Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sudoku and Writing

i picked up Sudoku months ago and was hooked. Ever since, I've spent fifteen to thirty minutes each day on the game. I like solving puzzles not because they help sharpen my brain, but because I love "mystery."

As a writer, I like to draw parallels to writing from things I do or watch. Here are the things I've learned from playing Sudoku that can be applied to writing and rewriting:

First, see what is there, and what is not, and what is missing.

Secondly, spot the problem early. Don't wait until you get stuck.

Thirdly, if you get stuck, look at the big picture.

Fourthly, don't hesitate to move things around.

Fifthly, put one right number in the right place, one at a time, and everything will fall into its place.

Sounds simple? Not really. Like writing, it takes practice, and it takes time to be good at. And like writing, if you do it every day, you'll savor the fruit of your persistence.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Back to Life

I know my blog has been screaming for an update.

Three months ago today at around midnight I was admitted to Northwest Hospital's emergency room for pneumonia and a heart failure. That night I was treated at the ICU with a ventilator because my oxygen level was only 85, and my heart function was only 20 %. I could have died.

Fortunately, after standing on the verge of death, I returned to life.

Altogether I stayed at the hospital for eight days: three days at the ICU with no food and a little of water for the medications; five days at the CCU--Critical Care Unit. For seven days, I was on oxygen twenty-four hours a day, and sometimes I had to wear the mask when the oxygen I got from the tube was insufficient to keep me breathing normally. For the whole time, Wes was with me except at bedtime. I was happy and blessed to have him there for me.

Since I resettled in America in 1985, I've never been hospitalized. The pneumonia that knocked me down just hit me like lightning. It might have sent me some warning signs, but I didn't see them coming. Like a blitzkrieg, the sudden illness almost subdued me. I fought back with the help of equally rapid treatment. I survived.

What an experience to see Death so close to me! When I was discharged from the hospital, I was extremely weak with a heart function of 40% and had to continue taking the antibiotics for eight more days for the vicious pneumonia and medications for the broken heart syndrome. Despite the frailty, I was overjoyed to be alive, feeling as if I were reborn.

Now I'm homebound recuperating. It'll be months before I can resume my normal life. As I'm feeling better, I've returned to my writing since the 1st of this month, writing for half an hour at each session, two sessions a day. I look forward to being able to write three/four hours in one sitting; it won't happen any time soon.

But, when Yin is on its way out, can Yang be far away?