As a creator (hey, someone’s gotta create these blog posts, right?), I’ve found myself at crossroads many a times over the type of themes or underlying messages my writing should have.
When it comes to writing on this blog, because all of it is personal and my point of view on certain things at certain points in my life, I just try to go at it with a point of trying to make it as honest as possible for myself and for those who may happen to read it.
However, when it comes to plotting what type of art I should create through my writing (whether it’s screenplays, novels or children’s books), I always have a bit of a harder time. On the one hand, I would ideally want my art to reach as many people as possible, making it pleasing for them. On the other hand, my faith has colored my view of the world and my reality in so many ways that I want to share that aspect as well. But how to do it without making it too preachy or with stereotypically cheesy Christian undertones?
So with these conundrums constantly at the back of my mind, I was pleasantly surprised to stumble upon this interview of Diablo Cody this morning.
Now, I love my girl Diablo. Always have since Juno popped out of her belly (er, brain?) years ago. Her rags to riches story of making it in Hollywood – as a woman, a newbie writer and a former stripper – is so unusual, so near unbelievable that the tale itself almost seems to have been crafted from a Hollywood writer.
With a stage name like Diablo (which actually means, “devil,” did you know?), it’s interesting to hear that Cody actually writes about all her personal encounters, thoughts, feelings and experiences in her dealings with faith and religion and in such a way that – from the plot line of her new movie, Paradise - it actually seems like it has an aspect of the gospel in it. I mean, I’d have to watch it for myself to really assess it but just take a look at this answer from her interview with the Daily Beast that addresses this:
“I had moments where I was really close to believing that there was really nothing to live for, that there was nobody looking out for me. That I wasn’t loved. I think everyone has been through at least one major personal trauma in their loves that causes them to question things, to rethink their identity.”
And at least for me, that has been truthful to me in my journey coming to Christ. Moments where deep down inside, I felt some sort of un-want, un-love, un-need, that I get to a place where I really needed to reaffirm where my place in the world is.
Not sure where Lamb’s (that’s the character’s name in the movie! Oh, Diablo) identity reassessment in the movie will take her but in my own personal story, it’s always taken me to a place of deeper understanding to where love comes from, what it truly is and why I can’t can’t can’t take it for granted (even though I often do because, well, I’m a sinner and nowhere the perfection). It’s a daily understanding, believing and recognizing of John 3:16 and 1 Corinthians 13 and 1 John 4:11-17 and more.
Of course, Cody’s God-damning, Vegas-partying, Russell Brand-lovemaking plot lines will probably also shock many church-goers and Jesus-lovers but I think it’s important to also allow people to realize that
A) Movies are works of fiction crafted out of someone’s imagination, personal experiences and personal agendas. They’re not the absolute truth so don’t get butt hurt about it not reflecting your view of your faith. And that:
B) The film – like life – is not about each scene or each line but about the overall journey and what themes and grand views of the world one can receive from it by the end. It’s a process. It’s a road. It’s a journey.
Thanks Diablo for giving me some great thoughts to think about when I craft my own works of art.
Thanks Christina for sharing the article.
Kids, I’m going to teach you a neat trick about life.
You ready to listen?
Sometimes, life sucks. (Holy epiphany!) Sometimes, it’s the crappiest of crap (I know, I’m a genius). Sometimes, you will have to suck on a whole lot of lemons and then you don’t even get lemonade after all that but rather, you get some sort of cheap knockoff lemon spit. Sometimes, you will step in dog poop. Sometimes, you will lose someone you love or that someone you love won’t love you back. Sometimes, you’ll be so sucked into and contained into your own self absorbed world of misery that you think there’s no way out of the black hole.
There is, though. That way?
I swear to you. Every time, it always seems to work. For some reason, looking up and staring up at the sky during my darkest moments have always given me the brightest of hope. The vastness of the sky overhead punctuated with the curly clouds (on a pretty day) or the ever-changing hue of a sunset just does something to one’s soul. Kind of settles it and wraps it up in a big hug while saying, “It’s gonna be okay.”
Staring at the sky gives you a perspective of who you are in this world. Unlike that little worm of a voice inside your head that keeps muttering over and over, “This problem is HUGE. You’ll NEVER get out of it. YOU SUCK, YOU SUCK, YOU SUCK,” staring at the sky reveals that you’re so tiny in this big big world of ours. Just an itty bitty speck. Remember those times when you were younger and letting a balloon fly into the sky, disappearing into the universe? Where does it go? Where does it end up? I’m sure there’s a scientific explanation and solution to it but the romantic in me is just going to say I don’t know.
But I do know what I see when I stare up at that sky. I see with certainty that my problems are not merely my own. Nor are they the end of the world. I see possibilities. I see hope. I see faith.
Look up. Do you see it too?
I realized I don’t got a lot of it.
Sure, I’m okay with waiting in line most of the time and I’m alright with traffic jams. I would say, I even find it fun sometimes to wait as I always manage to find things to preoccupy my time with. And knots? I can untangle those, no problem, because I just patiently pull it apart.
But when it comes to really being patient with the hard stuff – with waiting for things, people and situation to grow, I lose heart and I lose faith a lot. I wish life would only be filled with all the fun Instagram-worthy stuff like cute puppies frolicking in the grass or babies hiccuping (why so cute?) or winning the lottery. But nope… more often than not, we’re faced with craptastic things like getting gum on our shoes, waking up with headaches and waiting.
I know the only way to strengthen my patience is to wait it out. So heart, be still, my dear.
And let’s see what the future unfolds.
You know how sometimes after a long time of not doing something, you’re not even sure how to start it back up again?
Yea, that’s kind of the feeling I have right now. The wonder of what topic would be a good one to get myself back in the swing of things, what is impactful enough, important enough, well worded enough to actually make it a relevant first post after a long hiatus?
I thought about all the things I wanted to tell you, all the impressions I wanted to make…
And then I scratched all of those ideas and just decided to go with this one.
You see, someone very dear to my heart told me recently that when I write – especially for something such as this personal blog – I shouldn’t really worry about what the readers would want to read, what would get the most comments, what they would like because with all due respect, as important as you are in my life, my writing should also be because I have something to say, because I want to say something. Or even just that I want to write. Even if it’s about nothing at all.
And I did want to write tonight. I wanted to say hi to you guys. That I’ve missed you. I’ve missed the witty (at least to me) words that flowed out of my brain every time my fingers touched the keyboard. I’ve missed the long ruminations over what would make a great blog post, I’ve missed the interaction about honestly baring my souls sometimes just for the hell of it.
“What took you so long?” You might ask. (Or you might just be asking, “you still own this blog?)
Well, my hesitation came from many different forms.
There’s that very creepy man who still sends me creepy emails and messages and diamonds every time I make a remote blip on social media. There’s my job that sometimes sucks all the words (or at least the energy to be on my computer for more than I need to) away from me. There’s the decrease of a need to share what’s going on in my life with people other than the ones that I actually care about. I think as social media expanded (Twitter, Instagram, Kik, WeChat, etc., I’m looking at you all) I’ve started to shrink my media presence. I became more concerned about nourishing the few close relationships that I actually have in person and via one on one communication rather than sending out a mass email or picture to the world letting them know what pair of sneakers I have on. Hey, I’m not saying that’s bad if you’re someone who still does that but it’s just not for me.
But deep down inside, frankly there’s just a feeling that you probably don’t really care about my life or my thoughts of my words enough to want to read about it on this blog.
“Oh no no no, Janice! We care about you! We really want to see you update your blog!” You might say. (Or you might just say, “Seriously, you still maintain this thing?”) But it’s okay. Whichever your reaction is, I’m working on not really caring about the response I get with the work I write, more about keeping the reasoning for myself. Asking questions like, “what do I want to say? What do I want to share? Why do I think this is important?”
And that is enough.
Hope you’ll still keep reading
PS. Shout out to Alex and Jess who keep pushing me to keep this blog going. Thanks guys
Wow! I’ve been in Hong Kong for a year now! I had been planning to update you all here on what’s been happening here since I’ve been and what I’ve experienced and observed and lived through but I’m heading to Cambodia for the weekend so it’ll have to wait. But wow! It’s been a year!
Another year, another birthday.
I’ve never been one to be super big on my birthdays but have been super blessed by family and friends who celebrated with me with fine company, cake, balloons, birthday blessings and lots and lots of love.
This year was no exception. I got to get all warm and fuzzy with my family over a hot pot meal, thanks to my mom and dad. My sis orchestrated an amazing day of bowling, beers, best cupcakes and belly laughs. My amazing family (aunt, uncle, cousins Cissy, Donnie, Irene, Chris) blessed me with beautiful wishes and very generous and *ahem practical gifts. My friends lent their hands with helping out, getting me awesome balloons, writing heartwarming cards and just blessing blessing blessing me with their presence and smiles (and drinks). I feel so loved especially because I’ve been here in Hong Kong for a little less than a year, away from the only home I’ve ever known and yet, people are making me feel so welcome.
When people talk about birthdays, it’s usually associated with dread over turning another year older. I’d have to disagree. Save for the one year when I turned 21 and had a mini-panic attack, I’ve always been okay about turning another year older. Even looked forward to it sometimes. The way I see it:
I’m not turning another year older, I’m turning another year wiser.
I’m not heading towards death, I’m heading closer to eternal life.
I’m not decaying, I’m just learning to treasure my body more.
I’m not getting more boring, I’ve become more certain of who I am and what I want out of life.
I’m not becoming more jaded, I’m becoming more appreciative of all the good things in this world.
I’m not becoming less popular, I’m becoming more selective over who I value enough to spend my time with.
I’m not regretful I’m still stuck making the same mistakes sometimes, I’m grateful I’m picking up the pieces faster after I’ve made the mistakes and lessening the frequency in making them.
I’m not leaving the good ol’ days behind, I’m getting closer and closer to the best days of our lives.
Not only am I 26 years old, I’m 56 years wise, 16 years strong, 6 years innocent, 16 years adventurous, eternally joyful.
I would never want to be the person I was 1, 2, 3 years ago. That Janice was naive, selfish, quick-tempered, on shaky grounds, cared so much more about the little things that won’t last, cared so much more about what other people thought. This Janice… because of Him… so much better
Thanks to everyone who’s wished me a happy birthday and helped me celebrate!
Now that I have been in Hong Kong for a little over half a year, I’m finally experiencing that dose of what they call homesickness. The LA sunshine. The chill, laid-back people who are all, like, ‘whatever’, and, ‘just chill’, and, ‘dude’, and stuff. The burritos and quesadillas and KBBQ and pho.
But I think what I miss most about LA is the dreamers.
LA is a land of dreamers.
It’s a place where stories are longing to jump from the brain onto a paper (or Word Document) and onto the big screen or small screen or stage. It’s a place where an actor has fallen in love with creating characters and is willing to wait on tables for years in order to make that dream a reality. It’s a place where (wannabe) producers, writers, talents, directors, costume designers do what they do in order to make the impossible a possibility. It’s a place where people are okay with money not being the means to everything so long as their souls can create, produce, emote.
Hong Kong’s a more practical city. It likes to look at the odds, the chances, the likelihood, the possibilities, the numbers a bit more. Oh yes, the numbers. It definitely likes to look at the numbers.
I’ve never been a numbers person so the odds (hah!) doesn’t bode well for me in a city like Hong Kong. Yet, I’m a doggedly persistent dreamer and my optimism and faith is at a staggeringly high percentage (well, what do you know, I just may be a numbers person after all!) so I think this–combined with the acceptance of the personality of the city I live in– will help my chances at thriving here. Plus, it’s good to have Hong Kong’s go-getter attitude rub off on me a bit. I need that to make things happen, right?
This was just a small shout-out to all my dreamers out there. You’re not alone. And your dreams are going to become awesome realities!
My life as a shopping editor is pretty random most of the time. I never know what I can expect in a day.
I could be at a fashion show cheering on my cousin and sister in a David Yurman fashion show.
Or receiving a specially signed photo book of half-naked men from Abercrombie & Fitch.
Or nibbling on pink jelly for lunch.
Or receiving yummy chocolates at the office.
Or checking out pretty ladies in pretty clothes for a fashion show luncheon.
Or stalking Jeremy Lin on assignment.
Yea. My job is pretty awesome. But don’t think I don’t know it can all be taken away in a minute. So just going to cherish and work as hard as I can while I still have it. 加油！
As my previous post indicates that I’m alive, some of the following experiences from photo shoots in Hong Kong left me nearly dead.
As I’ve mentioned before, Hong Kong works at lightning speed and people are known to do whatever it takes to GET. THINGS. DONE. So it’s not uncommon for us to pull a photo shoot out of thin air with two models, 4 looks, outdoors location out of thin air. Some notables thus far (I say that ’cause I know there will just be so much more good ones coming up!)
What the heck is sports chic? My partner-in-crime Arthur and I had to figure out that exact question when we set off to shoot a sports chic look book photo shoot. This was my first shoot with the mag and I think I may have been a little overambitious itching to do two models, 4 looks, and an outdoors locations. The result came out quite well but this behind the scenes post will give you more insight as to what happened. Personally, I ended up with 54 mosquito bites that afternoon. 54! (You know of my hate/hate relationship with them pesks).
Totes vs. Backpacks
A good (or bad) thing about being an editor is you can indulge in a bit of nepotism every now and then. I try not to but I can’t help it that my sis and intern John also happened to be good-looking models! Also, Arthur and I had a bit of a banter over what’s cooler to carry around– a tote or a backpack. Tough choices, eh? Read here.
Pretty sexy, huh? You wouldn’t believe how much effort went into getting this cover shot. The model, August, is already super gorgeous and sexy and yet, hours and hours of photoshopping went into making her flawless. This was completely different from our original concept but I kind of love it. It was relevant to the subversive nature of the sex issues we were talking about and c’mon, it’s hot. I also helped contribute with this feature story on HK’s sex industry workers which was quite an adventure to compile but which I felt was a real breathe of fresh air for journalism. (Also, an issue I have a heart for.) Read here.
I gotta say, modeling is a tough job. You could be swathed in heavy coats and wool sweaters and walk around sweat-infused Causeway Bay in 5-inch platforms and have to look beautiful doing it. Luckily, these two models, Eva and Reila, were troopers as we marched about the district and all its army of crowds and shot this look book. I’m glad I started my job during the summer time where I had the face the worst the Hong Kong weather had to bring. The next few seasons should be easy peasy! (I hope I hope I hope)
These shoots would not have been possible without Arthur, Calvin the photographer extraordinaire, Ken the creative director extraordinaire, Gabbie the makeup and hair stylist extraordinaire, and our rockstar interns John, Jessie, Gloria, and YY. People, you rock.
Next up: Events
I have this problem. I have a need to share with the world my passions and interests and hope that they will also enjoy it. Hence, this blog is born- to showcase some of the things I'm most fascinated with. Most of the posts relate to the media as it relates to me. (Blame the early twenties neurosis of thinking the world revolves around you). (More..)
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