Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Monkey King and the Lovelorn Soldier

And I read three Hellboy compilations: The Right Hand of Doom, The Troll Witch, and Strange Places. I'd read another before this but I don't remember the name of it. I'm guessing there are only about four books because I keep rereading them; fortunately, I read them so long ago that I barely recall them and they're almost like new.

Just finished Katsuya Terada's The Monkey King, too. That was excellent, if a bit confusing. It wasn't confusing in the linear sense, I get that the story loops around, but the action from scene to scene is disjointed in an artsy way. Like, how did they end up in that still? One minute they're walking through the desert, the next they're being fermented into a beverage. What? This is the third version of the Monkey King I've read/seen, so now I think I should find some authoritative text that has the version from which all these others have been based.

I was reading an article about the Central library, which I frequent, and was struck by KARE11's dearth of copyeditors or proofreaders. I might have snickered about these errors before, but now I'm in the middle of a copyediting class and a gaffe (or string of gaffes, as the case may be) like this is fairly serious, and I'm also jobhunting for a copyediting position. Places like this can't perceive their own errors so they don't realize they have a need for this service: it's a tidy little loop of error. (I've been posting this link in a few online forums, so KARE11 will probably start to wonder why that article's getting so much attention.) My fianceé suggested that I edit the document and mail it in to their editors, maybe with a copy of my resumé. Wouldn't that be hilarious? Or would it be insulting?

Last night I was home, supposedly working on writing, while Rebecca got colored extensions put in her hair in preparation for our wedding. I say "supposedly" because in reality I found it impossible to sit down and create. I changed the litter box, scrubbed the cat puke out of the rug, tried to scrub my own boot slush from the rug, walked to the corner store for a bag of charcoal and set up to grill a couple bison steaks, &c. And the cats wanted to play, too, they get so restless when we're not around... well, they sleep all day, but when we're home they crave play. I feel guilty if I don't focus on them for about ten minutes of play, each. It's part of being a responsible pet owner.

It's also part of being a procrastinative writer. I didn't get anything done by the time Rebecca returned. I had her steak ready, and she showed me how to quickly cook a pile of spinach (I always forget vegetables when I make dinner. And starches.), and I mixed myself a snifter of brandy and Glögg - I used to do my best writing while heavily buzzed - but I had no ideas. She actually suggested to me that I write about my prurient experiences in South Korea... which I thought was brilliant. It's not going to be an essay bragging about my sexual conquests, not at all. It will be more of a tragic overview of some of the friends I made in the bars. I just don't have a solid point on which to conclude it. Rebecca said to just sum it up with where our lives went:
"Su-Jin went with her new husband to California, then moved to New York and opened a salon with some of her girlfriends from Waekwan. It took her a couple years for her to obtain permission from her husband to get back in touch with me. I last saw Mi-Kyung with a table of new soldiers, getting drunk for the night, laughing at me. Jin-Ah ran away from her club a few months before I left the country, and I have no idea whether she's still alive. I outprocessed from Active Army, went into the National Guard in Brooklyn Park, and started attending community college."
I dug through some old books and found the diary I started keeping towards the end of my Korean stint, pages of an inexperienced and naïve young spaz tormented by lust and doubt, ravaged by the caprices of idealized romance. This isn't the first time I've wanted to fly back in time, shake myself by the shoulders and smack myself around, and I'm sure in 20 years I'll say the same thing about my present self.

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