Oct 05

500 Words or Less

Maybe it’s because I’m being lazy.  Maybe it’s because the weather is now 62 degrees as opposed to last week’s unbearable 114 and therefore I feel more inclined to curl up on the couch with a blanket, hot tea and a good book than to, say, sit in front of my computer.  Although truthfully, when the temperature heads north of 100 degrees, I’m not any more inclined to write than during cooler weather.  It’s simply that rather than curl up on the couch, I want to put my head in the freezer.

Regardless, one could easily argue this is grounded in my own laziness.  However, in an attempt to not make myself out to be a complete sloth, I will say it’s rooted in my desire to “cross-market.”  So what follows is my inaugural column for Audrey magazine’s website.

I will be contributing a bi-weekly column, much of which will be pulled from my existing essays.  So for my loyal readers (that is, my parents) we will be treading in some familiar territory.  Consider it a greatest hits.  The biggest difference is that on my own site I can drone on and on, whereas the editor of Audrey smartly limits me to 500 words.  So if 500 words or less is your cup of tea, well, then by all means, curl up on the couch and get reading.

My Audrey Intro

I was asked to kick off my bi-weekly columns with an introductory piece. For anyone who has visited my website knows, I’m not big on the “About Me” page.  So what follows is an essay, which is my veiled attempt to get you – the reader – to like me, read me and clamor for more.

One of my high school classmates was convinced that I, with my non-white skin, was not an American. He was equally convinced that my fair-skinned best friend was. He was wrong.

My nationality? American.

My best friend? A green card-holding Canadian.

My ethnicity, which he confused with my nationality, is half Japanese; the other half equal parts Irish, Scottish, English and Welsh. In Hawaii, where I was born, I am known as a hapa, that is, a “half.”

Despite growing up in small town Oregon (read: not a Japanese restaurant in sight), I identify more with my Japanese side than my British Isles side, thus writing for Audrey magazine and not, say, Irish Lass Monthly.

My annoyance over the misuse of “ethnicity” and “nationality” probably has to do with the fact that I was raised by parents who were teachers. In our house, words and how you used them mattered. This supports the life assumption that we can blame pretty much anything on our parents.

Fear of abandonment? Thanks, Mom and Dad. Although in my case a little unwarranted considering I’m basing this entirely on the time I thought my parents boarded a cable car without me. Spoiler alert: They didn’t, something I realized after successfully chasing down the trolley with no money to pay my fare, what
with me being 8-years-old and all.

Inability to wake up early? Totally my parents’ fault, despite my mom’s best efforts to wake me from my teenage slumber by threatening to spray me with a water bottle and/or sing Chinese opera (she is neither Chinese nor an opera singer).

Comical confusion between rights and lefts? I want to blame this on my parents because I don’t know how else to explain my consistent ability to say, “turn left” when I mean, “turn right.” My boyfriend has accepted this as one of my adorable (my word) foibles despite the fact that when I make this error he’s generally at 
the wheel of a moving automobile.

In my parents’ defense, however, I also take responsibility for my hang-up about words because I am a writer. Most of the time word choice is a matter of taste. Was she agitated or incensed? Overjoyed or jubilant? This changed while on the writing staff of the show ER where one wrong word could be the difference between life and death (in a fake TV show way).

So yes, words and how they are used matter to me. But hopefully not in a pretentious, you want to punch me in the face way. More of a I’m-laughing-with-you-because-you-misused-the-word-“literally” way.

The original essay along with a picture of half my face can be found here: http://audreymagazine.com/a-writer%E2%80%99s-life/

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