(Top 101) #25. Last Scene – Rollercoaster

January 24, 2011

After a Friday night of soju and karaoke, a Saturday of sleeping it off, and a Sunday of comebacks at my writing group’s workshop and choir practice, I feel like I’m back in the swing of things here in Korea.  It’s quite cold here–it snowed quite a bit yesterday–but I actually like it.  The cold is waking me up from the lethargic, calorie-filled haze I happily immersed my brain in while I was in the States.  Now that I’m back, it’s time for me to reclaim my crown as the Most Productive Unemployed Person in all of the Korean Peninsula.

I’ve actually just finished an important chapter in my novel-in-perpetual-progress.  It’s the one that takes place in the city of Gyeongju, and it marks a turning point in the story.  And having gotten through it, I can actually say for the first time that the end is–at least, kinda, sorta, maybe, keeping-my-fingers-crossed–somewhere in sight.  I’ve just prepared a chapter-by-chapter layout of everything I’ve written so far, and from the likes of it, I should be coming to the end three or four chapters from now.  Of course, there’s a whole lot of rewriting that will need to happen, but my overall vision of the narrative is starting to take shape.  I just need to make sure I don’t fuck it all up now.

I can’t even imagine what it will feel like when I put my final, finishing touches on the last scene.  Speaking of which, here’s the next song on our Top 101 Countdown–also slowly but surely approaching its inevitable end–“Last Scene” by the Korean jazz-electronic-pop band, Rollercoaster.  It’s my all-time favorite Korean song.

24. Last Scene – Rollercoaster

Thinking that it must be even harder for you than for me

Doesn’t help me at all…

(Top 101) #26. Islands in the Stream – Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers

January 19, 2011

While I was in the States, I had a lot of talks with my older brother about God and the Bible.  He’s a born-again Christian, and I’m not.

Although we don’t agree on everything, I admire him for his faith and there’s definitely a sense of peace about him that wasn’t always there before.  As for me, I don’t know.  I’m just not keen on religion, especially with all the hateful crap you see fundamentalists spewing all in religion’s name.  (My brother had a prescient line about this:  “No one hurts Christianity more than Christians.”)

But still, I do believe in God.  I don’t know if God is a He or a She, white or black, has a beard or not, or whatever, but I’ve got to think there’s something out there that’s greater than all of us.  Otherwise, life would me so random, so meaningless.  And that would just… SUCK!  All of the world’s pain, all its suffering, all the sweat, all the running around and scrambling we have to do day after day, I’ve got to think that it’s all gotta add up to something once death comes and strikes.

Is it selfish of me to think that God’s gonna reward us in the afterlife?  And I’m not just talking about myself, I’m talking about everyone, maybe even murderers.  Why?  Well, if you check out the background stories of a lot of serial killers, they’ve had incredibly abusive and messed-up lives from the get-go and never really had a chance at normalcy.  I don’t really know, but I’d like to think Heaven is a grand old party where all our sins get forgiven–no matter how great–and we get to spend eternity by our loved ones talking about how we wouldn’t have stressed so much during our days on Earth if we’d known how cool the afterlife was going to be.  And of course, there’d be an endless supply of great food and great music to keep us happy (like Dolly and Kenny here).  A beach would be nice, too, with green water and white sand… 

25. Islands in the Stream – Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers

And the message is clear

This could be the year for the real thing

(Top 101) #27. Don’t Wanna Try – Frankie J

January 19, 2011

The first person I met upon returning to Korea was D., my ex, who had asked me to bring back some vitamins (C & D).  We met and had a quick dinner together.  It was nice, comfortable.  But yeah, it’s strange to think that you would’ve died for this person at one time, but now, it’s ‘Hey, how’ve you been?  Here are your vitamins.’ 

Still, I’m glad we were able to remain friends.  D. asked me about the book I’m writing, and I was really tempted to say, “Much of it is about you.”  Maybe I will someday.  Maybe.

26. Don’t Wanna Try – Frankie J

Tell me what’s the use in holding on

When all we do is hurt our love?


January 19, 2011

So after a month of luxuriating in and engorging myself upon American-style laziness (mostly watching the Tennis Channel and eating up the mountains of food my mom cooked up everyday), I’m back in Korea with its patches of snow and ice on the ground.  I must say, I wasn’t all that crazy about coming back.  The month passed by in a flash, and it seemed like I had barely overcome my jetlag and the time difference before it was time to get back on a plane.

It’s such a strange duality for me, my Korean and American lives.  When I go to the U.S., my life in Korea seems to melt away like it was all just a dream, and now that I’m back, it’s my life in America that seems to slowly dissipate.

And above all, there is my family.  My wonderful, eccentric, wildly dysfunctional family with all our eccentrities and incompatibilities.  So loving and so maddening at once.  I will miss them more than I could ever say (or write).

But ultimately, life goes on, and really, feeling sad about not being with my family isn’t going to anything besides making me feel sad.  I’ve got things to do, a book to write, a job to get ready for, and ultimately, a life to live.  And really, I’d rather live it with a smile and not a frown.

Noah and the Whale – L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.