Author: Kai Jordan

Living Under the Threat of Alzheimer’s as a Writer

I’m going to disappear one day. Both sides of my family have Alzheimer’s, so I’m sure I have the gene too. When I can’t find my keys, I think early onset Alzheimer’s. When I can’t remember why I’m at the grocery store, I think about how the youngest person who has ever been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s was twenty-seven. I’m thirty-two. Some people write because they have something to say. Others write for fun. I write because I’m afraid I’m going to disappear, because who am I if I’m not the stories in my head? Who am I if I’m not the words I use to tell those stories? When I’m sixty-five and I can’t remember my own name, will I still be me? I remember being afraid of family dinners with Yeh-Yeh, because he was loud and scary and had no idea who any of us were. I was told he had Alzeimer’s, but to a ten-year-old, Alzeimer’s was like having the chicken pox. Sure, it sucked, but eventually you’d recover, wouldn’t you? I remember …

Mike Myers on Creativity & Perseverance

At the 2014 Savannah Film Festival, Mike Myers sat down with SCAD’s President, Paula Wallace, for a candid conversation. After watching a two-minute clip of the interview, I found myself transcribing some of the things Myers said, particularly the portions on creativity and perseverance. On natural talent: “As I’m getting older, I don’t quite know what natural talent means except a willingness to study and persevere in the face of rejection.” On rejection: “Don’t give up. NASA has a fantastic expression which is: There’s no failure, only early attempts at success. You know, there’s a lot of rejection. The rejection should inform you and not define you. The reward of doing this work is the creativity itself. I make something every day. I don’t show it to everybody but I make something.” On the joy of creativity: “If you focus on result, you’ll always be heartbroken. If you focus on product, you’ll sometimes be heartbroken. If you focus on process, you’ll never be heartbroken because that’s the joy.” Extremely timely advice. To me, writing can be …

To the Owner Who Lost Her Dog Today

I’m not a doctor, but I can tell. Sometimes, the animal is already dead. Sometimes, they’re dying. I rush him to the back all the same, because I’m not a doctor. Maybe I’m wrong. I wait up front with you. You ask me: Will he be okay? And I lie. It feels like a lie. I tell you I don’t know. I can’t tell. The doctor is working on him right now. I emphasize that last one because if the doctor is working on him, then maybe he really will be okay. My job is to keep you calm until you fill out the required forms. My job is to listen so you can tell me all the things you think the doctor needs to know. I help you clean the blood from your hands. Get you a cup of water. Then the doctor buzzes up front, and you look at me when I call your name. It’s too soon. You know what the doctor’s going to say, but you ask me: Is he okay? …

Cateriam: A Cat Cafe in Tokyo

Shimokitazawa is popular for its independent music scene and trendy boutiques. Delicious restaurants line the streets serving almost anything you want from actual poutine and handmade udon noodles to spaghetti and okara donuts. Most importantly, Shimokita is where you’ll find Cateriam—an adorable cafe where you can sip green tea lattes like a queen while letting your freaky cat lady flag fly. About a block or two from the train station, there’s a doorway with a Cateriam sign right next to a 7-Eleven. You climb up a flight of stairs and enter through another set of doors. A friendly proprietor will use an English menu to explain the rules. You basically prepay for the amount of time you plan on staying, and if you’d like, you have the option to add on food or drinks. You’ll take off your shoes then place your things in a cubby hole. Once you wash your hands, you’re free to commence with the all-you-can-snuggle fest. I will admit that my animal rescue side was a little anxious before I arrived—I’ve heard one …

A New Year’s Reflection on Five Years Worth of Writing

I’ve been writing regularly for five years. And in those five years, I have written the following: Three fanfic pieces (10K to 20K words each) Two novel-length manuscripts (150K words) Six novellas (15k to 30k words each) Hundreds of blog posts, short stories, personal essays spread throughout various websites It might not seem like a lot, but prior to those five years, I only wrote about 100k words in the span of ten or fifteen years. Creatively, that is. I’m not including papers for school or reports for work. I wish I hadn’t stopped. If I’d been writing for all those missing years, my writing would’ve been on a whole other level today. But then again, I’m not sure if I really had anything meaningful to say back then. Time goes by so fast. I was a different person five years ago. Different priorities. Different dreams. It’s the end of 2014 (at least it was when I was writing this), and nostalgia has been keeping me up at night. Also, a really bad cold. (I’m surrounded …

In Which I Finally Understand Bruce Lee and Discover What “Being Like Water” Means to my Writing

My birthday is coming up. This one feels like a milestone even though it’s not. I’m not turning thirty—I passed that a while ago—but I think my heart’s finally catching up to my age. It’s a good feeling, because I think I finally understand what Bruce Lee was talking about. “Be like water,” he said. “Don’t get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow.” When I first heard that quote, I was in my twenties. “Ridiculous,” I said. “Water’s weak. It’s shapeless. It dilutes.” I wanted to be like fire: vibrant, painful, all-consuming. The passion of my youth was like a roaring bonfire. I graduated from a program that I’d fought so hard to get into and got a job everyone told me would be near impossible to get. I binged on life so hard that I never had to deal with the repercussions of taking whatever I wanted whenever I needed it. I was a winner, because I had to be. Part of that was to make …

#MyWritingProcess

Pitch Wars pal, Tracie Martin, tagged me for the #MyWritingProcess blog hop a month ago. I’ve been in and out of town, so I haven’t been able to post anything until now. I’ve finally got some time to myself, so here it is! Better late than never, right? What I’m working on Sometimes it feels like I have too many things going on at the same time! I’ve been traveling off and on for the last six months, and my productivity has really suffered as a result. I self-publish steamy romantic novellas under a different pen name, so a lot of the last two months have been spent working on those stories. Under Kai Jordan though, I’m querying my speculative fiction piece. It’s an 80,000 word manuscript set 150 years after a war destroyed the Earth’s atmosphere. It’s got a fair bit of romance, because I’m such a sucker for epic love stories. I also started doing a rough outline for a new contemporary romance project even though I still have an old one that needs …

Book Review: The Cat Who Went to Heaven by Elizabeth Coatsworth

All sixty-four of its pages are yellowing, and the copyright date says 1987. It must’ve been purchased used, because there’s a stamp on the inside depicting two bears holding a “this book belongs to” sign. I never filled it in, because as a kid, I felt my garish handwriting (and name) would somehow sully the book. I can’t remember when I first read The Cat Who Went to Heaven by Elizabeth Coatsworth, but this book has traveled with me through two countries, ten different homes, five schools, six pets, and a marriage. If I had children, this would be the story I’d read to them every night. Good Fortune is a cat who lives with a poor artist. She sits with him every day watching him work on a commissioned painting of the death of Buddha. But as he paints a procession of the courageous horse, the gentle snail, the noble elephant, and other earthly animals bidding farewell to Buddha, he knows Good Fortune wants to be in the painting too. “But where is the cat?” thought …