Plight of the 2nd Gen

We learn dual languages: one for home and one for “out there”

and we take our strange scents to school

and they pinch their noses: What’s that?


we like jeans, rock music, movies, and slang

and we are scolded for peculiar haircuts and behavior

and they grab us and ask: who are you?





What do we owe each other?

Uh “Oh”…

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Dang it.

I love Sandra Oh. She’s cool. She’s ultra. She’s crush-worthy.

I’m trying to cut down my screen time and now THIS!

I’m going to get hooked, I just know it. Damn.

If you’ve ever sold yourself short, you need to read this deeply compelling article on the show and Sandra:

Sandra Oh Assumed She Wasn’t Up For Lead In ‘Killing Eve’ Due To Hollywood Racism (Huffington Post)

If you miss the broadcast, you can watch full episodes here (you don’t even have to log in)!

Thank you (고맙습니다)



Dear Mom and Dad,

Thank you for all the piano and cello lessons. Music has been a lifelong passion of mine and speaks to me in all facets of my life. I’ve developed a deep appreciation for it and (hope) I’ve passed that on to my daughters. You sacrificed money and time for us and now I’m doing the same.

Thank you for the Tae Kwon Do lessons. It was hard and it must have been difficult for you to watch Jojo, John and me kicking and punching and getting beat up by grown ups in class. When we broke boards, we felt a new found satisfaction in our focus and power.

Thank you for not allowing us to quit, even when we cried.

Thank you for encouraging and allowing us to work in the cornfields of DeKalb, IL. We got cut by the sharp leaves of the stalks. We sweat and walked 12-14 hours a day during “peak.” But we learned the value of hard work and the true value of money.


Thank you for allowing us to ride our bikes all over town and for speaking in Korean in the house and pushing Korean food on us, when we just wanted McDonald’s. We came to appreciate different spices and vegetables and it’s a lot healthier, too.

Thank you for not going easy on us.We learned to handle disappointments, heartache, and pain. I was able to handle difficult bosses, financial stress and cancer because you allowed us to become strong and tough. Thank you.




Leonard Chang!

justifiedI had the very good fortune of interviewing Leonard Chang.

Award-winning author of several novels, FX’s “Justified” TV Show writer and his motumblr_inline_n9ubdnRcV91qbjnfast recent autobiography, Triplines, he shared his writing process and advice for other writers.  He is currently at work on another novel, The Lockpicker, due out in 2016.

What inspires you and what is your writing process when writing novels?

Perhaps this might be a circular answer, but writing actually inspires me. When I write a scene or a story or a character that suddenly *clicks*, whether it gets at something I’ve been thinking about for a long time, or a character does something surprising and delightful to me, or any kind of confluence of the creative forces as I’m trying to make a story coalesce — when it works, I feel an incredible sense of… I don’t know, joy, or maybe even a hint of transcendence. It’s what Kafka has said, and which I’m sure I’ve talked about before: for the him writing was the axe breaking the frozen sea within us. Of course not all writing does that — and getting to that place is arduous, painstaking work, but when it happens I feel like all the pain was worthwhile, and I want to keep doing it…

My writing process for my novels is very, very simple. I get up early and I write a few pages a day, and then do other things until the next morning. The pages accumulate over time, and then I rewrite these pages over and over, sometimes starting over from scratch. I keep doing this until the novel is finished — it can take years. I’m not being facetious — it really is this grueling. It’s all about stamina.

How did you get into writing for a TV series? Was it something you’ve dreamed of doing? What would you advise wanna be TV series writers to do?

I’ve never dreamed of writing for a TV series, but certainly have dreamed of being able to write all the time, which is essentially what I’ve been doing since I became a professional writer. For me, writing TV is just another kind of writing. It all comes from the same place. And I got into TV writing the same way I got into novel writing. For novels, when I read everything I could and found I wanted more, I began writing books for myself. For TV I watched shows like The Sopranos and The Wire, and hungered for more, so began trying to create my own shows. However in TV there’s a lot more to the business that just writing, and I needed to understand all facets of TV production, which is why I had to begin staffing on other shows to learn. I’ve been lucky to work on excellent shows with superb people. As for breaking into TV there’s no one way — every writer you meet in TV has a different story about how they broke in. Often it’s through a mentor, through a lower level writing assistant job, through the TV writing programs, or through a different medium (film, novels, plays, etc). My only general piece of advice is at the very base level of all of these is being a great writer, so that’s the factor you can control. You need to write so well that everyone who reads your work will feel like they’re missing out if they don’t ally themselves with you.

Describe a typical day at work for “Justified.”

“Justified” has ended (we aired our season finale a couple months back) but for me a typical day looked like this: I would get into the office at around 5:30 AM. I would spend a couple hours writing various things, sometimes Justified scripts, sometimes other things. I’d then watch the previous day’s “dailies” — the footage shot yesterday. I’d read through yesterday’s writers’ room notes, think about the issues we’d be talking about that day. The writers’ room would start around 10:00AM, and I along with eight or nine other writers would continue “breaking” a new episode — basically discussing at length the current story and state of the characters, laying things out on a whiteboard — and then we’d finish around 6:00PM. I’d then do a little more work, and then go to the gym. I’d get home by 8:00-ish and spend time with my partner (she is also a writer but works at home) and we might watch TV and hang out, and then I’d pretty much crash by 10:00PM. All this changes if we’re shooting an episode I wrote, since our writers were always on set for our scripts — those were long days and nights.

Thank you for your time and attention, Leonard!

For more Q&A, check out his blog:

Readers, click on the book covers to purchase his books. They Ah-mazing!

Here is his author’s page on






I’m Right Here

My mom was here again, for another lovely visit.  Although most of her visits are always quite pleasant, there is one time I dread: dinner.  I have to be patient with my husband and my mom during dinner because she cannot shake the nasty habit of speaking to me ABOUT Willey in front of him. It is rooted in the depths of her Korean soul to speak as indirectly to him as possible. In so doing, she uses me as a communication vessel. It’s almost as if she feels the need for a translator, and it annoys Willey to no end. It’s like a scene from Groundhog Day: we just live it over and over and over again.

Yooni with her new eyelash extensions!

We were sitting down to a meal of sujehbee, my favorite dish of dumplings in spicy broth.
“Caroline, does he really like sujehbee?” My mother asks. I look at him. He is sitting directly across from my mom. I know what his line will be:

“Yooni, why don’t you just ask me? I’m right here.” He asks exasperatedly. My blood pressure rises. The girls look from halmoni to their father back to halmoni.  She covers her face with her hands. She used to just cover her mouth, but lately, she covers her entire face, and giggles.

“Do you like it, Willeeee?” She leans forward and asks with a renewed sparkle in her eyes.
“I LOVE sujehbee!” He exclaims. “You can talk to me, you know. I’m Willey, remember?”
She laughs some more.
Such a brazen display of flirtation!


Preparing for bed, mom pulls the covers down and holds the TV remote. I am in the doorway of her guest room, saying good night.
“Caroline, have you seen this show?”
I look at the screen. There is an angry black woman with enormous gold hoop earrings yelling at a man. I don’t recognize this program.
“Hardcore Porn, they call.” She slips her legs under the cover.
I take another look. What? Why is she watching porn?! I don’t see any nudity and realize after a few more seconds, that she is not watching porn.
“Mom, Hardcore PAWN, not PORN.”
“Ohhhhh!” Again with the face hiding and laughter.


I love dogs. I miss my dog Maggie. Even though I notified my mother by phone when Maggie died – despite knowing Maggie was gone – the first time my mother walked into our home following Maggie’s death, she looked around like a little kid and with tears streaming down her face, and asked in Korean, “Where is Maggie?” They were best buddies. They reminded me of each other: kind and meek to a fault. My mom walked Maggie every morning and sometimes in the afternoons, too. And even though she swears up and down that she didn’t feed her table scraps, I know she did.

Sadie the Lap Dog

We had hugged each other and cried, missing that dog. Now we have Sadie, who is an oversized lap dog with a strong personality. We think she’s part Labrador and part Pit Bull. I talk to this dog for the benefit of the family. After I pet her, she always shakes her whole body and I say things like, “Sadie, don’t shake my love off!” And now I hear the girls say the same thing to her.  In the guest room, the windows face the street and Sadie loves looking out and barking at rabbits, birds and leaves on the tree. Seriously, this dog is out of control. When she’s not barking, she’s whining. Compared to her, Maggie was a mute. I tease, “Sadie, look at the mess you are making on the windows!” And my mother echoes my fake consternation, “Sadie, look what you did with your lips!”

Change is Good

OK, so now my story is looking different again. I just started free writing and came up with a new character. The story is quickly becoming one that reveals differences between Korean culture and American culture. My KA character is being confronted by his own shame and racism. It surprised me as I wrote it. I’m still just writing and not sure where it’s going, but I can visualize it as I write: he’s a professional, running the rat race and is unexpectedly “forced” to take on his cousin from Korea, a teenager. Of course, the fact that I have a 17 year old Korean exchange student is speaking to me, but it’s not her. I’ve been inspired by her and ideas sprout from that. I’m excited. This could easily be the short story turned novel turned film!ed98b8ec8aa4ed8ab8eba7981