Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Jeremy Lin Got to Realize His Dream While My Dad Wouldn’t Allow Mine

When I was 14 years old, I was 5”6’ tall.  A basketball scout came to knock on my apartment door in the campus of the Beijing Institute of Aeronautics and Astronomy.  The scout said I should go to a Basketball training center.  My dad told him that we were not interested.  I, who had never played basketball before, didn’t know what to say.  All I remember was that my dad told me I should spend my time studying and playing violin.  Playing a sport was a waste of time. 

In China, people don’t believe someone could be good at both sports and academics.  They consider athletes to be dumb and stupid.   So my dad took away my one chance to utilize my tall body in a promising way.  Now after so many years, I wish that my dad had let me play basketball.  I think it is far-fetched that I would become a basketball star but at least I would have learned how to become a team player, a trait which I have acquired recently in my middle age.  I have become a sports nut in my own way, but my favorite sports are running, swimming, bicycling, skiing and skating, all of which are individual sports. 

So Jeremy Lin, the Knicks new star, an Asian American NBA basketball player was lucky to be born in the US.  If he were born in China, he would probably be forced to play piano or violin.  If he were “lucky” and discovered as a potential basketball star at a young age, he would most likely be sent to a basketball training camp far away and not allowed to see his family often.  So a normal family in China doesn’t usually let their kids pursue such a career at a young age unless they were orphans.  So my dad was being selfish for not letting me go to the basketball-training center. 

I happen to have a son who is 16 years old, 6”3’ tall and an aspiring basketball player. So Jeremy Lin intrigues me even though I don’t watch basketball games.  My knowledge about basketball has been gained from watching my son playing at middle school and high school games.  I normally don’t have time to watch games due to my duties as a working mother.  .  My interests fit into a stereotype Asian’s tastes.  I like classic music, theatre and movies.  If I have time, I often choose to go to these activities.  Sports are not something I would watch unless my son is playing.  As though fate is working against me, my son who has been taking piano lessons since he was 7, is very talented in sports.  The sport we encourage him to do is fencing, which we think it is not a very popular sport, so he has a chance to get ahead.  He also plays baseball with his friends in the summer and became the pitcher of his team for a couple of seasons.  As for basketball, he always shies away from it.  He was a scorekeeper for his Quaker School team for two years before he decided to try playing in middle school.  Then he flourished.  He quickly became one of the best players on his team.  At the same time, his body is telling him that he should be a basketball player because he was 6 feet tall in eighth grade and has kept growing to 6”2 in his freshman year in high school and 6”3 now in his sophomore year.  He even made it onto the better freshmen basketball team in his high school, whose man’s basketball team is among the top 5 in the state.  That was quite a challenge because he was playing with basketball players whose first words were “Basketball”.  Compared with them, his two years of playing is just not enough.  He was benched a lot but has also learned a lot.  This year, he didn’t even make the JV team of his high school.  He felt a little discouraged yet he went to play in a recreation league even after he promised to go back to fencing.  I know in his heart, he still loves basketball.  So let it be.  I’m not going to force him to do things he doesn’t like.  

Books by Fantasy Island Book Publishing

Terps by Elaine Gannon
After Ilium by S. M. Swartz
Children Of The Elementi by Ceri Clark
Emeline and the Muntant by Rachel Tsoumbakos
Miranda Warning by Marilyn Rucker Norrod
Brother, Betrayed by Danielle Raver
Ednor Scardens by Kathleen Barker
Land Of Nod, The Artifact by Gary Hoover
Losing Beauty by Johanna Garth
The King Of Egypt by  J. J. Makins
The Last Good Knight by Connie J. Jasperson
The Night Watchman Express by Alison DeLuca
Black Numbers by Dean Frank Lappi
Beloved by Patty Sarro
The Last Guardian by Joan Hazel
Sand by Lili Tufel
Sin by Shaun Allan
Sakuri by Jacob Henzel

Enchanted Heart by Brianna Lee McKenzie
Silent No More by Krista K. Hatch
Sons of Roland: Back Story by Nicole Antonia Carson
City of Champions by Daniel Stanton

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I'm Chinese Lolita

I'm also featured in Alison DeLuca's blog for Valentine's Day where you can read an excerpt of another one of my romantic short stories:

"Wild Fire" by Lisa Zhang Wharton

I'm sharing an excerpt from my award-winning short story, "My Uncle" in which the main character fell in love with her mother's lover.  This story will come out as an Amazon Single very soon as well as in my next book "Chinese Lolita".

It was a Sunday morning.  Mother said she was leaving for work.  Father hollered:  "You god damn woman, get out of here.  Go, stay with your fucking boyfriend.  You all get out of here, get out of my house!"

Father had just awakened.  His eyes were still fogged.  He sat on the bed, meditated for a while, and then stood up.  He stumbled a few steps toward the door and poked his head out of his room.

"Meihua, come back.  Who said you could go?"  He caught me before I slipped out the door.  "Go to the kitchen, and see if the garbage needs to be emptied.  God damn shit!  Why do you always have to be reminded?"  Waving a filthy athletic shoe in his hand, he stared at me with his half-open, beady eyes.  It seemed he might throw the shoe at my head if I did not obey him.  I went to the kitchen and did as I was told.
"Where are you going?"  Father saw me put on my tight nylon sweater which showed my two small breasts, and a few dabs of blush on my round face.

"I'm going to work!"  I said and slammed the door behind me.

It was a cold winter day.  The sun moved slowly from behind the white clouds like a shy girl.  Water from melting ice was dripping from the roof.  "Dita, dita."  It sounded so crisp.  With slightly softening soil under my feet, I opened the metal buttons on my grey down-coat and untied the blue wool scarf from my face.  I breathed deeply and let the unmuffled air enter my nostrils and flow into my lungs.  What a beautiful day!  I wanted to cry out.  Everything was going exactly as I had planned.  Father was right about Mother meeting her boyfriend.  But he did not know my secret.  I was going to see one of Mother's boyfriends too, of course a different one.  I used to call him "Uncle".

It was eight years since I had last seen Uncle Weiming.  I had lost track of him completely, but I was quite sure that he was still working at the same place.  People in China do not move until they scuff a hole deep enough to bury themselves.  Therefore, what should I do if I wanted to visit him?  Just go to the factory?  Like the old saying says, if you want to go north, just follow the North Star.  In this case I followed my instinct.
Sitting on the bus, I gazed at the trees that passed by so fast that I wished the bus would slow down.  Questions kept going through my mind.  What was I doing here?  Visiting Mother's old lover who had disappeared eight years ago?  Begging a married 35 years old man to be my father while I was old enough to be his lover?  Asking him to be my sister Mingming's father again when Mingming did not even know he existed?  It was like I was trying to pick up an old rotten melon.  My only accomplishment could be to soil my hands.
But in the last couple of weeks, a memory kept haunting me.
It was in 1976, a few weeks after Chairman Mao had died.  In an early afternoon, Uncle wandered into our one-story red brick apartment without knocking and sat down on a chair by the dining table.  Father, who had used to Mother's varieties of friends, nodded stiffly and walked out of the door.
"Uncle!"  Having not seen him in two weeks, I was excited.  Uncle looked at me and did not respond.  "I'll get Mom for you!"  I went in front of Mom's bedroom where door was shut closed.           "Mom, Uncle is here."  I knocked.
"Yes, just a minute."  In a while Mother strolled out with a cigarette in her mouth.  She closed the bedroom door (where she had a visitor) and sat next to Uncle.  They both kept silent for a while. 
"Got someone new?"  Uncle directed his chin toward Mother's closed bedroom.
"It's none of your business."
"You pick up fast.  Let me say this, if I may.  I know who he is.  He is a notorious asshole."
"OK!"  Mother stood up, ran into her bedroom and rushed back with a paper box in her hand.  She openned the box and smacked the whole box of photos of hers and Uncle's onto Uncle's face.  "Get out of here, I don't need you anymore!  You'd better go back to your pretty young girlfriend!" 
Uncle rose up and strode out of the door.
"Uncle, don't go!  Uncle, come back!"  I chased him and burst into tears.
From then on, laughter and happiness had disappeared in my life.  My heart along with those memories had become frozen until now.  There had been enough chaos at home.  My quiet, hard-working nature had pleased Mother and Father.  I had become such a useful child for them.  Gradually I had taken over the household.  I cooked, I shopped and I even managed the money.  When Mother had a problem, she would complain to me; when Father was hungry, he would ask me to make something for him to eat.  I had been used to the life and felt proud for the responsibilities until I went to college.  My vision for life suddenly changed.  I realized people did laugh and joke in life; life did not just consist of constant working.  I felt incompetent.  I needed help.  But who could help me?  Uncle, the long disappearing Uncle suddenly came back into my memory.  "Go to see him.  Go to see him."  A voice was telling me.

Coming soon from Fantasy Island Book Publishing: