New year’s eve – back to school tomorrow


Since I was a kid, September has always marked the beginning of a new year. Between completing my writing programs and my ed-related courses, I’ve been in school steadily since I initially graduated from the University of Toronto back in the early 90s.

So, in the spirit of a new year, the following are this year’s resolutions:

  • No more courses – for a while anyway. I need to focus on getting my book revisions completed.
  • Have realistic deadlines and expectations. Not everything needs to get done ALL AT THE SAME TIME.
  • Get five things done on my LIFE list.

An inconvenient life

A play by Ins Choi

I was at a really great little bookstore earlier called Theatre Books.  It was my first visit there. I went in specifically looking for Kim’s Convenience, a play by Ins Choi (no relation) that I’ve been wanting to see for a while now. It’s about a first generation Korean immigrant family living and running a convenience store in the heart of downtown Toronto.

My family did the same for thirty years. Our store was open 7-11, seven days a week.  My friends used to feel sorry for me because my family never ate meals together, and because my brothers and I were always working in the store. But that was the only life we knew growing up. The worst thing of all though was living with the constant threat of being robbed which happened so often, we lost count over the decades.

The book that I’m currently writing is also set in and around a family-owned variety store. Mary, my protagonist, is a Korean-Canadian immigrant who struggles to break free from the rigid expectations imposed on her by her parents and her culture.

After one week…

Terry Fallis

I got the idea to start a blog after taking a creative writing course entitled, “Building an Audience” with Terry Fallis at the University of Toronto’s School for Continuing Studies. Terry is the author of The Best Laid Plans (Canada Reads 2011 winner) and The High Road. He made blogging seem like the easiest thing to do in the world. A quick look at his site suggests that he really enjoys doing so.

I’m still learning how to navigate my way around the blogging universe. I’ve appreciated the visitors who have let me know that they’ve been here so that I can check out their blogs. I’ve found some really neat ones as a result and still have a few that I’m excited to check out.

Any advice/suggestions from fellow bloggers who write for a living or simply enjoy doing so would be greatly appreciated. You can email me at annykchoi@ymail.com or comment below. Thanks!

Getting things done

Am finally getting around to reading Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft which was  mentioned in several of the writing courses I took. I appreciated reading that King went through “periods of idleness followed by periods of workaholic frenzy.” It actually made me feel better to read that someone as prolific a writer as King goes through spells of inactivity. If I’m not writing or doing something “productive”, I’m often plagued by guilt.

I read two interesting pieces about writing and writers today worth passing along:

Writers of Korean descent

Stumbled onto this list of American writers of Korean descent. I read Native Speaker by Chang-Rae Lee years ago. Great book. The protagonist, Henry, is a man caught between two worlds – Korean and American, and finds himself belonging to neither.

The single story

Chimamanda Adichie is a novelist originally from Kenya. In this clip, she talks about the danger of listening to a single story about a culture or a country, and about how she found her authentic voice.

Does it even need a name?

Just added some background information about the book that I’m writing. The convenience store in my story remains nameless. I often struggle with names and sometimes even dread having to name a character. Like many writers, I often look up names to see if their meanings match the characters I’m creating. The other challenge is knowing people with the names I want to use in a story.  I still need to overcome my fear of offending readers – although I’ve come a long way since I first started writing. Writing, even fiction, requires courage sometimes.

I’m wondering if the store in my book needs a name or if it should remain nameless, a generic random store in the heart of Toronto to represent the hundreds of other convenience stores all over the city. Thoughts?