country than I am currently in. I have wrote before about my struggles of not putting a looming volcano in the heart of North Carolina, or of an ancient Temple at a corner in Charlotte.  While Austen did not have such influence, I can say that I now do. What will I do with it all? What can I grab, transform, and steep in imagination?

Currently I am in Malaysia, and today I thought about all the places that I have sat down and wrote pieces of Chapter Six. Ristr8toLab in Chiang Mai. Atop the coarse sand of Koh Phangan, or the soft grainy beaches of Koh Phi Phi. From Thailand this chapter has extended into Malaysia, where it progressed surrounded by the tea plantations of BOH and Cameron Valley of Cameron Highlands. In the heart of Kuala Lumpur, I finally finished the chapter. I am getting to a point in the book where I need to do further brainstorming. I jumped into writing because waiting to write was, obviously, getting me nowhere. But introduction of what I hope to be my main road of the symbolism is about to begin, and I need to buckle down. Because writing is easy. Plot has always been my unformed and jeering companion.

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A Concieted Sort of…Independence

34th Trial: The only issue I have is carrying around a backpack already filled to the seam-breaking-point.

Weekly Hours Spent Writing or in the Pusuit of Plot: 1hr for plot brainstorming, 30min for travel journal

Weekly Choice of Tea:  Jasmine Tea, Cambodia

Success: Exploring Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam to Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Also, getting lost in a jungle in Koh Rong was an experience, and I consider a success that we found a beach after 2 hours of trekking!

Currently, as I write to you all, I am sitting on my hammock outside of a bungalow, perfectly perched and overlooking Koh Rong Island, Cambodia. It overlooks the beach and the islands in the distance, as its location is at the beginning of the jungle and a slight hike from the beach. It is 7am, and the local music has been playing since it woke me up earlier, a welcomed alarm clock for me to witness a very cloudy sunrise. We arrived here yesterday, and it was like an ice cold refreshment after the dust and dirt that becomes the air in Phnom Penh. Going from city to city, one must break the journey with the indulgence of beach life to sustain calm composer with the sometimes grueling forms of travel.

The beauty here comes in all forms. It is exactly what I anticipated it to show me—that there are areas of true paradise, but also there are areas where poverty creates hard labor and exhaustive effort. It is easy for one who has come from where I have, to see some frivolities of my life as truly pointless. However, a hot shower is not something I shall ever take for granted again!

When I look around, I see many people that look as I do with a heaping backpack and the look of travel in the frizz of their hair. I have been hearing over and over again in my head a line from the movie “Pride and Prejudice”, where Mr. Bingley’s sister describes Elizabeth Bennet as being “wild”. She states that her eyes displayed:

“A conceited sort of, independence.”

And her petticoat! Six inches deep with mud. Anyways, it humors me in the fact that we all look the same. We all rely on that independence to guide us through unknown cultures and lands, and each takes pride in where they are and what they are doing. Whether it be conceit or not, I am happily reminded of the book, and illustrate my demeanor now to be only conceited independence! Naturally!

I have been documenting more and more of this trip in my journal and our travel blog. On the flight over here I created another journal to brainstorm on a central theme that is to propel my novel forward, one that is inspired by my girlfriend, Jamie. She is an Industrial Designer, and when it comes to competitions or product development, one must solve a problem. To solve a problem—which is such a fun opportunity to create around, however it is as open as the universe. So while I sit on this hammock, I revitalize my purpose to seek a topic that can work in the background as the story line progresses, one that focuses on an issue, brainstorming, redesign, and a solution. This topic too has potential to illustrate the evolving characters and the social interaction that inevitably occurs.

This area is highly diverting. But I shall not allow it to persuade me too much to think little of my novel!

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Will Always a Romance Make

31st Trial: Saying goodbye to Alan Rickman and David Bowie

Weekly Hours Spent Writing or in the Pursuit of Plot: 5 hrs

Weekly Choice of Tea:  Gingerbread Latte

Biggest Success:  Finished typing up Chapter 5 and began brainstorming on Chapter 6

 

Chapter five proved to be an important chapter in my opinion. It has given the book a deeper level, where we now have shaved off the introductory surface of characters and new places and looked more inward. Into the guts of it all!  I am sure no matter how much I spell out the book’s morale the reader will come up with their own interpretation- but alas, one can only hope their message is getting across. Not only do I sense a change in story direction, but it was the novel’s first meet-cute. Anyone who knows me will expect ardent romance and excessive longing within this book, and so with butterflies and giddiness I confess the first stage of courtship has began!

“A lady’s imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment.” -Austen, of course!

How biased I am! A story without the hope of love or the pangs of the heart is no story I would willingly pick up. Action, adventure, and mystery are all very well, and I do sometimes take interest in it if I have had my fill of sappy romance. But a world without love and romance, holds little interest in my mind because that alone is unrealistic. I walk out of the door everyday and fall in love with one person or one object regularly- and that is what makes life worth living. I remember seeing Alan Rickman as Colonel Brandon in the movie Sense and Sensibility, and with his deep voice and sweet gazes he grew deep roots into my heart. In high school, I listened to “Changes” by David Bowie and was taken by his voice and peculiarity. Though these two men have died, I will think of them and the moment I fell in love with them as contributors to my romantic and intellectual education. As expected they were British, and I look to that country yet again with admiration, professing always that something more British will always a romance make.

Rickman and I