Friday, May 28, 2010


Since I graduated with an MFA, I've been writing and have "trained" myself how to greet, how to receive, how to deal with rejection. Over the years, I've grown not only as a writer who writes but also as a writer who knows how to greet, how to receive, how to deal with rejection. Having thick skin is one thing; knowing how to receive it in a constructive way is another. Take the sentence in the form letter "This doesn't reflect you as a writer" or "This doesn't reflect your writing ability" as truth. This is what I mean to take it constructively. And I treat the rejection in two different ways: When I receive a form letter, I treat it as an acquaintance and tell myself, "Such is competition. You can't win all the time." Besides, I like the saying, "You win some, you lose some." When I receive a letter with the editor's handwritten comments, I treat it as a friend. If an editor takes his/her time to handwrite you something, what does he/she want to tell you? Unfortunately, such rejection letters don't come by often. Because they seldom come, welcome them, embrace them, treat them like good old friends who take the trouble, despite their hectic schedule, to pay you a visit.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Myth of Sisyphus

From the Myth of Sisyphus Albert Camus derived his philosophy of the absurd. When I first heard of it in college, I understood his interpretation of the myth. Like any other myths, Chinese myths included, can be interpreted in various ways. Such is the strength and depth and the richness of a myth. The way I interpret the Myth of Sisyphus is not futility and absurdity as Albert Camus saw it. I see something totally different from his interpretation; I see three Ps: perseverance, persistence, patience. The three qualities a writer must have.

In his essay, Albert Camus concluded, " . . . . One must imagine Sisyphus happy." As a writer, I am happy because I have what it takes to be a writer: perseverance, persistence, patience. Since I started writing plays at graduate school, my patience has been tested and is still being tested. And, over the years, I've persevered and persisted. With so many odds against me--being a non-native English speaker, who didn't start writing until at the age of forty-one, and writing in the third language, and not many theatres across America having Asian actors--I continue to write for American theatre up to today. Rejection has frustrated me but has never intimidated me. I keep writing and keep sending my work out into the world.

If, according to Albert Camus, Sisyphus is happy, forever pushing the boulder up a mountain but the rock keeps rolling back down, I am happy doing what I've been doing since 1992 to be a playwright/writer.