Posted in Around & About, Health

Time flies when you’re happy!

Goodness, gracious! I haven’t been writing anything for like four weeks or so. Except for a couple of posts to my Swedish blog. A bit easier, and I take it quite casually.
Even though it may seem to be a bit of a blockage in me since the mini-stroke, that isn’t the case, and I don’t take it particularly serious. I’ll come back to writing soon enough.

It’s not that I’m feeling sick in any way, other than it took my physical strength and fitness away in a way that puzzles me, and even more, annoys me. But, I guess the TIA was a “punch” to my entire body and drained me of good condition and strength, even the half that wasn’t affected directly. But I’m sad, I can not yet walk or bike as far as I could before the incident, but that too will come back. Just have to give it some time.

Despite that, I’m good. Reposing, relaxing, going to gatherings, meeting friends. Old ones and new. Not every day though. But enough to be necessarily social and to enjoy myself.
Other days I do whatever I like. I’m reading, watching Netflix, knitting, doing jigsaw puzzles or playing solitaire on the iPad. Or something else. Including taking a nap now and then.

Have lost some weight. Almost 5 kilograms so far (10 lb), in 3,5 weeks, and more will drop. It’s wonderful to be able to wear some of the clothes that have been too tight for a long time, and my almost new jeans are getting a bit loose. Especially around the waist. Seven centimetres there are gone, (almost 3 inches), and my iPhone6 now fits in my left front pocket without any trouble at all, and the belt speaks the truth…

Free as Livingstone Seagull…
Posted in Books & Reading, Writing

Reading & Pondering

Yesterday I began reading Jean Kwok’s novel “Girl in Translation”. At first, I found it hard to understand. There were words I didn’t recognize, and the way she writes… with a kind of Chinese “accent”. I don’t know quite how to put this. “Accent” isn’t the right word for it. It’s more like I’m peeking into one, for me, different and unknown world. A “Chinese-New York” world!

It didn’t take long for me to grasp it, though. And there are still occasional words and expressions unknown to me, but mostly I understand.

I understand the meaning of them, and what images the story itself shows me. Jean Kwok uses her language with such a finesse it kind of takes the breath out of me in awe.

When reading this afternoon I made some notes. Maybe I could learn something?

For instance: “He cocked his head to one side to see me…”
I understood very well what this meant. But I’ve never seen the word used in that way before. What would I have chosen? Tilt? Bend? To you English-speaking people I guess the word cocked isn’t particularly odd at all. To me it was fun, and somehow it suited that very young man. An old man – and not Chinese – might have bent his head sideways instead. Or?

The next: “Playing hooky”.
Never heard of this expression before. Understood what it meant. Think it sounds fun.

Next: “… .. ..? I voiced my real fear.”
So wonderfully shown! Instead of just writing “I said.”

Or: “”Really?” I warmed to him.”
Beautiful!!! What a way to use the word “warm”. I could really see the girls relief and gratefulness.

I still don’t know what a “Boogie” is when it’s not referring to Boogie-Woogie or dancing. I understood though, it was a not-so-kind nick-name for the teacher.

The author writes “roaches” instead of cockroaches, and a hand or a foot can “tingle with needles”. Loved that one. We have something similar in Swedish, but here the needles don’t tingle, they stick – and therefore seem to be more painful…

It took me a while to figure out what “cooties” are, but finally, I think I had it. Lice, I presume!

Oh! I wish I could write like that…

Then, less than a second after I thought that, it hit me. I can! But not in English! In Swedish, I can “show, not tell”. In Swedish, I can play with words and make things alive, whether it is about cocking one’s head or warming up to somebody. Or if the ground is cold under someones bare feet.

Today I’ve seriously been asking myself why I chose to write my novel in English. Well, I have a couple of answers to that, but wouldn’t it be wiser to re-write/translate it to Swedish and keep on writing the story on my own ground? So to speak! Why make it more difficult than necessary?

That, would take some time of course, but on the whole – and for one thing – I would keep on writing way faster. And I wouldn’t need anyone to check if my English is accurate.
Just the thing to maintain British English and not mix in American English! Or vice versa.

That’s something to think about, isn’t it?

By the way! Read the book! Read “Girl in Translation”. I bet you won’t regret it.

“New York Times bestseller “Girl in Translation” by Jean Kwok is a powerful story about a Chinese immigrant family in Brooklyn.

Kimberley Chang and her mother move from Hong Kong to New York. A new life awaits them – making a new home in a new country. But all they can afford is a verminous, broken-windowed Brooklyn apartment. The only heating is an unreliable oven. They are deep in debt. And neither one speaks one word of English.

Yet there is hope. Eleven-year-old Kim goes to school. And though cut off by an alien language and culture and forced by poverty to work nights in a sweatshop – she finds the classroom challenges liberating. In books and learning she’ll be saved. But can Kim successfully turn to lost girl from Hong Kong into a happy American woman? And should she?

Jean Kwok’s powerful and moving tale of hardship and triumph, of heartbreak and love, speaks of all that gets lost in translation.

‘A sensitively handled rites-of-passage account…has the unmistakable ring of authenticity’ Metro’

A truly amazing story that’ll leave you full of admiration and affection for the characters’ Easy Living’

A classic and moving immigration story’ Red

Jean Kwok emigrated from Hong Kong to Brooklyn as a child; her first novel Girl in Translation is based loosely on her own experience as a Chinese immigrant in America. With Girl in Translation Jean Kwok has won the American Library Association Alex Award, an Orange New Writers title and international critical acclaim.”

(from AdLibris.com)

Posted in Miscellaneous

Accidentally

I was just sitting here, after breakfast with my now cold coffee, when I threw a glance on this blog. Quite a boring sight. Not the theme per see! But all the white!!!!

Often I see blogs that are white, almost all white, and with astounding contents. They are so beautiful. Maybe with a personally created header text. Photos. Or an appealing layout.

I get a bit envious and want my blog to be equally beautiful. But every time I try to create a white blog, I soon get bored with it.

I guess I’m not a white person. On the other hand, not a black person either. And I don’t mean the colour of my skin. I guess I’m more like a soap bubble, reflecting the rainbow.

Since I like the theme itself, I thought I would just change the background colour. Pondered some soft yellow-ish, orange-ish…tested a few… then randomly picked one of the suggestions from WP.

And there it was!!! A bit different depending on the screen. On my MacBook, it’s quite bright. More of a red tone. On the external screen, dimmer, more to the orange. It’s hot pepper. Red brick. Dark yellow-red-ish mandarines.

I like it!

Posted in Health

Sometimes it just happens

A week ago, Friday, Sept 6th, a TIA happened to me. For those who don’t know, it’s a mini-stroke soon leaving the brain again. But of course, I ended up at the hospital for a couple of days. Came back home Tuesday after lunch.

The whole thing was due to high blood pressure, and the day I left the hospital they also told me I have high blood sugar. I had absolutely no idea about this, but I knew I was rather stressed. Both from residues of old things, and present issues.

How on earth can you suspect you have high blood pressure? It’s easy to say afterwards that one should go to the doctor regularly, but if most of your physical problems are muscle pain and stiffness! Well, at least I didn’t suspect anything. Is being tired a sign of high blood pressure?

Anyhow! Home now. Have got “loads” of medicines, including statins despite the fact the cholesterol showed nothing wrong; and the sugar was just at the margin. Sometimes doctors seem to interpret things more dangerously then actually is needed – as a safety issue? – but the pressure was high. No doubt about that! During the days at the hospital it, of course, lowered but must keep on getting even lower.

What is so typical for common doctors – specialists or not – is that they don’t even think one thought of what might have caused the issue in question. Why is the blood pressure too high! Why is the blood sugar level too high? What’s the cause of it all? They only focus on adding medicines.

And of course! For the time being, it would be stupid of me to refuse to take those medicines. And I at least hope I can drop the statins after this first month. It is certainly not healthy having a low level of cholesterol.

Now so soon after, I’m rather tired. I seem to have lost most of my fitness and my physical strength. But as my friend Maria reminded me of, for a short while I was paralyzed in my right body-half.

Well! This will pass! Meantime I’m focusing on what to eat, and try to relax as much as possible. Luckily I have no less than three big stores with food and other stuff nearby. I even walked to the library this Wednesday (1,3 km) and biked to meet my friends Thursday afternoon (2,8 + 3,4 km). (Biking was easier than walking.)

Been shopping a couple of times, the pharmacy, for some food, and yesterday a kitchen scale. All that went well. Though… I admit… it was rather hard to walk, especially that first day, to and fro the library. My legs ached, especially around the hips and down the thighs. And after yesterdays short walk, I got really tired.

What’s really important now, is to lose weight and get fit again. The food choices first of all, since I realize I can’t force the physical issues too much. What I dislike about the food, is that I have to ALMOST eat a bit similar to LCHF – Low Carb, at least. No fruits… 😦

I normally eat well. Nutritious, lots of veggies, no white sugar, no wheat. I prefer whole grain food, legumes and such. As soon as I see positive results, I’ll lower the amount of chicken (mostly) and eggs (a bit), and go back to a more wholegrain food style, with beans and lentils. I miss “the real food” more than I miss the bananas and apples. And there are berries…

But I guess the biggest problem with this, is that I’m not used to thinking in this way. (Aren’t we all like that…?) And I don’t feel well eating a lot of chicken and other kinds of meat. I never have!
And the app FatSecret stresses me a bit.

But of course – the most important – to get used to eat less! I realize very well I have consumed too many calories for a very long tine! So! Fewer calories, and making sure all the calories count. Are good ones!

But a pleasant start: I’ve already lost 3 kilograms – about 6 pounds – since Friday, a week ago, and 2 centimetres around the waist. I set a goal to lose an additional 11 kg – 22 lb – and 10 cm around the waist. After that – preferably – a little bit more…

But that depends on how fit I’ve managed to become ’til then. More muscles – higher weight…

When dreams have come through
Posted in Books & Reading

Searching – failing

Why is it so hard to find a book to listen to, that I like? Often I get bored, if not at once, then after a while. Maybe after 20 pages or an hour, maybe even later, halfway through!

Often I don’t begin to listen at all since I think the voice of the reader is awful in some way or another. Reading too theatrical can be one reason. Too alike, and it all becomes more telling than showing. Not paying attention to natural pauses.

Too long pauses between chapter, scenes and paragraphs – one loses contact with the story. But it doesn’t seem to be particularly common doing that. It’s almost always the other way around. No breathing at all.

There are times I literally can’t stand the voice itself. It can be too sharp, too harsh, too… hmm… ear-splitting? Or it can be too squeaky, and often among those who read feel-good-books, the voice is like a tiny girl’s. Not necessarily faint, but very high up in the squeaky register. A mouse is reading! Yes! As my character Jaycee would say: too girly.

Sometimes I put a book away because of – actually – bad writing! And I never try a book in a genre I already know I don’t like. Jane Austen, for instance.

Then, all those books like “the-little-bakery-at-the-seashore” – that now overflows the market, they are so boring!!! And some of those I’ve tested wasn’t even well written. Or had facts right.

I want fantasy! I want action! Not necessarily action like violence, wars or such. But something must happen! Even in a feel-good-book, something must happen. I want to feel engaged! I want to laugh, cry, feel the excitement. I want a book to catch me so that I can’t stop read or listen!

Often I find myself not having heard what has been read for quite a long time. And often I don’t get caught more or less immediately when I start a new book. And I want to be caught within the very first paragraph, or at least within the first pages. Mostly 20-25 pages are the limit when reading. Not been caught then – book bye-bye!

I find books and inspiration to read in many places on the Internet. On Goodreads, from other bloggers, randomly, suddenly anywhere. Books that capture my interest and curiosity! But those books are only rarely available to me at the book listening app.

Just the other day I read about Jean Kwok, and she seemed to write books to my liking. On the app, I found ONE! “Searching for Sylvie Lee”. I downloaded it, began listening, and I like it! Still, after a little more than one hour of listening, I like it. Why not any other book of hers? Why not “Girl in Translation” for example?

Luckily I have a real, solid library nearby. Like 600 meters away… But it is small, and not even the main library downtown has a lot of books any longer. But thanks to the internet, I can sit at home, search for the book I want and perhaps one or some of the libraries in the area (in a range of approximately 50 kilometres) might have it. Then I order, the book will be delivered to my local nearby library – and I can walk over there and fetch it.

So now I’m waiting for Jean Kwok: “Girl in translation” and “Mambo in Chinatown”; and “Mistborn”, by Brandon Sanderson. Thank you, Alex Raizman, for the tip! The preview I got at iBooks makes me think I will like it!

P.S. I have cancelled that book listening app. Just a waste of money.

And below are some of the books waiting for me on the app. Will I listen to them? Will they catch me?
Posted in Fantasy, The Solar Eclipse, Writing

It seems to work – in the cloud

Some of the scenes in my manuscript had to shift location. Trading places with other scenes. Mostly among those I wrote during April. In a movie one can jump between scenes quite frequently, if one wants and needs. Thanks to the fact it’s all visual. No doubt where the watcher have come and what character/s will be there.

When writing one has to be a bit more cautious. It can be vary confusing to the reader if there are too many jumps and too short texts each time. It’s not forbidden! But as anything else when writing, you have to have a purpose for what you do, you must know what you are doing, and you must do it well. Stephen King does it. And does it well.

So therefore I had to make some changes to the whereabouts of some of the scenes. Put some together to a unit, and others to another unit. Further on in the story, I need do makes some “jumps”, but at that time the reader should know the characters and as such, there are less risk for confusions.

The next I did, was to copy the entire text to a Pages file. Why, since I work with Scrivener? Because with Pages I can work on any of my units. I can sit at the balcony with the iPad, work on the manuscript, and later on continue indoors on the MacBook. Yes! I can write on the Mac at the balcony as well! I have done that a lot. It’s just that the screen gets darker outside, and it mirrors everything. I see mostly myself and/or a sun-lit wall behind me.

Then I do this and I do that, and in the end I copy the ready-edited text back into its place in Scrivener – and have a back-up already made in Pages.

So the week that now have past, I’ve been doing this, and it feels good! I work until I feel empty or begin to be tired of words, dressing the novel-skeleton with “flesh”: images, fragrances, colours, life – I would say. Particularly the very first scene, the one that started this adventure, is now a place not merely an empty stage. That was okay, but now there are life and meaning to it.

Oh yes! I so much want a 27 inch iMac again!