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  • Anna Wang

My Daily Monologue (November 2022)

Nov. 1, 2022

Excited to watch the opera about my beloved artist Frida. "Every voice tells a story". (Day 120)


Nov. 2, 2022

San Diego saw light rain in the morning, which brought out an earthy smell, reminding me of Vancouver, Canada, the only place where I could go without a visa, and the border office would say, "Welcome home." (Day 121)

Nov. 3, 2022

I finished all my work by 9 pm, which is rare and feels like an accident. (Day 122)


Nov. 4, 2022

Friday night. Isn't our school beautiful? (Day 123)

Point Loma Nazarene University

Nov. 5, 2022

Daylight Saving Time ends tomorrow. I'll get back that one hour stolen from me in the spring. (Day 124)


Nov. 6, 2022

Today I ventured to the UCSD library to find a book. The library is grand, its floors packed with bookshelves, and its collection copious. I had to crank the handle to pry open a space to squeeze in between the shelves to dig out the book. Feels like treasure hunting. (Day 125)

UCSD Geisel Library


Nov. 7, 2022

Do not discuss the book you love with amateurs. Refrain from showing off. Check the desire to be thought of as smart. Do not critique Chinese writers and Chinese literature. Just admit your ignorance because you never read them. (Day 126)


Nov. 8, 2022

I couldn't finish an essay that would be due this afternoon, so I emailed our professor, asking him to extend the deadline to tonight. The professor, being generous, announced an updated due date on Thursday, and now it is very hard for me to finish it tonight. (Day 127)


Nov. 9, 2022

Today at our school's cafeteria, a girl asked if she could sit at my table. I knew her from last semester's foundational education class. We talked for about twenty minutes. I'm happy that I have friends at school now. (Day 128)


Nov. 10, 2022

We are reading "Native Speaker" by Chang-Rae Lee (Day 129)


Nov. 11, 2022

Reader response theory is enlightening. I used to think a text was concrete. It is what is printed on the paper. Now I start to question if authors can fully express what's in their minds. Come to think of it, I often feel that I can only put a fraction of what I want to write on paper. The text needs readers' responses to become whole. A good writer differs from a bad writer in that a good writer has the right amount of clarity and ambiguity that can inspire an ideal reader to work with him/her. It is the first time that I realize why literary devices matter. (Day 130)

Nov. 12, 2022

In "Native Speaker," when Henry sees his wife off inside the international terminal, he sees her disappear down the "telescoping tunnel." The other day, I was wracking my brain for the name of the thing that connects an airplane and a terminal, so I googled it and got a series of results: passenger boarding bridge, air bridge, jetway, etc. That's a non-native English writer's problem: always striving to find the official word for everything. But when you write literature, you can circumvent it with a metaphor. "Telescoping tunnel" is a great metaphor because Henry is a private investigator.

For me, this revelation is significant because I have an especially problematic mindset; I thought I ought to learn to walk before running. My struggling with my deficiency in English is like struggling to walk. Now I realize that I could use metaphor to call a thing without knowing its official name—running before being able to walk. (Day 131)


Nov. 13, 2022

I finally settled into the rhythm of this semester: what time I can find parking in which garage, on what day I should study which subject, etc., and this semester is coming to an end. Next semester will be a different rhythm. (Day 132)


Nov. 14, 2022

One of my classmates told me that Dante's La Divina Commedia is the world's first fanfiction. Dante was a superfan of Virgil, and he wanted to be Virgil's best buddy. He then wrote the epic revolving around the two traveling together through the Nine Circles of Hell. (Day 133)

Nov. 15, 2022

In Romantic Literature class, we discussed how Austen believed lovers should educate each other, like Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy did. I said that it only existed in literature. In real life, people mostly look for recognition and appreciation in intimate relationships. Ideally, the lover should have an acute eye to discover the merit of the other, which the large world cruelly ignores. In the same logic, criticism from lovers is the most unbearable, compared with criticism from the public. However, we all want to dispense lessons to our lovers, even though none of us welcome an education from our lovers. It is in this sense that Austen's novels are pleasing; we all identify with the characters with the educating power. (Day 134)


Nov. 16, 2022

I survived four presentations this semester; there are still four more ahead. (Day 135)


Nov. 17, 2022

A while ago, when our professor assigned reading, a student blurted out, "200 pages, bro?" We laughed. The student laughed too, "I'll say it again: 200 pages, professor?" Today my son had an alumni interview. When he recounted their exchange, I praised him, "You know a lot of stuff." He was elated, "I do, baby!"

"What?"

"I do, mother!" (Day 136)


Nov. 18, 2022

Tonight, I saw two car accidents on my way home. Drivers are getting impatient approaching a major holiday. (Day 137)


Nov. 19, 2022

Writing a Jane Austen paper. Encountered a quote from Adam Smith: "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from regard to their self interest." It was liberal in Jane Austen's time but became notoriously conservative in our time (Day 138)


Nov. 20, 2022

We started reading The Thousand and One Nights in world literature class. I remember I read this title in Chinese, but the English version startled me, and I suspect that the Chinese translation I read was heavily abridged. So many plots that should be rated R that I didn't remember encountering (Day 139)


Nov. 21, 2022

I learned a German word in world literature class: schadenfreude, meaning to find happiness in the misery of others. (Day 140)


Nov. 22, 2022

Today was the last day of school before Thanksgiving. The library would be closed early. Even though pressured by unfinished homework, I still took a moment to appreciate the sunset. (Day 141)


Nov. 23, 2022

A neighbor asked me if I celebrated Thanksgiving. "Well," I started hesitantly. No matter how many years I've been here, there's always a thin barrier between me and American holidays. While I was weighing my answers, she firmly, approvingly uttered: "I don't celebrate it. I feel for native Americans. (Day 142)


Nov. 24, 2022

I'm thankful for all the warriors still fighting in the darkest hours and the most hopeless land. (Day 143)


Nov. 25, 2022

In the twilight, an old man pulled his Toyota up to the curb, rolled down the passenger's window, and asked me how to get to I-15. Suddenly I had the same feeling as Nick in the opening of the "Great Gatsby." (Day 144)


Nov. 26, 2022

Working on an Austen paper and marveling at her complexity and subtlety. I wish I had one-tenth of her sophistication. All day long, I couldn't entangle myself from the news of protests in China. How could Austen write her novels during the seismic Napoleonic Wars? (Day 145)


Nov. 27, 2022

I am anxiously watching protests across China and hope nobody gets hurt. (Day 146)


Nov. 28, 2022

First Monday after Thanksgiving break. I'm glad I returned to school, though I was distracted and checked on Twitter now and then. (Day 147)


Nov. 29, 2022

Our school's commuter lounge provides utensils, which run out today. I took two coffee stirrers and made a pair of makeshift chopsticks. (Day 148)


Nov. 30, 2022

Now I think about this White Paper Movement; I realize its unique advantage: to break the language barrier. You don't rely on words to understand the statements. One piece of white paper is worth a thousand words. (Day 149)



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