Run with it

Four years ago, I wrote a short story, my 2nd ever, for my English class. It’s crazy that the distance between me and college continues to widen. Anyways, that story was, “A Deviant Style of Murder.” Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood and Nabokov’s Humbert Humbert in Lolita were my inspirations. My character a teenage murderer, Chase Franzen was too fun to write. I’m bringing this up cause my Mom suggested I write a novel. I didn’t take her seriously at first. Why not, my Dad texted. You’re boring(how my Korean Mom says I’m bored) and when you’re sad, call on the Lord and write. She had a point. I’ve never had such an excess of free time, more than I know what to do with.

So here goes the resurrection of Chase. He made his debut with this:

I don’t deny that I did it, but I cannot say so with regret. It was a crime of passion, a term invoked by many, but adequately realized by few. Danielle was my same-age Lolita, the ignition to my vehicle’s engine, the amplifier to the strings on my guitar. I envision her dimpled smile and startlingly blue eyes still. How’s that for adopting a murderer’s apparently inherent trait of possessing a fancy prose style. Time in a prison cell, devoid of the usual accoutrements of comfortable living, seems as a good a time as any for me to act on my literary ambitions. An erroneous account in the Herald also warrants my immediate correction. 

And he returns with this (this is all I’ve got on day 1 of writing, not sure if I’ll get a full novel out of Chase and I realized I need to do some research on prison life, life after prison etc):

Dear beguiling reader, I’m back. The last you’d heard of me I was weaving yarns in a prison cell describing Danielle’s death this way and that. Somehow and no one’s more surprised than me, I’m about as free as a murderer can be. I mean I’m in house arrest. Any home feels luxurious after a 6 by 8, even when you’ve got a bracelet wrapped around your ankle. Good ol’ mum had to take me in. It’s home yet foreign. The friends I had long departed, first for college, then onto jobs in new big cities. I’m here breathing in fresher oxygen, taking in the stillness unpunctuated by the howls of distraught inmates. Who knows how I lasted.  

Thoughts from any readers out there?






Getting personal


One of my new year’s resolutions is to write more. I swapped Facebook for LinkedIn and mindless scrolling or tv watching for blogging. The weight of an unproductive day sits with me in bed. I hadn’t planned to share personal stuff here, but I do enjoy getting an authentic glimpse into bloggers lives, their anxieties, their heartaches. Not that I in any way exult in someone else’s struggles or failures, but I find hearing about them comforting because then I’m not the only one.

My sister told me about a Berkeley prof who took time off from college. Glad I’m not the only one who needed a break from school, albeit grad school in my case. And it turns out that break will be longer than expected. I’m not in classes now. I can’t start them until September or August when my classes are offered again.  There are no structured, busy days ready made for me.

Instead, there’s an abyss of time for me to fill. At least, I’m waking up early, beating my alarm even and going to the gym first thing. Something about winter dampens my energy on occasion. The cold deters me from leaving my apt and makes me want to do things from my bed like I am now, eyes threatening to stay closed with each lingering blink. Today was an outlier, one day of listlessness. I couldn’t focus in on or feel a sense of purpose in charging forward with my job search. In my caffeine induced sleep deprived state, I mindlessly scrolled through job postings.

Project bedroom decor

My sister called my old bedroom “depressing.” She was right. In my eight months there, I never put anything on the walls. And that apt tended to be dark and empty, lacking in natural sunlight and furniture to fill up the large space. It never had the warmth of home. So with my new bedroom in my new apt, I don’t want to just say I’m going to decorate. I’m doing it.

First up, a gallery wall. Today I bought some frames from Ikea. Now I’m working on getting the photos, art prints and such. A small frame will showcase this gem:

Only my favorite gif cause my friends and I saw this on our way to Yosemite. A bearded old guy in a plush blue wizard’s hat and tie dye shirt was riding his bike, pulling along a chihuahua past a McDonald’s parking lot. Something about the  ridiculous sight was hilarious amid the ordinary moment of leaving McDonald’s. He was also biking slow-ly as one might imagine for the chihuahua to be able to keep up.

Hopefully, it adds to a gallery wall  as cohesive and striking as this one:

(designed by Emily Henderson; photo taken by Jess Isaac, found by me on Cup of Jo,

Life-changing Must-Reads

I want my blog to have content beyond my own writings. Since I have some authority on what’s worth reading, I’ll share a highlight reel.


The Defining Decade informed my decision to go to Northwestern right after bible school. I thought of teaching English in Spain for a few months instead. The chapter about career made me realize that doing so would be a waste of time for me. It’d make more sense to go to Europe as a journalist, working towards the career I want to have. More lightbulbs went off reading the relationships chapter.


The power of vulnerability TED talk pushed me to take risks with people. Being vulnerable is scary, so I avoid it too often, more than I’d like. I learned that it might not be so bad to be the first one to say how you feel in a relationship. Opening up or being vulnerable is what makes connecting with someone possible. It takes courage, but it’s so worth the result.

My weirdest running encounter

Do not take this inaugural post as emblematic of my new blog. Marianna reminded me of this incident. She was there in our apt, #302 on Benvenue Ave in Berkeley, when I first told it, still in shock.

Running eight miles on a Saturday morning down to 24th St. in Oakland was nothing to me in college. It was something I did.  Someone once mentioned a shooting in Rockridge, the safe part of my route, but it didn’t register. On Fridays, a long run was what I needed to get me moving and out of my apt. Otherwise no class on Fridays meant extended lounging about and restless indecisive energy.

Reaching the Korean market on 24th St was my goal. After a straight shot down College Ave from my apartment, I didn’t know where I was going. I was running, without a smart phone or any phone in Oakland, an infamously ghetto neighborhood.

At the market on 24th and  Telegraph, I could relax, usually. I’d made it. Homestretch from here. If I was really tired, I walked. And I wasn’t one to walk. While I was walking, finally back in Berkeley near nondescript businesses a middle-aged bearded guy spoke to me. I was still on my runner’s high, where even my shoes don’t hit the ground, but what feels like pockets of air.

“I’m a Nike shoe designer. Can I see your shoe?” the guy says. I lift my foot up, so the sole of my purple Nike shoe faces him. He slides two or three fingers in my sock. There is no transition into this. I see it, but it can’t be happening.  My memory blacks out here. The seconds his fingers were in my sock, on my sweaty foot are blocked out I guess.

I run home. Later, I begin feeling violated. But right after, all I feel is shock. An ordinary guy, whose face I cannot picture, did this. I’m sweaty from eight miles or more of running, red-faced and also wearing Nike shorts. I’m thankful he didn’t claim to be a Nike shorts designer.