Monday, October 29, 2012


            Not anywhere near the Prom Queen or Princess or a runner up. There were no house parties I’d  heard of nor went to. I didn’t have a car. I never wore makeup until junior year. My first boyfriend came about in freshman year of college. I hated trendy brands like Hollister or Abercrombe & Fitch. I never heard any rumors or spread any because I’d simply been bored.
            What I was really was:
            With plenty of friends. Christy, Sharon, Liza, Alyssa, Mary, Emily, Claire, Sarah, and Billy. I’d met Jenny and Katie and Cassandra and Cat and Valerie somewhere in those four years.
            I failed the women’s tennis tryouts that summer in ’06, my sophomore year.
            Had a decent sense of scarves, big shoulder bags, and bohemian prints in nearly every blouse. If not floral there were stripes. H&M just opened in the Bay Area. I wore jeans again, as long as they were skinnies. Girls admired me for wearing high heels since middle school, always figuring it was me making the synchronized patter down those halls. Junior year was when I appeared in the yearbook for the best-dressed feature. When my dad had gone to Clayton Valley, he was in the same feature too—in 1980.
            I got my braces going into freshman year. They were removed my junior year at the University of San Francisco.
            I stayed at home on weekends.
            I sat against my locker in C Hall sometimes to read a book during lunchtime.
            I was an editor on the yearbook staff, for the clubs and organizations. After getting rosters of each club from the presidents for group pictures, I remembered so many faces that I was able to say “hey” to during breaks and lunch. They knew me. I was also the treasurer and secretary for the senior class, though I hated finances. The mom in charge of executing Senior Ball breathed down my neck about spreadsheets and what hors d’oeurves would be served that whole evening. In spite of pressure I led some student council meetings and had answers to most spirit day and fundraising questions peers had. On spirit days I wore my best colors or costume coinciding with the day’s theme. It was inspiring, not damning.
            Had to get up every rally day at five in the morning and arrive to set up the gym with balloons and signs and tarp on the wooden floors by six. During the Battle of the Sexes rally I drank three Rock Stars out of the surplus that student council had bought the year before for no solid reason. By noon I was awake, but shaking uncontrollably. To that point I had never needed to pee so badly in my life.
            There was Senior Ditch Day in April and I ditched on Tuesday when almost everyone did it on Thursday. I slept in. The more outgoing girls drove down to Capitola and judging from Facebook pictures the weather by the beach was very clear and warm.
            I got a Facebook after I graduated from Clayton Valley High.
            I was Asian. And yes an Honor Student. I was always asked if I’d join people’s group for class projects in English or History. Never heard rumors about me outside the classroom.
            I remember I’d gotten a D three different times for my progress report in math.
            I was in French Club. I started their rival the British Club. I started the environmental-awareness club Green People. It felt revolutionary. We raised money for a porpoise with the Marin Marine Mammal Center. I forgot how we did it. I made it into Senior Women because of all the clubs I’d joined, the first round pick of junior girls who would be the leaders in the fall and add more senior women. Only Alyssa and I made this round out of all our friends.
            In being part of Senior Women I tried out and made the cut for being one of the three Master of Ceremonies at the annual spring charity fashion show. I also joined with Emily in coordinating the collection from the store Buckle.
            I wasn’t attracted to any boys. The one I did like I invited to Jessica’s Sweet 16 dance party. He said yes but he never showed up. He became one of my closest friends in senior year.
            It didn’t bother me that I never had a date for Junior Prom or Senior Ball.
            Daddy always dropped me off and picked me and Milan up. Then Milan started driving us. After she graduated, Christy would give me a ride home. Sometimes we made a Jamba Juice stop or get coffee Frappuccinos at Starbucks. She’ll still come and pick me when we’re craving those things.
            I was voted by my class as Most Likely to Succeed. The same title I won in middle school.
            One Halloween night at Sarah’s house we went Trick-O-Treating but eagerly came back to her house to get sugared up and dance for two hours straight. I forgot the songs but I remember they were ones I hated.
            I was dancing because weeks before I remembered how I finally started dancing in public, at the Homecoming dance. It was exalting and fantastic but not as memorable as avoiding that one boy who wanted so badly to dance with me. Everyone I knew was on board to shroud me away and safely enjoy the last few hours. But my red dress was a traitor—he found me minutes before the last song but thankfully it was the last song that was fast-pasted for anything serious.
            Milan took me shopping one afternoon the day after my birthday. I wore a basic sweater and jeans; she got mad at me for half-assing myself. She was a bit dressed up, wearing heels and a cute coat to the mall. I was teary that I couldn’t just be casual, but reluctantly changed to a new blue blouse and the brown faux suede boots she’d sent from San Francisco. At the mall I got a cream duffel coat from Papaya that was too thick and warm to wear but I put on anyways. When I got home it was warm inside the house but that wasn’t what thrilled me. I saw familiar faces of Christy and Katie and Cat and Alyssa and Claire and every other face from five days a week and there they were lined along the railing overlooking the living room and cheering with hands running wild and balloons tied to the banister. I thought I was still casually dressed in that moment, but I looked down for a second and saw my brown boots.
            I spent the last day in high school at a live gig for friends in a band. They were pretty cute. The singer was cute to me and I was really anxious about asking him to sushi that night for another evening later in the summer. I never spoke to the more outgoing girls that were there but they smiled at me. With some of my friends, I was in the front row, and the girls weren’t too nice when they saw where we stood. I wore a black top with slits down the sleeves of the shoulders and arms and my hair was hair sprayed and puffed to rock star perfection. Some regulars noticed and said nice things to me. I only wanted to hear nice things from the singer. I did, when he agreed to dinner for two. The evening got colder and I grew flushed in the face with heat and disbelief.
            I was sick for next four days with fever. He went out of town on family vacation. The dinner never happened.
            I was really those things.
            And I didn’t know any of our vice principals personally because I never got in trouble. Didn’t sign up for all the AP courses and their following tests. Didn’t make it into UC Berkeley. I’m the only person in the family without glasses. No clue on what my shadow project really concluded in the science fair. Never got into a physical fight. Never ditched classes up until senior year. I seldom hung out with my teachers in their classrooms for lunch. I still don’t know how to play any instruments nor do I go to a college with a prominent marching band. I wasn’t alone. I made it past my teen years without bearing any children. I didn’t know any rumors nor spread any because I wasn’t jealous of anyone.

image courtesy of DSquared2
i leave you all with this. WE DID IT!!!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

having not written fiction for months,

it actually feels great. i love fiction, and the imagination running riot and endless with whatever craziness comes to mind-- let alone making all of it meaning something. but, i've felt i've written enough for the time being. i want to expand my talent, and see what limits i can break with something i feel so strongly devoted to.

this means trying out nonfiction and poetry. nonfiction is proving to be magic, because half the work feels done already in that the source material isn't fresh, but it is me, and from my life directly. they are experiences that are relevant and make some sense of life which no one understands, let alone in my own. the reflection is my tool for how i want to present that memory or thought, and for some reason the final draft feels right because only i know what that first concert, the pink doughnut box, and fall in San Francisco really is and was like. i like how nonfiction is more available for the reader because they know that this is a true event in the real world. in this way, i feel that channeling creative writing for nonfiction, from an essay to a blog post or a contribution to a magazine, will undoubtedly be very useful for my variety of writing.

and so will poetry. it's not my favorite of the three aspects of literary writing, but so far it's becoming a work in progress. i know my style in poems and what i want to achieve, and idyllically being blunt and constricted works in my favor. i always dread going over the top with poems. you put too much heart into a poem, you water down the passion and duende of it. having to really use my imagination to evoke reader emotion by so little but powerful imagery and form makes for a simpler but more enjoyable--and complicated-- experience in poetry. that's always an issue the reader suffers: that big gap between the poet's intent and the tone the reader takes from it. it's been my anxiety, too. breaking this barrier really motivates my poetry but i definitely do not forget to make it aesthetically enjoyable for my readers.

all in all it's all about imagery. always.

a bit redundant, but show and tell does a lot for your work. even outside of a short story (which doesn't always have to be show, i find).

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Big Hump Day.

it's windy and i get to wear a scarf with an outfit that's aesthetically correct.

I sold my wake board to be here, and I LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT!!! YEAH!!!
-- said a decked-out-painted on Giants fan interviewed on local news station after Giants beat Rangers 2nd game in the World Series. go Giants!!!!

i do love the Giants, really. i've played baseball (waaaay back in the day though when it shouldn’t really count for anything at such a young age) and it's a sport easy to follow for me and with an incredible atmosphere. plus, my fandom is uniquely based out of my passion for the City, and how the Giants embody the quirk and heart of San Francisco.

(via Paris Kim on Tumblr )

i might strike people who know me as a band wagoner, but there are reasons why i've failed at being
the hard-core fan i ought to be:

-- i'm not usually into sports
-- throughout this past season i've not had cable to watch every game
-- i get to watch with my dad who's a big sports guy and though he's an Oakland A's fan he can finally talk sports with someone in his family
-- my boyfriend is a foreigner who is opening up to American sports and is really falling in love with America's pastime. i want to be part of that experience with him

and in doing so i am reevaluating my own self and how i need to be more active, and aggressive, in my passions and pursuits of things that really will hit to the heart. starting with my support to the team of an exceptional city, this is the marking of getting to where i want to go sooner, faster.

almost gone to see Nick Hornby today in San Francisco. Nick fucking Hornby! just can't find anyone to go with tonight.

i just need San Francisco. it’s my true campus. you just feel so happy here in the City.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Cool Kids

            These people can go die. In all their being, waiting around with T’s of Oasis and Jarvis Cocker to the Strokes in order to signify this hierarchy of taste and experience in line—it all means nothing, not to me. They’ve all paid the same amount, drove the same distance (I’m pretty sure of it), and all have no exception to the head of the line—ahead of me.
            I’ve died and resurrected myself again, in every wandering thought I had in classes counting down to this moment and too weird that knowing now that this is the moment. It’s real, no longer an idle thought. It’s not even music anymore.
            This is going to be a night.
            Never could ask for a better birthday present, and I didn’t ask for Alyssa, Melissa, and Cat to be a part of this. But with three extra tickets in the package, had to put them to use. Had to make those girls’ lives worthwhile, too.
            I’m not so mad once the line’s moving. I’m elated, grinning, my mind all over the place—my eyes scanning the passing cheap luggage hole in the wall or that gritty-looking strip club for some reason called The Crazy Horse. I’m feeling crazy, but not for the sights of the voluptuous. I’m feeling crazy amongst my friends, that close-knit crowd around me of people who only relate to me in the same mania—I feel it in the cold air that’s telling me someone’s just lit up a joint.
            This isn’t just going to be a night anymore. I come to see this, just as I’m already in place to see one of the most significant bands in my life. At age sixteen, there’s not much room for definitive role models or icons—save those for the college conferences where they’ll be your guiding light. But you like to think you have role models, and cool ones at that. Arctic Monkeys were crazy. They were English. They must’ve been cool. The masses of shaggy heads and skinny jeans reaffirm this conclusion of mine.
            I was always told a live performance was worse than what the CD already fed me, and I couldn’t argue back due to my inexperience with any. It would ruin my hearing if anything. I realize I am fine though, only burdened with a plump pair of yellow ear plugs Mom bought for each of us. I don’t want any more burdens, and I’m only sixteen. I want to lose everything. Lose myself. And I am feeling it, as the lanky bodies tighten around us and I lose the other girls in seconds. I get Cat back. If I wanted to lose myself I sure didn’t want to be alone with strangers!
            The delightful smell of tequila floods the fresh air above, masking the dense sweat pouring from the masses as the lights dim. Is this a coincidence? All the senses turn upwards, to the air, the glowing electric stage, to the drum intro of “A Certain Romance,” the last song I played before the car took off from Concord hours before. I know it too well—it was a comforting sound to the new experience around me and my friend.
            I don’t want these people to die anymore. I want them to live, jump, sing horribly along to the tracks being performed by four considerably hot English rockers before my eyes. Who’s really cool here? Them? These people I wanted to do away with not that long ago? I smell the tequila again as I turn my nose up for fresh air. Something here is fresh tonight.

(image via Tumblr)