Racism and Covid-19 Woke Me Up from Writing Coma

Has it really been 5 years since I last wrote a post? I’m honestly shocked it’s been so long.

Back in 2015, after I shelved the novel I spent pretty much half my undergrad working on, people asked me if I was still writing.

I never stopped. I still keep a diary on a daily basis, and also like writing Yelp reviews as a Yelp Elite, but I didn’t want to force myself to write just for the sake of writing. I came to realize that a lot of the fiction I wrote came from a negative place. They had a running theme of sad (or at best, bittersweet) endings, and I came to realize it was reflective of my own life. Sad endings were easier to write because happy endings are difficult. Not just to plan, plot, and write on paper, but to manifest in real life as well.

That was when I realized I needed to live a life. Not just one where I sat isolated in front of a monitor with characters and worlds that don’t exist. For a change, I wanted to be the one going on quests and slaying demons, not my characters.

So, what did I do in 5 years?

  • Graduated
  • Struggled with getting my footing in my day career (I was NOT one of those success stories of kids who got a job straight out of college)
  • Suffered a crazy quarter-life crisis that lasted roughly five years in which I constantly questioned why I was a failure of an adult
  • Cosplayed. A LOT. Spent many sleepless nights sewing and building costumes, won awards, went to conventions, guested at events, arranged many photoshoots, went on a couple of paid gigs with T-Mobile, and was a featured designer at the Katuscon 2020 Met Gala.
  • Went to healthcare school, got a phlebotomy certificate, and the school went bankrupt before I could get my medical assistant certificate, figured out healthcare wasn’t for me after working in a couple of hospitals and spending a bucketload of money out-of-pocket that took three years for the government to return to me.
  • Worked for a few different day jobs (and am very happy with my current company)
  • Traveled (Portland, NYC, Maryland, Washington DC, Los Angeles, Vegas, England, Taiwan)
  • Acted (I’m in the video game Journey of the Scroll by Tofu Sheets Visual, among other indie projects, been in indie films, and I perform improv with Pan Theater)
  • Accomplished a lot of my fitness goals (reached my weight goal that I had been told all my life was impossible! Deadlifted 160 lbs! Did 12 pull ups! Gained a 4-pack, and am on my way to a 6-pack!)
  • Celebrated my 4-year anniversary with my boyfriend.

Literally two days after my boyfriend and I celebrated our anniversary, shelter-in-place was mandated in the Bay Area. I’m pretty introverted to begin with, so working from home and staying home all day every day has been nice. However, I’ve been disgusted with the rampant racism against Asian Americans, and have been too terrified to leave my house unless if it’s for groceries.

One of my comforts during shelter-in-place is turning to some of my favorite books I grew up reading, particularly between ages 9 to 12. I thought to myself, “What if I wrote a middle-grade book capturing an Asian-American experience living through Covid-19 in the SF Bay Area?”

Boom. Add Chinese fantasy and mythology to the mix, and…I’m back to writing.

Despite people saying, “Don’t write a pandemic novel, everyone and their mother are just going to write them, heaven help the agents who are going to be flooded with pandemic manuscripts in the upcoming months,” if I can write something that will resonate with Asian-American kids living through this era, bring them comfort, joy, and hope, something that they’ll pick up again in their adult years just as I have with my favorites growing up, then I’ll have succeeded.

So I’ve woken up from my writing coma.

A visual summary of the past 5 years, 2015-2020

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