Rén is a traditional Chinese character that can be roughly translated as "humanity" or "humaneness". The rén rén is a "benevolent" or "humane person".

Bǐ mò is a term for "pen and ink", "words" or bits of writing.

Monday, May 30, 2011

With New Vigor

As we get close to June and close to two full weeks without any real regular posting, I feel that it's time to get back going. I've started sleeping on a more regular schedule and my husband is even getting me to start exercising regularly again, so no more slacking. The goal is going to be posting 3-4 (maybe even 5!) times a week, getting some literary stuff as well as some ranting in. 

I'll also try to do a few free writes a week on Sans Serif. That space is still free for anyone who wants to guest post there. :)

I had been working on the 30 Days of World Building while I was in Hong Kong, but that also dropped off a bit as packing, traveling, and recovering took over. I may or may not start a site/link/set of posts for all that information.

It's good to be back. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Still adjusting

I have not meant to neglect the blog this long, but I've been ill since mid weekend and am still adjusting to time and schedule changes. Hopefully, I will have something of substance up by the end of the week and will resume regular posting as of next week. 

For now, be amused. :)

Saturday, May 21, 2011


I am back on US soil - yay! It is so good to be home!

It will probably take me a good week to adjust back to regular sleeping schedules, household patterns and habits as well as writing habits. I plan to come back with some revised and new writing, as well as continue to update my book challenge and hopefully get a few Red Dress Club prompts in here and there. 

Speaking of book challenge, I just finished Little Men yesterday. I had never read it before and I ended up really enjoying it - not the same way as I enjoyed Little Women, but a different kind of enjoyment. I really felt empathy and connection to the stories told in Little Women - the shared and similar experiences touched me. With Little Men it was different. I sometimes empathized with the boys, but found myself living a little vicariously other times and enjoying the romps of boys. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


I managed to scrounge up a bit of poetry from my writings and notes for all of you lovely people before I have the longest Thursday ever (10 1/2 hours in Hong Kong, 15 hour plane ride, 5 hour layover, 2 hour flight and still 2 1/2 hours left in Thursday - that's what happens when you fly from the future into the past). 


Sentences, language – they fill your mouth today
and every day, relentless. You pick them apart one
by one, taking their meaning new places, stretching
and pulling, then putting them back together
on your assembly line.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Birthday Post

I suppose that I should do a birthday post. It's a bit hot and sticky here and I'm trying to pack up my life to take back to the states with me. It's one of those days in which I keep feeling like I've forgotten something.  Not very birthday-like. 

On the other hand, my husband is taking me to lunch at a Mexican restaurant (a rarity in Hong Kong, I assure you). Plus we've got ice cream and wine. It should be a good day.

The next time I post (in which I hope to have something literary to put here), I'll be back in the States.

And a special thanks to Gabriel over at Angelspeak for all of the lit crit and things you've been giving me to think about. :)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Book Challenge Update

Yesterday saw the end of Little Women and I have now moved on to Jo's Boys. I had read Little Women before. I love, love, love it. There is always a new lesson to take in and moral to learn and a reminder that some things about people are truly timeless. I think this time I learned more from each of the sisters than I have before. Instead of focusing on the story most like my own with small additions from the others, I found different and more well-rounded traits in each story that felt applicable to my life. It is always nice to have a reminder that we are all pilgrims who bear our burdens, but that there is some hope that those burdens will be lifted and it is within us to lift them. 

I have never read Jo's Boys, but I am enjoying it thus far. It's so different to read about boys in this similar setting, but interesting nonetheless. Little Women gives you boys and men that are exemplar - they are the kind you look to have in your life as a woman. Jo's Boys seems to be giving you all types of boys to see how they turn out. They won't all be Laurie's or Mr. March's or John's or even Mr. Bhaer's. Some might turn out to be more like Ned Moffat or Fred Vaughn. 

12/30 books for 2011. 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Book Challenge Update

I did not get a chance to update my book challenge yet this week. I finished The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. 

I must say, I really love this story. It's, of course, a great growing story full of morals and directives about how to be a good person, how to help children be good people and the loveliness and lessons we can learn from gardening. LOVE IT! 

It makes me want even more to start my own greenhouse. It's a pet idea that I've had floating around the back of my mind for a few years. 

Anyways - back to the book. I finished it Tuesday and began reading Little Women for the third time. It's another book I love. Alcott has such interestingly eternal thoughts. Plus, it is hard to pull me away from the transcendentalists (but not as difficult as it is pulling them away from Unitarian thought... hahaha ha ha.... no one gets my literary joke or finds it funny.

Thus, I have completed the twelfth book on my journey to tri-deca-dom. Or something like that. 

12/30 books completed.


In trying to use this blog to improve my writing skills, I have finally come to the point where I might start redrafting and reposting a few old works as they get modified. I don't have anything ready quite yet, but it should be along soon.

I have a busy week ahead of me. I'll be traveling almost exactly halfway around the globe - back to the US for me - and so I will be a little out of touch (if you haven't already noticed). Packing and preparing leaves me little time to be able to concentrate on the writing, but hopefully the 17 hour plane ride will give me some time in which I can write and make up for the lack of literary-ness that has been plaguing me recently. 

On the up side and with the lack of writing going on, I have been reading extra and have had plenty of updates for my reading goal. I'm almost done with Little Women, so another book should be under my belt before I fly this week.

How do you find the will to keep going when you're lacking things to write?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Pushing my limits

I just got Blogger to start working again. It's been having some loading issues that have been stopping me from posting. I don't even know what that's all about. 

The last few days have been pretty full. My husband's birthday was Monday and we decided to do a hike in Hong Kong. We underestimated the hike by quite a bit and found ourselves up a certain creek without a certain paddle to help us. It ended up being a 4 hour hike up and down set of mountain peaks. There were three main peaks, the highest of which was over 800 meters high (and we pretty much started at sea level). NUTS STUFF. I've never done anything that difficult in my life. Ever. 

We did make it to the world's largest sitting Buddha at the end of it all. It was a lovely afternoon. It's good that we could still enjoy it after four hours of hiking and what turned out to be some pretty bad sunburns. 

I did learn something about myself. There was no way of getting out of there once we'd gotten in, except to turn back or go forward. There were a few times where I felt like giving up, but since there's no other real option but moving on, there was no giving up to be had. It was a tough struggle for both of us. I can barely move today and we're both nursing the sunburn on our arms, but we did it. I wasn't sure I could do it. I really wasn't. There was a high ridge that we thought was the last, but when we arrived at the top we realized we were only just over halfway through. I had already had to stop and have two significant resting periods to deal with my breathing. I didn't think my body could handle it, but I pushed myself to a new psychological and physical limit. I was overly ambitious in picking a hike I knew my husband would enjoy and most of the planning sites did not indicate the length of this hike. Maps can be deceiving. 

Things I learned:
- Approximately 1280m of vertical climbing is A LOT.
- My husband and I make a good team. 
- I can push my body through a lot more than I realize if I can pace myself. 

That last one is huge. I've been an asthmatic since I was a child. I couldn't run the mile and I get winded climbing to the fifth floor of our building to get into the apartment. We climbed about 5km worth of distance (not including the vertical). It was a long, hard slog of a hike. But we did it. 

I gotta say - I impressed myself. 

Friday, May 6, 2011

Book Challenge Update

Today I finished The Evil Guest by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu. What a strange book. It was published in 1851, so it has all of the stilted language and sometimes overt authorship that writing of the 19th century normally brings. 

The problem I had most was the strange secretiveness of the author. He would sometimes endeavor to set up a confession of a character (this was a murder mystery - sorta, but I'll get to that soon), only to hide the revealed information repeatedly from the audience. 

So getting back to that murder mystery part. While there was indeed a murder and an ongoing mystery about that murder, I believe this book could be much more accurately described as a character study of highly depressed, agitated and otherwise guilty (and probably insane) people. Not that it's very psychological - for most writing of this period that I've encountered lacks the psychological attention that modern writers use to entice their audiences. No - there was description of the psychological devastation of a man, but it wasn't really explored in ways that satisfactorily explain his motivations. The reader has to make assumptions of his or her own on some accounts. 

An interesting read, but not one that I'll repeat ad infinitum (or possibly at all). 

 11/30 books completed for 2011. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Versatile Blogger

My friend Leighann over at The Endless Rant of a Multitasking Mumma has awarded me and a few others with the (dun, dun, dun)

Though she nominated Ren bi mo, apparently it is for both this blog and Sans Serif where the ends aren't capped. I try to keep the writing going, whether it's a free write or a slightly more polished piece. 

As part of the award, I get to pass it on to a few people who are making the blogosphere a better place:

free fringes - This woman cracks me up! She keeps it versatile with personal posts, writing prompt responses and love links (where she helps spread the blog love). 

Contemplating Happiness - Pat's got a big heart and a lot to share between her Life Lessons and Random Musings. Check out her post on Passion - it seems to explain it all.

Ready or Not - I've gotten some great giggles from this website, whether it's about raising kids, teaching or just random memories.

NatureGirl - I love the naturalness of this blog! It's comfortable, like your favorite pair of jeans. It doesn't matter what she's talking about (very versatile), it seems to all come together the right way.

And last but not least, 

Angelspeak - Gabriel defines versatile. Between interviews, writing prompts and posting poetry to help us keep expanding our literary worlds, she manages to keep it personal and meaningful for all of her readers. 

I also would have awarded this blog to Galit at These Little Waves, but our Multitasking Mumma already did so. :)

Check out the other winners from Leighann's page and winners, don't forget to pass this along to your favorite and most versatile blogs.  :)


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Getting My Write On and Proud of It

This week's RemembeRED was to write about something that you're proud of.

I've got to say, the things that I've done on this blog - my little bits of writing and art - are things I am proud of. 

In college, I had an abusive boyfriend that I stuck with for way too long. I developed severe depression and went almost two years before I sought any professional help (which didn't really help, but there you are). I had always been a writer, just as I had always been a reader. I really started coming into some better poetry just as I got into college, but then the depression and the suppressing of emotions and experiences. It was all I could do to hang on for the ride.

Needless to say, my writing dried up. Even when I tried to use it as a creative and therapeutic outlet, nothing came. I used to joke with my (genius, novel-writing) roommate that I had the longest bout of writer's block in the history of man: four years. 

It hasn't been until recently that I've found my way back to writing. Two years ago, I started kicking around an idea for a novel, but nothing much has come of it - a little world building and some random notes and doodles. It wasn't until March, after reading the writing/literary blog of a friend of mine that I started really pushing myself to write and express. I may have started the ball rolling a few months earlier, but pushing myself to write everyday and post to the blog a few times a week has really gotten me expressing in a way I haven't in years. Not only that, but it's taken me back to a way of seeing the world that I haven't in a long time. It's nice to start to see things with an artist's eye again. Pushing to express and finding new creativity where I suspected that it might have dried up forever is something I am proud of. I am proud to have pushed and found myself capable of getting there again. 

Fruits of my labors:
Found in the Sea off Cape Artemision, ca. 1920
Thai Fare
Vapid Aphrodite
Heaven Bent
Orphic Mission

Monday, May 2, 2011

Found in the Sea off Cape Artemision, ca. 1920

Another ekphrasis inspired by a statue I fell in love with on a trip to Greece. 

Found in the Sea off Cape Artemision, ca. 1920

Raising your arms high, you are mistaken for your brother.
They change the tales that made you king of all the children,
whose feet run in the dusty, dirt road clouds. The dust sticks
to our feet, turning our heels black – our bulwark against civilization.

Our sun-baked limbs carry us to the shore and the others squawk
their excitement like gulls, their eyes falling from the sky to the ocean
to watch you emerge. The sea has changed your form – to them you are
now the sea king in your brother’s place, swathed in seaweed finery.

They declare he has been found again, a god among them, while my eyes
fill for you. Your speechless mouth does not contradict, for your arms
spread too wide, your height too tall: they can no longer look in your eyes
and see who you are. They merely stand in awe of your striking figure.

Waves still crashing at your feet, you have not been found. You know
now that every story of his will be indistinct from your own, your legends
collapsed into one. They turn and leave you alone amid the sea shells,
their forms so small to you now. You always were a giant among them.

Grown too tall and too broad, you no longer belong to them. I take
your hand and our gaze meets on level ground. Head held forever high,
you step forward, unafraid.

For a photo of the statue: http://www.namuseum.gr/collections/sculpture/classical/classic02-en.html (ps - it's Zeus, not his brother Poseidon) I could also post my own photos of this piece, but it needs to be read first.

Need a place to be a free write? Guest write on Sans Serif!

We all have times when we need to get something out of our heads or off of our chests. Sometimes our personal blog isn't the place to do it. 
Free writing is about getting that stream of consciousness down - not editing and spell check and worrying how our regular readers are going to take such an unrefined post. It can be a pre-write to get the ideas going or just to help get past the writer's block. Whatever the purpose, it's cathartic and moving. 

Sans Serif is about having a place to do all of these things. It's where there's no end to cap those thoughts  - just let them run free. It's a place I go to get thoughts out or even get thoughts started. It can be that place for you too.

The best part about a free-write is it only takes 5 or 10 minutes. It doesn't cut into the time your write on your blog or do you work. Instead of surfing the internet for an hour before coming up with the inspiration to post or staring at the blank composition box, do a free write. 

But these thoughts don't need to be hidden or re-worked. Contact me on the Guest page of Sans Serif by leaving me a comment about your topic or interest.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Thai Fare

Today's poem comes from a memory of my recent honeymoon in Bangkok. A wonderful city to visit in the Land of Smiles. 

Thai Fare

The wind of the traffic blows my hair back
as the tuk-tuk driver nervously smiles and nods,
hoping we don’t notice a different face on the license.
A night, previously too hot to walk so far is now
cool with gusts of wind on our sweating brows.
A hand squeezes mine and I look left to see
my new husband smiling like a child at the fair,
whooping with laughter at the roller coaster of Thai traffic.
A skyward glance gifts me with the strangeness of spiderman
decorating ceiling, the red seating piped with blue
sticking to my legs in the heat. At a stop, I point up
and am rewarded with a broad grin, the child-like quality
renewed. All thoughts of “over-priced” transport
and smile-negotiated fares disappear as joy blossoms
on his face in the glow of the city lights. 

Book Challenge Update... Again

Another book down. Today I finished Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. I had never read it. I think I've read Through the Looking Glass, but I'm not quite sure. 

I loved the sense of child-logic and frustrations of having to change one's outlook on the world as one changes. It's such a growing up story, but dressed in such fantastic nonsense that it's just as easily hidden as it is revealed to the reader. It's almost like a fast-forward dream of being a teenager. 

This is book 10/30 read this year. 

Popular Posts