Rosamunde

Rosamunde, a piece by Schubert and the melody has been with me ever since I listened to it in my car. A Korean friend loaned me the CD which she told me that helped her with her piano practice.

Things were difficult for me in my high school years. By then, I was totally lost (following on from junior high). I didn’t make many friends and the friends I hung out with were the other foreign students from the ESL class. I was seeing this Taiwanese boy who I met at a party, who went to another high school.

The neighborhood the boy lived in was new and the park near his house had only a vast grass field with a swing, benches, and a table. I was old enough to drive, so I used to drive to this park and I would sit there by myself, jiggling on my journal, or smoking, in the cold cloudy weather, hope to see him without knowing when he could get out of his house.

The soothing and simplistic melody of Rosamunde reminds me of the park. Maybe a little melancholy, but it’s exactly how I felt at the time when I was in Ohio: alienated, lonely, yet the simple delight of seeing a boy was enough for me to stay out in the cold winter in a land that has almost nothing but green grass fields, the smell of which I loved the most.

I had to walk to school which took me 30 minutes when I missed the school bus. On the way to school or back home, I saw cows in the field. “There is nothing here!” I wrote a letter to my parents to beg them to let me return to Taiwan even though I was the one to ask them to let me go to school in Ohio. In Taipei, I could go shopping with my friends and eat good food whenever I wanted to.

The neighborhood we lived in was reasonably well off in the city of Columbus, and the public high school I went to was new. The high school students were mostly white and black people, and only a few Asian students: Japanese kids whose parents worked at a Honda plant and kids from Taiwan or Korea.

I tried very hard to get into the school basketball team because the boy I liked was in the basketball team and I thought I could see him if I was in the basketball team. Sports like football and basketball were popular in Ohio. I remember going to hockey and tennis tournaments with my aunt, who enjoyed all kinds of sports.

On the weekends, we’d go to a big shopping mall to buy clothes in stores like Express, or we mowed our lawns as a chore and when it was snowing, we had to clear the snow out of the driveway with a shovel. The climate was dry in Ohio and one simply couldn’t live without a lip balm. Even though I don’t remember much of Ohio, when I played Rosamunde at a small recital, I didn’t make a mistake like how I always did. I saw the park with the green grass field under a cloudy sky in my head and I was calm.

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week 35/day 9

I am at a cafe and just ate half of a blueberry scone and after this, I will force myself to read for my class at the school library. Creative non-fiction might be my genre because I am honest and I am interested in big ideas and I write about my experiences all the time. I like to read the scientific books, which means I am interested in facts. I still need to read more and learn how to write because my writing doesn’t have the research part and it lacks the language skills that good writing needs.

I have started to take English 273N, a creative non-fiction writing class at a community college. I wish to write something I like and complete my stories, so I can move on to something new. Maybe I will take a philosophy class next year? Or a film writing class? Or I will keep writing creative non-fiction.

But another part of me is trying to escape, like how I tried to escape from studying philosophy in school in the past. I was interested in philosophy, but I couldn’t commit myself to my courses. When I had to work on reading or assignments, I just wanted to go shopping and do something else instead. I was being irresponsible.

Maybe I am trying to escape from the possible failure and embarrassment. I wonder if my work will be good enough and people will like it at all. Nevertheless, I will write for myself first. Even if it’s not good, I will enjoy myself and know that I’ve done my best.

I really miss writing journals and having them edited and posting them to the blog. It’s not for anyone else but me, and the simple activity makes me happy. I enjoy writing for myself when I don’t feel the pressure to try to be accepted.

week 27/day 19

It’s a good idea to write when I feel like writing. Writing releases my stress and energizes me too. I find brainstorming before I go to bed and editing in the morning make my writing have substance and clarity.   Writing takes time, but I know it’s worth the effort when I see my own blog.

I gave a customer the wrong information and feel very bad about it. I should have checked with R first. I don’t want to be unprofessional — it’s the last thing I want to be, so I’d better study as much as I can on my own. I should take note of what I did wrong and make sure I won’t repeat the same mistake again.

Is my English is good? Perhaps it’s better than a person who hadn’t lived in the US for 8 years? In any case, I should practice talking more. I couldn’t finish the sentence when I tried to talk to the customer who asked about the grapefruit green tea. I said, “Citrus..”

I didn’t know enough about white tea when R asked me.  I don’t work that much, and as a result, I don’t have much time to learn about the knowledge my part-time job as a sales associate requires me to have. Maybe I should just go to the store as a customer once a week, then I will learn more about tea and what customers want and how they want to be treated.

The Korean salon was much much better than the other one I went to. Now I feel so free with my short hair that I don’t want long hair anymore: it’s just too much trouble. I don’t care if I don’t look local, and I don’t want to spend time washing and drying my hair; I’d rather use the time to read.

week 27/day 18

It’s been quite windy since yesterday. It feels like a typhoon is coming, but it’s still sunny and hot in the afternoon. The tea store manager was right, I need to increase my working speed. Maybe I think too much and it’s preventing me from working efficiently. I need to do whatever I feel like doing when I feel like doing those things because the thoughts didn’t just appear suddenly. However, I should always try to finish what I started first.

Chocolate mousse cake + Momo Oolong

week 18/day 11

P is here. What can I say? I am happy to see him. He has responsibility in working for his company and he needs to make money for us. Although now we live separately, I am thankful to have moved back here.

I appreciate Hawaii more now. Today I stared at the color of the clouds and a mountain in front of it through my windshield while waiting at a red light: a giant white cottoncandy-like cloud contrasted with a green mountain under the blue sky were picture perfect. Perhaps the air makes it so. Everything looks unreal because the color of everything is so vivid under the sun. The thought that everything looks like it’s from a postcard didn’t move me 14 years ago: my reaction was more like a “So what?” It makes me think that becoming older could be a good thing.

The climate, the people, the sweet air: everything is different here. What I like the most about Hawaii is that I feel nobody really cares about what anybody else does, but there is this togetherness in how people appreciate their experience living on this small island of Oahu.

week 18/day 10

I am getting used to my new lifestyle here. I get up between 5:30 to 6:00, make lunch and breakfast for the kids, drive them to school from 7:40, return home, do the washing-up and housekeeping, then plan for the day and write from 9:00. I am so hungry right now and I feel my stomach is going to roar.

Last night I began to read the used book I bought this Saturday. It’s called “Writing True: The Art and Craft of Creative Nonfiction” by Perl and Schwartz. I am so glad that I’ve found the book because I think creative non-fiction is the genre that I have been writing under. I am not writing in an academic way, or fictional; I felt out of place in writing children’s stories. Although my writing is about my experiences of everyday lives, it’s not like a report: the object being described is non-fictional (the world), but I describe it in a creative way (my world).

The reading on creative non-fiction reminded me of Nietzsche because his argument emphasized on the importance of subjectivity. Nietzsche seemed to say that a person’s subjective world view is the only thing that’s valid. I’ll keep reading and working on my writing, with a sense of direction at last.  Time for breakfast!