Friday, December 10, 2010

Time--A Personal Issue

I ran into my son's friend today, a freshman at college. When I asked how things were going, she said, "It was a challenge at first. I've got all this time, no one looking out for how I use it, and I was never sure how much time I needed to spend doing what."
I have a new high schooler who flounders over the same thing.
I have a new middle schooler who flounders.
As an old alum I still flounder.
I've come to think it's a matter of figuring out how much time YOU need to finish what is most important to you. I'm sure this is common sense to many. But I've watched enough people struggle to be as efficient as Tom, Dick and Harry. I watch myself constantly over-estimating my writing efficiency.
It's only recently that I'm finally figuring out how personal that chunk of time is, how necessary it is to divide those precious minutes given according to your own abilities and desires. Nevermind that Sara tosses out a chapter in two hours. Nevermind that Jen wrote an entire manuscript in a month. Based on your personal prediction of how long your important activity takes, pare down the other activities so that paper gets done, project gets done, that book gets done.

Fun Books: The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness by Elyn R. Saks. Professor Saks writes of how she grew up feeling different, hearing voices, not always sure of the thoughts she was having. As a Yale Law School Grad and Rhodes Scholar, she takes us on her journey through her sickness and shows us another side to mental illness.
The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon: This is an amazing book written through the eyes of an intelligent boy who has learning problems. His quest is to find out who murdered his neighbor's dog, and he takes us down a dangerous road through serious family issues.
Half-Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls is a novel based on the true-life story of her grandmother who grew up on a ranch in the early 1900s. She's full of spunk and creativity and the ability to survive even during the Depression. An easy and interesting read.


Becky Levine said...

Wonderful post, Jana. That's exactly it. And trying to race ahead to GET THERE is, for me, only more painful.

Maddy said...

I just had a huge discussion with my husband this morning about the time crunch. Glad to know that we're all very much in the same boat. Love the book recommendations too - I read Mark Haddon on the plane to England just a long, long time ago. I see you're on goodreads too.

Jana McBurney-Lin said...

It's good to hear from you and I hope you're still doing lots and lots of writing. I remember your wonderful work from the critique group. (And remember most that I wanted to know more, more, more.)
Happy New Year!

What People Are Saying About My Half of the Sky

My Half of the Sky was the BookSense Pick for August 2006 as well as a Forbes Book Club Pick.

"McBurney-Lin tells a wonderfully entertaining story with the traditional coming-of-age theme (which is experienced universally)...weaving in the cultural challenges of growing up in China's rapidly changing social system."
Mary Warpeha, co-President of the Minnesota Chapter of US-China Friendship Association
March 2010

"The novel ...includes many of the tales and the folk ways of the people living in the rural areas of South China, still followed provincially. The story takes place in current China, but could relate the dilemma of any young woman in rural China through the ages."
Kitty Trescott, National Board of the Midwest Region of US-China Friendship Association. March 2010

"A lot is expected of a young Chinese girl. My Half of the Sky by Jana McBurney-Lin is the story of Li Hui, a young girl who has just achieved marriageable age. She seeks to make the most of herself, but the expectations all around her make it difficult, as her parents seek to use her as pawn to their advantage, she is faced with what she believes to be true love. She must balance career, romance, and family, all to somehow make everyone happy, a tough endeavor indeed. An engaging and entertaining read from beginning to end, "My Half of the Sky" is a poignant tale of the modern Chinese woman, and recommended for community library collections.
--Midwest Book Review November, 2008

“It is a rare women’s novel that sensitively describes the life of a young educated woman in modern-day China in its full complexity, without resorting to unnecessary sentimentalism. Jana’s deep knowledge of the realities of life in China and Singapore makes the reading extra rewarding. In fact, with every new page the novel gets harder to put down and you find yourself gobbling it up before you know it. Finally, the author has given a voice to the Li Hui in all of us, as we struggle for the golden middle between tradition and the modern momentum of our world.”
Isabella Sluzek
Friends of the Museum Book Review 2008

You'll be rooting all the way for Li Hui as she struggles, ahead of the curve, to be her own woman in an emerging, modern China. Jana McBurney-Lin's My half of the Sky is a beautiful, witty, touching debut novel.
Thomas B. Sawyer
Head Writer TV Series "Murder, She Wrote,"
Author - The Sixteenth Man

A complex and mesmerizingly original tale of a young Chinese woman caught between the modern world and the pull of her ancient culture. McBurney-Lin’s intimate portrait of China sparks with insights and is peopled with characters so rich and alive, they seem to breathe on the page. Dazzling and unforgettable.
Caroline Leavitt,
Author - Girls in Trouble

McBurney-Lin's debut novel is a gift. Li Hui is a memorable heroine, a young woman torn between her heart and her culture.Her daunting journey is a trip into China's complicated soul, and a deeply moving exploration of love, honor, duty, and loss." Frank Baldwin, Author - Balling the Jack

My Half of the Sky is a wonderfully-crafted story that was obviously written with a piece of McBurney-Lin's heart. A masterpiece."
Lee Lofland, Author - Howdunit: Police Procedure and Investigation

My Half of the Sky heralds the arrival of a fantastic new storyteller. With artistry and precision, Jana McBurney-Lin's clear-eyed prose takes the reader on a new journey into a past world that speaks to a modern sensibility, a modern world, a modern woman. This is a book to be treasured.
Emily Rapp, Author - The Poster Child

Through vivid descriptions of sights and smells, Jana McBurney-Lin's My Half of the Sky is a haunting, emotional journey of what it means to be an honorable female in modern China. Jill Ferguson, Author - Sometimes Art Can't Save You