Category: Sublime


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.

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Just Another Saturday

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Went to a baseball game with a friend and two of his friends. Drank a little at the game and met a third friend in a new area. Having already missed the subway home, it was decided I should stay the whole night, and we’d have lunch with the friend the next day and meet his wife and kid.

One of the most hilarious moments was getting a cab from the college area where we met the last guy to my friend’s house. Being that there were five of us, one stayed behind nearby cars until the first four got inside, then he quickly jumped in. The cab driver made a big deal about not going, my friend repeating the directions over and over and over again until he finally did. The more we traveled, the better my friend’s Korean “became,” with all of us a continual chorus thanking the driver and requesting him to have just one drink with us.

Got a little sick and started drinking water only. Situated outside a convenience store, two of my friend’s friends told some Korean guy with a handbag that he was gay. Then an older Korean asked one of us if he was Korean, and he said, no, I’m Chinese. I told the Korean that he was a North Korean conspirator, and the guy said, “Shit you,” or something like that as he stormed off across the street.

A little while later, the cops showed up. I figured it was because of what I said. It wasn’t. The “gay” handbag guy and his friends were upset. My friend with the wife and kid has been here a year longer than me and his Korean is better, but he didn’t do anything, so I ended up being the translator. Also, I wasn’t as drunk as the others and had something like a clear head.

The older Korean returned, yelling at us and pushing the cops. They told him to get out of there and were pretty ruthless to him, as he was to them. Actually, I thought he was going to be arrested. After a while, he left. The cops said that the Koreans were bad and thus being stupid and that we should just move. I agreed and told the others so. They said they were going to be stubborn and sit there. Thus the convenience store worker took the chairs and they had to sit on the floor. I stayed standing, negotiating with the police. I explained to them that my friends were stubborn, and also, talking to the guy they called gay (he was pissed), that the others were stubborn too. I explained that it was a miscommunication partially brought on by a difference in language, but more so a result of different cultures.

One of the guys started having a discussion with the younger cop, telling him it was racism, while I continued to negotiate with the older one. He told me he wasn’t telling us to leave as a police officer but as an older brother. I said I could respect that, but that my friends were stubborn and wouldn’t listen to what I said. Finally, the cops relented and left. Explaining the situation to the others, I agreed that calling the cops was most definitely an overreaction, but told them that you just can’t start calling others gay, which they started to do again. I told them to stop. They said that someone with a bag like that in the States would be considered gay, and I told them that they couldn’t think about it like that, that they have to consider the other culture’s perspective, and that no culture is superior to any other, nor are they equally relatable.

Finally, out of nowhere, the last friend we had met hit me in the back of the head, screaming, “Shut up, I’ve had enough of you!”

I gave him a glare yet said nothing. I think he knew what the glare meant. Walking to an alley to discuss the matter with my friend, I told him that I was leaving and was sorry, but that people can’t act in such a manner and except me to accept it.

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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!

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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…

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Welcome the next era…

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Midterm time is close at the university and students are stressed. What about the midpoint of each day? Noon… are you stressed at lunch or just hungry, following your stomach?

What about life: is there a known midpoint? Take, for instance, the bumblebee in the picture. Does it know anything about its present, past or future? Do we?

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A book takes years. This one has been in the oven for six… fifteen drafts and it’s just about ready. In a few weeks, when it’s all retyped, I’ll send it out to agents. Promise!

Two years ago I fell in love for the first time. Two weeks ago, it happened again. This time it’s different: no need to explain in words, except that the roots are deeper and this was the next step in my spiritual journey.

Today was one of those fantastic endless days where the world is shinning and my smile mirrors its brightness. Wanting to have a holy book to accompany me, I had my journal during the first or two days of Korean class finals. Realizing that one mind (and one mindness) is not a beneficial mindset (ha!), I’ve multiplied and have begun to divide my mind equally. 

Books and projects are scattered everywhere (if only I could hide them in false trunks of trees): Vallejo and the Tao de Ching in my office, a book of stories and What’s Going On in a classroom, the still abandoned and soon to be revisited new novel in my room, a newly acquired story notebook to be carried at all (or most) times, and, temporarily, the monstrosity that I’ve recently neglected, the Red Book is at my girlfriend’s.

Now, because endeavors and ambitions are severed and separated, I can focus and put everything into one task exclusively, then it will become as complete as humanly possible.

If only these feelings of Supreme Goodness could be bottled and stored, saved for distribution on a specialized schedule based on need—those days when you feel lowest, most in need of a substantial boost. Or consumed randomly… adding increasing goodness and well-being to the already overflowing mirth.

Unstoppable desire, unquenchable want…

“…

Hunting and racing madden the heart.

Exotic goods ensnarl human lives.

Therefore the Sage

Takes care of the belly, not the eye

Chooses one, rejects the other.”

Thus balance in chaos, mystery within order. A deep that can be penetrated but not known. The seeker finds Nothing.

Ignorance is stagnation, yet an endless search may be hazardous to happiness, so what is the middle course? Both extremes are intoxicatingly powerful and extremely deadly. For me, at least, the middle road is one of vigilant self-awareness mixed with unbridled compassion to challenge unnerving ambition.

I no longer want to linger within my mind, as it’s not always a reassuring and peaceful place. There’s a secret, unsettling rage bubbling beneath the surface and lately it’s been more persistent in its violence and urge to breathe and spawn. I feel suppressed—for many reasons I still cannot fathom or articulate, but I need to stop being scared. This is not the time for distractions or unnecessary commitments, instead a time for flight and growth. To soar by allowing myself to be who I am, to do what I do and nothing else. Perhaps that’s where the rage comes in, perhaps using a little, at first, as an honest experiment. See what I can accomplish with its aid.

One of my students said that I was only half crazy and that if I focused one hundred percent, I would be a genius. I truly believe this, yet it scares me as well, because mostly I feel others like the clown side of me and not the true lionheart. But why should I care what others thing? Why should I work so hard for their acceptance? If I am indeed the king, which I am, why do I desire the love of others more than anything? It’s something I want so much yet rarely receive.

“What if I was positive all the time?” I once asked a good friend. “I have the energy. I have to fight with light.”

I don’t like to be toyed with, and sometimes I feel that’s all others do. Not everyone, but many—most. Perhaps it’s our nature—I know not. Whatever it is, I loathe it. Sure, I play games, but at least I’m honest and try not to toy with others’ emotions. My life has become a surreal drama recently, and though I like to be kept busy, sometimes it’s a bit much.

I don’t want to talk about girls, but they contribute, so I will. Just this once… cause she’s no longer current. Su Jeong’s a friend of one of the other professor’s conversation students, and I met her last Monday and asked her to a lunch date for the following day. She was late because she forgot, thus paying. I made the mistake of speaking only in Korean, which I realized when I saw her this because when I saw her and her friend this Wednesday at the dining hall, I spoke only English and her friend said she didn’t like English. I asked her when we could meet again and she said she was busy, so I asked if she wanted to see me again and she said no. Her friend said that she liked some other guy (who didn’t like her), and that she also had a lover.

Then on Thursday a girl at the English café told me about how Su Jeong told her a story about me, and that made me question both of their motives. She was very aggressive during the rest of the café: “Have you lost weight deliberately?” I saw her again today: that’s her style. There’s still a bit of a lingering affection (미련) for Su Jeong, but I’ll get through it with the help of a bevy of babes. On my walk to the elementary school, I tried to argue against seeing ANY girls, at least for a little while, and then one of the many blocked my path, and she was on my mind for the rest of the walk. (In a quick aside, I was able to get a girl at the dining hall to kiss me, then she said, “But my boyfriend.” So my skills are vastly improving, but enough of that…)

Mostly I’m sick of being innocent and getting played because of it. I thought being a playboy I could play all the girls and break their hearts… I’m the fool every time (항상). I must keep fighting and striving and that something more will come.