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Monthly Archives: April 2013

I grabbed Harry’s hand and took him to a hill in Denver bathing in the sun. We sat on a blanket of clovers and ate our fish and fruit in the afternoon glow, the single large oak tree hanging over us. The wild grass had a pillowy bounce, and his arm lay warm next to mine.

Harry mumbled something in his sleep. I couldn’t make out the words, but he slept well. A smile crept up on my lips, along with the emerging promise to keep his dreams safe. Each and every one of them.

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I have no idea where my head is. I only know it still exists because it is throbbing.

To do:

  1. 1 English transcript – due tonight
  2. The last of the magazine articles – due Sunday
  3. Essay on Othello as an Aristotelian tragedy – due Monday
  4. Translation of 5-page excerpt from a Korean short story – due Tuesday
  5. Application for a literary translation fellowship – due Tuesday
  6. 2 English transcripts – due Tuesday
  7. 1 job application – due next Friday

Had to cancel doctor’s appointment and dinner date. Struggling with translation, procrastinating the articles. Actually looking forward to writing the essay, but must prioritize the translation.

All I want right now is a good sandwich. And a mimosa. 🙁

Also, with much gratitude, here’s a shout out to Yoo, my new partner-in-crime! 😉 She’s so smart and inspiring and helps me manage all of my work. Don’t know what I’d do without her.

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I’ve been seeing different doctors about my neck problems, and the more doctors I see, the worse the news gets.

Today was particularly devastating. He looked at my x-rays from the previous hospitals and asked me why I’d waited this long to get treatment. “Didn’t you feel pain in your neck and shoulders?” And I said no, not at all. I just have these headaches… But then he said that it must’ve taken about five years for my neck to get this bad. Five years…

Five years ago, I was in college. I struggled almost daily with shoulder pain, but I chalked it up to stress (because my mom gets pain in her shoulders with stress, too) and didn’t do anything about it. The pain wasn’t too bad, and I was too focused on schoolwork to take care of myself.

And therein lies the problem. I was constantly bent over books and absorbed in computer screens. Ever since junior high, my parents told me to fix my posture and stretch once in a while, but I ignored them, never once thinking that my cervical spine would bend forward like it is now.

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It’s been three months now since I’ve been unemployed, and I’ve fallen into strange habits, a new pattern of day-to-day living.

On bad days, I’m down and dejected with no hope of finding a job. I wallow, hole up in my apartment, and eat poorly.

On good days, I spin Regina Spektor albums and work at home, breeze and sunshine trailing in from my open window. At night, as my writing wraps up, I light some incense and unwind with a nightcap and cigarette.

You might say I’m “living the life,” working so comfortably and not (yet) worrying about money. But it’s more like I’ve found a way to enjoy hermit life, because I can’t afford to go out and spend.

So the fun I have in my head, the drinks I enjoy by myself. Making playlists for solitary work and imaginary parties has become my new hobby. Sometimes I procrastinate and dance by myself.

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The book I mentioned in my last update is on hold while the first issue of a magazine I’m helping to create comes together. This week is all article deadlines. Rough copy will be ready for design next week, and pretty soon, we’ll be having meetings with advertisers.

If all goes well, I might make a Project Reporting series on this venture, as it could provide some insight into how a magazine startup can begin with a handful of dedicated, creative individuals who get paid very little or nothing at all.

It’s a beautiful day today in Seoul, a sunny 68 (20) degrees. Hope everyone is enjoying it!

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[line breaks might not occur in the right places when viewed on mobile devices]

all sorrows end with a passage of burn burn burn, a slow whimper, a drawn
moan like black wizard-moths in a cloud wing blaze as it occurs to you
you question, why crumble when you can create shine, blind! forget
precious souls for what is it all in the end but a little heart
a little notch another mark, another smile and all the pretty little dimes and you
cross the road, keel over, sit—cross-legged perspiring under the sun, it burns
blink twice, but no more, for in a blink a thousand snapshots return
and in a chasing frenzy a pause, an innocent rest. a drip of sorrow—your old friend—
visits, gold and fine and ever so tragically beautiful but beauty, you find
in any delectable angle of a body, threads of prism colored lies, perhaps—
you can find beauty in a line of ants climbing their little mountain anthill descending
disappearing one, one, one syncopated march or in a glittering stream
trout leaping and catching the sun in shock sparks why wait, why linger
and yes, why lament when possibility and positivity rattle inside toy chests
of both gone past and coming eager to take you maybe tease, torment but isn’t it
worth it, the terror which seizes you but fades one quiet day

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Today, I lost my log of writing ideas.  It was an ongoing list I’d been adding to since September, and before I lost it, it had over 40 items.

Never mind how I lost it.  All I know is that it’s irrecoverable.  Not only that, but I also lost all of my recent dream logs, which I’d been planning to use as well.

I’ve been pessimistic about writing lately.  It’s depressing to admit, but for the past week, these notes and logs were the only thing that made me feel like I had some place to go with my writing.  Because my work in my notebook and book draft has been so discouraging, the only hope I had was in the 40+ ideas I could still rekindle.

It might not be as bad as losing a notebook or manuscript, but it’s still a heavy blow.  I could probably re-log at least half of those ideas from memory, but some of those items were drafted sentences and paragraphs, and those I know I can’t recall verbatim.

I know looking back only hinders progress, but it’s hard not to when you’ve lost a bank of seven months’ worth of inspiration.

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We went to the jungle first, where we picked bananas and tapped a tree for rubber. I’d always wanted to do that—tap a rubber tree—and before this day, the closest I had come to it was picking off a leaf from my Ficus Benjamin and watching the white goo ooze out of the wound. I took out an old jar from my satchel and started filling it with the sap, now flowing freely from the trunk. He looked at me with a raised eyebrow and I beamed at him.

Out of hunger and boredom (probably boredom moreso), Harry whittled a stick to a sharp point and harpooned a salmon with it in the little stream. I couldn’t watch him do it. “I need more than bananas for supper,” he said.

I looked up, and looming above us was a canopy of wide, leafy leaves, thin and translucent and overlapping as if to one-up one another, hiding the sun. I missed the sun.

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