I leave for Youngstown on November 9th. I still have to get my ticket. I'm a bit nervous. I have yet to be away from Sogee for so long. I hope she'll be okay. Two months is a good long while. She says she might visit Korea in December. I'm sure she'll find her visit back home surprising. When I visited America after being in Korea, it didn't even seem like America. It was more like a fuzzy dream that never got into focus. It's only now that I've been back in the states for eight months that I feel like I have a sense of what it is be an American again. At the same time, there is still a sense that I am outside of America as well. That I could once again be off in Korea, but I don't know if that will ever happen. There are many opportunities for me here, and I just don't see myself going back to Seoul to teach. I don't know if this is reality, but I feel like something else is calling me here. Yes, partially that's making movies, television shows, and novels. And yet, there are the other things -- the food, winters, feeling like an outcast in a different way, family, and freedom. This last element is probably the most profound. No matter what I could ever do in Korea, I would still be a non-Korean. Whereas in America, I have a chance to still be judged or discriminated against, but I still have the potential to be who and what I am without a true "second class" nature as it stands in Korea. I don't know. I say all this and maybe it makes no sense at all. You could be reading this and thinking he gets to make movies. Life is grand. Yeah, it's pretty good. That's not the issue. It's just difficult when you have a married couple from two different countries. One lives in one place for a bit, and then there's the switch to the other's homeland. But where does home end up being? What is a proper solution? Home in both places for half a year each? Would that do it? Will I need to get a specific kind of job? Would I be able to live half a year of my life in Korea? Would I be able to do that?
I know none of this matters. The truth is that "second class" happens when I think there is a "second class."
It's hard to get out of my own mind sometimes to let things just be as they are.
That's the key to anything. Some people call it letting out the inner child. Others call it feeding the snake. I call it the strange word you say only you and your closest friends understand. The one you might call out during a ping-pong match, or in gruff bark several hours before sexual intercourse. That word is an entrance into the play that is closer to reality than trying to figure out what "gruff" and "sexual" have to do with "feeding" anything.
I've lost some of you with my knee-jerk humor that announces itself to pull out the rug from under your thinking.
There you go. Another "what?", but you are still following if you've stopped thinking. If the words and meaning don't matter anymore, then you are in "this" writing world. You've been lured here under the guise that you were reading about my worries. And, you were. Just as clearly as you can see who wins "Dancing of the Stars" or "The World Series" next week. Yet, we can just as easily see the lines in a painting -- not the actual shapes themselves -- just so close to the painting -- that we follow the single line as it turns in an arc and meets other arcs, as these arcs then expand and pull into a series of triangles and colors. You pull back and it's a Jackson Pollock at the MOMA in your memory. You pull back and it's your wife asleep on Halloween. You pull far enough back and it's just the fun of breathing. You pull before that and it's just dust.
I can touch dust when I follow a line in a drawing. It's easy to get caught up in judging the line. Yet it goes where it goes. If you have the ability to let it, then you just might be able to enjoy it.
How do I say that differently?
I can get caught up in the art of something. That's the closest I come to just going with a moment. In life, I can see that certain things that happen are no different than being a witness to the converging or diverging of lines on a painting. If I spend all my time judging whether the painting is good or not, I might miss the sheer enjoyment of watching the lines pull in and out of themselves. That movement is the thing I can see when I stop worrying or predicting what will happen with Sogee and I in the future. It is what is. Korea or America? Movie or no movie? All these thoughts stop when I can follow the drips in a Jackson Pollock.
I leave for Youngstown next week. If you've got any donations for the film, send an email to pk[at]sanghafilms.com. These can be monetary offerings, which are most welcome, or you could offer physical help, film equipment, food, or any other things I might not have listed but you would be willing to contribute.
I will see you all in Youngstown. Pics and news to follow.
Tao Lin wrote Shoplifting from American Apparel. He is an author. He has written several books. He requested a grassroots promotional post. I believe in grass, roots, and Tao Lin. His book will soon be mine. I will wear it on my head. I will call it my “inner poetry hat.” Then a chipmunk will appear. It will ask why I didn’t offer to draw a hamster for him. “Because Tao draws hamsters,” I will tell the chipmunk. “I am the one who writes about weird fantasies in corporations and makes cheesy animated videos.” I have now written 89 words. Tao requested 1,500 words. That is like a teacher. I wonder if Tao would ever consider teaching. He might help young minds. Tao Lin wrote You Are a Little Bit Happier Than I Am. He is an author. He has written several books. He requested a grassroots promotional post. I believe in finches, kim chi, and Tao Lin. His book will soon be mine. I will wear it on my elbow. I will call it my “inner ear cheese.” Then a chipmunk will appear. It will ask why I didn’t offer to draw a squid for him. “Because Tao draws squids. I am the one who writes about weird fantasies in Kuala Lampur and makes passionate heart-shaped glow in the dark stickers.” I have now written 210 words. Tao requested 1,500 words. That is like a priest. I wonder if Tao would ever consider priesting. He might help young children. Tao Lin wrote Bed. He is an author. He has read several coloring books. He requested a grassroots promotional post. I believe in sour, sweet, and Tao Lin. His book will soon be liquid. I will wear it on my toes. I will call it my “manicured poetry hammer.” Then a weatherman will appear. He will ask why I didn’t offer to draw a whale for him. “Because Tao draws whales,” I will tell Nick. “I am the one who sings about Britney Spears in Girls Gone Wild videos.” I have now written 327 words. Tao requested 1,500 words. That is like a wet sponge. I wonder if Tao would ever consider washing cars. He might raise some money. Tao Lin wrote Eeeee Eee Eeee. He is not a fish stick. He has talked about fishing in a poem. He requested a grassroots promotional post. I believe in fire, memory, and Tao Lin. His book will soon be ice. I will pull it from the freezer. I will call it my “inner cube of nothingness.” Then a cup will appear. It will ask why I didn’t offer to pour some Jim Beam inside it. “Because Tao pours Jim Beam,” I will say. “I am the one who pours out the contents of my Juicy Fruit bubblegum in a commercial in my mind.” I have now written 444 words. Tao requested 1,500 words. That is like a pet. I wonder if Tao would ever consider owning himself. He might guard his apartment. Tao Lin wrote Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. He is almost a hipster. He has lived close to Williamsburg and visited Silverlake. He requested a grassroots promotional post. I believe in tattoos, HTML Giant, and Tao Lin. His book will soon disappear. I will not know where it is. I will call it my “invisible poetry horseshoe.” Then a police officer will appear. She will ask why I didn’t offer to arrest Tao Lin. “Because Tao gets arrested without me,” I will say. “I am the one who doesn’t believe in getting involved in other people’s business. I like to sit in my house and draw pictures of Lindsey Lohan in 12 years.” I have now written 561 words. Tao requested 1,500 words. That is like a teacher. I wonder if Tao would ever consider falling from his mighty blog tycoon status. He might help Robert Redford at Sundance. Tao Lin wrote Hikikomori with Ellen Kennedy. She is also an author. She has written several books. She did not request a grassroots promotional post. I believe in clouds, whiskers on kittens, and Ellen Kennedy. Her second book will soon be published. I will promote it on my blog. I will call it my “Ellen Kennedy Grassroots Promotion.” Then a parakeet will appear. It will ask why my little brother squashed him. “Because he was only three years old and had difficulty walking,” I will say. “I tried to save you.” I have now written 678 words. Tao requested 1,500 words. That is like a messiah. I wonder if Tao would ever consider climbing a mountain. He might find tablets. Tao Lin wrote Today the Sky Is Blue and White with Bright Blue Spots and a Small Pale Moon and I Will Destroy Our Relationship Today. It is an e-book. He has written several e-books. He requested a grassroots promotional post. I believe in loneliness, death, and Tao Lin. His book will soon be a reason for people to make money from American Apparel. I will not be surprised if it is sold in American Apparel. They will call it a “book” and say it is “for sale.” Then a customer will appear. He will ask why are there quotes around “for sale” and “book.” And the manager will say, “Because Tao draws hamsters. Pirooz is the one who writes about weird fantasies in corporations and makes cheesy animated videos.” The manager has not written 795 words. I have. Tao requested 1,500 words. That is like a lot more words than I have now. I wonder if Tao would ever consider writing a 1,500 promotional post for me. He might help young me. Tao Lin wrote This Emotion Was a Little E-Book. He is emotional. He has experienced several emotions. He requested an emotional promotional post. I believe in tears, Zooey Deschanel, and Tao Lin. Her movies are very bad. I will not watch them. She is a good singer though. I saw her sing jazz once. It was nice. Then a chipmunk will not appear. It will not ask why I didn’t thank him for all the fish. “Douglas Adams is the one who writes about weird fantasies in serials and makes bad screen adaptations.” I have now written 1,037 words. Tao requested 1,500 mg of heroin. That could kill a person. I wonder if Tao would ever consider taking 1,500 mg of heroin for a promotional post. He might die. Tao Lin is not dead yet. He is a living author. He has written several books. He has also requested a grassroots promotional penis. I believe in Anne Frank, wigs, and Tao Lin. His books will soon be sold on Ebay when people look for “transformers,” but end up getting “books” instead. I will wear Laser Beak on my shoulder. I will call it my “inner toy animal.” Then a G.I. Joe will appear. It will ask why I didn’t offer to purchase him on Ebay. “Because Tao likes G.I. Joe,” I will explain. “I am the one who didn’t have any money as a kid, so I only got Musclemen by stealing from Woolworths.” I have now written 1,188 words. Tao requested 1,500 words. That is like a lot more than I thought it would be. I am starting to get tired. It’s already 6:09 a.m. I wonder if Tao would ever consider teaching. He might help young minds. Tao Lin wrote Shoplifting from American Apparel. He is an author. He has written several books. He requested a grassroots promotional post. I believe in cheating, stealing, and Tao Lin. His book will soon be stolen. I will wear it on my head. I will call it my “gift.” Then an American Apparel employee will appear. He will ask why I didn’t offer to buy him a pair of low-grade grandma sunglasses. “Because no one needs those glasses,” I will say. “It would be a waste of money.” I have now written 1,321 words. Tao requested 1,500 words. That is like a hippopotamus. I wonder if Tao would ever consider a spelling bee. He might make that his next promotional post. Tao Lin did not write this. He is less emotional when he writes. He likes to drink water mixed with poisonous eels. He requested a grassroots promotional fence. I believe in respect, solemnity, and Tao Lin. His book will soon be a cure against Swine Flu. I will wear it as a mask. I will call it my “salubrious oeuf.” Then Salvador Dali will appear. He will ask why I didn’t offer to make a statue out of tinfoil for him. “Because Tao does origami. I am the one who made Chinese stars in gym class and shot them at all the kids playing kickball.” I have now written 1,459 words. Tao requested 1,500 words. That is like a copy and paste nightmare. I wonder if Tao would ever consider another book of poetry. He might help cantankerous MILFS. Tao Lin wrote me an email today. It said, “Nice. Thanks.” He is an author. He has written several books. He requested a grassroots promotional post. I believe in Stella Adler, Bravo, and James Lipton. His TV show will soon be cancelled. I will celebrate with a show of my own. I will call it my “inner poetry hat show.” Then a TV executive will appear. She will ask why I didn’t offer to draw a hamster for Tao Lin. “Because I draw comics about ashtrays and people getting robbed.” I have now written 1,583 words. Tao requested 1,500 words. That is like a shitload more than I needed to write.
I have been working on a painting. I think I'll finish this one today. After that, I'm going to spend all my free time on this new novel about television. I think it might be funny. Who knows? It might suck.
I have to submit my PhD stuff this week. I'll have to put my life onto three fabulous pages. I think that will be fun.
I went to visit Bobbie today. She told me to come back next week. She was afraid she might get Swine Flu from me.
"I won't even hug you," she said. "But I love you."
"Okay," I laughed. "I love you too. See you next week."
I stopped by the grocery store after that. I had to get lasagna shells for dinner. Sogee told me to get them and deschamel sauce. I couldn't find any of that. I looked it up on the web server on the phone. All I found was articles on Zooey Deschanel. That wasn't what I wanted. It wasn't until I got home and got chewed out for not getting it that I figured out it was just a fancy way to say "white sauce."
"Why didn't you say white sauce?" I asked Sogee.
"You didn't get it?"
"No," I said and slumped into a chair by the kitchen.
"How am I going to cook the lasagna?"
"I don't know," I said.
If this were a story about my ethnicity, I could make suggestive statements about my search for "white sauce," but I think in my current state of mind it would go straight to being slutty. Marilyn Monroe would arrive on the top of my computer screen. She would be pouring deschamel sauce down her blouse. I'd tell her I was into people who looked or acted more like deviants.
"I am naughty," she would say.
"Okay," I would reply. "Then go to the store and get some white sauce for this lasagna. Because, believe me, if you don't, Sogee is going to get pissed."
"I am going to go get the white sauce."
"Okay," Sogee smiled. "I am glad. My existence depends on white sauce."
I just watched two movies. Wolfhound and Transformers 2. Wolfhound was okay. I have nothing to say about Transformers besides I would like to be one. I think I would be a pterodactyl-hippopotamus. That would be a nice combination.
I find out at the end of this week if I'll be filming a movie in Youngstown for the next couple months. I have a feeling that's how it will be going. That means I have to do all this PhD work now. It's a lot. I am going to have to come up with a good statement in the next couple days. I think I can muster something. Hopefully, it's enough.
Anybody ever read any of David Foster Wallace's Broom of the System? I am enjoying it very much. It reminds me of reality. I will be reading all of his books in a row. I like doing that with authors I feel I can steal things. I have already stolen a few things. I'd tell you about it, but I am still in the getaway car.
I finished taking the GRE today. It was long. I scored adequately though. I wanted over a 600 on the verbal. I achieved that. I did so-so on the math section. A 590. I'll take it though. As long as I can apply to these programs, I'll take slightly above average.
FYI - I will not be taking the GRE ever again. That is a nice consolation.
Apparently, I've had Swine Flu. Obviously, I survived.
Aquiles, Lee, and I all got sick after the ball game on Sunday night. I didn't go to the hospital. I felt like I should at one point, but then fell asleep. Sogee thought I was being a hypochondriac because I misdiagnosed gastritis last year and thought I was having a heart attack, so she just went to the other room to watch French movies while I coughed and hacked my way through the night.
"I think I am going to die," I told her.
"Okay," she said and turned up the volume on her movie. "You'll be fine."
Later, after Aquiles called from the hospital, and the whole possibility of death dawned on Sogee, she finally uttered an "Oh, Baby!" and coddled me for a moment. That was worth the swine flu, I think. There's nothing like people thinking you're a hypochondriac, when, in fact, you are far from it.
Anyway, I am now supposed to keep on my lonesome for a while. It's been almost a week, but I figure a few more days rest. Oh, and yes, I had to reschedule my GRE exam. I take it now on the 20th. I'll let ya'll know how it goes. I think it'll be okay. I'm hoping for above average. We'll see what I can muster.
FYI - I made a painting last week called "The Making of Swine Flu." I never thought it would be so prophetic.
"You should make one called 'USC'," Sogee told me.
"Maybe, I will. Painting your dreams is never a bad idea."
TIPS ON SURVIVAL*
Drink a glass of water every hour.
1 Umcka Cold + Flu chewable each hour
1 Extreme Tylenol Cold each hour
Rinse with Listerine mouthwash every hour
Sleep as much as possible
Put bags of ice on head and neck to keep fever down
* I am not a trained physician. This is simply how my body survived. If you have symptoms, I would go to emergency care immediately.
I am getting a touch of a cold. That does not make me happy. I have to take this GRE exam in a couple days. I'm hoping I can put it to rest with a vial of Airborne and lots of fluids. We'll see if I can muster up some He Man strength. Who knows? I might just put this cold into the dust likeSkeletor. Actually, I like that expression. I will use it a lot from here on out.
Aquiles invited me to see a post season baseball game at Coors Field yesterday. Rockies vs. Phillies. I was excited.
I was going to root for the Phillies, but I was told that I needed to root for where I was currently living, so I cheered for the Rockies. It was fun. I drank cocoa, ate a hot dog, and bought a hat that said, "Colorado Rockies Post Season 2009."
I probably would have bought two hats if it weren't for Lee. He was a very warm person to sit next to. We snuggled the whole game.
"You're lucky," he would tell me. "I am a human heater. You got the best seat in the house."
"Yup," I agreed with him. "Now I just need a beard."
"Oh yeah!" Lee agreed back. "Look at this beaver on my face. You got to get one. At least for the winter. You can shave in April."
"Okay," I said.
I started growing my beard right after the Phillies won the game 5-4. I decided I could go to another game next season when it's warmer and the beard I just started growing would be gone. That might be just what the doctor ordered.
I am reading Percival Everett'sI Am Not Sidney Poitier. I like the dream sequences very much. I like that the author forms a character with you from birth and then puts him into impossible situations. It flows very nicely. Elements can definitely be taken as satire, but the world is so convincingly told that it seems like reality. It's similar to Spinal Tap for me. I was about ready to cry after I saw that film, since it was so close to my life touring with a band. ...Not Sidney Poitier has had a similar effect on me. Every time the main character gets pulled over for being black, or ventures outside of Atlanta, I get flashes of myself in the character's exact same predicament. Even from the perspective of his name being as complicated as "Not Sidney." (You have no idea how many times a name like "Pirooz" could cause trouble in a first meeting. "What is it exactly? P what? Is it hot in Iran?")
I will finish Poitier and start on Glyph today. More of Percival's books are on their way from Graywolf. Who knows? Maybe, Percival will be willing to chat with me about funny names and American strangeness.
I will go see the Rockies play the Phillies today in Denver. I am excited. I have not seen a baseball game since I saw the Dodgers play in 2006. This will also be the first baseball game I've attended since I've come back to the United States. Everyone is telling me to dress warm. I just hope I get to shake hands with the Philly Fanatic!
Jim Goar will win the prize in 2032. It will be the same year a group of Hungarian scientists discover hair growth hormones. Goar will take the air medication on a whim of sorts, showing up to the podium with hair past his shoulder in luscious curls. "Who would have thought, eh?" he says mainly to the first row; his eyes can barely see the second without a strange device known as a Magno-stash -- a magnification and reunification device that works both on eyesight and sexual libido. He fiddles with the Magno-stash in his pocket, but decides against revealing it to counterbalance the seemingly youthful locks that are now swaying down into his eyes. "Yeah, it's been a long trip to get here," Goar continues, dragging a wispy lock curled in a Superman 'S' as tight as the arthritic finger he uses to push the stray hair back behind his ear. "I often think to myself to those early days in Boulder. I wore a backpack nearly everyday. I would strap it on rather high and tight. I would walk everywhere with it. Why did I do that? I don't know. I liked backpacks, I suppose..."
One of Goar's front row guests is the eminent psychologist Dr. Phil. He has been invited not for providing the poet with any particular windows on marital issues or self-growth, but for simply being an all-round guy with a kick-ass hawk. (Unknown to most of his television viewers, Dr. Phil is an avid breeder of kick-ass hawks. His latest specimen accompanied him to the Nobel event perched nice and snug on the guru's shoulder as it had on the past 17 award ceremonies they have both attended, including the not so fortunate, or some would say blessed, event that involved Melanie Griffith's awkwardly shaped pompadour, or you could say, as it turned out, wig.
"Bezelbub thought it was a mouse," Dr. Phil explained to a rather distraught old Spaniard seated next to the aging actress. "I swear!"
"I swear I will kiss your chicken!" the old Spaniard, who was later revealed as a Banderas 7000 robot, mis-spoke due to some wire confusion and a late night oil change at In-N-Out Burger.
Goar thoroughly enjoyed this incident, as he did almost any of Dr. Phil and Beezelbub's antics. He had been silent for a good couple minutes before he realized he was deep into a memory about Beezelbub, and was gently coaxed back to reality with a squawk from BB, who now gripped Dr. Phil's shoulders rather tightly as another of his piercing squawks filled the theater and sent several pigeons in the rafters to huddle even closer to one another -- only seven beady orbs glistening in the darkness -- one pigeon, we can call Latimer, had lost an eye at birth; its mother thought helping it hatch was a good idea; unfortunately, she had a very sharp beak and only one eye herself.
"I would like to thank the Nobel panel and my mother," Goar continued after the squawk and a tangential imagining about a pigeon named Latimer. "I would also like to thank my friends who have supported me with good wishes. I can't say I would like to thank the Chinese government or anyone associated with that corporation. I would like to thank Bangkok...yeah, Bangkok...I would also like to give a shout out to Norwich, Seoul, and Nashville. I would also like to thank my wife, without whom no award would mean anything..."
Is this what it has come down to? A non-protestor is unified in thought to protestors, but finds them annoying because suddenly his graduate lounge is unavailable? I find this type of selfish, materialistic behavior the sad fact of my generation. We seem to be unwilling to stand for anything that will come between comfort and ideals. Maybe, 90's apathy was the most we could do to put a hand up to the system. "I don't care about Bosnia. Check out my plaid, man!" Now the paranoia of post 9-11 Bush-era beware-the-terror tactics have doused any potential flame for anyone even close to the fence to start jumping. We've replaced "I don't care" with "I want my graduate lounge, iPhone, and Lil Bow Wow."
It could be argued that protesters could have used a better location that would not obstruct graduate students from study. At the same time, it's not like people can't hit a library. If the protesters had chosen a more traditional academic building, police would probably have been involved, whereas the Graduate Lounge is inconsequential to academic boards, and definitely a nuisance that can be tolerated. In my opinion, it was a good location to not only make a visible outcry, but also affect those who have lost the will to protest. Who knows? After students, such as the one in the interview, are annoyed enough, they just might raise a beef long enough to actually join in on the concerns they also share. It's either that or protesters need to be handing out free iPods and copies of Lil Bow Wow to get any kind of action.