Friday, May 7, 2010


On the bus from work, I encountered four teen girls in soccer uniforms. They were loud and obnoxious, well, at least one of them was. They were all bilinguals, they said. Two spoke Spanish, one Japanese, and the other Korean as their first language. The most obnoxious one keep yelling, "ARIGATO! ARIGATO!"

When the Japanese speaking girl got off the bus (The obnoxious girl: "Bye! ARIGATO!" The Japanese speaking girl: "Doitashimashite...bye!"), the obnoxious girl turned to the Korean speaking one and started questioning her.

"So, Katie, have you kissed a boy?"
Katie mumbled.
"You are lying! Have you had boyfriends?"
Katie said something.
"Really? When? How many?"
"I don't know. I just don't keep counts!" I heard Katie say a bit desperately.
"You don't keep counts? Hah." The obnoxious girl added triumphantly, "I've had boyfriends."

And then they went on to discussing other things like what names cute boys have (they thought every cute boy was named Lucas) and what teachers they had in middle school, invading the whole space with their conversation like a radio show, without caring about if other passengers could hear what they were saying. Or maybe they wanted us to hear, to listen, because their world as it is is full of things that greatly matter to anyone. That confidence, that certainty, that obnoxiousness, I don't have anymore. Ah how I miss being one of them!

Monday, January 11, 2010

"torch" by cheryl strayed

Cheryl Strayed is a writer who excels at writing about loss. Loss of one's own life, of a loved one, of the life before losing someone. The novel is about the life of a family before and after the death of Teresa, the mother of two children, Claire and Joshua, and the wife of their stepfather, Bruce.

Cancer is a common disease now. Many die of it. So, naturally, stories about cancer are pretty common; and yet each is extremely personal and special--the desperation, the tears, the heartbreaking moments of intimacy and sorrow. Strayed captures these with such honesty it is really touching; and by telling the story from four different perspectives, she makes it clear that in grief we are all alone.