POV: Return.

Monday, November 20, 2017

POV ("point of view") is a series that addresses many of the same themes covered in my Equals Record column: growing up, saying yes to adventure, learning to embrace a quarter-life crisis. While my previous column focused largely on ideas, POV focuses on moments - glimpses, glances, tiny stories.


I got lost on election night, sometime between 11 and 12, before the results were posted. I was heading home from a friend’s apartment only a few blocks from mine, empty-handed—I’d brought wine, cheese, a box of chocolate cake mix but left it all behind in various states of destruction. It was cold and mind-bogglingly quiet save for the rattle of a beer can tumbleweed. In the dark, I considered prayer. I wracked my brain for mantras. I reminded myself of my insistent, if ill-defined, belief in magic. I traveled four blocks before realizing I was walking in the wrong direction.


I posted to this blog the day after; then not a single time again until today. To say that I was at a loss for words wouldn’t be quite right—it was more like a significant loss of focus. Truth be told, there were a number of things in the past twelve months that contributed to my absence here: changes in work, a transition to a new neighborhood, the blossoming of a happy relationship, travel, new friends.

But there was something else, too. I suddenly had a lot of questions. At first, post-election, I wondered if I had the skills—and the smarts—to be a useful member of what suddenly felt like a very different world. I wondered how to ask the right questions, do the right reading, respond effectively. Mostly, I wondered about how best to use my time—and ironically, a lot of time passed as I thought about that.

In the meantime, there were jobs to do, friends to see, a partner I fiercely wanted to stay present for. And still more questions arose: Was it possible to balance the personal, professional, and political, and still have time to myself—to write, to reflect, to rest, to do nothing? To give these kinds of big questions the space and attention required for them not to remain just questions?

Days, weeks, months flew by. Somehow—in a haze of city traffic, airplane flights, news headlines, deadlines—a year passed.

I had no plans not to post here, or to disappear without saying anything (I apologize for that!). I always assumed I’d write something tomorrow. Or the next day, or the day after that.

I’m still asking myself many of the same questions. But I’ve liked the process of working out the skills needed to answer them. I’ve learned that different times require different things—different ways of thinking, doing, asking. So that we can continue to grow. Meet new challenges. Equip ourselves to live the kinds of lives we find ourselves living.


One gray October afternoon, I sat with Emily in the living room of her rented upstate farmhouse and watched her build a fire—a skill, having only known her as a city dweller, I wasn’t aware she possessed. Crouched at the hearth in this drafty house, she told me it was something she’d learned out of necessity and had grown better at with practice. I watched as she layered wood and paper, erecting a structure that looked a lot like the “houses” I built from leaves and sticks when I was little, anxious to attract the sorts of small animals that lived nowhere near Los Angeles: hedgehogs, chipmunks, prairie dogs.

I remembered something else from that era of my life, too. It was the feeling of seeing fire, wondering what it was and deciding that it existed only in the realm of magic. If I’m being honest, as an adult—with limited knowledge of science, in a city apartment far from the wilderness—it still does. It’s a skill that’s always struck me as otherworldly—and yet here was my friend, blowing air through her fingers, building fire slowly, the room growing brighter with every breath.



You can find my previous POV entries, here.

To whoever is still out there—thank you so much for reading! I’m sorry, again, for disappearing without explanation for such a long time. Starting after Thanksgiving, I plan to post more often—perhaps not every day, but a few times per month. I'm so grateful to the community I’ve found and connected with here. Thank you for your time, and your notes and emails over the past few months! I’m so glad to be back.

15 comments:

Stephanie said...

Lovely! I've missed your POV columns. Thank you.

CKL said...

Long time reader and have never commented. Was happy to see you pop up in my feed. Thanks for coming back.

Fee Harding said...

It's soooo amazing your back! :) :) *throws confetti*

Julia Kitlinski-Hong said...

So happy to see a new POV in my feed. Welcome back!

Lisa Sperling said...

I‘m so happy you‘re back, Shoko! I‘ve followed your blog for many years and look forward to returning to it and your beautiful writing! A little refuge from the political disaster out there - so very much needed. Thank you!

Shoko said...

Thank you all for reading! Your kind words mean so much—I'm so happy to be back!

Of Ashes & Bones said...

You're back!!! so good to hear from you again. But there's a time in your life where your absence online is just what you need. I hope you feel better now.

Loulou said...

A year may have passed, but time hasn't negatively effected your skill with words in any way. Welcome back ... I've missed reading your beautifully told stories.

Sharon said...

It's my first time here, and I love how you write. Looking forward to more :)

Shoko said...

Thanks to all again! Sharon, welcome—and thank you for reading!

Kathy YL Chan said...

So happy you are back! ^-^

Carly Piersol said...

So happy to see you're back! I understand needing to take some time: it's been a rough year. But you, as per usual, went about it so thoughtfully. Excited to see what comes next :)

Bekka said...

Sho! I am so happy to see you back here.

Hena Tayeb said...

Glad to have you back.. you write to beautifully it's a joy to read.

Brooklynn said...

so glad you are back! the world is a better place with your writing in it. you've been missed :)

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