8. Catch-22

Imagine you’re watching someone draw. The artist starts with a few black lines and shapes. He fills in more detail, adds new lines, and reshapes space. He reveals something new, only to go back and fleshes out the picture, adding extra features. He shifts angles, starts to add in color, and little by little the drawing becomes complete. At the end, you’re left speechless.

This is how Catch-22 works. The story is nonlinear, and the reader gets large pieces of story or little bits here and there. The tale has a habit of doubling back on itself and meeting up with old narratives. Each new passage adds a greater understanding to the whole story. Continue reading “8. Catch-22”

9. The Family Nobody Wanted

A 1954 memoir, The Family Nobody Wanted is more than it appears to be on the surface. The story follows a childless couple, Carl and Helen Doss as they pursue their callings and dreams. As a businessman in the Great Depression, Carl feels called to sell his new painting company, at a loss, so he can go to school and become a pastor. Meanwhile, Helen longs to adopt.

The young couple does both. Carl goes to seminary, and though poor, the Dosses adopt their first child. Then, in the process of trying to adopt again, they discover that there is a category of orphan that nobody wants. Certain mixed ethnicity children (for instance, Chinese/Japanese) aren’t wanted by either people group. Consequently, the Dosses compassionately start building this incredibly racially diverse family, as they adopted one unwanted child after another. Continue reading “9. The Family Nobody Wanted”

The Fifteen Minutes I was a Stud

In high school, a girl I liked called me “Bird Legs.” I don’t think she meant it in a negative way; she probably said it with a degree of envy, though I wished she had seen me as more than a pair of legs, spindly or not. Still, this was typical for my life.

Around this same time, I was demolished by a girl, two years my junior, in a game of backyard football. I was running for the end zone and didn’t think twice about the neighbor girl a good foot smaller than me who was in my way. Then she flattened me. Not in a graceful manner either, but in a slow motion, gasp-inducing, struck dumb, and followed by hysterical laugher from my friends kind of manner. I clung to the fact that I hadn’t fumbled as if it was a life raft. Continue reading “The Fifteen Minutes I was a Stud”

Short Story Collection


The following short stories go back to 2010, which was my senior year of college. I was taking my first nonfiction writing class. I had virtually no experience with the genre, either writing or reading, so I experimented.

My first assignment for the class was a brash attempt at a spiritual, a travesty of an essay that hopefully gave my classmates a glimpse into having a relationship with God. My instructor compared my writing to Anne Lamott, a compliment (I guess) that still makes me uncomfortable because I don’t enjoy her writing or revisionist “Christian” theology. Thankfully, my second assignment was better.

I wrote three short stories about my childhood growing up as a missionary kid. They weren’t incredible, but they were well received and start me down a path that would ultimately culminate in my writing and publishing Three Ring Circus: Life as a Missionary Kid in a Family of 11, roughly four year later.


The only avenue of escape from my childhood home is through the front gate.  Like most upper-class Filipino homes, this one is a two story box of painted concrete surrounded by a six-foot wall.  The wall, like a cake, bears toppings.  However, these decorations are pieces of glass bottles.  Around the front of the house, the wall becomes a metal fence—still six feet tall—complete with spikes and a gate that sports chains and padlocks.  Within the perimeters of our compound, our German Shepherd patrols the yard.

Continue reading “Short Story Collection”

10. Essays of E. B. White

Most people recognize E. B. White for Charlotte’s Web or Stuart Little, books I read as a child that simply don’t interest me all that much as an adult. Essays of E. B. White is something entirely different.

I started writing nonfiction during my senior year in college, which is where I took note of White’s essays. At the same time, my classmates in my nonfiction writing classes kept drawing parallels between my writing and E. B. White’s. I rather ignorantly disagreed; I didn’t particularly like or understand White’s essays. However, I kept my copy of Essays of E. B. White after my classes finished. Continue reading “10. Essays of E. B. White”

Where I’ve been for the Last Few Years and Why I haven’t Maintained a Website

For the last three and a half years, I’ve been fairly inactive online. That’s for a number of reasons. At the time, I was going about writing backwards. In writing a blog, it got to where I was writing what I thought others might like instead of what I liked. I was still searching for what to say; I essentially had a bunch of disparate content and not enough of it, which didn’t help. Combine that with being extremely busy with my automotive detailing work, and it was pretty easy to shelve writing. Continue reading “Where I’ve been for the Last Few Years and Why I haven’t Maintained a Website”