Developmental Milestones: An Anniversary Post

Wonhng Mahkwa: relatives of the boss (lit. yellow jacket)In the Ching dynasty, Manchurians wore mahkwa jackets when horse riding. Typically, these clothes were blue or black, but the emperors would bestow a yellow jacket on imperial relatives or respected officials. I'm part of a group of imperial relatives (read: worthy writers), a tight-knit band led by the illustrious Robert Lee Brewer. Last April, I participated in his platform challenge. It's been a year of much growth, not unlike that of a … [Read more...]

Writer’s Digest West Conference- First Impressions

Yatlauh: the bestIn China, from the Tang to the Ching dynasty, nine ranks of officials existed.  The highest and first level was known as yatlauh.  I attended the Writer's Digest West Conference this past Saturday.  It was yatlauh, fulfilling and exceeding all my expectations.   Let me break down my experience into three parts:1) Jamie Ford, the author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet:  As a keynote speaker, he discussed being true to yourself and pursuing a story that resonates with … [Read more...]

Being One’s Cup of Tea at a Writer’s Conference

Hahpsaai Hohche: meeting people's needs, being one's cup of tea (lit. sing every note right)This expression refers to Chinese music.  Hahpsaai means everything is right.  When every note is correct and the singers and musicians work well together, people say hahpsaai hohche.  *First things first, though: the winner of the photo contest is picture A (you can see it reflected in my profile).  It was a close call, though, A edging out picture C by one vote.At the Writer's Digest West conference … [Read more...]

Our Fears

Gengcheng: frightened, scaredThe Chinese use lion dancing to celebrate many special holidays and festivities.  Businessmen believe a lion  will bring them prosperity, so they hang up a cheng (lit. green), a stalk of vegetable with a red envelope as a prize.  With gongs and drums in the background , the lion dancers will reach for the cheng, sometimes with one man standing on the shoulders of the other.  The expression gengcheng comes from the spectators being afraid that the dancers will … [Read more...]

To Go or Not? A Writers’ Conference Dilemma

Louhsyu Laaigwai --> Mouhdehng Maaihsau: don't know how to startIn Chinese language, there exists a verbal riddle known as the enigmatic parallelism.  A hungry rat (louhsyu) tries to bite a tortoise (gwai)--without success when the tortoise hides in its shell.  This image of the rat trying to pull out the tortoise demonstrates the phrase's meaning of not knowing how to begin.I'm not sure where to start in terms of writers' conferences.  According to this post called "The Writers Conference … [Read more...]