how to bank a fire in the summertime

How to call this thing -
this thought,
this feeling.
An abyss,
it was before
and now full,
filled with brightness.

But a cautious glimmer,
a tentative shine,
a shy sparkle,
in the dark.

Can you see it?

I am alight,
burning,
a cautious flame licking the air.

Can you feel it?

It wants to roar and burn,
flare up,
crash down,
devour the coals -
until nothing
but the embers,
huddled and gleaming,
pulse and glow,
with satiated delight.

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Rambling Thoughts on a Friday Afternoon

warning: post may include vapid soliloquy (also: TL;DR)

The thoughts I had regarding this all have really left me feeling lost. Nevertheless, I continue. Thinking, breathing, living. And what do I have to show for it? Well, let others be the judge. I can’t so much as remember the last few days, caught in a haze of work, sleep and television. And still the computer glare dims my eyes. I feel like I’ve been slowing leaking out my mind into the electronic universe. What to do. Where to me. How to feel. Not so much empty, as muted. I drift, and stumble, bored and unamused. I want to feel. I want to participate. I just can’t seem to find myself. How long have I sat here, without regard for time and space and duty. Have I so easily lost my drive? Where has it all gone. Whether or not there’s to be an end of it, I do need a change. I need a change in scenery and in daily routine. A change in thoughts and feeling. A change.

So where to start. Where to begin looking for inspiration and for a release from doubt? Frustrated and seemingly hopeless, yet not. How much is it my own sense of melodrama and charades, and how much of it is simply my inability or simply desire to move on. To change. To accept the fact that so far the past four years have been lovely, but rather inconsequential in the grand scheme of things.

Four years of experience, seeing the world, experiencing its tumultuous citizens. Beautiful memories, and painful scars etched like pink ribbons across my body and soul. Yet, I do not have any regrets. It has been a time of exploration and discovery, and I wish all who have crossed my path well. Forgive and try to forget. Others, remember and fondly nurture the thoughts of one day reuniting, somewhere, somehow. The past isn’t a threat. The past isn’t a fear, or a worry. The future is what makes my stomach turn, and my heart start to race.

The future. That unknowing tomorrow, full of wonder and terror and possibility. Yet, I feel reticent to pursue it. I feel that I am keeping myself back, keeping change at bay. Again, the question begs for what reason? Fear? Simple unknowing? As the final days dwindle down to fewer and fewer, I start to wonder where I will find myself this time next year. If I close my eyes and wonder, I can honestly say I see myself with a certain someone. Or at least, I hope to see myself standing next to them. The thought of being in Korea, still, or better yet, again, makes me feel uneasy. Is it the thirst for change and novelty, that pushes me? Or perhaps, a sense of urgency that I need to be somewhere specific, and that Korea is not that place? It all circles the maze back to the big question.

What will you do when you grow up? To write. That was the easy answer. To write and to share my life’s joys and discoveries, pains and heartaches. To give of myself, to pass on my life to the outside world. A need perhaps born out of my intense hermetic self, uncomfortable in the presence of many strangers, eager to retreat to the safety and cool haven of home. Writing is my connection. It is my umbilical cord with which I connect to you. To them. To all of us. Yet, so what. Write? Write what? Write how? Where to live? How to live? Can I truly get behind this endeavour and give it a proper, honest shot – at last? Here the fear of failure is strongest. My self-professed calling – picturing it crashed down on the rocks below, in dismal rejection – that thought sends my brain to red alert. What then? What is I can’t write? What if I don’t write well? What if they don’t like it. What if it doesn’t sell. What else?

Another desire, teaching. To connect and share with others. To pursue and enrich my own knowledge, while sharing, and learning, from those who are on earlier paths than mine. If I were to pursue a life of academia, would it be successful? Do I have what it takes to succeed? Am I smart enough, or good enough, or do I even have “it” in me?

Questions, questions – indecision. Are these all fear, or rooted in genuine concern? I can’t tell. I don’t think so. I sit and think, and think and wonder. What will the next year bring?

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some thoughts on a spring afternoon

I’ve really become quite accustomed to this place. The waves of uniformed youth flooding the small streets in their regulation haircuts, the gradual warming of the spring air, and the bothersome arrival of pollen and Gobi Desert sand storms. Yes, it must be spring. New school year heralded by brand new backpacks, supervisor visits, and standing at attention. How familiar this has all become. Ever more so poignant, as I count down the last months of living in South Korea. What a journey, what a ride, what an experience. And yet, scattered throughout the tumulus moments were these instances of wonder and reflection. The ever present music wafting in from cafe and cellphone stores and arcades, blending in with the beeping of delivery scooters, and restless chirps of little birds. The sound of Korean spring. I close my eyes I can see the rush of waves at Haeundae beach, hearing the foam upon the surf, the seagulls, the endless murmur of Korean conversation. When I open them again, I’m back home, here in Ulsan. Surrounded by mountain ranges and countless fried chicken shops, this has become my home. And now as I face my upcoming departure, I sit and wonder just how much I’ve grown, and how much I’ll be leaving behind.

Freedom, friends, frustrations and folly – such were my years in the land of the morning calm. I close my eyes again and I’m back at the airport, almost four years ago. Exhausted, exhilarated and quite worried that I’ve gotten lost already. Fearless, and fate on my side, here I am, alive and well, and with a new smattering of wrinkles and scars in tow. How much have I grown? How much of it was due to living in East Asia, and how much was inevitable? I’d like to think, both factor in with important measure. Things will come to be, no matter where we are in life. Choices, decisions, taking a new path or a new turn, this is us, our free will. How it plays out? Out of our hands, and into the grasp of fate. God? Destiny, perhaps. I think fondly, rather amused, at my rambling thoughts. They have been my erstwhile companions these years. There is much to be said of the experience of living alone. Living apart. Away from family, friends and familiar territory. When nothing is familiar, and now, everything looks like home. I sit here and wonder, how much of home will I be leaving behind.

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Hello, November

People usually escape from their troubles into the future; they draw an imaginary line across the path of time, a line beyond which their current troubles will cease to exist.
―  The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
This afternoon has been quite delightful. The music playing at Cafe Bene is so chalk full of throwbacks, I just can’t stop dancing in my seat. Right now, it’s “December” by Collective Soul, but we’ve had Whitney Houston, Toni Braxton, TLC, and more. Understandably, my to-do list has suffered somewhat in the process. Nevertheless, onwards!
Today is Day 1 of NaNoWriMo, and I’ve written a grand total of … zero words. Perhaps not the most motivating amount, but there’s still more hours left to this day! And those hours include the minutes of Madonna singing “I’ll Remember”. This coffee shop really is pulling out all the stops on this playlist!
So what did I do today? I created a new blog, to chronicle my other part of life, journey towards mind and body health. For those of you who are intrigued, check it out here. The foci of my life are, at this time, writing and health, hence the dual blog. The tone and mood of the blog is much more light and fresh, and I hope you’ll enjoy it.
Mariah Carey is crooning “Hero” and my heart just clenched with sweet memories of years and years. I should cast my fears aside, and get on with this post! I hope that the hero who lies in me is quite verbose, because there’s much to be said.
Today, I read a quote that particularly resonated:
“Genius is nothing more nor less than childhood recaptured at will.” – Charles Baudelaire
Fascinating, how I’ve attributed my creativity and imagination to my childhood mind, and here I am calling upon that same purity and wild abandon to motivate my aged (haha) writings. Naturally, this all points to me being/becoming a literary genius. Or rather, something to that extent. Now that definitely puts a burden on these 28-year-old shoulders. I shall shoulder it with great pride and haughtiness and mild apprehension. For now, at least.
I’d say more, but I’m starved. I’d tell you what I’m planning to make for dinner, but you’d have to visit my other blog to satisfy curiosity. Guten abend!
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November 1st is just around the corner, and I’m getting ready to start my first experience with writing a novel from start to finish. I’ve begun countless writing projects when I was younger, with vast world building and detailed cultures, religions and even appearances. In fact, I can clearly remember that my creative juices were just as plentiful as my imagination.

I used to think that those days have evaporated with the passing of time and the filling up of the brain with all that immense information download that was my undergrad at University of Toronto. Now I’m convinced that this is not the be all end all, and that I can in fact bring back my productivity to pre-uni levels.

Many authors get asked if they listen to music, while they write. One of my favorite authors, Jacqueline Carey, says she doesn’t listen to music at all. She is also very much a plotter, not a pantser, so I believe that music wouldn’t really influence her writing that much either way. As I start thinking about my own writing, I wonder which path is more to my liking. I know that I tend to write whenever the mood strikes me, but I’ll have to change that habit into a daily routine – starting in November and hopefully carrying on after that. I’d like to think that I’m more of a pantser, and even look forward to listening to specific songs for inspiration.

My main goal is to return to writing as a full-on hobby, especially now that I’ve quit my Master’s program. I do feel much more liberated given that I don’t have the next two years chained down to a required monthly salary (to pay for school and other expenses), or a busy schedule (I would be in school for two years straight due to courses offered every semester) and most importantly, I don’t feel like I’m tied down to a specific career destination. I’m not even sure if I want to stay in education for the rest of my life, and I definitely don’t know (and haven’t had any experience) if I want to do education administration either (which was the M.Ed program).

I really hope that I complete the word count for NaNo. I’m writing this particularly as a reminder for those days when I slack off, or fall behind on my daily word count in the coming month!

The genre completely escapes me. I’m tempted to write fantasy or sci-fi, in only in ode to my childhood stories. Well, that and also the fact that those genres make up the bulk of my own reading! I considered a fun chick lit piece, perhaps inspired by my own life here in South Korea, but I just don’t know if I could do it. Or, I just don’t know enough about fashion brands, or contemporary dating schemes or… whatever else there’s a lot of in those books! I do enjoy an occasional guilty pleasure foray into that section of the bookstore, but definitely not enough to go on for a novel. Romance was another option, but again, I don’t think too fondly about raping the thesaurus for a 1001 words for penis. Or I could just resort to “below the waist” or even “down there” and refer to “body wash smell” and how the guy’s pants would “hang off his hips” a few times each page. I still can’t get over how popular the “Grey” trilogy has become. Simply astounding how such a poorly written excuse of a novel has sold millions! How did any editor in the world allow that to happen…

Anyway, enough of that.

I’m still not sure where to start. Currently, my novel synopsis is quite tongue-in-cheek, although it’s probably not to far off:

“An unusual heroine is the only one who can save her world from utter destruction by an evil force.”

Pretty great, right?

Seriously, now. What to do, what to do. Hmm…

Getting ready for NaNoWriMo

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The horse’s black hide shimmered before the cold moonlight could capture it in its snare. He threw his head viciously in the air,nearly unseating the dark man riding upon him. Monstrous nostrils gaped out, steam pouring out like from a geyser. His golden eyes pierced my heart.

That night I had decided to follow the path they raced upon, retracing each forbidden hoof print with the delicate flicker of my haunted eyes. Again he caught me unaware, two dark shadows thundering off into the night, just when I dared to blink.

In the dim of dust I followed the slivers of stardust littering the moist earth. All I could see was a dark figure on the horizon, always eluding me. The cool air shimmered with tension and the land was coated with a dreadful silence. I had the sudden urge to look up ahead of me.

My heart skipped a beat.

There they stood, unmoving, less than three strides away. The black stallion snorted, spraying the cold earth with his hot sweat. I gazed up at the rider astride the massive beast. Sharp, cat-like eyes ensnared me, thick black hair framing a pale face. He had caught me staring at him and laughed, a warm light sparked in his eyes before dying. I unconsciously pulled my grimy fingers through my long tangles, looking up at the mesmerizing apparition before me.

“So it was you who was following since that last bend?”

The Highwayman Came Riding

The yellow grass swayed in the warm breeze

Basking in the harsh rays of the noon sun

Nothing else moved

It seemed that the world had been put on hold

The blades of grass its rasping breath

Far away

Where the hazy horizon met the brazen earth

Stood an ancient wonder

The massive branches reached for the heavens

The trunk solid as a war-hardened soul

The great warrior was old

Bark showed the scaring of the ages

Etched forever in rigid skin

So bizarre was its existence

Nature’s freak

In an ocean of sun and dry grass

Sea green leaves hung from its limbs

Dancing in the gentle wind

The hill where the tree stood

Littered with gold red orange and green

A niche buried deep into its depths

A passage hewed with small paws

A safe haven

If one listened closely

The sound of fox pups nursing

Of mice nibbling

Of ants working

Could be heard

The burrow led far under the earth

Farther than any animal ever ventured

It ran deep

Tinkling the Mother’s skin

And then disappearing

Into the fire of the center

 

Abruptly the wind blew harder

Scattering the leaves to the sky

The strong burst tore off

A solitary acorn

Flinging it to the parched soil

It rolled slowly

Picking up speed until

It collided with the wall of the fox burrow

It did not loiter long

A resident mouse

Snatched up her treasure

Not speculating its origins

A day’s rations had fallen from the heavens

 

Not only the hungry mouse stirred

A hawk soared high above

Silently

With a hidden purpose

A fly buzzed in an antelope’s ear

A cheetah flew silently across the plains

Its lithe paws barely touching the ground

A lion roared

A creek sparkled

A leaf rustled

 

The world woke

As the sun withdrew its blinding rays

 

 

 

In the east

The starry heavens had reappeared

In the west the burning death

Of the sun

Flooded the land with red blood

A flock of swans erupted into a forced flight

Barely escaping the hunger pangs

Of a wild dog

As the sky faded to a blue-black

And the celestial jewels

That decorated the dark land above

Dazzled

The world awoke

 

The small stream

Sparkling in the fading light

One last salute to the departing day

The golden grass slowed its ballet

As the gentle wind blew

One last breath

Across the darkening land

 

The full moon had risen unnoticed

With a tingle of red

The silver orb sent beams

Of silver thread

Upon the golden plains

Flooding the land with a new light

One that didn’t blind or bother

It wove a carpet of silver gold

Enveloping all with its serenity

 

Right now

A thousand leagues away

A new day had arisen

Flooding the same earth

With the same rays of light

That had so recently

Basked the golden plains

Further still

Past the earth

Past the golden globe we call our own

Blew a bitter wind

And still the wind blew

Scattering the stars in the sky

The great storm shook

Infinite anger

As the cold wind slowed to an dubious breeze

Dust and light entwined

Jumped and danced

The red nebula glowed

Feasted on new life

Small dust balls glittered in its light

Brought silver on the seam

Twinkled and laughed

The blue sun shuddered

Erupting gold into the void

 

Further still

One star flickered

Cried out its joy

For the beginning of time

Of Endings and Beginnings

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