Miscellany · Novellas

Bluebird Interview

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She was born when Saturn and Uranus were housed in the Aquarius. That says pretty much about her. The Aquarian are known for their independent spirits, compassionate and caring nature, and unquenchable wants of knowledge, all enveloped in mysterious estrangement even among the crowds. Yet, Stephanie, the writer and the editor of her two-year old Web log, “The Stylus,” (formally known as “Offbeat) is generally quite approachable and genial although she is never too loquacious at a first meeting. In fact, you might find her quite interesting to talk to, especially when you strike up a conversation with her about books written by classical writers or about history, dogs, or cultures. And if any of these appertains to one of her writings published on her digital log, “The Stylus,” you will see her soul being elevated to the ether with her eyes sparkling like stars on the Persian night sky. On Monday morning at a cozy cafe in Avonlea, Bluebird had the pleasure sitting down  with a cup of warm hazelnut coffee to talk with her about her blog, from the inception, the purpose, and the future thereof.

BD: Hi, Stephanie. As Oscar Wilde has said that a woman who would reveal her age would tell anything about her, I won’t ask you how old you are because I suspect that you will not anyhow.

Stephanie: I appreciate your judiciousness. (Smile) And yes, you are right in saying that I won’t tell you my age. (Smile) But I am neither teen-aged nor maturely aged, single, like one of those 10 vestals in the ancient Roman Empire. (Smile)

BD: Okay, then let’s start talk about your Web log. What was the idea behind the creation of this log of yours? Did it occur to you all of sudden that you wanted to have yours like everyone else?

Stephanie: Well, I first started thinking about having my writing log about 2 years ago. I had always wanted to write things about what I liked and to convey it in written letters because I think writing revels one’s soul in his/her genuine self without worrying about the physical appearance and how to present the self externally in public. In that regard, writing is non-discriminating of all social and biological differences. And I always thought that in people’s writings I could see the intelligence and nature of the writers because people would tell about their innermost feelings by means of writing rather than by speaking, which I think, sometimes seems a bit pompous and artful.

BD: So, is this why you came to create your blog to write about what you think and feel that cannot be shared by speaking in public?

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Stephanie: Partly so. And partly it’s because writing seems easier to communicate than speaking, which requires of me instantaneous faculty with dialogue that necessitates breaking from shyness. You see, English is not my mother tongue. Being a native Korean, the language differences between the two languages are as wide and deep as the Pacific Ocean: The English belongs to the Indo-European lingual family, while the Korean to the Ural-Altai to which the Japanese, the Turkish, the Finnish, and the Hungarian also belong. The syntax and the grammar are of course very different. So, it will be much different from, say, someone from any Western European country speaking and writing English because Western European languages belong to the same family as the English. Nevertheless, I want to break from such syntactical, grammatical, and literary inhibitions to craft the art of writing, just as Jack Kerouac felt the same about it.

BD: That’s a sublime motivation to create your blog. Then how about the name of your blog? It has recently gone through some changes…

Stephanie: Yes, indeed. But for the good reasons. First, it was started as “Offbeat” because one of the teachers at the language school I currently work at told me that my blog seemed to carry this offbeat vibes, a sort of New York feel, the independence, the avant-garde spirit that knew no boundary of subject matters of writing. So I thought it was a cool name for my blog and kept it until the last week. But suddenly I came to think that it needed name changing just for a change of scenery; you know the kind of moment when you want to reinvent your image with a new haircut.

BD: Alright! It sounds like a legit reason. But why did you name your blog “The Stylus”? What does it mean and where does the inspiration come from?

Stephanie: Well, I was shortly keeping the name “Swing of Things” which is a title of a song written by A-Ha, a Norwegian pop group, because it deemed fit the background picture of my blog. But then while I was reading Edgar Allen Poe’s 30 best short stories and poems, I found out that he was the editor of a literary magazine called “The Stylus,” which I thought a great name for my blog. Hence I set it as my blog name. So please dear my readers and subscribers, do not be alarmed by this new name appearing on the readers because it’s the formerly known as “Offbeat”. (Wink)

BD: Okay, Stephanie. That’s a nice way of introducing your new blog name to your readers. By the way, what are your readers like? Do you have many followers?

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Stephanie: To be honest with you, I am more concerned about the qualitative likes I get for what I write from fellow bloggers who also love writing and publish qualitative posts by which I mean the writings, such as musings, creative stories, poems, and/or book reviews. The reason I say this is that recently there has been someone who creates several unsolicited blogs that only contain commercial stuff, copied works of others, or nothing just to get to my blog. And I tell you that I only appreciate the likes from those qualitative bloggers. And I also tell you that I don’t appreciate those of illegitimate ones’ likes. How do I know they are illegitimate? Well, can you like my writing as soon as I publish? That means that person does not bother to read my writing, which I take it as an offense.

BD: Who is that one plaguing your blog with empty likes? Have you done something about it?

Stephanie: First, that one appeared in my spam comment section. He said he liked my blog and asked for some advice of writing. I think I was too naive to even reply to him, thinking that he was going to have his meaningful blog filled with writings, but no… I should have never done that…. This is my character flaw; that I bring trouble and pain on myself through pity and compassion… In that respect, I sympathize with Katherine Cookson, who said the same thing in her memoir Before I go, about which I have also written.

BD: You must be really frustrated with that person… Sorry to hear that.

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Stephanie: I even contacted an engineer at wordpress. about this issue in effort of stopping him from visiting my blog, but was told that because it’s in a public domain, there’s no way I could do that… And you know it’s really disheartening to see it happening in my blog because it is a sheer form of sabotage to my blog because my blog is not an object of popularity… Although my current followers are 52, what I care about is my works being duly appreciated by fellow writers, amateur or professional. Nevertheless, I don’t want to canvass for liking my writings. It’s just not me. But if you like any of my writings in terms of the contents regardless of any grammatical errors, that makes me feel fulfilled. And any comment is always welcome.

Don’t be shy to comment on any of my posts because I am a human being, too! (Smile)

BD: Stephanie, I understand how you care about your blog and your love of writing in this interview. Any word to your readers?

Stephanie: I just want my readers to know that I write because I like to portray what I feel about things in my heart in poetry and what I think about books I read in my mind in belief that taste and reason is universal in all human creatures regarding principles of judgment and of sentiment common to all mankind, as Edmund Burke averred in his essay On Taste. So Many Thanks to You, Dear Readers with My Whole Heart.

BD: Thank you, Stephanie. I hope your writings will have a wide range of loyal noble readership.

Stephanie: Thanks! Have a lovely day!

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Miscellany · Novellas

Sunday Episode – Avonlea Tunes

Little ones’ sweet days (Click here for what they did.)

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It’s still cold here in the town of Avonlea with the North Wind reigning his realm of winter. The snow has stopped falling since the last Tuesday, but the cold temperature still befalls the residents of Avonlea. However, the spirits of the little ones are all the more upbeat with their seemingly nonstop frolics and curious minds about what goes around them everyday.

Yesterday after attending their 9:00 AM Sunday mass in the Church of St. Mary, the little ones gathered again at Mrs. Lompstrompf’s cafe to confabulate with one another with sweets and refreshments. It was a reward for their attending the early morning mass despite the frigid temperature added by frightfully pungent wind slapping he little faces without mercy as they had marched forth to the church. What brave souls they were! That’s why Jesus told that we should be like children to inherit the kingdom of heaven.

So this was how they spent yesterday in Avonlea. However simple the story might be, it’s recorded in their chapters of life. That’s what a life is. The meaning of life depends upon whether or not we fulfill the demands placed upon our daily tasks. The little ones seem to know it. What about you, dear reader?

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Miscellany · Novellas

The Arrival of the Beaver

Calico Times (Click here to read the article.)

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At the outset of the new year, which is also Year of Dog, a new family lands at Littleton Airport in the vicinity of Avonlea with their new hopes and aspirations. The Calico Times, which is the one and only newspaper in Avonlea, welcomes the new family wholeheartedly as new residents of Avonlea with a heartwarming report of their arrival.

Meet the Beaver from England: the household is headed by Paul Beaver, an able mechanic with amazing technical dexterity and a heart of gold. Brenda Beaver, his better half, is a full-time homemaker, administering the domestic affairs while her husband is working outside the home for the family. In fact, Mrs. Beaver regards housekeeping as a formidable domain of work, contrary to the received idea of the work as drudgery or menial labor degraded by women nowadays. Betty and Wille are their adorable and bright children. They have inherited the good qualities from their parents but are by no means spoiled, thanks to the child rearing balanced with loving care and discipline.

So the new family will start their life anew in a new land with auspicious thinking and go-aheaditiveness. Also, they are happy to reunite with their good friends, the Collie from Scotland.  In fact, the Beaver will stay a week at the Collie until they find a new abode in the town. Let’s make good wishes for the Beaver!

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Miscellany · Novellas

At the cafe on a New Year’s Day

NEws Article about the upgraded cafe   (Click here for the cafe scenes)

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Benjamin Franklin in his Autobiography advises his reader for the New Year to resolve to perform what he ought and perform without fail what he resolves. Mrs. Lompstrompf’s bakery whose official business names is “Rilakuma Cafe” is accordingly decorated anew with a variety of new snacks at affordable prices to accommodate to the little ones’ pocket money. How thoughtful and generous the proprietor is! There is seldom anyone like Mrs. Lompstrompf in these days.

So after wishing Happy New Year to their families and friends, the little ones gather in their elbow room in Avonlea. What is better than uplifting your spirits with sweets and refreshment in a wintry afternoon?

The little ones are busy talking about their new year’s resolutions and plans among themselves, and listening to them makes anyone smile at their innocent wishes and simple hopes for the future, which is a prerogative of the young at heart.

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Miscellany · Novellas

Episode VI – Ramen soup for the soul

Ramen night   (Click here for the ramen dinner)

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It’s a frightfully cold night tonight; so cold that it will freeze your toes out if you forget to wear your socks or have holes in your shoes. Boreas. god of the North wind in collaboration with the White Witch are at their zenith to in this time of the year and orchestrate the symphony of arctic winter in Avonlea, where the little residents gather together at home to warm their bodies and jettison their sprites from frigid cold.

Of all kinds of soup that can provide both delicacy and warm to the body and the soul of the Avonlea residents, they have chosen Ramen unanimously because (1) you can cook it in 10 minutes by putting the ramen noodle in the boiling water with ready-made seasonings in it; (2) there is a variety of flavors you can choose, such as vegetable, beef, chicken, and shrimp; (3) you can mix it with lots of creative additions, such as dumplings, battered eggs, cheese, minced scallops, tempura, fried shrimps, or tofu to your liking; and (4) a package of instant ramen noodle is pleasingly inexpensive. Hence, it is nicknamed – somewhat endearingly- “a poor soul’s victual” in some Far Eastern countries, such as Korea and Japan.

So here the repast of ramen noodle soup for the family. Tom is especially good at cooking a delicious bowl of the noodle soup for his friend Fred and himself.  The night is still young and  cold, but their home is warm and cozy. It seems that “God is in his heaven, and all’s well with this world.”