A Gas Works Park Primer

Hearkening back to the 20thcentury adage that everything you need to know you learned in kindergarten, here is the Gas Works story in the style of a children’s book. (The dates are included for reference.)

The gas company pooped in the sandbox for fifty years. (1906-1956)

Oh no! There’s lots of poop in the sandbox!

The city of Seattle bought the sandbox. (1962)

Their important friend Richard Haag said, “Let’s spread it around. Then no one can tell there’s poop in the sandbox. Maybe it’ll even go away!”

The city did what Richard Haag wanted. Then the mayor sent out a note to everyone in Seattle. Continue reading “A Gas Works Park Primer”

Chinese Enough

I’d just been introduced to a fellow employee my age, a young Asian guy in a crisp long-sleeved button-down shirt, 501 Levis, and wire-rimmed glasses, an olive cast to his skin. Glancing at the name plate resting atop his office partition, I noted the common spelling of his name and smiled knowingly. Without hearing him say a word, I knew immediately, he’s third generation, an American-born Chinese from southern China like me.When he heard my name, he smiled impishly and extended his hand. Before I could, in a tone of easy familiarity, he asked, “So, are you a King Wong or a Yellow Wong?” Continue reading “Chinese Enough”

The Nexus of Writing and Engineering


Within moments of arriving in Boston, I made my first friend. As the taxi driver set down my suitcase at the curb of Irving House, I saw her standing outside, her brown hair riffling in the January chill. We soon found out we were both new students in the same MFA program. I was overjoyed. Flying in from Seattle, I knew no one. Now I’d have someone to walk to school with over the next ten days of our residency. Continue reading “The Nexus of Writing and Engineering”