Toastmasters Speech #2: The Art of Mastery

When I was six years old, I made a choice that would shape the course of my life. I chose my career. I had decided that I would become an artist. Now I had never met an artist, but two years later, I got the chance. My parents enrolled me in the Preparatory Dance ProgramContinue reading “Toastmasters Speech #2: The Art of Mastery”

Trust the Not-Knowing

Because sometimes the honest place is the empty place. The place of uncertainty. I’ve been talking a lot with my brother lately–this skinny white guy from a West Coast suburb who now works as an engineer on the East Coast. We’ve been talking about privilege, race, gender, social class, and orientation. I love my brother. AndContinue reading “Trust the Not-Knowing”

A Lot to Learn

Becoming aware of privilege is never comfortable. But it’s always necessary. I’m in San Francisco for the weekend, the “awkward straight” girl at a gaming convention for “queer geek culture.” And I’m loving every minute of it. My awareness of the world is heteronormative. And, as a straight person, I get to take that forContinue reading “A Lot to Learn”

That Sound

My grandfather loved Glenn Miller. As a Mobil service station man, he respected how Miller had worked as a poor musician and composer all through his twenties and early thirties, never getting much of anywhere. “But he was always looking,” Grandpa said, “looking for that sound.” Grandpa understood that a man could be looking forContinue reading “That Sound”

In the World But Not of It

  Some of my friends–especially those with children–envy the quiet time I have to myself. One friend sank into the cushions of my bamboo chair and listened to the rain drum like fingertips against my attic ceiling. “It must be so nice,” she said. “All this time to write.” No voices. No one competing forContinue reading “In the World But Not of It”

Beyond History

Is it possible? Faulkner once wrote, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” Usually, I agree with this line. It’s especially pertinent for anyone trying something new. Technology. Art. A life. Yet if we are living among the ruins of history, navigating the rubble as much as the current moment, how can weContinue reading “Beyond History”

The Observer Effect

When expectation comes up against reality, guess who wins? Not reality. Not usually, anyway. In Volume 391 of Nature, quantum physicists announced that when observed, particles could behave only as particles. But when unobserved, they could also behave as waves (Heiblum, 1998). This was true even when the “observer” was a machine in an empty room. AsContinue reading “The Observer Effect”

Courage in All Its Forms

I love this painting. It hangs on a white wall in a spare black frame in the Museum of Modern Art at 11 West 53rd Street, Manhattan. Kazimir Malevich painted it, probably in 1912, amidst Russia’s bloody and prolonged transition from imperial state to democratic republic. With Russia’s loss of the Russo-Japanese War in 1905,Continue reading “Courage in All Its Forms”

How Much

The questions I’m tormenting myself with at the moment are: “How much is too much?” and “How much is enough?” “A word count, a page count–it’s so arbitrary,” one writer told me last week over her historical fiction novel. “And if I don’t meet it, I feel miserable. Why would I do that to myself?”Continue reading “How Much”