Writing is Hard

— 1 —

See? Promised I’ll still do my Quick Takes. And on time, too!

So I had my first little NaNoWriMo workshop thing, and it was great. There weren’t many people there, but it isn’t November yet, so I guess that’s understandable. It was really helpful, though, and there were lots of helpful hints and tips. Including about this program called Scrivener, which is a word processor designed specifically for writers, to help organize your work. If you’re participating in NaNoWriMo you can get a free, full-version, month-long trial. I’m doing the tutorial now and it seems really cool. So all you Wrimos (that’s what they call us, honestly it weirds me out a little because it looks like worms…ish…anyway) should give it a try, if you think it’ll help!

— 2 —

‘Kay, so I keep seeing comments comparing Owl City’s “Tokyo” to “Good Time.” I can see how maybe they have the same beat? Ish? But other than that, I’m not seeing the similarites. I don’t have a very nuanced understanding of music, so it’s possible it’s in the same key or uses the same chord progressions or something, but to my ears “Tokyo” both sounds different and better. Maybe that’s just because it’s Asian-influenced and he got Sekai no Owari’s Satoshi Fukase to sing with him. I dunno.

I have to say, I’d never heard of Sekai no Owari before that, and then I fell in love with Fukase’s voice. I don’t know if his voice is really good, or if his singing is technically good, or not, but for some reason his voice is extremely appealing. Don’t know a 100% if I like the band yet, but a couple of songs are fun.

But anyway, here’s “Tokyo.” Do you really think it sounds like “Good Time”?

— 3 —

And since I’m posting videos:

This is one song the instructor uses for Zumba that I actually like. I find it hilarious. This would be me in another country if I tried speaking the language. I’d make a fool of myself with the few words I knew. The natives would get a good laugh out of it. Heck, I know once I find people to help me learn to speak Korean there will be people guffawing at my pitiful attempts. =D

— 4 —

NaNoWriMo again.

Doing NaNoWriMo has made me think about a few things. For one, my protagonist is Korean-American. Three guesses as to why. I wasn’t necessarily planning on making her Korean. I wasn’t sure what she was going to be. I decided on a girl, then tried to think of a name. I tried thinking of Japanese, Korean, Welsh names: Mi Young was the one that stuck. The name wouldn’t leave my head, and none other would do.

But that leaves me a difficult task: to accurately portray the life and experiences of a female Korean-American high-schooler. Being fantasy, my novel will lack a certain amount of verisimilitude, but that just makes it all the more important that the parts of my novel that deal with reality are real. Both my pride and my common sense demand that

Who am I to write about, as people say nowadays, people of color (POC)? Well, I’m no one, really. There are many things I “can’t” write about because I’ve never experienced them. I’ve never seen someone die; never ridden a horse (just a pony named Shorty…once…a long time ago); I’ve never played soccer competitively; never fought in a war; never been in a movie; never had a boyfriend; never practiced a religion other than Catholicism; in short, I have never been anybody else.

I’ve also never been a racial or ethnic minority. That makes a difference, because I don’t know what it’s like not to have my culture in some sense be the prevailing one, not to have people who look like me around generally. I don’t personally know what that’s like.

But why should that stop me writing? We all write about things we don’t know because we don’t just learn and know by experience. Though intellectual knowledge is not the same as experiential knowledge, it goes a long way in helping us understand and describe others’ experiences.

I see posts on Tumblr and the rest of the internet saying we need more books written by POC or featuring POC as protagonists. Maybe that’s true. To be honest, I’ve never paid attention to the color of the protagonists’ or the authors’ skin. I just pick the books I want to read and read them. Sure, do I probably imagine most protagonists as white? Yeah, because that’s my experience and what I most easily relate to. I never pay attention to character descriptions unless they’re described to be of a particular descent or it’s obvious that they are, anyway: one of my favorite book series growing up, I pictured the protagonist as brown-haired. Turns out he was blonde all along. Doesn’t change my mental image of him one bit, it got too ingrained in my head.

I wouldn’t expect other people who aren’t white to imagine the heroes and heroines that way. They would imagine them based on their experience. And that’s cool! That’s how it works!

So writing someone of a specific ethnicity not my own is…daunting. I want to get it right, both so people don’t accuse me of being some racist, backward, white girl who knows nothing, but more importantly because I want to rightly portray people’s experiences. Just like I would with any other aspect of my story: if someone liked to ride horses, I’d research horseback riding since I know nothing of it.

This will most certainly be a new and exciting experience. I only hope I can do justice to all and truthfully portray things to the best of my ability.

— 5 —

So I’ve had a fun week. Woke up one morning, went into work, and about a half-hour later started having kidney stone pain. Had to leave work 3 hours later and go to the ER because the pain meds from home didn’t work. Yippee.

I’ve had kidney stones ever since I was 14 and they are no picnic, let me tell you. I’m sure y’all hear stories about kidney stones all the time but when people say the pain is horrible they’re serious. It’s not always really bad, but it’s uncomfortable enough that it can keep you from concentrating. And it’s not a pain you can make go away just by moving around–it’s a problem with something inside, not with muscles or skin. So no matter how much you roll or writhe, it remains. The only things that help are pain meds or passing the stupid thing (which can be hard to do depending on the size). And drinking water.

— 6 —

I reblogged a post on Tumblr recently that I agree with, but sort of felt like commenting on it too. It was basically reminding people that the Chinese, Japanese, and Korean peoples are not the only Asian peoples. It mentioned that Tumblr often only reblogs the aforementioned three, and assumes that people see these other Asian cultures as “lesser.”

I definitely agree that Chinese, Japanese, and Korean pop culture are the main Asian things I see reblogged. And I have seen for myself that we tend to lump Asians all together into one of those three countries, and we tend to say that “all Asians look the same”–which is extremely far from the truth. I don’t expect us non-Asians to always be able to distinguish between the different ethnicities, necessarily, but we shouldn’t just assume, “Oh, that person’s Chinese” just because they have what we consider to be obviously Asian features.

That being said, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being interested in pop culture from “The Big 3” (so to speak), and you don’t have to be interested in the other Asian cultures. But you should acknowledge that they exist and not conflate them all, and not look down on them.

It’s ironically been my interest in k-dramas and anime that has helped me not make assumptions about people’s ethnicity. I have enough tact not to ask, but personally on the inside, as we all do, I at least ask questions, “I wonder if that person is from such-and-such a place or is of such-and-such descent?” Then I move on.

I think the important thing is to remember that people are people no matter what, and that each culture has something unique to offer the world, even if it’s not as big or popular or well-known.

— 7 —

 I had something to say here that turned into a post of it’s own, and then I had another thing to replace it with: and then I forgot what that was. OTL

I DON’T EVEN KNOW ANYMORE.

OK, how’s this? I did some early Christmas shopping and now only have three gifts left to buy. It’s a nice feeling: nothing to worry about during advent, no Black Friday rush, no nothing.

Loki

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

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