So I wrote this nostalgia article, “My Asian Supermarket Childhood,” about identity and Asian supermarkets, and you can read it at this great site called Food Riot.
Superpowers. We have them (well…we have the imagination to pretend we do).
Power Nap Maneuver
Related to the Power Nap Maneuver, the Caffeine Super-Charge allows you to pay no heed to the normal hours/quantities of coffee beverage intake to which one is supposed to ascribe. There’s writing to be done! Have a grande cappuccino at 6 p.m. and pop a pod into the Keurig three hours later. It ain’t no thang.
While your friends think they’re having a casual chat with you, you’re actually stealing into their brains to psychoanalyze their every word. The Freudian Mindmeld is enhanced by the ability to store this information for years and unconsciously incorporate it into stories written down the line. This ability does not always come with the common sense to artfully mask stories based on real events and people so that they can’t be traced back to a source.
It may not be a fortress, but it gets the job done and it’s transportable. How do you like them apples, Kal-El? The Bubble of Solitude can be cast anywhere at any time. At a party when you’re randomly and suddenly struck by a solution to that sticky plot problem you’ve been struggling with? Break out your journal and cast the Bubble of Solitude. You won’t even notice that one guy with the electrical tape pasties doing a strip tease for his best guy friend.
I’m sorry, LeVar Burton; reading isn’t a leisurely romp through flower fields on butterfly wings. Books must be dissected and consumed, one after another. With the Reading Deathray, you are able to destroy sentences and paragraphs while analyzing word usage, symbolism, and form and structure at alarming speeds. Stand back, citizens! You don’t want to witness this chilling inkbath.
Clarion West is hosting their tenth annual Write-a-thon to run from June 23 to August 2. The write-a-thon provides an opportunity for writers, readers, and their family/friends to support this non-profit which provides education to writers of speculative fiction at the start of their careers.
Stay accountable to your writing goals while supporting the writing community!
Holy Grounds Coffee & Tea–El Sereno
I shielded my eyes from the sun and stared out at the quiet, open street in front of a folksy, colorful cafe. I would never have traveled down that section of Alhambra Avenue on a random search for coffee and would later pause to thank whatever coincidence led Justi to learn of Holy Grounds‘ existence. It was Justi I waited for. She was joining me for coffee, as usual, but not for the usual reasons.
I didn’t have my laptop and loose pages of ink-splattered manuscript that day. We weren’t meeting to write or study; we were meeting on personal business–to talk about endings and beginnings. We were both going through the same thing at the same time, and I for one needed to bend a nonjudgmental ear. Thank goodness Justi expresses the recessive gene that makes her ears just so.
I was early, so I went in to order a cup of coffee. I threw caution to wind and chose something with dairy–lactose intolerance be damned during times of war. The waitress was friendly and sociable. She talked about the coffee shop as if it was an old friend, and as she talked, I began to feel like I was in someone’s home, having a chat. I took my coffee outside to the open square. The sun beamed down on the tables and coruscated off the burbling water from a stone fountain. I really did start to feel like I was heading into therapy at that moment outside with the “nature track” playing around me.
Justi strolled out minutes later with a diabolical coffee drink that put my dairy-infused beverage to shame. We talked for a long time, accompanied, for the most part, only by a tabby cat who sprawled out beside us to soak the heat.
Did I write? No. Can I unequivocally say Holy Grounds is a great place for writers? Yes. It had just the right ratio of noise to silence. Just the right mood. Just the right space. I only wonder if it would be challenging in less perfect weather as most of the seating is outdoors.
In any case, it’s spring. I’m returning with my laptop.
Viscosity: 4 out of 5
Tom N Toms–Koreatown (3974 Wilshire Blvd.)
I think that somewhere in Koreatown, there exists a Tom N Toms wrapped in a Tom N Toms stuffed with pureed Tom N Toms. This chain coffee shop is ubiquitous in that neighborhood. I have seen Tom N Tomses two blocks away from each other. I’m not exaggerating–Justi was directing me to one of these coffee shops and I ended up at a different one just down the street. We were both confused.
Going to a Tom N Toms might be considered cheating in the context of this series, which focuses mainly on independent, local coffee shops, as it is the Starbucks of Koreatown. But Korean coffee shops have such a unique flavor to them, visiting does become an experience for the unfamiliar caffeine addict.
What coffee shop serves different types of brick toast? And I swear I had the best iced green tea latte ever here (Green Tea TomNccino).
I hear these coffee shops are packed with young, noisy types later in the day, and that they blast K-pop directly into your ears. Luckily, it was early in the day when we arrived and only a few older groups sat outside to people watch and chat on the porch with a soft soundtrack of bad, but ignorable, smooth jazz. So I can’t give these rumors credence. Yet.
Tom N Toms is near the top of my list in terms of how much work I got done.
I don’t live near this particular shop anymore, but I was informed about another near my office and recently checked it out. I’m not telling you about that one because I intend to use it as my almost-daily spot and I like having a place to park on the street.
Viscosity 4.5 out of 5
I’ve been absent awhile. I’m going through some personal stuff. Let’s just call it a breakup and a move. Because that’s what it is.
I am not the writer who does well under the press of strife and struggle and especially when I feel unanchored. That island sanctuary—that bubble where calm, comfort and energy meet to create the perfect writing environment—is elusive when one’s favorite writing HQ (home) is in limbo. I’ve tried to dock in coffee shops, but it doesn’t feel the same when my writing desk is orphaned elsewhere.
The good news is that I’ve found a new place to call home and everything will be at rights again momentarily. I will overindulge in my workaholism to make up for this blasted month. It’s astounding how much gets done in thirty days, and, alternately, how much can go to seed.
So here are some of my goals for May:
Enter the Paper Darts 800-word writing contest. Details here: Paper Darts Short Fiction Award.
Enter the Shock Totem writing contest. Details here: Shock Totem Flash Fiction Contest.
Finish the first draft of my first-in-a-long-time short story.
Finish revising my YA Fantasy novel and send it off for review. I really need to get this thing out of my hands.
Wait impatiently for a response from a publisher to whom Robert and I submitted Beatrice is Dead.
Maybe I’m kidding myself with this list but it’ll at least force me back into a necessary frame of mind.
May nothing sever a writer from her pen…