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  • Writer's pictureA.K. Lee

Roller Coaster July

July has been a heck of a roller-coaster.

There were some high points: I moderated a Q&A with the leaders of Centre for Stories from Australia, I got a new job, my arugula is growing spectacularly, I went to Jacky Cheung’s concert for the first time ever, and my father-in-law gave us a nice bit of spending money.

Unfortunately, there were more low points and spirals than I had bargained for. The first week of July was fine, but everything started careening sideways and diving downhill from the second week onwards. (Warning: a WHOLE RANT is about to happen.)

The first sign that things were going wrong was that I caught a cough out of nowhere. No one around me was sick; I just started coughing and wheezing. Initially, I’d feared a return of the dreaded COVID virus, but it wasn’t; I did like that my throat did not hurt, though every night I was blowing my nose into too many wads of tissue paper. At least I was functional in the daytime. I recovered in time to receive training for my new job, then fell sick promptly again on the last day of the training (incidentally the day of the Jacky Cheung concert). As of now, I’m still nursing a throat inflammation.

Another (ongoing) low point is my internet. My PC is possibly breathing its last, I think. Even with a new wireless adaptor, my PC does not want to connect to the internet. About three weeks ago, my PC started misbehaving, dropping the Wi-Fi signal every few minutes. Some programs that used to run fine (my VPN, for instance) could not connect; my streaming program was lagging so much it’ll need to repeat summer school. And everything I tried based on the advice of people more technically-inclined (both online and offline) does not work. Flushed the DNS, reset the network, reinstalled the drivers… you name it, I’ve tried it. All it could do was connect to Google-related apps (and Yahoo, for some reason). And not always - 3 out of 10 times I get error messages that the page was not found, or the server was taking too long to respond, or something was not defined…

Then something I did wiped out nearly a month’s worth of writing, but thankfully I have last month’s backups. That was a scary moment! I even bit the bullet and reset my entire PC back to its factory default, erasing all my carefully tweaked customizations and old programs.

Nothing has worked. My PC is about as functional as a bicycle with a wonky wheel.

All of this is to say that this month’s newsletter is a bit of a mess. The story I was working on is incomplete, so I’m sharing an old one, written I think about six or seven years ago, and I hope you like it. I have not been able to write as much of Fragile Vessel as much as I expected to (losing about 40% of what I had been writing prior to the Stupid PC Wipeout) and it is definitely not as good as it ought to be; the illness and the frustrations of July have made me a lot less willing to devote time to my writing. I apologize for the delay in releasing this July issue, and hope that what I've shared isn't too terrible.

Regardless of the quality, I do believe that it is important to keep sharing my writing even in such frustrating periods, if only to show that moods and circumstances do affect quality of output. I hope you find a measure of generosity for my clumsy efforts, and by the grace of whatever deities exist, may August be a better one for all of us.

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