Jayci Lee

Pamper Your Heart

Tag: amediting

Take off All Your Clothes – “Write Naked” Exercise Two

I know.

It totally freaked me out when the second writing exercise began with “take off all your clothes.” It sounds like something a sexy alpha hero would say to the spitfire heroine, who defiantly whips off her t-shirt,  terrified and exhilaratingly turned on at the same time.

For me, after a moment of panic and brief consideration of disrobing, I read on “… nah, just kidding!” Ha, ha. Funny, Ms. Probst. Very funny.

She does, however, ask that we – in this instance – I write something extremely personal to me, and to remember that it’s for my eyes only. Little did she know when she wrote this that I would be doing all her exercises on my blog.

*Name dropping pause*

Jennifer Probst now knows that I am posting all my writing exercises based on “Write Naked” on my blog. Because I told her. In person. At the #RWA17. Eeeek!!!

*Back to exercise*

Shoot. I want to make this post authentic but what can I share that is extremely personal but not a secret I must take to my grave?

No one wants to recognize the small, petty side of one’s self and I seriously never told anyone about this until a couple years ago.

I was about four or five, and my cousin, who was about a year younger than me, came to stay with my family for a bit because her mom had just passed away. We were close in age, so we did everything together. She was such a sweet, lovely child. Even a spoiled, princess like me could see that. She never cried or whined even though she must’ve been heartbroken by her loss, and she never asked for her dad or older sister. I actually don’t know why she couldn’t be with her family. At the time, she came and my parents said she was staying for a while, so I just shrugged and went with it.

At first, I made her my project and insisted on taking care of her every little need. After all, I was after all her “unni” (Korean for older sister – but used to cousins and older female friends, etc.) I would help wash her face, brush her hair, and shared all my toys with her. I even shared my little room with her. One night, she fell of the bed and began crying in the middle of the night. My parents ran into my room to find Little Cousin on the floor beside the bed. My dad lifted her off the floor, tucked her back in bed, and soothed her until her sobbing became sleepy hiccups.

The next morning, my mom was brushing Little Cousin’s hair to give us matching pigtails when the comb caught on something on Little Cousin’s head. She promptly began sniffling again. It turned out that she’d gone to bed wearing a small hair pin and a piece of the metal click-clock closure was embedded in her scalp. My mom screamed for my dad, and my dad was able to quickly get the small fragment out. I saw my mom holding back tears and my parents gave the sweet little girl the much needed and deserved love and attention.

Five year old me did not like that. (Freaking brat.)

Eventually, my uncle reclaimed his daughter and I had my room back to myself, but I felt like I had unfinished business. One night, I decided to pretend to fall off my bed and I cried like a banshee until my parents stormed into my room. I hammed it up and was properly fussed over. Satisfied, I went back to sleep.

I can’t recall why, but my parents and I were talking about our family back in Korea one day, and I suddenly remember what my devious five-year-old self had done all those years ago. Half laughing and 100% embarrassed, I told my parents that I never fell of my bed. I’d only been pretending because I was jealous of Little Cousin. They almost fell off the sofa laughing. They thought it was adorable.

But we all know if wasn’t cute. It was small. It was petty. I was so stupid. Shame on me for resenting a sweet girl who’d lost her mom.

I pray that the adult me is a little less possessive, self-centered and prone to crazy. At the very least, I strive to be a sympathetic, caring, and giving human being.

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New Beginning – “Write Naked” Exercise One

I made by human debut in Seoul, Korea in the mid-1970s.  My mom told me I was born in the early evening after a long, arduous labor. She recalled rushing to the hospital (it was a private labor & delivery hospital) in the middle of the night. All through the night, I dug in my heels and refused to come out. The delivery nurse got desperate and fed my mom two raw eggs to make me come out faster. I guess her logic was that the raw eggs will make me even more slippery than I already was covered with amniotic fluid and fetus goo. Unfortunately, the eggs went to my mom’s poor nauseous stomach and not to the birth canal. When I finally made my grand entrance, my mom realized why it was so hard to pop me out. I was a solid ten-pounder.

During out stay at the hospital, my mom’s ob-gyn had a four year old son, who became friends with my four year old brother, during our stay at the hospital. My brother said that they ran around the small hospital with toy guns playing pretend soldiers. He was too busy playing to meet me right away but when he caught a glimpse of me in the hallway, he said he was shocked. I was a giant monster baby compared to the other tiny, pink ones. To his four year old self, his baby sister was enormous. I think he was a little traumatized but he got over it quickly, because there are a lot of pictures of him carrying me, a  fat and squishy Michelin tire baby with tender love.

It was over thirty-nine years later that I finally sat down to write my 1st novel. At the time, I was juggling an all-consuming and uber stressful job as a litigation attorney, while raising two young boys. I was stretched so thin, I was transparent. Invisible. A ghost of my old-self. Any little thing would have shattered my fragile hold on control, but life decided to smash me to powder in style. An unexpected and heartbreaking revelation floored me.

I began writing to stay alive. Someone I love was hurting and there was nothing I could do to help him hurt less. Writing was the only place that I could find hints of my best self. To feel joy. Suddenly, I was soaring without physical form and unconstrained by time.  Not having read a single book or taken a single class in fiction writing, I completed my first novel in two-months. Since I had not read a single book or taken a single writing class, it wasn’t the most well-structured story, but it was enough to show me that I had a voice and a capacity tell compelling stories. I wrote my second novel in four-months. It was better but I finally understood that writing was a craft and I had a LOT to learn.

I’ve spend the last year-and-a-half revising and rewriting those two manuscripts. It has been humbling and thrilling. It has been two-years and two-weeks since I set off on this writing journey, and my most important discovery is that it’s a journey I wan’t take alone. The generous, loving writing community, and my incredible Mentor 1 and Mentor 2, have taken me under their wings and has made me a better writer. And I can’t wait to learn more each day and someday soon share my journey with my readers. I imagine those who know me intimately by my writing to read each of my successive books and see my growth as a writer and a person. And the journey will never end because there is always more room for growth and more stories to tell.

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