Book Review, Lifestyle, Writing Craft/Creativity 0 comments on The Haiku Mind: 108 Poems to Cultivate Awareness & Open Your Heart – PATRICIA DONEGAN

The Haiku Mind: 108 Poems to Cultivate Awareness & Open Your Heart – PATRICIA DONEGAN

Haiku Mind Book Cover Haiku Mind
Patricia Donegan
Poetry
Shambhala Publications
2010-10
234

Haiku, the Japanese form of poetry written in just three lines, can be miraculous in its power to articulate the profundity of the simplest moment—and for that reason haiku can be a useful tool for bringing us to a heightened awareness of our lives. Here, the poet Patricia Donegan shares her experience of the haiku form as a way of insight that anyone can use to slow down and uncover the beauty of ordinary moments. She presents 108 haiku poems—on themes such as honesty, transience, and compassion—and offers commentary on each as an impetus to meditation and as a key to unlocking the wonder in what we find right before us.

Poetry is one of those genres that’s been hard for me to get into. I don’t know why. Perhaps it’s because I’ve tried to live the past few years with narrative clarity. Poetry, much like lyrics to certain songs, leave so much to interpretation that it requires a certain type of patience to look between the lines and find meaning. Continue Reading “The Haiku Mind: 108 Poems to Cultivate Awareness & Open Your Heart – PATRICIA DONEGAN”

Book Review, Memoir/Biography 0 comments on The Autobiography of Malcom X As Told to Alex Haley

The Autobiography of Malcom X As Told to Alex Haley

The Autobiography of Malcolm X Book Cover The Autobiography of Malcolm X
Malcolm X, Alex Haley,
Biography & Autobiography
1992-01
527

The searing autobiography of human rights activist Malcom X, posthumously published in 1965, chronicles the story of his life and the emergence of Islam in America. The black leader discusses his political philosophy, his spiritual conversion, and reveals details of his life.

The Autobiography of Malcolm X is one of the important non-fiction books. And I didn’t know it was. No one told me! Not school, not the internet, not my friends. I only stumbled upon it by chance when one afternoon I strolled past NYU in Manhattan and browsed a long table of used books set up by a street merchant. The cover caught my eye, because the subject of racism had been heavily on my mind lately. Continue Reading “The Autobiography of Malcom X As Told to Alex Haley”

Lifestyle 0 comments on The Gift of Time – JORD

The Gift of Time – JORD

I have long been drawn to all things vintage. I love typewriters for example. They are there for you to write stories and nothing more. Record players only play music for you to enjoy. And watches are there to exclusively tell time and only time.

 

I have fond memories of my father collecting watches back in the 80s and 90s. He seemed fascinated with both the mechanics and the internal miniature architecture. Every week, I would watch him push his eyeglass above his forehead, so he could inspect his wrist treasures up close and personal. It’s my favorite image of my father.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m in awe of my smart phone. It’s so smart, it can show me movies, play music, let me read books and tell time and weather conditions all across the globe at the press of the button. As I’ve grown older in the age of digital multi-purpose technology, however, I have begun to fully embrace these trinkets of the past. They are mindful. They slow our fast paced life down. I often find myself writing journal entries on my typewriter. I have a record player to play jazz music on as I sip on my morning coffee. And yes, I have begun a tiny collection of watches just like my dad, which some of you may have spotted on my instagram account.

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Drama, Movie Review, Screenplay Review 0 comments on Gook – JUSTIN CHON

Gook – JUSTIN CHON

Gook Book Cover Gook
August 18, 2017
Justin Chon
Justin Chon
James J. Yi, Alex Chi
Justin Chon, Simone Baker, David So, Sang Chon, Curtiss Cook Jr., Ben Munoz

Set against the backdrop of the 1992 LA Riots comes the story of Eli (Justin Chon), a 26-year old Korean-American who, together with his brother Daniel (David So), owns a run-down shoe store in Paramount/South-Central Los Angeles. As the Rodney King verdict is reached, the LAPD is powerless against the erupting anger from the black community. The riots take place not too far from Eli's shoe store where Kamilla (Simone Baker), a motherless 11-year-old black girl, loves to hang out instead of going to school. Her older brother Keith (Curtiss Cook Jr), projecting his economic shortcomings, harbors hate toward Eli. Under the pretense of wanting to rob Eli's inventory of sneakers worth thousands of dollars, Keith confronts Eli.

Talk about breaking Asian American stereotypes in cinema! Justin Chon, writer, director and main actor of “Gook” brings to you the movie that many of us Asian Americans have been waiting for. He does what I’ve always wanted to do as an artist; he screams “Hey, your life is shitty, but so is mine. Quit pretending that I don’t exist.”

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Writing Craft/Creativity 1 comment on On Joy and Rejection

On Joy and Rejection

Last week, I was undulating between two emotions: pride and disappointment. For one, my film I CAN I WILL I DID screened at the Asian American International Film Festival in New York to a sold out crowd. It was invited back for an encore screening the following week and picked up its third festival award (this time the Audience Choice Award). In addition to that, we received invitations to two mainstream film festivals. I am beyond thrilled! I want to thank my Facebook friends, film collaborators and blogging community for the kind congratulatory words that were sent my way. Filmmakers bare their souls for everyone to see and make themselves vulnerable to scrutiny and pain. An audience that is moved by what you have to say, is everything.

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Book Review, Dystopian 0 comments on The Handmaid’s Tale – MARGARET ATWOOD

The Handmaid’s Tale – MARGARET ATWOOD

The Handmaid's Tale Book Cover The Handmaid's Tale
Margaret Atwood
Fiction
Anchor
1986
311

A woman describes her life in the Republic of Gilead, a dystopian society where an authoritarian Christian extremist regime has transformed the United States into a nation that operates by a caste system. Offred, named after her master ("Of Fred"), is classified as a handmaid and is therefore subjugated to sexual servitude to help curb infertility. Each month during the time of her ovulation, Offred must have ceremonious sex with her assigned commander (while his cold-hearted wife is required to be present ) in hopes that she may conceive of a child that would belong to the couple. Though women are forbidden to read and write, Offred uses this narrative to reflect upon her current life and directly compare it to the time before, when she was still a working woman, a loving wife and a devoted mother. It was a time, when she was still independent and free.

We are living in an era that has enabled an openly misogynist man to become president. Backed in part by alt-right religious fanatics, Trump’s administration actively works on dismantling protections for minority groups, including women. Reading Margaret Atwood’s 1986 novel “The Handmaid’s Tale” against this backdrop strikes a particularly sensitive chord with me. Her story is set in a world that represents my worst fears, a world where I’m no longer allowed to follow my passions such as reading, writing and filmmaking, and where I have been forced to relinquish autonomy over my own body. Continue Reading “The Handmaid’s Tale – MARGARET ATWOOD”

Book Review, Contemporary Fiction 0 comments on The Summer that Melted Everything – TIFFANY MCDANIEL

The Summer that Melted Everything – TIFFANY MCDANIEL

The Summer That Melted Everything Book Cover The Summer That Melted Everything
Tiffany McDaniel
Fiction
St. Martin's Press
July 26, 2016
320

Fielding Bliss, a sullen and lonesome elderly man, reflects upon the summer of 1984, the year he made friends with a peculiar drifter boy named Sal. Upon his arrival in Breathed, Ohio, Sal identifies himself as the devil claiming to be answering Fielding’s father’s invitation calling for the devil.

At first, no one believes Sal. He’s but a sweet 13 year-old black boy in soiled overalls. But as strange, fatal events unfold in town, the people of Breathed begin to look to Sal as a scapegoat.

 

This is Tiffany McDaniel’s debut novel, and let me tell you… that is one hell of a novel! Set in the Midwestern town of Breathed in the mid-80’s, The Summer That Melted Everything is a story about the strange happenings surrounding the arrival of a young black boy. True to time and setting, we are thrust into a saga that tackles everything from racism, prejudice, small-town mob mentality, homophobia, and HIV/AIDS. It’s easy to want to turn my back on a narrative that normalizes these cringe worthy characters, but McDaniel manages to infuse so much compassion and empathy in these people that I find myself strangely drawn to the anti-heroes of her tale. Continue Reading “The Summer that Melted Everything – TIFFANY MCDANIEL”

Movie Review, Writing Craft/Creativity 0 comments on On Whiskey and Wonder Woman

On Whiskey and Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman Book Cover Wonder Woman
2017
Patty Jenkins
Allan Heinberg
Charles Roven, Deborah Snyder, Zack Snyder, Richard Suckle
Gal Gardot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright

Diana is a princess of the Amazons and trains feverishly alongside women warriors on a sheltered island, when American pilot Steve crashes onto the shores. Steve tells her about the war raging in the outside world. Convinced that she has the abilities stop evil in its tracks, Diana embarks on a journey, leaving the secure confines of her home.

I’m with Brian, my husband of nearly two years. We enter a fancy New York lounge and he immediately strolls toward the bar. i’m right behind him, waiting for him to order my go-to drink. The bartender does his thing and then comes back with the two beverages.
“Here you go,” he cheerfully says. “One Jameson neat and one Stella.”
He pushes the whiskey glass toward my husband and hands me the beer.

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Book Review, Crime/Thriller, Sci-Fi 5 comments on The Martian – ANDY WEIR

The Martian – ANDY WEIR

The Martian Book Cover The Martian
Andy Weir
Fiction
Crown Pub
2014
369

After a freak accident, astronaut Mark Watney is stranded on planet Mars. His shipmates have left him, not knowing he is still alive, and Mark has two choices: either succumb and die a lonely death or put his engineering and botany skills to good use and figure out how to live on Mars. He chooses the latter and becomes the sole living being on the planet. After months of solitary existence, Mark is able to harness his ingenuity to get back in touch with his teammates. Now planet earth must do everything in her power to bring The Martian back home.

What a fantastic, entertaining novel. Do not expect literary nuggets, but if you’re in for an emotional planetary ride, this is your book. I was always at the edge of my seat and found myself laughing out loud more than once. The geek in me is pleased and my interest in sci-fi is deepened.

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Book Review, Crime/Thriller 4 comments on The Girl on the Train – PAULA HAWKINS

The Girl on the Train – PAULA HAWKINS

The Girl on the Train Book Cover The Girl on the Train
Paula Hawkins
Psychological Thriller, Fiction
Riverhead Books (Hardcover)
January 13, 2015
336

Every day, alcoholic divorcee Rachel takes the train from the suburbs into London, pretending to go to a job that she's been long fired from. The train always stops at the same signal, one that lets her take a peek into the old life she once had with ex-husband Tom. She fools herself into avoiding staring at Tom's new life with Anna, the woman he had left her for and began a new family with, by letting her eyes drift to a couple a few houses down, who exhibit the perfect hopeful image of true love. She affectionately calls them Jess and Jason, though those aren't their names. When Meghan, Jess's real identity, goes missing, Rachel thinks she might have seen something, but she can't put the pieces of her memory together. For the first time, she sees her alcoholism as the crutch it really is, costing her not only her sanity but also the clarity around Meghan's disappearance as well.

It’s not enough to be a gripping and jumpy novel. Often, the most successful stories are the ones that remind us of our darkest selves or make us revisit moments in our lives that we thought we had safely left in the past. Good novels make us regurgitate our experiences. We project the nadirs of our existence onto works of art, from a distance at first. If the writing is good and doesn’t distract, we will feel the narrative with every fiber of our bodies.

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