WRITING

Here are some short pieces of writing I've done in the past:

The Musicality of Language

Music and language are integral aspects of my identity. While they seem to exist as different facets of the same identity, music revealed to me the beauty and rhythms of language. My love for the melodies in music coincides with my love for the syntax and grammatical structures in language. These two aspects of language are comparable - to me, both serve as a creative and therapeutic outlet for self-expression.

It occurred to me one day, while practicing my violin piece, that a majority of the musical terms were written in different languages. The term “allegretto vivace” meant “moderately quick” in Italian, and “douce” meant play “sweetly” in French. On the other hand, many famous pieces were written by German composers such as Beethoven and Bach, and all these foreign terms were standardized through music. The realization finally dawned on me that music and language are interchangeable, and I drew inspiration from multiple facets of my life to fuel my passion for art. I composed music on my iPad and wrote lyrics to accompany the songs. I experimented with different foreign languages and arranged it so that the words weren’t separate entities but fluid components of music. I learned to reconcile and combine music with language to express my emotions in a creative and innovative way.

Enthralled by my findings, I wrote songs for a number of small occasions. I created music to perform in front of audiences, such as my own rendition of the “Happy Birthday” song in Chinese. I also wrote lyrical pieces in French for my friends to sing at school events. I continue to pursue my new passion by writing pieces for a larger assortment of instruments and creating new musical terms in foreign languages. I find solace in music; through performances, it allows me to connect with other people and brings joy to my audience.

My Superpower

Most superheroes are depicted with long, flowing capes and the ability to soar through skies, jump over buildings, bend space and time, and essentially save the world from arch villains - Thanos, Joker, Ultron, or Dr. Doom.

However, the superpower I want most is to stop all time. In contrast with flight or super-human strength, my superpower would only benefit me and my insatiable appetite for good novels. I am passionate about literature and would like to read to my heart’s content. I want to feel the crinkle of the pages and see the words float off of the paper; I want to taste the bag of Doritos chips I keep as a mid-break snack while I curl up with a book. Unlike my notorious counterparts, I can’t trim the bushes with my metal, three-pronged claws, hang up my four pairs of identical suits with my webs, or re-freeze my melted, half-spooned carton of Ben and Jerry’s. With my superpower, I can travel to different worlds and their parallel universes, experience the love blossoming between a young Jane Eyre and the dynamic Mr. Rochester, and escape the turbulence and deceit of Long John Silver, all in the comfort of my own home in my fuzzy pair of bunny slippers and matching pajamas.

My superpower is integral to my pursuit of knowledge. I don’t limit my readings to strictly classical literature - I would spend hours reading every painstakingly inked page of a Japanese manga, cry through Anne Frank’s biography, browse through a national geographic magazine, or leaf through the LA Times at our breakfast table. The more I read, the more I gain an understanding for the world around me, and the more I can sympathize and reconcile the perspectives of different characters in my books and in in real life. When I argue with my brother, my mind immediately wanders to the emotional confrontation between Achilles and Hector. When I try flirting with the opposite sex, I divert my thoughts to the balcony scene between Romeo and Juliet. I can convert a boring chemistry classroom into a Hogwarts Potions class. While I would miss smelling my mother’s signature chow mein recipe, however, I can reconcile my inability to smell by immersing myself solely in my love for books.

My alter ego is bookworm, and time is my kryptonite. So if you ask me what my superpower is, I’ll say that I’d gladly trade in a cape for “Wuthering Heights” or laser vision for Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” any day.

To Mom

When I was little, like all the other little girls, I dreamed of being a princess. I would wear the cheap, glittery pink dresses you see at second-hand stores and parade proudly down the hallways of my house. For Halloween every year, I would wear a bedazzled tiara as an accessory. This princess episode ended after second grade; after I wore the yellow dress my mother so carefully prepared for me the night before, I was finally overcome with the realization that I was the only one in the classroom wearing something so worn and tattered from overuse, and I felt utterly dejected and humiliated. I wanted to find someone to blame for my wardrobe malfunction, and the only person I knew to blame at the time was my mother.

That day, I cried out of humiliation for all the pointed fingers and giggles at my cheap costume. I was horrified at the thought of being excluded from my friend group while, at the same time, being jealous of their chic, expensive costumes. My mother has always been my most adamant supporter; she has always encouraged my interests even when they were considered different or unconventional. But, after that year, I gave up on dressing as a princess just because someone had called it “lame”.

My mother always supported me from the shadows. My seven-year-old self would never be able to comprehend the hardships my mother faced to turn down her promotion at a local TV station in Taiwan, move to America, and become a homemaker. America was unfamiliar to her - she had only glimpsed of this vast expanse of land through the characters of Hollywood movies. My mother counted money by the penny. We were on a $10 budget for groceries, and everything we owned was from a second-hand store. I was unaware that my mother never spent any money on personal indulgences; she wore the same Northface jacket for ten years, and yet, she still managed to get me a different princess dress every Halloween.

Today, my seventeen-year-old-self would reflect back on the yellow dress with mixed feelings of amusement and sadness. That day, while my mind was fixed on accusing my mother, she would hold my tear-stricken face in her hands and tell me that I would always be her “little princess” no matter what anyone else said about me. I still remember the awful way I treated her despite her confession to me, how such a small, insignificant moment overshadowed all the hardships she had gone through raising me. She sacrificed her life for mine, and at the time, I did not know how to appreciate it.

Though I may never be an actual princess, I will forever wear the bedazzled crown my mother gifted me all those years. And even if other people try to demean me for liking what I like, I can face them with confidence just knowing the fact that I will always be my mother’s “little princess.”

Ode to Boba

Milk tea flows through my veins
like glue inside a bottle
Behold
Your chewy tapioca balls or
the balls that burst with fruity flavor

Like the electrons
dancing around an atom
to the rhythm of
a swirling
Gumball machine
Like a basketball
bouncing across a court
or flowers
pressed apart like
red balloons
suspended in
the sky

Like stars blazing
in the night
Each ball a tiny
planet
drifting aimlessly
through the
solar system - the
Earth
revolving around the
Sun the Moon
revolving around the Earth you
revolving inside
me

It’s you
I search for -
pearls concealed
within this plastic oyster