All Time Low – Monsters

I stumbled across this song on Amazon Music, and I have to say it has a hold on me I can’t explain. It feels like there’s a story idea buried in this song beyond the lyrics, but I can’t see it clearly yet.

Songs sometimes do this to me where I listen to them and feel inspired to write. Sometimes they serve as a beat to march my stories forward, but this one might inspire me to write something new.

I need to find some time to sit down and write the story out. I’m curious.

In Another Life

I’m very happy to announce another literary website has chosen one of my short stories. You can read the story on the In Parentheses website here.

A little background about this story: First, I am a mother. As such, there are times when I wonder how my actions and my behaviors affect my kids. What kind of kids would they be, for example, if I was a bit more laid back? What if I was obsessed with work? What if I tried to act like their buddy? What would that all do to them? I wanted to slightly explore that idea with this short story.

I think I’m more related to the first version of Kim that we see in the story, but I worry that my being too uptight will result in the cold and distant twins that Kim has.

I’m also a huge fan of baking, like the first Kim is. I also love reading like the second Kim does. I don’t think I could ever be as sloppy as her, though, but she seems to make up for it in the love she just pours on her kids. I like that about her.

Just a side-note: I’d like to apologize to some friends of mine for just using their names. I really like my friend Kim’s name so I tend to use it a lot more than I probably should in my stories. She’s also a mother of two, but the similarities between her and the Kim in the story end there, I think.

I also borrowed the names Mary and Alice from twins I know in real life. I also couldn’t resist the temptation to use the name “Alice” considering the kind of Looking-Glass idea the story has.


My old kotatsu

Winter after Christmas is, quite frankly, miserable. Where I live, I get the added treat of it being cold enough to be horrible to venture outdoors but not cold enough for snow. The result? We get cold rain. A lot.

After years of enduring cold rain during the winter, I have decided it is my least favorite weather condition.

I had one weapon against winter, and that was the kotatsu. I had to get rid of it for space reasons, but when I did have it, my God winter was almost tolerable.

It’s a heater attached to the underside of a table. You put a blanket on the ground, put the table on the blanket, put a thicker blanket over the table and then sandwich it with a hard tabletop, as seen in the photo.

Many people in Japan endure winter in a kotatsu with mikan in hand and either some nice tea, a good book, the TV or a laptop handy. When I had my own kotatsu, I lived in it for the winter. I know some people sleep in one as well.

There’s an old TV drama called Nodame Cantabile that has an episode all about the glory of the kotatsu and the trap of not wanting to ever leave its warmth. The opening talks about the history of the kotatsu and how it is truly a wonderous piece of furniture:

I may not have my kotatsu anymore, but at least I still have mikans to enjoy.

The state of America

The events I read about today drove me to write my first political entry in this little blog.

When I was in high school, my AP US government teacher told us about how remarkable America’s democracy is.

“We never have the violence you see in other countries after an election,” she said (I’m paraphrasing from memory). “Think about that. Never. Even if people don’t like the new leader, you never see them violently protest. Our democracy is absolutely amazing.”

At the time, this was absolutely true. The idea of people storming the center of government because their dear leader didn’t want to step down sounded downright absurd. That was for fledging democracies struggling to achieve the peaceful transitions of power America could do quite well.

And then today happened. What it showed me, however, was not that our democracy is over; it is that it’s still at the beginning. We still have a lot to do and a lot to learn.

I think we Americans have a problem, as comedian Hannah Gadsby put it, of confidence. We thought our democracy had reached its zenith. Many of us thought, “Here we sit at the pinnacle of what a democracy is. There is nothing better.”

Today has shown, at least to me, that we are almost at the starting line of truly attempting a democracy. What we Americans do from now will reflect the direction this race toward the idea of America will go.