Acts of Man…

January 31, 2010

Writing is such a weird act. On one hand, you have to utterly be selfless as to give all of yourself and let others do with it as you will. On the other hand, you have to be selfish and arrogant enough to think that what you have to say is important enough for you to feel the need to tell the whole wide world.

Is what I’m saying even making sense? I’m at the 56-page mark of the first draft of my novel, so I’m on course after one month, but yeah, it is taking an emotional toll. The overall plot that I’m writing is almost completely fictional, but the details of the story are turning out to be unbearably autobiographical, because as it turns out, a) I don’t know a whole lot about the outside world, and b) my character by nature is directed painfully inwards. Writing for me has turned out to be–for better or worse–a form of self-cannibalism, and yes, it hurts. Quite a bit, actually.

Fortunately, music is still of help, like this new song by Midlake: “Acts of Man.” It’s sad but also soothing, like the sound of the ocean waves outside your window when you’re alone in a run-down motel at an off-season resort. I love it…

Acts of Man – Midlake

Holden Revisited… (J.D. Salinger–R.I.P.)

January 29, 2010

I ran into Holden just the other day,

As we waited in line at a drug store.

He said he was feeling much better.

But he hears voices that tell him he’s failed.

He’s a lawyer now, can you believe it?

Started with honorable intentions, to help people

But now he’s like everyone else:

With a suit and a tie and a lie.

He told me he prays for me.

But he can’t look me in the eye.

Cup of Cocoa? That’ll be four bucks, please…

January 27, 2010

Never Thought I'd Come To This...

Somebody slap me now, I’ve become a walking cliche. I’m here at the Apkujeong Starbucks sipping on a $4 cup of hot chocolate, writing this over their free Wi-Fi connection. Yup, I’ve joined the cadre of laptop-toting writer-wannabe loners who loiter at Starbucks pretty much because they have nowhere else to go. Okay, maybe I do have a bit of an excuse; I’m gonna start tutoring right near here in a couple of hours, and I wanted to use my time the “write way” (ha ha). Still, after years of secretly rolling my eyes at the Starbuckers, it feels bitter indeed to have crossed over to their side. Speaking of bitter, what’s with this hot chocolate anyway? $4 for this?!? The least they could’ve done was toss in a marshmallow or two… Okay, rant over. Gotta go write now.

(Top 101) #63. What Hurts the Most – Rascal Flatts

January 25, 2010

What hurts the most was being so close
And having so much to say
And watching you walk away

So my mom went back to the States tonight. She’s on the airplane as I write this, hopefully sleeping peacefully, and I wonder if she knows just how much I’m going to miss her. You know, as I was about to say goodbye to her at the airport gate, I kept thinking about how lucky we’ve been–my aunt’s recovering well, my mom’s knee’s getting steadily better, and we were able to spend two whole months together, which has been the longest time we’ve been in the same country aside from my year of grad school since I left for Korea in 1999. And I kept thinking about how happy we’ve been and how well we’re getting along now and how I’ll see her again in the summer (either my mom’s coming to Korea, or I’ll be going to the States for a visit), and then I look at my mom and we hug, and just like that, we just dissolve into tears, thoughts of happiness flung aside… Seriously, airport goodbyes are hell for the tear ducts, I tell you… For that matter, so are mothers…

63. What Hurts the Most – Rascal Flatts

(Top 101) #64. Desperado – The Langley Schools Music Project (feat. Sheila Behman)

January 22, 2010

Oh, man, this song slays me. First, some background. Back in the 70’s, a Canadian music teacher taught his elementary school students to perform pop songs of the times (David Bowie, Eagles, Beach Boys, etc.) and had them record a couple of LPs pretty much as a lark. Fast forward twenty-five years or so, a record collector listens to the LP, flips out, thinks it’s amazing, and has the albums re-released in 2001 under the title Innocence & Despair. Presto, a cult following and a Vh1 documentary follow.

The songs really are quite a treat to listen to, but out of all of them, it’s “Desperado,” a solo piece by a girl named Sheila Behman, that brings out the lumps in your throat. Of course, the original, sung by Don Henley, was pretty potent in itself, but it’s this little girl’s rendition that absolutely breaks your heart a thousand times over…

64. Desperado – The Langley Schools Music Project

(Top 101) #65. Missing You – John Waite

January 22, 2010

I’ve got the worst head cold ever. It’s been a long time in coming; staying out late on a freezing Saturday night can be detrimental to your health, no matter how much fun you may be having at a karaoke bar (though my first public rendition of Rick Astley brought down the house, I’m proud to say). I’ve also received my first set of monthly bills for my new place, and the eye-opening total came out to be about $170, from which about $100 was for using the heater. Yikes. Snow is nice and all (the first couple of times, anyway), but I can’t wait until winter’s over.

Now, it’s time for the #65 song on our Countdown: John Waite’s “Missing You.” I’m not even sure what else to say about the song except that it’s great. It’s instantly catchy and infinitely relatable (Anyone here who HASN’T missed someone desperately at one time? Yeah, didn’t think so), a true 80s classic. Also fantastic is the video, which despite all its 80s kitschy moments (John, what’s with that earring?), manages to tell a fully-realized story. I remember watching it as a boy and being truly moved when the girlfriend goes to John’s house to get back together and knocks only the door only for him not to answer–because he’s listening to music on his headphones and can’t hear her. Oh, the irony of a singer who makes music about love losing love because he’s listening to music…

65. Missing You – John Waite

“According To You” – Orianthi

January 22, 2010

After my family and I watched the post-humous Michael Jackson concert pic “This Is It,” my brother leaned over to me and said, “That guitarist was really cool, huh?” Indeed, she was, wailing on the guitar with her long blond locks flying in the air. Well, now she’s released a song out on her own called “According To You.” It’s not the most original song ever (it’s got the Kelly Clarkson stamp all over it), but it’s still pretty darn good. Rock on, Orianthi!

According To You – Orianthi