All posts tagged: Culture

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 …

Stories that Matter

My Facebook life has to be perfect, because if my story didn’t exist online, I’d disappear. Having no likes on a post is like me standing at the edge of a cliff, shouting into an abyss but not hearing an echo. I wait and wait and then I start to wonder if maybe it’s not the echo that’s the problem, it’s my voice. Because what if I think I hear my voice, but really the sound just never existed in the first place? Maybe my mouth is a figment of my imagination or a tumor in someone’s brain. School taught me to dress for the job I want, so I dress my profile for the life I want. We’re all made up of stories anyway, so somewhere along the way I decided to write my own except I somehow ended up writing shitty fanfic about people who aren’t me. In anime, characters with the loudest hair matter the most. Maybe that’s why I color my hair so often. My profile is starting to remind me of …

Groupon Adventures: Acting Class (Part 3)

He’s a guy who’s worked as an engineer for most of his life. Next year, he’s quitting his job to become an actor. “I’ll give myself two years,” he says. “I’m going all out to pursue my dream. If I don’t make it by then, I’ll come back home.” No one knows he’s leaving. His coworkers think he’s moving. His family doesn’t approve, so he’s told them his work is transferring him to a new city. This guy has more heart than I’ll ever have.

Groupon Adventures: Acting Class (Part 2)

Acting class is like being inside my writer’s brain. Icebreakers include launching imaginary things at your classmates, squeezing your body through invisible doorways, and trying to be all stream-of-consciousness edgy when you’re really not. My favorite game is the ninja one. Classmates on either side chop me in half while I swing my sword at someone else. It’s about making our bodies match the sounds coming from our mouths. I direct my loudest HAIIII-YAAAHHH at you, then you send your loudest HAIIII-YAAAHHH over to someone else. It’s violent and loud and so freaking fun. Then there’s the Repetition Game. I’m sitting cross-legged in front of a partner. Our knees touch. The space between us is filled with so much awkward. “You are wearing glasses,” I observe. He agrees, so he repeats, “I am wearing glasses.” Then since it’s now his turn, he says, “You have long hair.” I do have long hair, so I repeat, “I have long hair.” WE DO THIS FOR TWENTY MINUTES. It’s uncomfortable and horrible and everything I try to avoid on a …

Coffee Shop Etiquette that Really Should be Common Sense But Still Happens Waaaay Too Often

This was originally published as part of yesterday’s The Moka-Lattay-Cheeno-Presso Writer, but I decided to make it a standalone post instead. Mondays are made for humorous rants (and coffee). Believe it or not, the events below are things I’ve actually seen happen. So, here we go. Coffee Shop Etiquette that Really Should be Common Sense I don’t care how nicely manicured your feet are. Please do not take your shoes off. While sitting on a shared wall seat, don’t shake your leg. We can all feel the seat move. A single should not sit at a table large enough to accommodate four or six or even eight. I don’t care how many books you have. Don’t hog bandwidth by playing Starcraft or watching porn. Support your local coffee shop. Buy something. Don’t bring fast food into the establishment then get huffy when you’re asked to leave. Use the outlet by your table. Not the one on the other side of the store. Don’t let your children run around screaming like banshees. Their toys do not belong all over the floor. …

The Moka-Lattay-Cheeno-Presso Writer

There are two things I like to do at a new city: go for a run and write in a coffee shop. Bad knees ruined the first, so I rely on the second to ground me to unfamiliar places. This was inconceivable five years ago. If there’s a coffee noob equivalent to the 40-year-old virgin still living with her parents, that would’ve been me. We’re talking big geeky glasses (coffee can be served cold?!), socially awkward (there’s no coffee in coffee cake?!), and forever alone (coffee comes from beans?!). I walked into a Starbucks once and ordered water. My college coffee experience involved mixing ten sugar packets and ten itty-bitty plastic containers of cream into one small cup of coffee. I used (and totally abused) that concoction during finals like some students used adderall. When I graduated, I never wanted to drink coffee again. Fast forward to today. There are five coffee shops near my house. My favorite seat is the one with its back to the wall, a nicely padded cushion, and a view out …

Groupon Adventures: Acting Class (Part I)

If life experience is the hormone pumping up the beefy meat of my writing then I’ve got a helluva long way to go. I may have enough white hairs to respectably pull off the GET-OFF-MY-LAWN rant, but not enough to be a wizened old woman. I blame it on having had to move every two years while growing up, but the inexplicable BOREDOM washing over me every few years typically results in me shaving off all my hair then running away to some “exotic” destination. By exotic, I mean any place out of my comfort zone. The adrenaline bump I get from a dose of New Experience (henceforth to be written with capital N and capital E to signify overwhelming importance) is freaking addictive. The excitement from starting a new project, before my risk-adverse and commitment-phobic brain kicks in, is the only thing that stops me from continually ruining my hairstyle and savings account. This time, I decide to buy the first thing I see on Groupon. The first thing after botox and traffic school, …