Archive for the ‘Imagining Love’ Category


    Date: 2010.05.30 | Category: Imagining Love, The Art of Writing | Response: 0



    Nothing like a four day weekend to let off steam, to entertain some of life’s diversions in a whirlwind of emotion, and then, satiated, empty, still have a few hours to do what it is you want to do, to write, without actually needing to, but because you’ve created a space, although somewhat obsessively and what some may call dysfunctional (shopping, eating, gambling, drinking, smoking—no I’m not confessing to any or all of these), to allow creativity a place to sing.  Now there’s nothing like singing, except maybe dancing, even if one, such as myself, can’t sing or dance—well, can’t sing or dance well—, there’s nothing like singing or dancing to be happy (and there’s nothing like not singing or dancing, especially when one desires to sing and dance, to not be happy).


    I’m in the heart of soulful creativity. Cutting and pasting, sorting through images and words, treasure mapping.  (Sipping champagne and eating chocolates.)  Alone.  Not where I want to be but enjoying every quiet moment being.  Then, a muse spoke, a little too loudly. I had to listen.  The muse said, what your friend said about having to work twice as hard, be twice as good—you know the story, your mom told you the story—the muse said it’s a myth, it’s trash talkin’, it’s double jeopardy.  The muse said, write that poem.  I did.


    Note:   recently at a writing retreat I wrote a poem so abstract, so against, be specificAddiction is the Language of Love.  Isn’t it the details that allow readers to connect even if their stories are different?  A former student recently recited to me what she said I taught her about concrete and abstract images and that a rug is a rug, keep it simple.  I was horrified that she might not have understood or I might not have explained that a shag rug is more specific than rug or that a shrill scream is more than anger, yet it’s not just adjectives I want to address, but that one noun can be more specific than another, more descriptive, and that the important thing is to remember to give witness to the sight, the smells, the sounds, etc. of the story.  I digress. 


    I don’t abide by rules.  I take words out of context.  I challenge the norm.  Why not? (Okay, sometimes I just don’t know better.)  Students do love me for “no rules” —most not hearing there is “craft” to think about, but I want them to think about what works for them, what is their voice, who is their audience, what is their story.   I digress.


    Today, Sunday, has been a respite from anxiety.  No, the reasons I have been anxious of late (like the last year or two or three) have not disappeared, but Friday and Saturday the frenzy of release by shopping, by eating, by gambling, by other things has exhausted me.  I am worn down enough to be contemplative.  I thought about what my friend said recently, that we have to be better, twice as good and this phenomenon of working so very hard to be equal because we might have a chronic illness or we might be a Chinese Black woman who grew up white, or, or, or….and I thought, no, this is a myth.  We must change this story.  Yes, I have always tried to live it, being better just to be good.  But, I wrote yet another abstract poem, It’s not true, because I could because I have  the luxury of a four day weekend to exhaust my anxiety so I can think clearer and so I can be creative and so I can make up my own rules, and create my own myths.



    Sherry Quan Lee

    May 30, 2010



    Aha!  I did not write this post over my lunch hour!  However, for qualification, and in defensive of error or sloppiness, as always, this posting is basically a first draft, as are the poems.  This posting is also a surprise, to me, that I have just written something.  Woo hoo, as my friend Lori would say!



    It’ not true

                (to all of us who live the myth)


    we don’t have to be better


    whose far fetched idea came tumbling came

    pouring into our determination


    to survive prejudice; doesn’t everyone

    have truths to hide? why does arrogance


    rule?  a privileged view, not mine, secrets

    don’t come with windows


    pride is not the same as truth, if humility

    was respected no one


    would have to hide or seek revenge and

    someone’s views would just be views


    and you and I could stop dancing

    on each other’s feet; no-never-mind


    I’m just going to be who I am and

    stop working twice as hard to be equal


    to you who could never dance like me

    even if you tried twice as hard without


    a view.



    Sherry Quan Lee

    May 30, 2010



    Addiction is the language of love


    “There was a woman here who was loved.”—Joy Harjo



    of lovers.  I am lover, I am addiction, I am loved.


    Sorrow is displaced by obsession, who is to say


    what a word means or the extent of it.  It is my


    story I am telling.  I could die from the loneliness / the


    anger and I have or I can live with the gifts I give myself.


    I am a woman who tolerates diversity, no two lovers


    are alike, though they are all expensive.  I don’t let


    the lovers overwhelm me, a lost paycheck a small price


    to pay for salvation.  The more I am addict the more I am


    love.  Lovers, I will not name you; you are my secret





    Sherry Quan Lee

    April 24, 2010

  • Aundria Morgan, Minnesota Author

    Date: 2010.03.15 | Category: Imagining Love | Response: 0

    I will get back to “Imagined Love” sooner than later, but currently love is again lost and all I have to show for it are Harley t-shirts and a leather biker jacket from GW (Goodwill). 

    Meanwhile, while waiting for my next post, check out Aundria Morgan’s new blog sites!


    Date: 2010.02.23 | Category: Imagining Love, The Art of Writing | Response: 2



    Why do we write?  Or, if you’re thinking about writing, what blessings may blossom from your words? (I like to think of flowers this time of year.  I received a gift of rose s on Valentine’s Day.  They are now wilted and need to be discarded.  My colleague, though, has pastel tulips in her office where I can occasionally see them, and utter, ahhhhhhhhh.  This is Minnesota and the prospect of spring is certainly on my mind.)

    How can we conjure the prospect of mysterious and perhaps magical happenstance (sometimes I use words I don’t know out of spite for the time someone shamed me for using a particular word wrong, in hopes I might be right this time) because we are writers?  For me, writing has brought me family, and friends, and a whole lot of lovin’—okay, I’m still “Imagining Love”—the lover and the lovin’ not yet a combo, but love is in the air (funny how many clichés are associated with spring).

    I’m struggling here to get started.  Sometimes a writer has to write a whole lot of pages before clarity rears its beautiful face.  As I ramble along before I get to the aha! you will understand what I mean by this.  There’s so much I want to say right now.  I want to talk about the recent workshop I taught with Lori, but I also want to talk about a relative I didn’t know I had, who found me by Googling me, having gotten my name from her mother, who happened to have my first chap book, A LITTLE MIXED UP, published by Guild Press in the early 80’s.  (Another aside, did you know many of those little chap books published just a couple of decades ago, can be found online for big bucks! ?  Amazing!  And wonderful.  All those out of print works of art, rediscovered and sold online by speculators. )

    I want to talk about beyond writing, if that makes any sense.  I earned an MFA in Creative Writing just to prove I was smart enough to get an education.  I was, though it was hard work because I didn’t really have the education I needed to continue to advance my education.  In other words, I was brought up in a family of five, on welfare and silence (more than I want to get into here).  I didn’t understand about class or race or gender when I was growing up, but looking back I know how much all of that stuff played a part in who I am today.  Not only did I not know how to eat steak, so the first time a date took me out for a steak dinner, part of the steak went flying as I tried to manipulate it with my knife and fork, but I didn’t know words, or the few I did know I didn’t know how to manipulate them to show I was from a different “class” than I was, but even if I had, can you really upgrade from the class you were born in (another discussion entirely).

    I believe everyone should write and can.  And I believe writing should be shared.  Sharing is easy today in today’s world of the internet:  social networks, Google, Web sites, instant messaging, etc. (I say etc. because truly I am not Web savvy and it may be another lifetime before I have any desire to be a computer geek).  But first, before the internet, I started sharing my work in small group writing workshops.  This built small communities of writers.  Each of us writers belonged to other communities.  Friendships and networking happened.  Eventually I taught my own workshops.  Friendships and networking happened.  My first workshop was taught in my neighborhood coffee shop.  No students had enrolled, so I became super salesperson before I became teacher.  The class eventually consisted of a husband, close friends, and others I had never met.  Of those participants, I am still in contact with several of them, even the husband who became an ex-husband (not  an ex because of the workshop).  I became mentor to a couple of the participants.  Lori was one of the participants who I reconnected with a few years after the workshop . We now collaborate, performing our work and teaching.  What I’m trying to say here is that writing is more than (okay can be more than) writing.

    Because I have been writing since the early 80’s and have had some poems published here and there, I have a Web site and I have this blog site and I’m on other sites and sometimes there may be an announcement or a book review here or there that lands on the internet.    I’m saying, you can Google me (I certainly have) and if you want to connect with me in cyber space, you probably can.  In fact, because of the internet a cousin found me, and recently a second cousin who lives in Texas found me because of my first little chapbook, and Googling my name on the internet.  This is what I’m trying to say.  I don’t confess to being the best writer in the world, my last royalty check was in the negative (that will change as soon as I retire and have time to market my books, really Victor, I promise). But,  I write about identity because there is no one in the world like me, just as there is no one in the world like you.  We have our own identity, our own stories.  And guess what, if we take the process of writing beyond the process of writing and enter the process of after the writing someone might notice.  Someone might notice (don’t hold your breath for million dollar book deal or a world book tour), but someone might notice you , who may be a long lost relative, or just someone interested in your writing,  or interested in writing in general–and that someone may become part of your life for awhile or for a lifetime.  That’s the aha! (Or they may want to hire you to be a writing mentor, or may want to subscribe to your blog, or they may want to register for one of your workshops.)

    I write on my lunch hour, sometimes, like now.  I don’t have time to re-vision or revise (I do take time for a quick run through for typos, though I still might not catch them all, no apologies).  But, that’s okay.  You get a chance to witness a rough draft, lol (laugh out loud, I thought this meant lots of love and couldn’t figure out why a particular person sent me lol) and I get to send another something into the cyber world and hope that somehow somewhere my writing makes connections for me or for you.

    Lori and I recently taught a writing workshop for women about women.  We hope to teach it in Mankato, MN this spring.  This workshop was for writers and nonwriters alike.  We honored the women or a particular woman in our lives.  We honored grandmothers, mothers, sisters, and friends.  We viewed maps, and photographs, and journals and other things to help conjure the women we wanted to write about, even those we didn’t’ know we wanted to write about. Connections were made. 

    It’s about the writing, but it’s also about beyond the writing—after the writing.

    Feel free to leave comments about your experiences with “after the writing.”




  • Revision

    Date: 2009.12.22 | Category: Imagining Love, The Art of Writing | Response: 1

    Just a few tweaks to a holiday gift.  Time spent:  a lunch, an hour after dinner, a morning coffee break–a lifetime of New Years’ wishes.

    Happy Holidays everyone.


    you asked me for a poem. A clever and brazen
    request. It’s not so easy. Poems come and go. Fly
    like rage into the night; pink elephants big and heavy,
    sobering. How to write a show poem full of dance
    and song. Happy is a place I know, though who would believe it?
    Words run amok telling stories bound in anger; reactions.
    I am safe inside a poem.
    Outside, when the wind blows bullets, I hunker low
    eat silence, not so brave. Today,
    I ask forgiveness. Talk and write from a gentle heart,
    my gut recovering slowly. Forgive me for not knowing
    the devil in men sooner than later. But do you believe
    in fate? The world spins so quickly. I was afraid
    I would be left dying, pronounced imperfect, immoral.
    If intuitively I could have recognized love’s imperfections,
    instead of believing because someone says he loves you
    he loves you. Some clichés are to be taken seriously actions
    speak louder than words (this is not about you). To speak/action.
    Not to speak/inaction. A poet needs words, has faith in words.
    You have asked for a poem. Here it is. You have said tell me
    so I understand. Thank you. So here it is. You, I have taken
    slowly. Cautious. Devil and angel. I embrace you, trustworthy,
    with wild enthusiasm. I don’t expect devil to harm, nor angel
    to deceive. Still, I won’t imagine conclusions because
    I am not seeking endings. In answer to your question, yes,
    I believe in fate; I also believe in choice. Thank you
    for the conversation, please, more. Curiosity
    is the Christmas gift I give to both of us.

    Sherry Quan Lee
    Copyright, December 21, 2009

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.





Septuagenarian by Sherry Quan Lee


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How Dare We! Write by Sherry Quan Lee

How Dare We! Write

by Sherry Quan Lee

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Love Imagined book by Sherry Quan Lee


Chinese Blackbird Book by Sherry Quan Lee


How to Write a Suicide Note by Sherry Quan Lee

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