Yukon Trail

Near Takhini River

You have died of dysentry.

I’ve just gotten back from the Yukon. My mother took me and my cousin J up to see the Aurora Borealis, and B-cat came along, too, for a distraction from being injured and cooped up with me in a basement.

I enjoyed going north in 2010 and am grateful to revisit the museums, huskies, outdoors, etc., but this has been a terribly stressful trip. The group dynamic is as follows:

  • My mother stops speaking English or eating meals whenever we go on trips (all three of which, excluding childhood ones, took place this year). She tries to dissuade me and J from eating, saying we’re too fat;
  • J is not fat. He is shy? grumpy? and only speaks to my mother when she speaks first and to me when the others aren’t around. He rarely talks to English speakers;
  • B-cat is an English speaker who makes occasional remarks to J and my mother, but mainly wants to chat up strangers;
  • I am the worst travel buddy.


J and a Little Free Library by the half-frozen Yukon River

We do end up eating real food, but don’t see much of the Northern Lights through the clouds. During this time I’m still receiving rejection letters, an integral and awful part of writing fiction, and sending demand letters to Torquere Press, a publisher whose owners — Kristi Boulware-Talbot and Joanna Talbot — have now decided neither to pay its authors nor to return the rights to their work.

Then Trump talks to the president of Taiwan, and suddenly both pro-Trump and anti-Trump Americans are spouting strong opinions about Taiwan, whose very name confuses them because they’ve only skimmed through the Wiki:history article.

But I did see two red foxes, a dozen red squirrels, and a lot of nice people, so I guess this is just one of those trips that improve upon ending. If you like small, snowy towns, visit the Yukon — besides the lights, I recommend Mount McIntyre for the vigorous hike to the peak.

J, me, and B-cat

Summer’s Out for the Year

Moon Bus art installation by Taiwanese artist Jimmy Liao

How has your summer been?

In July someone hit me and B-cat with a car (and rightly accepted all fault) while we were on the way to a Tanabata Festival tea ceremony. Later that month, my story appeared in the 2016 issue of Green Hills Literary Lantern.

In August my grandmother passed away, a few years from 100. I flew to Taiwan for the funeral and three weeks of family bonding.

Other than “riding” the moon bus near Taipei 101 Tower and making a moon-shaped clay cookie pendant at a crafting tea party, I haven’t had an artsy summer, but I’m digging the lovely coincidence which I’ve just noticed.

I made the moon cookie; my cousin Annie made the star cookie

I still think it sounds cool to get ahead in lines and use diplomat-only counters at airports, but it’s definitely better to not be horribly injured. Looking forward to autumn!