Saturday, April 28, 2012

slideshows of Berkeley, CA, the REAL muse land

Berkeley is the wildcard of the East Bay, usually the seemingly black and white part of the Bay (chaotic and urban Oakland versus the idyllic suburbs from Orinda to Concord and Castro Valley). with Berkeley, it's a  tame but certainly not boring spot of the Bay, most consider it just a small-scale San Francisco on the other side of the bridge. i love it, even for it's hippie rep, but beyond that (c'mon, Telegraph Ave is only one street of many in the city). i love the spirit and liveliness of every street corner and shop and home you encounter. back in 2007-2010 was the time i spent the most in Berkeley, and the things you could see here! i had to write about it, and that's how i produced my novel The Muse Land.

The Muse Land is set in scattered parts around the Bay, but a great deal of the story is in Berkeley, where my protagonist, Cameron Carlson, settles down in after dropping out of Vassar College to become a writer. he's made a right decision in that, because it truly is a wondrous place to find whatever it is you're looking for out of happiness or inspiration. it's just that people simply CANNOT get over the whole drab, dirty, radical hippie image of the city. that was the 60's, THIS is 2010's.

Berkeley is really chic and urban for all the pleasant right reasons, and i was very glad to see that Refinery29 created a shopping and dining guide on their San Francisco domain for the up-to-date fashion and lifestyle website. it lists some spots i'm well familiar with, and some new and up-and-coming little boutiques and eateries i know that i must see for myself!

here from the article i've noted two spots i have written about in my novel: The Claremont Hotel Club and Spa and The Cheeseboard Pizza. they're long-standing monuments of this city, from the elegant roaring 20's facade of the grand Claremont which you can see right from the freeway nestled in the green Berkeley Hills, to the always crowded and quirky pizza-menu Cheeseboard with few seating so that most diners have to illegally take to the grassy island in the middle of Shattuck Ave to have a mass picnic with friends or strangers. both are places i clearly identify in my story, and once i've finished revising and you all get the chance to read it, i hope that they, along with other parts of the city (such as the Berkeley Marina above) really move you and make you see not just the beauty in San Francisco, but all around the Bay Area, too.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

new project: MUST submit something worthy to Tiny Book of Tiny Stories, Vol. 2

THIS BOOK IS GENIUS. at least the first volume was, actually this whole concept is so unique, simple, and just perfect.

first off Joseph Gordon-Levitt is perfect. thank goodness for his love of art and getting people engaged with it. his project, hitRECord, has produced a finely-crafted book called The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories, consisting of all sorts of amateur writers or not to contribute to the book. there are words, four sentences, and mostly pictures, all little stories that really are delightful to read and are self-explanatory. most of these are extraordinarily clever, too!

and now, they are calling for submissions to Volume 2 now! this will be an exciting challenge for me. if i  can
think of something exceptional for this, and if it EVEN makes it into the next collection, it sure will be a defining moment in my becoming a writer. not only that, it will help me focus directly onto the minimalism that seems to work the best for me.

ready, set, BEGIN. gotta work on something for this fast and quickly. there's only so much you can condense into less than a page.

images via Google

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

i do write!

it's just that i haven't posted anything new because i do not want to bombard my blog in concentrated periods of time when really no one will be reading them-- i'd be posting a lot of nothing.

so i'm spacing out my fiction. even so, you, my dear lovely readers, can still read what i have posted in the past here on the writing link of Mess.

to make it easier, here are a few to already go to:

"Window Shopping"


"The Great American City"
"After Party"


and much MUCH more. and more will soon follow.

the write spot: Union Square, Café Rulli

 if there's one touristy spot i find a guilty pleasure, it's Union Square off Powell and Market Street in downtown San Francisco. open air, ongoing foot traffic, and the most breathtaking panorama of urban life, Union Square is a pristine spot to find all sorts of inspiration, especially for writing!

it's a marvelous little concrete flatland edged on all corners by beautiful architecture and high-rises; Macy's flanking the the south, Tiffany and Co. opposite North, and the majestic Westin St. Francis just on the western border and its scenic elevators that reach towards the skies and overlook the city. they've always considered San Francisco the "Paris of the West," and Union Square adequately supports this. it's romantic, beautiful, anitque-- it's hard not to feel like you're somewhere in Paris, sitting at a café and taking in all these gorgeous moving sights and sounds. yes, there really is a café, Emporio Rulli right on the eastern corner of the square. the coffee is reasonable and decent, a fresh finer taste to casually sip while i scribble in my notepad and examine the details to find a good story within. though overcast, the air is very warm and stiff. i love it all. i love the feeling of art and carefree admiration everyone is giving off. sitting outside on a day like this cannot be rivaled.

 San Francisco is truly romantic; it may not be the biggest or most international urban spot in America, but it sure is the write spot for me. it's got that laid-back European pace of life and setting that invites its dwellers to act in the same peaceful and beautiful way-- to just laugh and enjoy life, to love it.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

wrapping up my story for the semester and a possible win

really proud of this story i'm finishing up, "By Your Side." it's not finished, with about two or three more segments to go, depending on the length and relevancy of those parts. i plan on finishing it all by tomorrow, even though i had hoped to turn it in on time for the USF English Department writing contest by last Friday. i've put so much into this story, and worked so hard on getting the ideas and characters, that i know i have a good thing going on, and in doing so it got to me to figure out the one thing i couldn't understand from the start:

what was this story really about?

  for one, i listen to this to get the ending of the story; The Naked and Famous, "Girls Like You"

it's a love story on the surface, but then from there the layers unfold into youth, college, graduates, California, summer, nostalgia, choices, memories. now i've figure it out. it's a critique on priorities and growing up, i can guess. i shouldn't be telling readers this, no writer really should i guess, so not to sound pompous and pedantic, but how can i write something i don't understand? now i do, and i'm more than thrilled.

it makes sense anyhow, putting together almost everything that's influenced me into creating this tale:

family/500 Days of Summer/ Echo and the Bunnymen/ California/ summer/ old motels/ college/ the ocean/ girls/ guys/ regrets/The Airborne Toxic Event/ sunglasses/In N Out/Arctic Monkeys/road trips/ promises

just a few things. it's got a loose narrative that fluctuates between the past and present and past of the past, showing the rise and fall and uncertainty at the end of the romance between Noah and June, people from different worlds and focusing on different directions.

college does that. after college does that even worse-- when we graduate, it's time to move on and find that spot in life you want to remain in for a good time. and in the process, it destroys possibilities, dreams, and relationships. i guess you'll have to see at the end of the story, but hopefully you will all read "By Your Side" and get what i mean.

look for the story on the side right link tonight :)

Friday, April 20, 2012

the write spot: a hospital in Walnut Creek, CA!

you'd think a hospital was the last place for writing (or in my case today) reading anything leisurely. i proved that wrong; how could you go wrong with the sun shining and clear blue skies, and a graceful simple stretch of concrete lined with young willows and plants? it was too inviting, the garden at the John Muir Center in Walnut Creek, CA. i don't have classes anymore on Fridays, as my professor is now just giving us time to research and work on our final papers for the class-- so no more San Francisco on Fridays for me!

oh well, i manage. the East Bay is just as intriguing, if not as exciting as the big City. don't worry, i'm fine! mommy was just in for some labs as suggested by her doctor, and while she was inside the hospital, i stayed out. sitting under that hot California sun and taking in its warm lovely rays, i was content to get somewhere in The Secret Garden which i have to read now for one of my classes, and appropriately enough within a garden!

nothing like outside to get the good mood rolling, and of all places the inspiration comes to you at the hospital. yes, i've been in this scene and situation before, last year early around January when my grandfather was gravely sick. i remember being in his hospital room, sitting my the window at the John Muir in North Concord, looking out to the distant Hwy 4 and the BART cars passing through in the neighborhoods close by. i wrote something on a napkin that was in that room; not even sure if i still have that with me, or what it was that i wrote. what i mean to say is that writing really does help. it helps with so much, to make happiness or to capture a sadness in order to make it go away (if that makes sense), or just to show through your burst of creativity that happiness you feel on the dot. i was surprised at myself for wanting to write during such a hard time, but i did it, and in fact, wonderful things came of it.

it's still hot out now, though i'll be going out shortly for dinner with my parents. once home again, i'll be sure to finish off my short story "By Your Side"-- i'm so eager to get it up online for you fellow readers/writers to check it out!

as for The Secret Garden...

always a great childhood read!

approve of this remarkable day.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

imagination works

i look at things in my house, my room, and i try to imagine cool things with every object i find. it seems weird, but it’s fun and a good exercise. my stuffed animals are dancing on my bed, the watercolors i painted of English gardens start swaying in a breeze, and my star-shaped chimes become shooting stars across my walls.

don’t judge; i’ve been writing more short stories than i have in the longest time.


you can pretty much guess i got the idea from after attending Monday's Kasabian concert at The Fillmore.

i'll gladly be sharing notes make from my mind about this whole new mess right here. it's a simple concept, and it's sure not brand new. find the new Pinterest Board for the story here.

Gale Ridgelee of the band Vernon.

The Fox Theater, Oakland, and around the Bay Area.

Candice and Clarence. their night out on the town

The Octopus
Coral and Bloom

"All Gale really wanted was one good donut. He'd made his mind up about it, hours ago in fact, as the tour bus exited the ramp from -- and into Oakland's downtown."

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

because Kasabian rocks like no other.

yes. i saw Kasabian, in the flesh, in America.


other than that they're brilliant live, and the energy of the crowd is overwhelming, exciting.
concerts are just time well spent, if that's an understatement. especially when you're seeing a band you're passionate about, you get this incredible feeling that it's not just the music or the band (well yeah, the band of course!) but the concert and the universe just within that venue-- you're seeing your ultimate superheroes of the heart and soul (isn't that what music stimulates?) right there, in their awesome and physical being feet away giving you songs that mean everything, make you feel everything run through your body and come alive.

Kasabian was just one of those bands where i see live, and then i'm done. but i'm not. there's just one more band i care to see in person. when i see them, then my list of ultimate bands for me will have come to an end:

Arctic Monkeys
Franz Ferdinand
The Airborne Toxic Event
Green Day

i love concerts, the feeling, the spirit of the audience and the way music moves the place-- but it is a special moment in my life i reserve for only the highest inspirational acts. there wasn't a time where one of those bands above didn't come to mind or aid me in writing, from the BART rides to walking the streets of the City and just jamming, dancing alone to my own accord when no one is around to see such a sight. so i still can't believe last night. i saw them. i saw one of the most epic and popular bands out of Britain and on one of their rarest tours, with every song so spectacular and mind-blowing in its own way. the music of this band is all over-- psychadelic, experimental, progressive, alt, it just sounds good to me. every song.

 it's worth every headache, sore feet, and shot-up hearing. a concert is that moment where you yes, you give a shit and you live life, because life right there is just on stage before your eyes and outside that arena is put off. i move on today, got two papers to write and notes to get my classmates,
but then and there was a story waiting to happen.

and Kasabian fans are nuts. one Vlad the Impaler in the audience and many MANY Irishmen. drunk Irishmen. moshing Irishmen. and then there was us, Grace and I. put into that, good grief. loved every minute. worth the night. every time.

Friday, April 13, 2012

how can you forget your child?

THE MUSE LAND, by Paris Kim

and by child, i speak of my novel and very first proud achievement in writing, The Muse Land. of course, it used to be set and available for purchase via Blurb, but having undergone so many courses on writing and insight into my own terrible writing flaws, i feel it is best to take it off the shelf and give a piece of literature that is highly developed and meaningful to my readers, as well as the author itself. how can a writer hate their own work? they wrote it, they must accept it for what it is, otherwise make what necessary revisions you feel apply. the modernist view of "the death of the writer" makes sense, in that readers do not get a sense of the author once the work has been published because readers will only read from their relativsim and perspectives. to an extent this is true, because we certainly do not know the reader, we cannot expect what is coming from their writing. and the only way to get into it and become interested in the writing is by holding our reading to our own standards and experiences.

but about the author, they are the creator, after all. regardless on how one contextualizes the themes and setting etc. in the work, the writer's wanting to produce such a work tells you about them that this is stuff they actually and ardently care about. readers may not fully udnerstand the work but by the ending they will see what sort of person the author is. in this case, authoress, and by the time my novel is back on the shelves (and by summer available for Kindle), i sincerely do want to give readers, new and familiar with strange me, the most genuine and best impression of myself.

in the end, i believe that to each work there are two versions that makeup the story: the first draft that came from the heart and purely expresses the author, the second draft that, done by the author's own expense without any external peer reviews and such, portrays these ideas and passions in how the author can relate the story to its best abilities to the readers.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

"The Great American City"

3 hours difference couldn't whither their love.

Sundays were mandatory, all other hours of the week highly welcomed. AT&T had been a bitch but Lou got the plan. And $20 a month more meant more minutes to hear Lilly's low but warm pitch in the receiver caked in his spit.

She liked Chicago, and Lilly's heart was won. Lou was losing, and he loved his sister with all he could before she disappeared into that corner bistro on the riverfront or the street crossing out in Wicker Park somewhere.

She was all he had left. But never would he go out to that great American city-- he didn't have the heart. Lilly had ran off with it, miles ahead of Lou. He was already there before he'd ever want to be.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

sunny weekend among the rooftops, waves, and 21-year-olds

such is the irony of turning 21 during Easter weekend. at least it was for Christy, my dear and closest friend who i met in the City with her boyfriend Nick. and how can you expect to behave on Good Friday when it's that marker in your life to do sooo much?? we don't do drugs, we haven't killed anyone-- let us party it decent and legal with some good shots and rooftop lunches.

bless the Cheesecake Factory on top of the Macy's overlooking the big plaza of Union Square-- the heart of downtown San Francisco. this was my first time up here, and i always wanted to put it last on my list because i figured there were other exciting new restaurants to visit in the City besides Cheesecake Factory which i had back at home in the East Bay-- but seriously, this is worth the experience, even with the pigeons and seagulls creeping on the ledge of the patio wanting your food.

THEN TO BAKER BEACH. long bus ride, but the wind died down, and the sky stayed blue, and the ocean remained cold. it's always something new to this place. always something unique against this backdrop of a place that never seems to change. time out here, it feels like it doesn't exist at Baker Beach, and you can just sit and take in the sun and waves and not care about anything outside this place.

 from the City we took off, headed for the north bay and a exciting night up in Sonoma State where Christy and Nick go to school. and the best part about fleeing? sailing away on a boat across the bay. it's one of the best breath-taking things you could do out here in the Bay. from all angles, see every city and landmark under the blue skies and fog that make up this remarkable place. it's a pretty quick method of transportation too (look out for its appearance in my second novel [WHICH I HAVE REALLY REALLY BEEN SLACKING ON]).


i think it was absolutely the perfect day for Christy. she deserved it, and i'm glad she could be out here with me and Nick. it was an up and down sorts of adventure, with the dachshund dog in back leg splints on wheels at Baker Beach to the bitter old woman rudely yelling at us on the 5 muni. even that, as pissed as we all were, kind of added a spice-- it was sure unexpected. sincerely hope you had an unforgettable 21st, Christy!

Monday, April 9, 2012

scenes from a golden age:

after binging on Midnight in Paris it's only expected that as a writer i'd get thinking about what i consider a golden age for me.

and that would be two:

1960's London
1950's San Francisco

the 1960's London is just swingin', with the music, styles, and party life that just thinks outside of the box, suddenly breaking away from the conservatism of the 50's. in the 50's, Britain was seeing more the decline of their empire weakened further by the devastation of World War II, and most of the culture was focused on maintaining that sense of dignity so highly prized by the nation and figuring out what to do despite such a depression in identity-- feeling dated, washed out, no longer on top of the game (a genre in Britain known as kitchen sink realism or angry young men depicted in films and stories of that decade from the UK).

and by the 60's, the UK had figured itself out by a grand "fuck it" coming from their fashion and music. gosh, imagine arriving on the scene of London in Carnaby Street, and embracing new trends that went above and beyond the imaginations of the black and white minds of Eisenhower America influencing the world.  what i like the most of the 60's in England is the still very British feel to the movement-- very classy, and very comfortable with me.

however, i feel that literary and intellectually i'd do so well with the Beat Generation in 1950's San Francisco. if, like Gil Pender met Hemingway and the Fitzgeralds and Picasso at parties in Paris, i had run-ins with Kerouac, Neal Cassady, and Allen Ginsberg-- i'd know exactly how it'd be in Gil Pender's position. i love the defiance and purely artistic and self-driven and exploration found with the Beats. it wasn't anything other than finding meaning in life for people, themselves, the world. in the face of the conservatism in the 50's, San Francisco was seeding its liberal and worldly roots within Kerouac, Ginsberg, and Ferlinghetti, etc.

sitting here writing this i'm watching interviews of the Beats from the 60's. here we talk to William S.

Burroughs and Jack Kerouac-- at least talk to Kerouac most of the time. he's pretty spaced out and wasted in his interviews, possibly high too. it's accepted though, because it's just the way of the Beats' outlook. their attitude is after all 100% concerned around themselves, and spreading this meaning of self-discovery. it's too hilarious to be watching Kerouac close his eyes, stare blankly, or go off incoherent tangents. it's personally not how i'd picture myself being, but he'd certainly would be a character to meet, Jack Kerouac.

the live readings, drinks at Café Vesuvio, listening to the news on the "Howl" obscenity trials-- we've got the Beat museum now just on Broadway off of Columbus, with all the archives and precious objects belonging to these great masterminds, but if only i could see them in their exact heydays. Kerouac wearing his dull tweed jacket, the letters posted to fellow writers from Ginsberg, and the chairs they even sat on to chat, talk bullshit, write bullshit, they're all here. and here they shall stay, preserved in this little space that holds on dearly to that golden time in San Francisco when it wasn't just a city but the city where raving lunatics brought "mad" into a meaningless world.

Beats in San Fran-- that shit really cray.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Bold Italic: Alternate Universe


i really like this segment featured on The Bold Italic, a local lifestyle and culture website featuring exclusive insight to San Francisco.

here, contributor Broke-Ass Stuart discusses how he'd turn a section of Kearny Street along Columbus and Sacramento into a variety of quaint top-notch shops and restaurants for the ultimate tiny urban block. i really enjoyed his ideas, agreeing with Stuart that the perfect microhood would include at least the fundamentals of a bookstore, restaruant/cafe of some sort, and a boutqiue (or in his case a FREE store, sounds good with anyone i'm sure!)

this block could well be just an expansion of North Beach already up Columbus. but i really like the innovation in seeing the potential in the ordinary and desolate. here we see a row of abandoned storefronts that could be on the rise into a new and exciting little charm of the City. as readers know i'm very drawn to setting and environment in my works. focusing on the story in a loose bildungsroman way really puts you in the mindset of the characters and what they're dealing with. if something was to come out of this imagined "Kearny Gulch," i'd find no problem in finding a story out here!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

By Your Side: "The Mission District"

            It is old, it is life. The Mission is where hard dreams refuse to die, when they have gone only so far, and just out of reach.
            He could see this in the taquerias with their dark windows and dented pick-ups parked along the sidewalks of smutty Victorian houses. Kirk lost a silver button out there. He heard the clatter of the round piece as it hit the pavement.
            He walked on, it was his way. His way was to always think, constantly stroll through his endless thoughts as he too strolled along. At the moment he’d been thinking of what would happen to her and him.
            He’d left June back at the bed, enfolded and limp in the sky blue bed sheets. The place was 214 off of 24th and Mission, on the third floor, number 5. It wasn’t home to June or Kirk. But they were there and here he was, just leaving now, slowly getting out from underneath the covers where she lay beautifully bare and relaxed—but she was watching him.
            “Ooh, sexy,” she said playfully as he pulled his jeans up over his moss briefs. He looked back at her, saying nothing. He was only wishing he didn’t have to get going, sent out by her to find themselves some decent cheap coffee at two in the morning. The Mission was flooded with possibilities, twenty-four seven.
            The idea came about when they had been in bed moments before, holding each other close making a home out of a strange place and entangled in a stranger’s soft cotton things. They had the radio from a 90’s Bose system set to a whisper, audible for them to pick up the tune but nothing harsh to yell over. Most of the talk was yogurt, parties, holes in socks, the softness of each other’s lips. Most importantly to them was discussing two weeks from now, as it was in this time that they would be graduates of UC Berkeley, and off to a new life with uncertain promises to good or bad.
            “It’s like this,” she was saying, touching his cheek and sliding it down to his stubbled jaw line, “What’s there for me back at home besides the hotel? I’m studying marketing just for the sake of helping out with the place. Get it back on the map and a part of Pismo Beach again. Hell, just get back Pismo Beach we all once knew.”
            “What would you say Pismo Beach is, essentially?” He sincerely wanted to know.
            “Unnoticed, adrift from most stops along Highway 1, from the rest of this sunny fast-lane idea of California. I guess I’ll just be going back to that. But I sure want to change things when I’m back, if that makes sense.”
            He kissed her. “I’d like to come back with you,” he said in nearly one breath, truth in every word.
            “There’s nothing for graphics out there.”
            “San Luis Obispo’s just up the road. There’s bound to be work.” She groaned and turned over, a blast of cool air rushing in as the blue sheets folded over and off their shirtless bodies. “Find work, make a living—make life work. Who wants to make it work, when we don’t have anything to really work for except passing time comfortably? Make it count, make everything count, and that’s all I want.” She sat up, and looked down at Kirk on his back, with his hands grabbing her waist. “Like this,” she continued, stroking his extended arm, “I want this to count.”
            “You know I do too,” Kirk replied. “Every minute. Precious.”
            “You’re precious,” she mocked.
            “It makes a perfect fit then, precious and frugality. You’re nothing to be wasted, even time. I’ll sure make it count then when I say that I’m in love.” Kirk felt her palm press into his wrist, hinting at how startled she’d just been. “I wouldn’t have asked you out here with me,” he went on.
            “There wasn’t a better night to tell me,” she finally replied. Smiling, she looked around and continued, “I gotta say, really am impressed with this place.”        
            She’d taken immediately to the stuffy studio after they both had first rammed through the jammed front door. The sounds they made, stomping through! They were loud, quick, from two youngsters whose high laughter reeked of scotch and marshmallow vodka. It was cold and foggy outside, and they’d just been walking around the streets all the way from the bar on Valencia up to the apartment. Before reaching the place he and June had been huddled together against the fog walking, June having no clue about where they would end up next. Had he known that it would all lead up to the small talk in the blue sheets, Kirk would never had second guessed from the start the question he asked Anthony when he agreed to house-sitting his place that weekend. That afternoon he’d met up with his roommate from freshman year, to get the keys and ask if it was alright to have a girl over in the evening.
            “It’s not much for a girl to hang in,” Anthony warned, but he was smiling. “She’ll be fine if you’re there. Assures me you won’t be leaving the place unguarded in the nights.”
            Kirk sighed, jingling the apartment keys in his hand as he walked to the BART station a block down. It was a relieving answer that he’d honestly not been expecting. When he’d have to ask Anthony about letting a girl he’d only met two months ago into his place, the thought of it kept him up that night before, two in the morning, just when he was up thinking, only in bed and alone, not along some street in the south of San Francisco where he lost a silver button and was looking for cheap coffee.

sunday is actually my favorite day.

the rain is gone... for now.

the prettiest carnations out there, couldn't resist. so amazing that they're white etched in light pink. flowers are always a must; they just instantly brighten up your day. and your rooms.

writing writing writing. this is really a good time to write, because the sun's out and there's fresh flowers and cookies out of the oven. plus i've been watching Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris, and goodness! there's just something about the Lost Generation writers. shamefully, i still have yet to read anything by Gertrude Stein

i really am enjoying this movie, especially to the concept of a time slip, especially to the American expatriate literary circle in Paris. i've always wanted to see this film, and finally when i can, i'm not alone-- it's enjoyable to watch the film with my parents and engage in opinions and awe for the scenes of Paris city life and the direction of the story. shamelessly i already wikipedia'd the ending (i'm not phased by surprises) and i look forward to it all playing out.seriously, it's all fueling my writing just about now. been in writing mode all today, and it's exactly how i want to be feeling on a Sunday.