Archive for the ‘Imagining Love’ Category

  • Can I Find Time to Write?

    Date: 2012.03.13 | Category: Assignments, Imagining Love | Response: 0

    March 13, 2012

    Last night I participated in a time management workshop for artists.*  The last exercise was to fill in the blanks on a weekly planner, hour by hour, day by day for a week.

    I started with what I knew for sure:

    • Good Morning America five mornings a week (Monday through Friday) followed by social media (time for e-mails, Facebook, Linked-In, etc.).
    • The Bachelor Monday evenings and Castle.
    • Modern Family Wednesday evenings.
    • The Mentalist Thursday evenings, sometimes.
    • American Idol when I remember and Dancing with the Stars.
    • Evening news beginning as early as 5 p.m. and continuing through 6:30.
    • Later in the evening Nightline, more news, and Jimmy Kimmel.
    • Reading or crossword puzzles before bedtime, bedtime as late as 12:30 p.m. or 1 or 2 a.m.
    • Boyfriend allotted 8-16 hours on some weekends.
    • 8 hours one day a week for shopping with my sister
    • Sunday afternoons for girlfriends or mentoring/consulting.
    • 8-16 hours a week for literary editing (when I have a contract)
    • 30 hours a week for job hunting.  Squeezed into that 30 hours workshops, such as Time Management for Creative People, blogging, etc. to help me become self-employed (i.e. earning a liveable income as writer/teacher/mentor/literary editor) by July (these 30 hours overlap with the morning social media hours, so basically 20 hours or less)!
    • 15-20 hours a week for cooking and eating!
    • 7 hours some weeks for housecleaning
    • -etc., etc., etc.

    My “S.M.A.R.T.” goal created for the Time Management for Creative People workshop was to have a draft of my memoir, Love Imagined, to my editor by July and to my publisher by September, yes, of this year, 2012.   I wonder, what do I give up to find time to write?  We were told not to borrow time from evening sleep time.

    It will have to be the news, which is probably good.  Perhaps I will not start and end so many days in a funk!

    *Time Management for Creative People sponsored by Springboard for the Arts (http://www.springboardforthearts.org/about-us) and Hennepin County Libraries (http://www.hclib.org/pub/events/)

    Sherry Quan Lee

  • IT’S NOT MY STORY

    Date: 2011.08.29 | Category: Book Reviews, Imagining Love | Response: 0

    It’s Not My Story, But It Is Familiar

     

    Monday, generally the first day of a forty-hour work week.  But for me, this is the beginning of the fourth week of being unemployed.  Almost ten years of work that suited me, gone.  Already, I can hardly remember the excitement of working for a program that honored writers, and the teaching of writing.  Good memories, as well as bad, disappear if we don’t savor them, don’t call them up every once-in-awhile.  If we don’t turn them into story.

     

    I believe in stories, in writing stories, in writers who write stories. I believe stories can move history forward-that silence will be broken and thorns disappear.  That questions will be less difficult to ask, less painful to answer; less painful to ask, less difficult to answer.

     

    Three weeks have gone by quickly, too quickly.  I haven’t resorted to panic, but to mild dysfunction.  I spent money I didn’t have to go places and to buy things. I was seduced by slot machines and thrift stores.  I smoked cigarettes.  And….

     

    I bought books online.

     

    I am happy.

     

    Today I am reading my third book, a book-a-week. I have books I’ve been wanting to read lined up, ready.  Reading, like movies, can move me in directions I’ve tried to steer away from.  Is absence from the truth freedom?  How has my knowledge of history angered me?  How has my anger derived me of happiness?  How can I learn to act and not react?  Is there a difference?

     

    I am reading Famous Suicides of the Japanese Empire, by David Mura.  It’s not what I expected.  What did I expect?  Perhaps a lot of tedious facts?  It’s fiction, but it’s not.  I have to keep putting the book down, though only for a minute or two.  Why does it bother me?  It’s not my story.  But it strikes a distant, yet familiar, ring.  Tears well up.  I feel I know what is to happen next and I don’t want to know.  But I do.    The book jacket says Ben will “forge a path toward redemption”-does he?  Can he?  I’m afraid to read further.  Is “forgiveness” really what Ben and I are looking for?  Or is forgiveness what we accept because truth, no matter how much we write towards hoping to discover it, we never will?

     

    David Mura has written poetry, essays, memoir, and fiction.  He’s also a spoken word artist.  Mura has delved deep into his heart and his history to know himself, and to express himself in writing and performance that has given other writers of color, writers such as myself, a mixed race/Chinese Black woman author, permission to write towards who we are as we explore the often painful reasons why it is difficult not to know ourselves-reasons why our parents were silent, stories buried with them that we will never know and can only imagine.  But imagination infused with fact, I believe, is close to truth, at least as close to truth as some of us will get.

     

    I am wiser now, closer to truth, having been involved for over thirty years with a dynamic, spirited, soulful, soul-searching, and, yes, fun colorful writing community here in the Twin Cities.  Although I have yet to tell my stories the way I want to tell them-I will forever hold writers who have and who will-in high esteem, especially the writers that have to pause from their writing-a few minutes or a few years- walk away from the pain, the grief, the mourning-even the celebration.  Sometimes to research. Sometimes to cry.  Perhaps just to live a little.  Perhaps, like me, to gamble, shop, or smoke until I am struck in the heart by some picture, some story, some incident, a phone call, an e-mail message, a book that I am reading that urges me to, again, head to the computer and continue writing what my heart won’t let me run from.

     

    But now, Ben and Tommy are calling me.

     

    Sherry Quan Lee

    August 29, 2011

     

     

  • A Diary of Love Poems

    Date: 2011.03.26 | Category: Assignments, Imagining Love, The Art of Writing | Response: 4

    I was at a friend’s poetry reading last night.  What is the question we writers always ask each other, but don’t like to be asked?  Are you writing? A friend asked, how is your book of love poems comin’ along?  Silence.  I haven’t been writing.  No lover, no love.  Wait.  That’s a lousy excuse.  It’s been a long winter.  Not an excuse–actually, it’s a reason I should have been writing.  But I don’t own guilt or shame.  I write when I write.  Today, I wrote.  I wrote silly little love poems.  I wrote to write.  I hoped being vulnerable would allow creativity to flow and something interesting, even one line or one word, would appear.  Perhaps, it did.

    When you are ready, pick a topic AND WRITE (until your sister calls and she tells you it’s 7 pm and you suddenly realize you haven’t eaten all day and you are hungry).

     

    Note:  illusive or ilusury?

     

    Beauty of the Beast

     

    I should have a diary of love poems, a page/

    a poem for each love/each lover each year

    each month each week each night

    I have broken bread with beauty and

    with the beast.  I always loved the loving. Always

    loved the movement of the moment, the song-

    breathing high notes and then the low notes, and

    again the high notes; the music mindful of the giving

    of the taking.  Heart to head, hand to thigh no

    thoughts of time.  No time to expect or to regret.

    Only me/ not you.  I am trying not to satisfy

    or criticize or control.  Just doin’ what

    makes me happy.  No poem written after/

    or before captures the love/the loving

    there is no diary.

     

    Narrative for an online dating site:


    She likes bowling.  She doesn’t like biking.

    She likes birds.  She doesn’t like worms.

    She likes boating.  She doesn’t like swimming.

    She likes chocolate.  She doesn’t like coconut.

    She likes rhythm and blues.  She doesn’t like opera.

    She likes motorcycles. She doesn’t like riding them.

    She likes funky.  She doesn’t like not funky.

    She likes dogs.  She doesn’t like cats.

    She likes shoes.  She doesn’t like socks.

    She likes sunshine.  She doesn’t like rain.

    She likes walking.  She doesn’t like hiking.

    She likes Santa Clause. She doesn’t like the Easter Bunny.

    She likes coffee, black.  She doesn’t like sugar and cream.

    She likes movies.  She doesn’t like television.

    She likes red.  She doesn’t like yellow.

    She likes libraries. She doesn’t like museums.

    She likes memoir.  She doesn’t like autobiography.

    She likes talking.  She doesn’t like listening.

    She likes mustard.  She doesn’t like ketchup.

    She likes meat.  She doesn’t like vegetables.

    She likes hotels.  She doesn’t like camping.

    She likes wine.  She doesn’t like whiskey.

    She doesn’t like biking, hiking, camping, or golf-men who like younger women, or casual relationships.  She likes a cigarette now and again.

     

    Love is

     

    like the loaves and the fishes, one damn miracle after another

    it is the emperor with no clothes, nothing to hide; it is the frog

    not the prince.  Love is the family not the dysfunction,

    the children and the grandchildren.  Love is the future. Love

    is the spoken and the unspoken­—vulnerability and trust.

    Love is awareness and action, not reaction.  Love is to be afraid

    but still take a risk.  Love is the bird and the worm.

     

     

     

    Imaginary 60-Year-Old Lover

    —thanks to A. M.

     

    You are:

     

    responsible

    accountable

    mature

     

    generous

    kind

    thoughtful

     

    social

     

    socially aware

     

    skilled

     

    active

    playful

    spontaneous

     

    You laugh and smile and are

     

    trustworthy

     

    humble

     

    forgiving

    and you can’t live without me

     

     

     

    I’ve got to love this silly love poem

     

    because maybe it will love me back.

    I will give it all I’ve got, but maybe

    that won’t be enough. Nikki Giovanni

    is the goddess of love poems, I want

    to be a goddess of love.  Silly poem

    speak to me; I’m listening.  Rise above

    cliché and personal debauchery, deliver

    substance and sustenance, sing to me.

    Silly little love poem hear my wanton

    cry and hit me with your best shot1

    an arrow to the gut of lonely, the heart

    of sorrow.  Silly poem we’re stagnant,

    we’re in doo-doo deep and dirty.

     

    1.”Hit Me with Your Best Shot” is a song written by Canadian singer/songwriter Eddie Schwartz and recorded by American singer Pat Benatar in 1979—Wikipedia

     

     

     

    I said “there is nothing left but love”

    —after 9/11

     

    but love is scarce while hate is abundant

     

    no, hate is arrogant, love is unassuming

     

    where are the lovers?

    in coffee houses writing poetry about love and war

     

    why is there war?

    to create fear

     

    what are we afraid of?

    hunger

     

    why are the children hungry?

    wars are raging

     

    where is the love?

    fighting and fleeing war

     

    what is love?

    passion, compassion—revolution

     

    how many poets, how many poems, how much war, how many revolutions

    before love wins, hunger disappears, and poems are sweet-tempered?

     

     

    I Said I Would Stay Home Today


    and write love poems instead of chasing

    the illusury lover or running from her;

    instead of escaping the desire for love

    by shopping or eating or playing the slots.

    I thought I would stay home today and

    imagine love to be something not to give

    or to get, but to imagine it is heart like

    tree, like sky, like earth, like bird; but,

    there is interference.  There is blizzard,

    there is thunder and storm, earthquake

    and tsunami.

     

    There is illness, destruction and death.

     

     

    Above poems by Sherry Quan Lee, first draft only draft, rrrruff draftSaturday, March 26, 2011

     

     

     

  • WHERE IS THE LOVE?

    Date: 2011.03.02 | Category: Assignments, Imagining Love | Response: 0

    WHERE IS THE LOVE?

    Where is the love?  Where are the love poems?  My new blog design from Word Press is now up and running and just waiting for some posts or comments, and most importantly, some poems.

    February has come and gone—and no love poems.  How many wonderful love poems have been written over the ages-some pining, some whining, some sweet and sticky, some grieving, some even angry?

    I confess, I’ve been writing Love Imagined for years and it remains a very thin manuscript.    But here’s to another year, another spring, another resurrection, another love(er) or at least another love poem.

    ASSIGNMENT: From Nikki Giovanni’s love poem, “Resignation” use the line “I love you / because…” and keep writing.  Send me your poem as a “comment” or if you want a critique click on “Get a Critique of Your Poem.”  Or if you want to critique my poem, feel free.  I know it needs work!  I love revising!  Already I realize I should have a list poem (inside of this poem) because I didn’t mention my family that I love-my sisters my brother, my cousins, and my friends, etc.

    Sherry Quan Lee

    3/2/11

    I love you

    Because you are sixty years old and

    Write love poems to yourself and

    I love you

    Because you stopped obsessing about finding a lover, but

    Didn’t stop dreaming

    Of love

    I love you

    Because love is your grandchildren, your sons, your step-daughters, your daughter-in-laws, and even your ex-husbands

    I love you

    Because Mother is the woman who taught you to love even though she couldn’t say

    “I love you”

    I love you

    Because nothing is black and white and you understand that because your life is purple

    And red

    I love you

    Because you survive gray days; weep and laugh and bellow and sigh and act

    Instead of react –all in one day

    I love you

    Because you’ve got quite the imagination; you believe love

    Is other than hate/there is no compromise, no balancing act, no antonym, no adjective

    No excuse to not love, and to not love big.

    Sherry Quan Lee

    Another First Draft Lunch Hour Poem

Artist Statement

Sherry Quan Lee approaches writing as a community resource and as culturally based art of an ordinary everyday practical aesthetic. Lee is a Community Instructor at Metropolitan State University (Intro to Creative Writing, Advanced Creative Writing), and has taught at Intermedia Arts, and the Loft Literary Center. She is the author of A Little Mixed Up, Guild Press, 1982 (second printing), Chinese Blackbird, a memoir in verse, published 2002 by the Asian American Renaissance, republished 2008 by Loving Healing Press, and How to Write a Suicide Note: serial essays that saved a woman’s life, Loving Healing Press, 2008.

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SHERRY QUAN LEE

Pages

HOW DARE WE! WRITE

LOVE IMAGINED

CHINESE BLACKBIRD

HOW TO WRITE A SUICIDE NOTE

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