Personal

Why I’ll Likely Self-Publish

I’ve been struggling to find a literary agent for one of my two fiction novels for more than a year now. I’ve pitched the story at conferences and via email, and received a steady trickle of rejections. Mostly formulaic responses, some nicer than others, one or two with encouraging words, …

Personal
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Lessons from my father

My father provided me with countless life lessons, many of which sunk into my head while I was pretending not to listen. I’ve written a previous blog on my favorite piece of his advice, the one about eating an elephant one bite at a time. In honor of the second anniversary of …

Personal

Value confusion

I’m more accustomed to hearing about values being talked about in a set – I’m thinking mainly of politicians touting “family values” and “American values” – as though there is some established list everyone who is important has agreed to. It also makes me think about times I’ve heard the …

Personal

Nirvana: Yup, that’s the voice of my generation

I was angry in the early 1990s Los Angeles. My new college degree in business wasn’t helping me find a job in California’s deep recession and weak recovery. I was working two part-time jobs — one doing car insurance quotes on the phone and the other working as a receptionist …

Personal

Turning sexism upside down

A handful of North American women pastors and church leaders sparked a great Twitter conversation Friday night with a simple technique. They wrote down all the discouraging, sexist things people said to them along their career path. Then they replaced “she” with “he” and “woman” with “man.” A sample: The …

Personal
4

A curious Mom

May 5 is my mother’s birthday — happy birthday, Rosemary Rosick Lipinski! — and when I think of my favorite things about her, I think about her lifelong sense of curiosity. It has been one of her best gifts she’s given me (besides the decades of devotion and financial and …

Personal
1

Pysanky

One of my favorite Easter memories is making pysanky with my parents, sister and friends. We stood at the stove for hours, carefully applying melted candle wax in patterns on hard-boiled eggs, using a straight pin from my mother’s sewing room stuck into the eraser of a wooden pencil as our …

Personal
1

Spring in SoCal

“I guess it’s spring, I don’t know, it’s always 75 degrees with no melting snow,” Jenny Lewis of Los Angeles’ band Rilo Kiley sings plaintively in one of my favorite songs, Does He Love You? And I know what she means. If it weren’t for the bright floral dresses at …

Personal

Malacca’s Red Paint Mystery

With 500 years of history as a spice trading town, Malacca, along with sister city Georgetown, was selected as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008, and that’s how it popped up on my radar of a good weekend trip from Singapore. Malacca’s sunbaked, salmon red Dutch buildings beamed out of …

Personal

Echeveria envy

I envy the echeverias in a garden by where I work. They are stunningly beautiful, with red ruffled tips extended from green bases, growing in concentric circles in a dozen unique patterns. Every circular cluster has a different geometry and a different balance. Some reproduce little rosettes in orderly circles, others …