Being bilingual is a cornerstone of my writing life. My multi-culti take on vocabulary and grammar has given me insight into Hawaiian culture, guided my perspectives on syntax, and shaped my ideas of adventurous prose. And being bilingual has developed my ear for language and given me a true appreciation not just for vocabulary, but also for the sound of words and the rhythm of sentences.
OK, you may think a grotto is “a small picturesque cave,” possibly near the sea or a lake, and probably sprouting ferns or fountains. Maybe you’ve seen a grotto in a fancy garden, like the Grotta Azzurra at Capri or Le Nôtre’s at Versailles, and associate it with Old World intrigue or even religious shrines.
Like many citizens, I’m finding it impossible to ignore reports about the new U.S. administration and its “disruptions.” I try to stay nonpartisan here (and in my books), since I prefer to poke fun at all ridiculous political speech, and to applaud any brilliant syntax.
I have been tuned into all things Hawai‘i this year, what with the release of my new books, both featuring Hawaiian subjects. So when I read that Disney’s Moana earned a spot behind Frozen as the second highest grossing Thanksgiving Day debut of all time, and held top rankings at the box office for several weeks, I was excited. Is Hawaiian culture finally going to get the attention it deserves?
Whether I’m writing an article about Hawaiian cowboys or a book on the intricacies of a sentence, I keep my journalist hat tugged on tight. Part of why I’m a professional writer is that I love research (and learning new things). But another part is that I find the process of getting things right to be challenging—and satisfying.
Convention says that June, July, and August is a time for beach books and frothy fiction. Surely there will be a bumper crop of such books this summer, but let’s not forget titles that are already on the shelves. While I was in Hawai‘i in May, I read Shawna Yang Ryan’s lyrical Green Island, which […]
Ah, how dangerous is a little myopia. At a recent conference in Boston, Gay Talese, journalist icon and keynote speaker, named four male writers who inspired him as a young man (Frank O’Hara, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Irwin Shaw). In the Q & A, poet Verandah Porche asked him if there were any women writers who played the same role in his literary life.
So, you’re looking for the perfect gift for the language lover in your life? Look no further than the book jackets above and to the right. LOL. Seriously, though, I’ve been thinking about a gift I could give my readers, and came up with something novel. Purchase a copy of Vex, Hex, Smash, Smooch along […]
When I was starting out, I wrote poetry and short stories. I never expected to earn money from writing—I bought the myth of the starving artist, empty hook, line, and sinker. I developed a sideline as a teacher, married a contractor so that I could have a house (even if it was a ruin in the ghetto), and settled in for the long haul. But as I gradually shifted to journalism—and got to know many professional writers in all genres—my expectations changed. I thought of writing not just as my calling, but as my career.
I’ve just started a two-week residency, joined in a large house filled with windows by two-other writers. Every day I walk from the house to the “East” writing shed, where I listen to the bird calls, watch egrets take flight, and stare out at Tomales Bay, which goes from bay to wetlands and back, depending on the tide.
This may seem like an odd setting in which to be writing a book on hula, but being in a place like this settles the soul and lets the imagination carry me to unexpected places. Finding stopping points is so essential to being able to sustain a life as a freelance writer, with its ups and downs, excitements and disappointments—and with the need to be constantly either hustling up work or hustling to meet deadlines.