Category: Becoming


From journal

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After midnight. It’s now time to write in this book that I have neglected. I feel like writing, not only feeling more inspired to do more varied things these days, but also having the time to follow such a philosophy. This is a good opportunity, as the ideas are crystallized and complete. having outside, motivating forces is good too, but can make things seem a bit fragmented.

Written in an “Oxford” notebook: “Use this notebook to consolidate all the other research and notes, a culmination of the last ten or so years of research and reading (and writing). Not perfection! But a road to such, maybe as a testing method, a means of as you go, so it goes. Memory and mind in motion… I like that idea, that the narrative shifts and things continue to change while the energy pulls it along and the focus is really sharp on certain things. The point now is just to bring them all together. No more computer except for the final stages… three drafts on the typewriter, then finalize it. This notebook can be for reading and other ideas. The purpose of my life now is to think long-term and not to write ideas because I don’t (haven’t) review(ed) what came before. I do have a focus and a continuity of thought (like never before), yet, it has not produced a complete, unified work. Cannot compare… everyone has their own method and means. Point is, I have the latent talent, and, over the course of ten years, the ability has solidified. Probably he same for learning a language–after ten years, it’s there, especially with a systematic approach. I’ve had enough experiences and have many more memories than I can ever use or be able to use in a lifetime of creation. Not about quotas though, and it shouldn’t be, though I do think an outside force is good for producing quality in a limited span of time. Editing this novel this novel over six years was definitely an experience of its own, and now that I’m finally finalizing it, I’m prepared to bring my now-self to the next novel.”

I love and cherish writing like never before—ideas bring a smile and a joy that few things do. The actual waiting can be a little tough, as it’s a process that cannot be master the first time through, meaning it must be revised again and again, especially complicated and deep stuff, and also fitting parts and pieces together and attempting to unify the mood. Yes, some stuff comes randomly, but that is rare and that stuff is complete in itself, whether a concept or a sentence, but it is almost impossible to sustain that kind of inspiration for more than a scene. Sure, Goethe did it early every morning when he was completing part two of Faust, but that book was percolating and fermenting inside of him for more than sixty years. Bottom line: being a writer is a career, a job, something that must be done everyday, with diligence and motivation, over a long period of time to see any results.

Never before have I been more convinced and full of conviction against this digital prison. We created it, which means we can also create alternatives and a bridge to those alternatives. I will no longer capitalize the I in internet. Why? It doesn’t deserve to be a proper noun. Sure, it is an undeniable source of many things, but as a source, it is also endless, and because people are powerless to resist, it controls and manipulates lives in ways that were once unthinkable.

You may say, “It’s the way life is now,” but can that be said without considering the implications of a blind acceptance of technological momentum driven by money-hungry corporations, etc? Sure, maybe for some, but for all people? And I’m not talking about being scared of technology, I’m talking about knowing that it is important and even essential in our lives… moderately, that is. Yes, a balance is the most important, and considering so much is done via computer now, in many definite ways, we are slaves. There are so many ways to emancipate ourselves from all this stuff too. Everyone’s silent… waiting… waiting for what? While waiting for something outside to occur, nothing inside is possible. Just further enslavement. Where’s the limit? Where does it end?

Being off of TV now for over four years, maybe I’ve lost touch with reality as you know it, but I am in touch with a reality of my own, a new reality I am the sole architect of and acrobat in, where silence and solitude are the norm. I have a computer in my office, but none at home. I use my smartphone sparingly: mostly flashcard apps for learning things, jotting down notes, taking pictures of silly things and sending them to people and the occasional album. I also check my email with it, an email address from which I send messages to old friends only to hear nothing, from some people, ever.

I wouldn’t mention it here if it was just a few people, but it’s an epidemic. Maybe the messages are discarded mistakenly. Maybe they’re lost in the spam folder and then deleted. But, when I have people acknowledge that they got the message, how should I feel? When I get an email, I respond within a reasonable time frame. When I get a letter, I try to do the same.

Letters! What happened to them? I still mail them, though much less now, as seems to be the trend. How can we reverse these trends, seemingly turn back time to recapture something meaningful (not just when thought about with nostalgia), something lasting.

I reactivated my facebook today with the dual intent of getting some pictures from it and giving people shit for not responding via other media. Talking to a few people, I realized they have their own lives, and I’m satisfied in mine, so interfere? I don’t want a reply at this point anyway, just wanted them to feel ashamed that they didn’t respond because of wasting time on things that I consider meaningless because they impose limitations on interactions.

Don’t you understand, I’d rather boycott it than be a member, regardless of what fun and frivolity is to be had?

Blogs offer more, but they also require more, and are rarely filled with original perspectives, mostly idiosyncratic, selfish ones (mine included) and are thus a waste of time if the time spent reading them is not carefully monitored.

In conclusion (for now), what is this digital world? Devour your despair with distractions? Distractions, you mean unnecessary invasions of a life that is too short and too precious to be wasted here. So stop reading now. Please, I implore you. Get off the computer and go outside. Not to spend money, and even if it’s merely to wander for thirty minutes before you return here, at least you’ll have gotten some fresh air.

I have been living in the Republic of Korea since August of 2009, and during my ever increasing time here, my opinions regarding many things have changed (an inevitable part of living, really). Learning Korean, I’ve also had a different experience than a lot of foreigners who either don’t try or don’t progress. At first, I really wanted to speak the language very well quickly for whatever multifarious reasons, but lately I’ve been a bit lazy and just enjoying understanding without showing off. Others do know that I understand—the knowing eyes and pained/taxed expression from listening—no need to reply.

With a month to go before my Visa expires, and it being vacation time, even though I’m working at a two week writing camp for Yonsei at the phantom friendly Seongdo campus over in Incheon, I am still able to linger on the job prospects (have been looking for a new one since February or so) and worry. Maybe I was a bit selective, and I did have two interviews, neither of which was offered nor a job I was particularly willing to take. Perhaps I would have worked at either out of convenience, but probably wouldn’t be happy. I’ve thought a lot about leaving the country, especially recently. Haven’t decided what I’ll do yet.

Perhaps it’s more a matter of never staying on the path long enough or being dissatisfied because I haven’t been on the path long enough or haven’t produced as much as I might have liked. Each day is only so long, and not having a computer, facebook or TV has made me so productive, and there’s only so much to do before I start to lose sleep to do what I consider essential. Whenever I feel this way (meaning I’m happy and headed in the right direction), something inside clicks and I start to get in my own way. For instance, alcohol has been a constant problem… I would crave a night of drunken debauchery, and feel numb and indifferent to how/who I was beforehand. Lately though, I haven’t been drinking. Or, when I have, it’s been in moderation, and definitely never when upset. There are plenty of people who drink too much without reason… I know where to find them, yet they’re not my true friends nor ever were or will be; they’re soul stealers who only need a companion in banter and chaos… that companion is no longer me. Now, if I do drink, instead of getting crazy or feeling shitty afterward, I feel fine, and the actual time drinking is usually an affirmation of life and happiness… nothing else. And now that I have been on a level-headed path for so long and should continue, I’ve come to some conclusions:

Grin and bear it. Seriously. Though the world is full of fuck heads and con artists and assholes, those people also have hearts you can access if you yourself are honest and give it a try. Smile, laugh, share the warmth, they hide or you expose from within yourself, and you’ll see those people will open up. But only if you open up honestly, without ulterior motives. I’m thinking of two individuals in particular right now, one a security guard at my job, and the other’s the owner of my favorite restaurant in Hayang. Both are older Koreans: the first male, the other opposite. The first was always grumpy and one day I smiled and laughed when I saw him and he burst out laughing… probably mumbled that I was crazy, but that was the first time in nine months that I’d ever seen him laugh. The other has a serious façade, but when you put time in, she’ll open up and be friendly and real with you.

Maybe it’s not this place that’s the problem, but me. Lately I’ve felt not scattered, but disconnected and confused, being without old friends or a meaningful dialogue with them for so long. What hurts is that they’re disconnected too, so that when I try to contact them… Nothing. Maybe I will never get rid of this blog, but as soon as this round of job searching is over, I’m gonna shut of my phone when I’m not using it. Why? Because I check my email hoping to see responses—selfishly wanting others to contact me, I think it’s selfish if they don’t—just because I’m so focused and on top of things, I shouldn’t expect others to be.

Bottom line, and a somewhat unrelated point, is that everyone isn’t perhaps racist, but has an intense fear sometimes bordering on hatred regarded Others: those whom we do not know intimately, and in many instances, do not wish to know. And that’s the kind of pigheaded bullshit that gets people to say, “My country is the best in the world” and other bullshit that’s fed to them by their Retainers. Ignorance precludes such feelings. You know what? People all over this soiled sphere say that about their countries, political parties, sexual preferences, favorite colors, foods, sports, etc. And do you know what I think?

They’re all wrong. This is the best planet (in the solar system only?) and this is the only life we know… so why worry about what we don’t know? Just go about your day to day doing the absolute best.

We get what we give. We might complain, “Blah, blah, blah,” but it’s really nothing when we consider how others are doing. Sure, life may not be what we want, but it never was nor might ever be, so shut your mouth and use all that built up negative energy to burn a fire toward making this already limited life closer to the way that fits you. Without destroying others.

Almost finished reading the first manuscript (“novel”) after not looking at it for six years. Had about a hundred pages to go, but had to leave for camp. Busy with camp, but will read the second one this week. Then I’ll know what to transfer from the first to the second. Parts from the first can probably be used for three different novels, one of which is still unwritten. Looks like work on the next novel will begin in March, before which point I hope to have finished editing most of the epic novel from 2008. That’s all for now…

111

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One hundred-eleven pages and counting… looks like a new ink ribbon is needed though…

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Nearly fifteen hundred pages to edit. Add another thousand and it’s pretty much everything in book/manuscript form that I’ve written in the last ten years: the first decade in a hopefully long and fruitful career. Cheers!

Father

Just as Father’s Day is a bullshit day and there should be no special reason for celebrating dads, I am reminded once again of my childhood and everything else related.

I thought a few days ago about saying that only good dads should be celebratef and acknowledged and loved, but all dads should be… not whether or not they do a good job… just because they are people and all people need love. Crave it.

So now, instead of walking around listening to music or on you phone or reading a book (my favorite, when possible), send love to all those who need it. Send it up high to the sky, and perhaps someone nearby, who is down for whatever reason and, looking up, will see the shower and steal just enough before sharing some. When they are ready.

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“…An idea. All writers are unhappy. The picture of the world in books is thus too dark. The wordless are the happy: women in cottage gardens: Mrs. Chavasse. Not a true picture of the world; only a writer’s picture. Are musicians, painters happy? Is their world happier?” Thursday, September 5th, Nineteen Forty. A Writer’s Diary by Virginia Woolf.

While I agree with her sentiments especially regarding journals/diaries, and the brunt of classical literature catches an inherent deep human sadness, I’m writing against that trend with this book. Focused; on fire. And if not this book, then another. And another’s another…

Took the Test of Proficiency in Korean (basic edition) today for the first time. It’s separated into two sections: expressions, grammar and writing, and listening and reading. Each section is ninety minutes.

There were about five words I didn’t know in the first section, and the short essay question just happened to be about my best friend, something I practiced last night with my girlfriend (who it’s about, of course). So, if a woman grades the writing section (which I really hope), I’ll get a good grade because of the romantic things I wrote. Probably the same if a guy grades it, as this is Korea.

More than ten words I didn’t know in the second section, but the listening was super easy, while reading was a bit more challenging. Both sections took almost an hour each, and afterward I had lunch with a Turkish guy who was in the same group of test takers. Won’t know the grade until 6월 2일, but that’s what, a month and a half away?

Scared dog

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This dog roams around a little hill on campus, and today a student and I fed it. The dog was skittish at first, but after a while smelled my hand and let me pet its nose but not its head. It also followed me for a few steps when we left. I have a favorable history with animals, especially dogs, and I think in time, this dog and I can play together…