(Building Anew)

Blurt 22: I’m not Christian by orthodox definitions, but I know the need to be “born again”. I renew my vows irregularly and often. My physical birth is a myth in black and white, and it’s body downhill from here, but there is a mind to be mined and loves to be learned. Individuals long for it, so why wouldn’t whole creeds and congregations also need renewal? What would a born-again Christianity look like? Where is the rebirth of Buddhism? Islam, remade?

(A Mirror Might Be Nice)

Blurt 23: Not much is more irritating than boomerang criticism. I nag my son on his indolence one morning when I circle and circle and still can’t find my writing desk. I natter about the chronic sleep shortage of Chinese students, while shackled by my own fatigue.

(Fear is a Good Teacher)

BLURT 21: Fear and self-loathing in Hong Kong, Guangdong, Yunnan, over an insignificant promise that terrifies me so that I’m writing THIS instead of THAT.

(One Morning in Room 411)

BLURT 19: The Writing Coach confronts the writing classroom, exemplifying the Sacred Art while the awed students enter. Look, he’s doing it even though he doesn’t have to! Look, he’s wearing a tweedy-looking jacket! Teachers can, mm-hmm.


BLURT 17: David Foster Wallace mentions, offhand, the “delusion that cynicism and naïveté are mutually exclusive”. Wondrous. Wearing the casual armour of cynicism is actually a naïve choice: where does it lead? what can it make, besides bitterness?

(Blurt the First. And Another)

I challenge grad students: why do Chinese (grand)parents carry kids’ backpacks on the walk to school? Outrageous! Most are blank with incomprehension. Everyone does that, Jay.


BLURT 2: What do you do when you’re brilliant, anxious, Chinese, introverted, and a city dweller who doesn’t much like people? Books. Cigarettes. Wondering.

It Shouldn’t Hurt to Blurt

China is a very civilized place, I tell my wife.

No Twitter.

No Facebook.

There may be other reasons for that, besides simple national good taste and refined judgement, but there you go. She rolls her eyes. She yeah yeah yeahs. And she reminds me how Facebook has been useful to her, a mature professional woman with no time for silliness but a considerable desire to connect. Okay. I make a grudging concession, and she goes back to the VPN (Virtual Private Network) that allows her access. Apparently, all the cool ex-pats do it. But not Jay Cool.

Long story short: you can’t follow me on Twitter

(And for the life of me, why would anyone want to? Right now I am typing. A moment ago I was eating. I plan to read. In an hour or so, I’ll turn in early. Several hours later, I will wake up to pee. Several hours after that, repeat. And tomorrow will be another gripping day of doing.)

But I AM considering doing some Twitter-esque blurting on here, mostly things that I wonder about, notice, or remember. This, mind you, is not out of any sense that the world needs my thoughts on this or that, but just as an excuse to record what is usually quite fleeting (by the nearest thing I have to Tweeting). Just for the sake of an external challenge — playing tennis with  a net, as Robert Frost might have suggested — I may even observe the 140-character limit that Twitter imposes. But I AM NOT A TWIT.

Blurt the First is coming. Warn your children. Guard your pets.