Most of these were taken over Chuseok.
The last picture is of a Buddhist temple near Jin’s parents’ apartment. There are hiking trails around it and we went out one morning to explore the area, but didn’t get far because I slipped in a puddle and pulled a hamstring.
And you’d think my hollering in pain (and passing out) would have roused up a monk or two, but nope… I rode that wheel of Samsara all alone.
Oh no, this is my third post in a row on writing (!) after I’ve said how much I hated writing posts (!!). But it’s true I do hate writing posts, only this is from an interview with Gerard Jones. I loved Jones’ Killing Monsters and Men of Tomorrow. Read them. They are great.
“The more I looked at the usual ways of breaking down a story, the less sense most of them made. What’s this “beginning, middle, and end” business? Isn’t the end implicit in the beginning and the beginning still continuing to the end? How do you separate the “middle” from either? Once separated, how do you keep it from becoming just a receptacle for narrative miscellany? And what’s all this about the “character arc”? Why does a character have an “arc”? Does it go up in the middle and then back down? In a story of midlife fullness and senile decay it might, but that’s hardly every story. I don’t see my life as an arc. A line, a road, a river, or a tree, fine. But not a parabola.”
“At its heart, every coherent story is a single event. A single transformation or revelation. It isn’t made up like a brick building of its component parts; its parts are manifestations and demonstrations of its essence.”
From the movie adaption of Charles Willeford’s The Woman Chaser. I can’t remember the exact quote from the book, but I think this is close. Possibly the best piece of writing advice you’ll ever find in a misogynistic 1950s smut novel.
In my continuing quest to make rules to
ignore apply to myself, here’s another one:
I read two books this week. Their names don’t matter much. I liked them both. They had me “turning pages”. But both had what I’ll call critique problems.
A critique group’s job is to find faults, but not all faults need to be corrected, nor can all faults be corrected. A critique problem is that thing your critique group would suggest changing, but shouldn’t be changed because doing so would grossly alter your vision of the story. Perfection shouldn’t be your goal. Your best and the space beyond it are your target. If you have control of your material and are achieving a certain effect and if following the advice of a critique would have you alter so much that that effect would be lost then ignore the critique.
This has been my second writing post. Chuseok pictures to follow.
1. “Do not be afraid of irreverence towards the memory of those who controlled your childhood.” – Bertrand Russell
2. “A man ought to read just as inclination leads him; for what he reads as a task will do him little good.” – Samuel Johnson
3. “Everyone has inside themself a parasitic being who is acting not at all to their advantage.” – William S. Burroughs
4. “The collapse will not be televised. Ignored and alone, each of us will experience it singly. As blemish and accusation, you will be photoshopped from the American Dream group portrait. The lower you slip, the more invisible you will become. The disconnect between what’s real and what’s broadcast will become even more obscene by the day.” – Linh Dinh
5. “It was like becoming nothing and realizing one was nothing anyway, ever.” – Patricia Highsmith
6. “My work is one long triumph over my limitations.” – Charles Willeford
7. “Unknown to us, we live in the midst of causes whose effects will surprise posterity.” – Jan Potocki
8. “But here we have come full circle, for anything we say about the city’s essence says more about our own lives and our own states of mind. The city has no center other than ourselves.” – Orhan Pamuk
9. “Much is familiar there, little has changed except, of course, for those who return.” – Karen Lord
10. “So much knowledge could only end in starvation.” – Victor Hugo
Here’s a list of 10 “favorite” books. As with all such lists I get to number five then the whole thing becomes a fist fight. They are listed in no particular order.
Cannery Row by John Steinbeck
Slam by Lewis Shiner
Radio Free Albemuth by P.K. Dick
The Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
Odile by Raymond Queneau
The Tremor of Forgery by Patricia Highsmith
Kalpa Imperial by Angelica Gorodischer
The Fafhrd and Gray Mouser stories by Fritz Leiber
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Lewis Stevenson
Jin’s doing some translation work, so she’s become more sensitive to the way things are translated here. Examples:
1.) We’re watching an English language show subtitled in Korean, something on the Discovery Channel. The narrator speaks of a “promising failure”. This however was subtitled in Korean as “expected failure”, as if “promising” meant “promised” and therefore the failure was “expected” instead of being a failure that showed the way forward. The whole thing struck me as very curious considering the stakes, issues, and ensuing trauma placed on success and failure here, and how a potentially positive thing such as a “promising failure” had it’s positive attributes stripped away from it to be wholly a negative.
2.) The habit of taking English words, spelling them in Korean, and using these new words instead of preexisting Korean words. We’ve seen this with “trousers” and “dough”, and whenever it occurs it makes me feel pretty bad, because my job is likely a vector of contagion for this habit. This will even occur to the potential detriment of a project. So if an English language RPG-style video game talks about steel swords and silver swords, two things Korea has a pretty rich tradition of, those words get phonetically translated into Korean becoming something like “sil-li-va swo-da” instead of using the Korean word for silver sword with generations of history behind it.
This one is for the Mossy Skull.
I did a bit of hiking today on Mount Naeyeon outside of Pohang City. It’s actually still in Pohang county but an hour by bus north of downtown. It was a beautiful late summer day: windy and relatively cool. It rained when we got off the bus but cleared up when we reached the trail. The trail runs beside a river then loops around one of the peaks. There’s thirteen (twelve?) waterfalls along the trail. We passed maybe seven of them. There’s also a Buddhist temple, Bogyeonsa, with various hermitages and buildings nestled in the valley.
If you’re in Pohang it’s a great day trip.
Now come the blurry cellphone pictures.
Overall a pretty fun day.
The bus trip is cheap, about 2USD (1,500 Won), with another 2.5USD tacked on for admittance to the park. We didn’t visit any of the temple buildings although most of them were open to the public and you could hear monks chanting from various points of the trail. This added to the calm atmosphere (as an aural environment it was amazing: water trickling over rocks, wind blowing through leaves overhead, and monks chanting… yeah, I wanted to record it all).
The one thing I wished I got a picture of was the coffee vending machine in the middle of the forest where the trail branched towards the temple. It wasn’t even near a rest area, just there beside the trail.