Friday, April 27, 2012

Words, Schmords....

“Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.”—Norman Cousins

I have a daily struggle with myself and the little box of hopes and dreams that rests in my chest. This box holds every bright idea I’ve had, every storyline I’ve created and every fantasy scenario I whip up in my head. Frustration builds when I CANNOT carve a time and space to write. The thoughts and feelings and characters that dance in my busy brain get louder and louder (no, I don’t need a shrink) and then my frustration builds. As a military wife and a mom of two young children, my priorities day to day is family, then the house, then me. It’s typical, I’m not complaining, but after a few days or weeks of this, I think of my blog, my unfinished novel, the second draft of another novel, my screenplay that was critiqued and sitting (which I’m going to eventually put in novel format), my personal journals etc. The frustration builds and I have to let off the steam from my literary creative juices.

I’ve often told my husband that I wish that I didn’t feel the NEED or WANT to write. It’s there in my DNA and I can’t extract it. If I did, my home would be spotless, my body would be oogle-worthy and healthier and my children would be playing extravagant classical music on a violin or piano. But, when one desire tips the focus away from other things, someone or something will suffer. Ideally, I would live in a library. Read, write, read, write, have a snack then read and write again.

With this plopped on cyber paper, I’m off to reconnect with the novel that waits like a hungry, ignored child. “Mommy! I want you! Play with me!” (In the meantime, I've fed my child fruit, tied her blanket on like a super hero cape, made her a ham sandwich and refilled my coffee twice--clock is ticking as my real kid is asking me to sit with her, NOW!)

The above quote by Norman Cousins struck a huge chord in me. I heard it at my cousin’s law school graduation last week. As I sat among family in the beautiful Organ Pavilion at Balboa Park, I was touched by the keynote speakers, a successful duo of father and son. I can’t recall if the son or the father said this, but a few times "he" reiterated that “Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.”

I feel most akin to people who strive daily to live their dream, whether that be music, writing, art or even being a better parent! When I see that they have kept that little box in their chest alive, open and free to express itself, then I feel like I should too. I don’t say that I wish that I didn’t need or want to write anymore, because it’s something that is inherently part of me, my identity and my future. All I can do is jump in with both feet and do what I do.

Words excite me. Being a wordsmith intrigues me. Creating worlds and moving mountains with a page of text exhilarates my soul.
Thanks for allowing me to share…and here is Gotye's Eyes Wide Open which pretty much reflects that I don't want to regret not living a meaningful, true life.

"We walk the plank with our eyes wide open."--Gotye


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A Fish Called Stick.

Eating rice cakes is like chewing on a foam coffee cup, only less filling.”--Dave Barry

Watching my kids eat fish sticks made me sad. I would rather they have some fresh mafuti or lagua (parrot fish).

My four year old daughter asked, “What’s this crunchy stuff on the outside? Is the fish born this way?” I mumbled back, “Oh, no. That is breading, it isn’t natural.” I felt bad feeding fish sticks to my children. Bad mommy!—ran through my head.

Being in SoCal, I’ve been able to grill and fry mackerel for the kids on occasion. They typically love it! When we trek to IHOP for breakfast, my islander son always gets the Jr. Tilapia and broccoli.

Watching my kids eat this food that is morphed makes me think we should just go vegan or totally organic, but being Chamorro…makes that tough. I know, not impossible, but Spam is a top food from my motherland. (Spam is known as “ham” in my house—Ham’s evil, lazy step brother--who's allowed out of the pantry once in awhile). Jasmine rice is served several times a week and my daughter loves bread. If we were on Guam, I’m sure she would go nuts for potu and manha titiyas—I did at the Chamorro Cultural Fest last week (Thanks, Abel’s Island Food Products).

I’m happy to report (thanks to my mom’s Korean healthy diet) that my children love fruit. They just devoured a plate of Fuji apples and low fat cheddar. My daughter ate carrot sticks the other day because her Nina Kim prepared them and my son loves grilled onions, cilantro, mushrooms, eggplant and bell peppers.

Thinking of my mother and life growing up on Guam, I recall eating fried chicken (which she prepared from scratch) and I told her it was so delicious. She said, “This store chicken is not tasty at all. Wild chicken tastes better, more flavor.” My mother’s right. She lived organic before organic was crowned Prom Queen.

She wasn’t afraid of flavor. I have memories of her eating fruit bat stew (images of the fanihi's bared teeth swimming in coconut milk broth still haunt me). I remember my mom slurping on a boiled egg (balut) with a tiny, mostly formed baby chick peeking out. I’m not about to go ranch food crazy here, but my point is that my mom knew flavor. She craves fresh vegetables (often she complains of the outrageous prices on Guam for green onions)—won’t name the store, but there are only a few Korean markets on island.

I find some of the tastiest dishes have the simplest ingredients. Guacamole (avocado, cilantro, tomato, onion, lime) = magic. That tomato salad for bruschetta…who knew tomato, olive oil and garlic could be so crave worthy. Soft mozzarella on slices of tomato with fresh basil—forget about it. I didn’t try oatmeal until I married and moved to SoCal…tragic really.

What am I going on about? Just sharing an observation about food. How I want my children to enjoy true, rustic, tasty, healthy foods in their most true forms. I guess with aging, my concerns about what I put into my body surface. Work in progress…definitely.


A Story of a Stolen Mermaid--(and the Infringement of an Artist)

Fact: I wrote Sirena: A Mermaid Legend from Guam in 2010. Fact: My brother, Sonny Chargualaf is the talented artist behind the imagery. ...