Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Nora Ephron, Ray Bradbury…Writers Who Leave a Gaping Hole in the Literary Universe (RIP).

“I don't care who you are. When you sit down to write the first page of your screenplay, in your head, you're also writing your Oscar acceptance speech.”--Nora Ephron

I’ve had a hard time calling myself a WRITER. I’ve had the desire to write, to be a novelist since about 19 years old. My BA is in English and Secondary Education and I have a few self-published notches in my very green belt (with many projects, storylines and first drafts filling notebooks—which hide in corners and special storage bins around my house). Some have seen the light of day and have been revealed to close friends for critique. My hope is to be and do what Ephron and Bradbury did…be a WRITER and embody everything that a wordsmith is responsible for.

When Ray Bradbury died earlier this month, I spent the day really reading up on this writer. I only knew general public domain type facts and was intrigued to learn more about him and his writings. I made a mental note to read Fahrenheit 451 and his other works.
“Don't think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It's self-conscious and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can't "try" to do things. You simply "must" do things.”―Ray Bradbury

Today, Nora Ephron has died. She gifted the entertainment/literary world with some great romantic comedies such as When Harry Met Sally, You’ve Got Mail and Sleepless in Seattle. She crafted stories of seemingly ordinary people falling in love in memorable ways. (I’ve always secretly hoped a man would give me a bouquet of pencils, Hello Kitty ones specifically).

Don't you love New York in the fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly-sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address. On the other hand, this not knowing has its charms.—Joe to ‘Shopgirl’

Writers are the rock stars in my world. When I like someone’s writing I tend to want to know more about the author. What their upbringing was, what their belief system is, what about them can I find a connection with. For the late Nora Ephron, I appreciate her humor, her take on love and her accomplishment in the writing and movie world. It’s tragic that she is gone…there is a void in literaria (my word for a writer’s universe)….and it should be filled with good writing, not with the likes of 50 Shades of Grey (I digress, I judge, yes, I didn’t read the whole thing, the first 2 chapters of my free Kindle sample were quite enough).

“I try to write parts for women that are as complicated and interesting as women actually are.”--Nora Ephron

With the sad news of Ephron’s passing at the age of 71, I will tackle the dishes, hang with my kids, fold a basket of laundry and make a nutritious dinner this evening, then, I will open the last chapter of the writing project I am currently 2/3’s of the way completed. I will write, even if it’s a page, because as Bradbury says, you must do, not try.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Happy High School Reunion, Y'all!

“No, I didn’t go to your school, I’m just a La Habra Spouse.”--Guam Goddess in Training

I said this a few times this past Saturday evening in Long Beach. My husband and I attended his 20th High School Reunion; La Habra Highlanders threw a nice gathering of over 50 students. We almost didn’t attend this raging party (as raging as 38 year olds can be) because my husband was set to be “underway”…Navy speak for gone. But, as fate and luck and planet aligning would have it, the ship needed some repairs and they pulled back into port. His excited e-mails leading to his return made it seem likely that we would be making the two hour drive north so he could see classmates he hadn’t seen for 20 years. My hunt for trustworthy childcare began…

I attended my 10th High School Reunion in 2002 for George Washington High School. I was on the planning committee and as usual, found myself to be the secretary. It was exciting and easy because I was still living on Guam. It was laidback and maybe a bit anti-climactic since again, I was on Guam and many alumna who attended lived on Guam anyway. Basically, it was normal to run into Geckos at the bank or Payless or a funeral. I remember the group being most excited about people who left the island and were returning after 10 years to attend, my count was 2 back then. Facebook wasn’t a “thing” for us then.

Going to my husband’s reunion was different.
I felt his excitement and trepidation. He was emerging a new man, minus the fashionable mullet that many sported. Would they recognize him? He only reconnected with classmates this past year via Facebook and I asked him if he had seen anyone (since 1992) of those who RSVP’d. He said he had not. I reminded him that some people might not recognize him immediately or not at all and not to be offended. I warned him that someone will remember a very specific detail about their past, that he might not. Sure enough, the first classmate he hugged and greeted with a “HEY!” detailed a specific memory…my husband’s face went blank and I laughed. (Told you so, I told him later). I spent the rest of the evening speaking with a wonderful lady. Then, after two hours, I gave in and sat to rest my feet…where I watched people chat it up, I recognized distinct cliques and enjoyed grown men hugging and laughing and drinking and being merry. I could safely say I was the lone Pacific Islander Asian (aside from my hubby) and when his bubbly Japanese classmate entered the scene, she bee lined for me. We shook hands and she was off to get her drink on. A few hours later, she was worried about my being quiet in the corner. I told her I was good. She offered me a drink and I told her I was the designated driver. She then asked where my husband was, I said he was chatting. She was insistent that I not be alone and told me to go to the spouse section (I refused), but like a wedding when the bride gets to shine, my husband was there to shine and reconnect during HIS reunion. She finally left me alone when I said I was fine being “a ninja.” She laughed merrily away.

I realized that being away from Guam for the past 8 years was inching me towards this level of not reconnecting with my classmates since I wasn’t “home”. If airfare was cheaper than the nearly $2,000.00 round trip ticket price to Guam, I would definitely fly home for our August reunion. My husband asked, “What if I bought you a ticket home for your reunion?” My immediate response was no. My next question was what about the kids? He said he would take care of it. I couldn’t, wouldn’t, shouldn’t. If we didn’t all go, or myself and the children at least, then I couldn’t. Imagine my mom’s horror if I went to Guam alone, without her darling grandkids. She wouldn’t have it, along with the countless aunts and uncles and cousins.

I do hope to fly home with all my children and husband in tow for my 25th High School Reunion in 2017. Need to save that salape’ since it may cost about 10K by then for air fare….

I appreciate that I have a special connection with a great group of people of the same age, same experience (or not) from a common place. I hope the reunion on Guam goes great. Onward Geckos!

Our Class Song, GWHS Class of 1992


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Dusting off My Michelle Branch CD...

When I bake something or cook something, it’s just the same feeling as writing a song for me….”—Michelle Branch

Dusting off my Michelle Branch CD has brought me to revisit my ideas of balance, motherhood and creativity.

For the last week, I’ve been playing my Michelle Branch CD (2001-The Spirit Room) in my car. My 4 year old daughter approves. She especially loves, Everywhere, All You Wanted and Goodbye to You—perhaps because I keep sifting through to play them again and again. Her main concern as the melody for the next Branch song starts, “Is this the same girl?”

This album came out around the time I was having a major shift in my relationship, so as the scars of that break-up were healing, Branch’s words were there for me to cling to. Before IPods, I had my enormous CD player on my dresser and often sang along to this very CD.

I Googled Branch yesterday to do my own version of VHI’s Where Are They Now? I was vaguely aware of her switch to country music, since I was busy having my children by this time. Apparently, as Branch was making her appearance in her new form, The Wreckers—a duo, she too was developing her domestic side, marrying her bassist, Teddy and having a child as well.

She’s still gorgeous and I was always intrigued by her lyrics and melodies. Watching her video, Everywhere, ten years ago, my Asian spidey senses tingled and I knew she had Asian pedigree somewhere. I guessed Japanese, but she really is a quarter Indonesian. I only found this out yesterday too.

So, I'm going to catch up with what music she’s produced since I lost track of her 10 years ago. She’s still as beautiful as when she first hopped onto the music scene.


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. ...