Sunday, January 27, 2008

Books I'd like to see written...

Slowly getting better... I slept 11 hours last night, which helped. Today, though, I just didn't get enough done. By "enough", I mean "nothing".

I got up, chatted with Jeff, musing outloud, "Where should I camp out today to get work done?" I was all excited because I thought, hey I can put in a good 10 hours today. Well, he goes, "If you're coming into the city anyway, why don't you come have lunch with me and Joe and a few others at Cafe Habana?" Well, I just CAN'T pass up Cafe Habana corn, so I went, thinking I'd hit up Starbucks right after. Then Jeff goes, "Hey, I'm getting a haircut," and because I needed a haircut too, I walked with him and Lily, who also wanted a haircut. Well, I spent about four hours in the salon, finally taking the plunge and getting my hair permed, which I've been thinking about for ages. Then Jeff and me and Lily went to have dinner in Chinatown since we were there already, and uh... yeah, by the time I got home it was 10 pm. Yeah, no work done.

This is very very very bad. I don't know why I put myself in situations like this (I sorta do -- I'm useless without pressure), but basically tomorrow I have to write 10 new pages, revise 10 old pages, critique 2 submissions, and make a desperate attempt to finish (ie: seriously start) the research I'm being paid to turn in by the end of this week (which really means by Wednesday because I'm leaving for Phoenix on Wednesday). I also need to revise Chapters 1 and 2 at some point.

Anyway, I'm meeting Moonrat tomorrow morning (she's coming to my area for the first time!) and we're going to try to churn some stuff out. I love our writing dates, and I'm going to take her to this cute bakery near me.

So for purposes of research (and because I'm getting confused by my own novel), I decided to do some research into the Vietnam War (Vietnam is a huge interest of mine), and then I started looking up on Barnes and Noble books I could buy that would help me out. And there's just so much out there, but I also realize how skewed it all is. I mean, don't get me wrong, it makes sense that most of the stuff out there is from an American perspective, but I'm really interested in finding out stuff from the Vietnamese perspective. From Vietnamese refugees, Vietnamese orphans, Vietnamese comfort women, Vietnamese soldiers. I found a couple of books that might be useful to me, but it's hard to wade through. This makes me very sad. It's like there's a whole side of things we're just not hearing.

On top of that, my ADD mind remembered something else that I've always wondered about... and that's if there's any comprehensive, accessible history of ancient China. See, the really frustrating thing about being Chinese American is that my Chinese isn't nearly good enough to learn about Chinese history from the tv shows and dramas that my parents watch to brush up on their history lessons. Chinese history is actually really full of interesting anecdotes, crazy battles, political intrigue. I've learned snippets of all of this stuff, but honestly, with thousands of years of history, I'm way too impatient to sit through a boring *yawn* history class devoted to the subject. I need something that makes it interesting, which these tv shows do, except their vocabulary is way beyond my level. That, and I also get all my dynasties mixed up. Anyway, my point being, I wish there were an awesome English version of Chinese history I could read. Something that would be like a series of books told like a story -- kind of like how there's actually the Tale of the Three Kingdoms told all fantastically. Like every book in the series could be one emperor's rule, or one dynasty or something. Something intriguing. There's so many little anecdotes, and the fact that I only am truly truly fluent in English is so so limiting. Sigh. Moonrat, can you please commission this and do something about it????

Anyway just a couple random thoughts.

9 drops:

Josephine Damian said...

Angelle, you simply must read "The Book of Salt."

Good luck with those applications!

BTW, I finally got my thesis topic approved so I can start on my IRB proposal - I think of my MT as "my other WIP."

David L. McAfee said...

I very much wish I had something to contribute, but other than the Mulan movie I actually know very little about Chinese culture, which is a shame because there's so much history there.

If you find a series like that, lemme know. I'd be interested in reading it, too.

David L. McAfee said...

BTW - I know the Mulan movie is nothing at all like the actual legend and doesn't teach anything about Chinese culture...I was just trying to use humor to illustrate my own ingorance.

After I posted it I realized it didn't really work.


angelle said...

josephine: what's IRB? what's MT? i feel like i'm missing something here.. :)

david: don't worry! i didn't take it as anything but funny. hehe, i rather liked that movie myself, though i also was somewhat disappointed. i felt it had so much promise and could have been so much better. lea salonga (one of my idols and singing voice of mulan) just simply didn't get to show off enough. :)

moonrat said...

that was THE BEST CAFE in the whole WORLD. rar.

cyn said...

i'm jealous.
i wish i had more cafes in
my neighborhood!

angelle, have you read the three kingdoms? i keep trying to and can't seem to get into it. someday...

i picked up a few good references to chinese culture and history, but nothing that can go in depth without sounding overly academic.

Ello said...

I've read the three kingdoms. Boy was it painful to get through. I should have read the abridged version for children. That would have been better I"m sure - trying to keep all the names straight was a nightmare. THere are so many great Chinese movies with subtitles that you should be watching. That's how I learned alot of Korean history. Korean dramas are huge on history and I can get them subtitled!

Oh and I thought of you when I saw the Hitler youtube about the Dallas Cowboys. did you see it? It was quite funny. Here is the link if you haven't seen it yet!

angelle said...

moonie: let's do it again!

cyn: nope haven't actually attempted it. so maybe i'm talking totally up my ass. hahaha. i really like watching chinese dramas though, but i have to ask my parents every three seconds what they're saying because their vocab is way too complicated for me.

ello: omg you MADE MY DAY with that video. i feel almost exactly like that! except the patriots thing. and i lost dismally on my fantasy league.

Ello said...

Glad you liked the video. Thought it was too funny! Enjoy Phoenix!

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