Wayne Chan

Writing, by it’s very nature, is a process bound in isolation. Any writer, whether they are writing the next great American novel, or in my case, trying to describe in vivid detail the experience of being walked on by a heavy set masseuse, creates their work alone. A writer writes alone, usually in a quiet room, away from any potential distractions. Yet, it’s what happens outside that room that ends up being the subject of most of my writing. For example, a few days ago, I fell down a long spiral staircase. It took me so long to fall down these stairs that I actually had time to think about things on the way down. How long is this going to take? Why do I keep wearing socks when I know how slippery these stairs are? I wonder if my kids are watching me falling down these stairs? How can I only be halfway down these stairs? After I’m done falling, should I immediately scream or should I quickly take my socks off so my wife can’t tell me how many times she’s told me that I shouldn’t wear socks when I’m on the stairs? How much longer is this going to take? These are the types of topics that I write about in my syndicated column. And yet, since I’m rarely present when someone is reading my column to get their feedback, I sometimes make an effort to make sure that people are still interested in what I’m thinking when I’m falling down a set of stairs. A few years ago I started attending some writer’s conferences to see what other people were writing. This conference happened to be the Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop held every other year in Dayton, Ohio. One of the workshops was called something like, “How a Writer Finds Their Voice”. My understanding is that a writer’s voice is the perspective of a writer as well as their individual writing style. Finding your “voice” is essential for any writer. Even after I started writing my column, I have wondered whether the perspective of an Asian American writer, particularly one that was writing about, let’s face it - drivel, was a good “voice” for a writer. As I sat down for the “Voices” workshop, I noticed that of the 200 or so writers in the room, I was the only Asian in the room. Not only that, I was the only non-white person in the room. Towards the end of the presentation describing several helpful exercises to help writers find their “voice”, there was a question and answer period. After a few others took their turn, I raised my hand. Hi. My name is Wayne Chan. I write a syndicated humor column, and I write from an Asian American perspective and tend to write fluff pieces about eating “Sushi on a stick” at the county fair or how I once used hand signals to communicate to my dentist of what to do to me since he didn’t understand English or Chinese. Do you think my “voice” is one that people will want to hear? After a brief pause, the presenter said, “Look around you Wayne. Everyone here is looking for their voice. You have one sitting in your lap. Go for it.” I’ve been following his advice ever since. I hope you enjoy my fun. Thank you so much for taking the time to read it. Excuse me, but I need to go downstairs to get something. Wish me luck.

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