A dancong is a particular form of oolong tea from the Phoenix mountains in Guangdong. The name of this makes it sound like it has honeyed pomelo in it, but it does not. The first time it hits your mouth, it’s rough and maybe just a little bit bitter in the way that citrus is bitter, but it gives way to an almost honey-like aftertaste. I’m assuming that’s the source of the name, but I don’t actually know.
This made for an excellent tea with a little bit of a sweet snack, which you can see in the bowl above. What are those? I have no idea. I got that from H-Mart because I had no idea what they were, and I still don’t. They’re little bits of fried dough with an icing that’s not too sweet and reminds me of dates. I’m sure these things have a name, but I have no idea what it is, and I can’t find them in H-Mart anymore.
writing on paper
I started an experiment two weeks ago.
See, in 2016 I moved my writing from working about 70% paper and pen to doing the same thing on an iPad Pro in the GoodNotes App using an Apple Pencil.
There were some decided advantages to using this set up. First, and most importantly, I was no longer worrying that I would someday lose a month and a half of edits—everything I did was instantly backed up to Dropbox, which was a huge relief. Plus, I could just select handwritten text, and either drag and drop it or copy and paste, anytime I needed to move.
Working on an iPad had a few drawbacks. No amount of blue light glasses or eye rest apps could fix the fact that I was staring at a screen for a very long period of the day. But the big one was the distraction. It was too easy to flip from the Goodnotes app to Twitter or to any of the other things that coexist uneasily with work on an iPad.
The distraction part was manageable up until the point where we went through a pandemic and for some reason, that made my brain, which had been about three squirrels in a trench coat, into basically nineteen squirrels with no trench coat.
So I finally switched back to using actual paper for everything—my planners and my plotting notebooks and everything else. We’ll see how that works.
One member of my household is enthusiastically in favor.
Caption: Katya, my cat, enthusiastically chomping on the little ribbon in my planner that’s used to hold my place. This photo cannot be retaken because she bit the ribbon into a stub, and I would have retaken it just to clean up the mess in the background. Let’s pretend that’s not there.
The suffragette Scandal
One of the reasons that writing by hand seems to work for me is that my focus seems to be compelled by doing something physical, however minor. Whether it’s fidgeting or folding paper, there’s something about movement that makes my brain stop feeling like it’s full of knots.
For reasons that are totally irrelevant (but might have been if the research had turned out differently) I spent a few hours the other night reading about the compositor trade in the 19th century—specifically the people who were given handwritten text and had the job of choosing type, laying it down mirror-backwards, and having the great pleasure of seeing it turn into books and newspapers.
I kind of mourn the fact that so many professions like this have been lost in time. I’m sure that, like any job, compositing sucked in its own ways, but from this point hundreds of years ago painstakingly setting up books sounds so delightful. Anyway, I mention the Suffragette Scandal because Free and Edward flirted over movable type, and frankly, this is the kind of thing I love in a romance novel.
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