the ch!cktionary

I'm Lena Chen, a writer, activist, and media producer who's been called a "skank" (by Bill O'Reilly) and "a small Asian woman" (by The New York Times). My favorite part of my workday is the hate mail.

For the unlikely story that is my life, read on.

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irregular features
Ask Lena: Reader Questions Answered
Anatomy of an Outfit
Bad Feminist Confessions
Freelance Friday: Career Advice for Young Writers
Hate Mail
Gratuitous Photos Of My Bulldog
Notes & Snapshots from Abroad
Recent Tweets @lenachen
Posts tagged "hamlet"

"The years that are gone seem like dreams—if one might go on sleeping and dreaming—but to wake up and find—oh! well! perhaps it is better to wake up after all, even to suffer, rather than to remain a dupe to illusions all one’s life."

–Kate Chopin, The Awakening

Anatomy of an Outfit: Jacket by David Benjamin, Yearling Striped Sweater by Laurie B., Lure Skinny Jeans by Goldsign, Oxford Shoes by DV.

The muddy paws are all Hamlet … with a bit of Provincetown muck mixed in. This is what happens when Dog challenges Swamp and Man intervenes so that Dog goes home alive at the end of the trip.

On a sartorial note, I’ve noticed that I’ve started dressing much older over the past year. The above jacket, for example, was a vintage find picked up from Beacon’s Closet a lifetime ago (okay, maybe more like two years, but that’s eons when left unworn in a closet). And a couple of years ago, I wouldn’t have even given a second glance to the shoes, which I found on eBay a few months ago. No heel? No embellishments? A fucking Oxford? No way. But I’ve already worn these babies so much (and on so many inappropriate terrains) that I’m thinking of getting them resoled.

I’m also quite enamored with the Laurie B. sweater I’m wearing in these photos (though you can’t see it that well under the jacket). The Yearling comes in a bunch of colors and I grabbed the dark grey version with black stripes last fall. I’d never heard of the brand before but I thought it was time for some versatile grown-up clothes and this was oh-so-comfy I didn’t even mind the high neckline. It’s getting too warm for sweaters these days, but it’s is still being sold at some online retailers (at a hefty discount) if you want to stock up for autumn.

And so it seems I’ve moved away from the girly aesthetic that I practically caricatured in the past. As a result, I am no longer getting regularly mistaken for a high schooler.

(I don’t, as a rule, read fashion blogs, because if I do, I will get sucked in beyond belief and never do anything with my life, but my friend Lingbo just suggested that I check out Extra Petite, which is written by another teeny Bostonian. There’s some great advice on how to look like you’re not 15 when you’re small and Asian. So there’s my rec of they day!)

Photos taken by Patrick Hamm.

Hamlet’s customary position after a long, active day. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked into the living room to find the man and dog passed out in identical positions next to each other. (Would post a photo of the latter scene, but then the Roomie would have to commit homicide and I am rather fond of my earthly existence.)

Had to get the Roomie out of town after the dissertation was turned in, so we drove to Provincetown to spend some beach time with the pup and mentally regroup before summer.

Photo credit: Patrick Hamm

Schlafe, mein Prinzchen, schlaf ein.

Hamlet's been sort of a mess lately, by which I mean that he is making literal messes in the house by pissing on something practically every other day. It’s our fault, really. Between the Roomie’s dissertation and my book-writing, the pup’s not getting as much attention as he deserves.

Hoping that will all change when I get back from Austin next week, but who knows? It’s funny how wiped out I feel at the end of each day even when I’m not on the road. The writing is enjoyable - and I can’t tell you how grateful I am that the block, the cloud, the hesitation has been lifted - but I am tired all the time.

It doesn’t help that it’s Women’s History Month and that my travel schedule just got insanely busy … I always tell myself, “Never again! Not next year! Won’t make myself sick!” Lo’ and behold, it happens all over again. Though I cut down on speaking commitments this year, somehow I still have to make it to NYC, New Jersey, LA, and San Francisco within a ten-day period…

Feel free to let me know in the comments if you have any idea how to accomplish the above without seriously messing up my sleep schedule or making my dog permanently resent me :-/

A Little Thing I’m Thankful For … (Snapped by the Roomie at our old apartment in 2008.)

Just chilling on the doggie couch.

Hamlet the hound. What should this little critter be for Halloween?

Taking advantage of all the nice days with more walks along the Charles River and trips to Harvard Square with the pup in tow. (Today, I’m working on an anthology submission, and he’s chilling out in the sun.) Days like these make me second-guess whether I really do want to leave this all behind, but then again, I’m already dreading the end of fall — it’s imminent! — and the season has only just begun.

New England weather: so fickle, so cruel. I’m not sure I’ll ever become acclimated to you.

Photo credit: Patrick Hamm

Patrick thought it would be funny to tuck the dog into bed with me.

(Pretty sure he took this during our Berlin trip last summer. He has an extensive collection of photos of me passed out in various states of undress. They’re not nearly as sexy as they sound.)