Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Homesickness and Sara's Madness

Turmoil makes me write more then I normally would. I know that this will be the last post before my vacation because I simply won't have the internet access for it after today, and I also know that the distraction of friends will keep me well and away from my computer. Why turmoil? Why all the craziness suddenly with this otherwise happy little saradevil? Call it culture shock if you will, or homesickness perhaps more appropriately, maybe lovesickness from too much time spent to long away from all the people I love and miss so much.

Homecomings are good for solving that sort of thing, but time, life, living; all these things are too short and cut too deep. I can't see everyone that I want to see and not everyone who wants too can see me. Such is life, no anger at the thought, but a sadness that just sinks into one and keeps everything else from rising. The thirty hours in transit will fix a lot of that.

I am lucky enough to be dragging along Sam for this particular homecoming which will be nice, since the last time I traveled to the States I traveled alone. It seems silly I should not be nearly so homesick since I was home for almost two weeks last December, but as it is. A long time in Korea can make one crazy for so many things, and this does not explain at all why when I do get to the States that I spend at least the first day there thinking that I have no right to be there and should really be in Korea.

Sometimes I feel finished. I feel finished with Korea and want to go home. As soon as I get home I feel the same sort of resolve and just want to get back to Korea. Korea is my home now, I wish that were not true, but I know in my heart of hearts it is true. I love many people in the US and certainly several dozen of you have written to remind me of that in the last day, for which I am truly grateful. As it is though, my home is no longer in the US. I've lived in Korea longer then I have lived in any single place since Shimer which was the last place I would have called home.

Shimer is no more and that core of what Shimer was now lies within the people that are scattered around the country. Some of whom I can see and some who I might never get to see again. There is sadness in that as well. I enjoy this silly webpage more because I feel like Shimer lies here somewhere in all these people that I once new gathered together so I can share experiences, lives, loves and the transitions that have been made.

If I cannot call my old Alma Mater home anymore then what do I have? I think about this and I realize that Korea is really the only answer. Oh, I'm well aware that the Shimer-in-Exile program we have created her has probably helped to make this feel like home and I appreciate that a great deal. It's fun to be able to go and sit and still discuss with just as much passion and foolishness philosophy and pedagogy with a group of people that has not changed in a decade. I wonder sometimes if I'm stuck in my own feedback loop on myself and don't move on. I know there is some truth to that. Part of my own special brand of madness, I suspect, as I fear any sort of moving on will be the end of me. I have changed, of course, but my passions have not changed so much as instead they have become even more deeply entrenched and more irrevocably Sara.

There is art, and music, and life, and art, and sex, and bawdy humor, and witty repartee and all the things that I have ever woven into that core of who I am, and all of these things remain. I change here and there a little at a time but remain as static as possible. Safety in that as well.

Traveling is good though, and I intend to do a lot more of it this year then I have in years past. Now that I've come to realize that Korea has become my safe haven I might explore shaking that up a bit and finding a change of pace from my current local. Maybe Russia, or Europe, or the Middle East, or Greece, some other country where I can make a good living trading on the only commodity that I have to offer. At least I offer it well.

Fortunately for me I have all my heartache that I could ask for and in a few short days I'll be able to fill it with the company, conversation, and amusements that only a homecoming after so long away can provide. I'm happy in that. If I prattle on too much with my "This one time, in Korea" feel free to slap me and change the subject and I'll do my best to not be homesick for Han-guk whilst I'm hanging around in Me-guk.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

My Apartment

I am not, despite what one might infer from my ramblings, a raving lunatic.

I've got my issues, I'll admit to that and even freely, but I'm not completely nuts.

That said I've but together a panorama of my apartment.

Yes I have too much time on my hands.

Yes it's the weekend.

Yes I spent to much time drinking and am so hung over that leaving home seems pointless.

So here I will give you a quick tour. I have a cabinet, it holds clothes.

I have a bed, I sleep on it.

There is my computer with light so I don't go blind.

Yes, that is the glass I drink tequila out of and the salt shaker that I use when I sit in front of my computer to drink and write. I'd be doing that now but for the hangover.

Next the medieval torture device that I work out on.

My door under a curtain because it is made of metal and is very cold.

My big short cabinet that holds sewing patterns.


The kitchen is off down that little hall. The bathroom is off the kitchen. The kitchen ends at that bookshelf in the back you can see. Yes, I have a bookshelf in my kitchen. Yes my kitchen is small. When I open the bathroom door it hits the fridge.

Then the bookshelves stuffed with books I've read, written, or edited. And books I just read.

T.V. for watching the Daily Show and Xena.

Back to the cabinet.

Yes my apartment is a giant square.

Check it out.

At the bottom of my photos section. I'm trying to put it on my website.

My website aparently hates me at the moment, like so many other things. I'll work on getting a bigger picture up for you crazies who might want to see it.



UPDATE: Got it to work. Now when you click on the little picture you should get a big picture. I'm so clever.

Friday, January 26, 2007

I'm a twist in the wind.

A friend of mine built a bath in Korea. It is a lovely luxurious huge bath, big enough for two people. I love this bath. Being in Korea means you are away from bathtubs. You give up a bath to come to Korea. You give up a lot to come to Korea. Some dreams, some fantasies, realities, friends, lovers, all things that get set aside so one can make an escape to Korea. You give up bathtubs to come to Korea.

I admit when I lived in the States I was not a constant bather. I liked a bath every now and then, especially if I had a bottle of brandy, some clove cigarettes, chocolate ice cream, good music and spare time. These things were perfect on a Wednesday night when you needed to just sort of vacate in the space of your own apartment with only a few hours to spare. It was not something I needed all the time but it was nice to have when I did need it.

Then I came to Korea. At first the constant showering in the middle of my bathroom did not bother me at all. While it was a little unusual to stand over the sink and watch in the mirror as you showered you do become a bit accustomed to it and just do what needs doing without thinking on it.

But after about ten months it started to grate on me, standing in my bathroom covered from floor to ceiling in tile. I wanted to reveal in hedonistic self service. I wanted to spread out in a tub and just be covered by warm water and let it wash away the sins and the fears and the madness that builds up with life. Nothing for it but the shower and annoyance at the lack of mindless escape. I experiment with candles and cigarettes in the shower, but I promise you it is not all it is cut out to be; for one trying to keep your smokes lit in a shower presents any number of challenges, and get me started on the candles. It’s a fun effect in a totally tiled bathroom, but sitting on a tiled floor and letting water run over you is a pale shadow of a good long bath.

I gave it up and when I really wanted a bath I’d hit a hotel. Most of the time the hotels in Korea have baths and so you could go and have a decent bath in a cheap love motel. If you were willing to spend maybe an extra twenty bucks you could get a cheap love motel with a Jacuzzi bathtub, and that my friends, is a happy wonder, but these are the sorts of baths you have to prepare well in advance of. You have to set in your supplies and lug them all to the room and then set up everything and hope against hope that there isn’t a smoke detector in the place. You might get a nice right bath or you might get ousted by the fire department. I enjoyed this for a long time until once when relaxing in a love hotel bathroom I found myself on the opposite wall of a very loud and violent dispute between two lovers that apparently was taking place in a bathtub and it put me off my fun for quite a long time.

Hopeful that the US might hold some bathtubs I’ve made trips there in recent years in search of a quality bathing experience. While I’ll confess to finding a tub in Chicago that I fell madly in love with I’ve been sorely disappointed with the bathing accommodations in other parts of the country. You would think there is no place you could go in the states without a bath, but I have learned on more then one occasion that there are places in the US that are just as bathless as the fair land in which I currently reside.

My friend, however, is very industrious and also a lover of baths. It was found that if one is willing to take the time and learn enough Korean that you can purchase here a large Rubbermaid sort of tub; the kind that you might actually expect to find in the basement of some Hell’s Kitchen apartment full of acid and dead bodies. These tubs are huge, heavy, solid, well made, and perfect for bathing if you have the space for it. I’d consider trying to find one for myself but alas my apartment is just far too small for it. This is why it is good to have friends.

The bath is large, lavish, and long to fill with hot water, but worth the wait. It sits on a sun porch which overlooks pretty mountain peeks and birds fly about the windows. The water is so hot I feel like I might boil and be dinner but this is the perfect time for such a hot tub. Open the window and clean mountain air flows in to even out everything and make one comfortable. Add some tequila, good chocolate, a book, a conversation with old friends, and you have a fine bath indeed. After a two hour soak you begin to wonder if you really gave up all that much after all, or if maybe you just learn to recreate all those things with a slightly more Korean style tint.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Fish Tales

This one is for Murray, because I promised I would.

As it were the following is a true story, or at least mostly true. All the names have pretty much been kept the same because I'm not sure anyone really cares enough to have names changed at this point, and well, hell, I don't mind if you know it's a story about me. Most of the major players are no longer in the country anyway, or at least, they are no longer in this country and that is mostly all I like to worry about. While the story is true I may decided to embellish a little, examples might include me running like an Olympic sprinter; fun to say, wholly inaccurate.

It was back in the late fall of aught '2 that this story takes place and it begins in a way that some stories might begin, with a fish market. If there are sayings about fish markets I am wholly unfamiliar with them so feel free to pass along any good ones if you know them. This story begins in a fish market where I was fighting to keep my ground in a throng of pressing Koreans and hoping to the merry gods that I was not going to wind up with a face full of squid. I like squid with beer and even squid on a bus, but non-dried squid wriggling down my gullet was not really something I was falling all over myself to experience.

I was walking through this fish market part of a larger and even more ramshackle market with a wayward Sam who had only recently disembarked a plane from Waygookistan to join me on these foreign shores. Sam, being still a bit jet lagged, and being still very new to Korea, was quite unhelpful with the fish problem and I was pretty sure I was going to fall in. Instead of falling I got shocked to my senses by the sudden vibration in my pants. For a moment I thought the fish, or at least the octopi that swam about in the buckets around my feet had decided to solve the fish problem by just crawling up my legs, but this was not to be the case. It was, in fact, my cell phone.

"This is Sara." I piped curtly into the phone while pushing my way through a dozen more jam packed Koreans on a busy afternoon while trying to drag a helpless and more or less distraught friend along with me. "Who?" shove, knock, push, and hey did that guy just feel me up "What?" more pushing "Hello." And with the continued poor ability to hear I worked and pushed and groped my way to a space where I could actually hear what was happening on the other side of the phone.

"It's Mary."

"It's who?"

"Mary."

"Right."

It took a few minutes, what with all the excitement happening in the local market, for me to realize that Mary was someone that I knew. Mary, was in fact, someone I worked with and saw on a regular basis, I should have been a bit more withit, but it finally hit me after repeating the "it's who" dialogue only a dozen more times for it to sink in.

"Right. What's doing."

"I'm being attacked?"

"What"

"I'm being kidnapped."

"By?"

"Koreans."

"Right. Where?"

"Across from the bar."

"Now?"

"Yes!

"Okay."

I think I wanted to say something intelligent at this point, but mostly I didn't know what to say or do so I said I'd be there in a little bit and grabbed the now insanely confused Sam and tossed him into the back of a cab, followed by bags, followed by me, and we were off to find out why Mary was being kidnapped across the street from the bar. The fish, wisely, stayed at the market.

As we were in a cab I called Mary back so we could talk a bit about what was going on. It was a nice friendly chat considering that fact that she was being kidnapped in Korea. Apparently she was getting kidnapped or more accurately mugged by her old boss. See Mary, naughty person that she was, had quit her old job to take a newer and shinier one. Alas, for her, in Korea that can make you're old bosses kinda angry and put them in a mugging mood. Usually when one does such a thing they leave town and sometimes the country, but in the is particular instance the new job was only a bit away from the old one and the neighborhoods were close enough together to cause enough overlap that on this fateful, fish-filled, Saturday afternoon, the Employers had happened to spot Mary while she walked down the street and decided that this particular time would be as good as any for having Mary pay back her flight to Korea. By quitting Mary had basically ended all need to talk to former employers or pay tickets and etcetera, but Korea has some funny laws and we foreigners often end up on the wrong side of them.

Knowing all of this helped a bit. I knew now why the attack was happening and the potential mischief this situation might cause and how little wiggle room there would be, but I still didn't know how bad it was or could become. As with so many things I suspect this was a good thing.

The cab finally starts to curve around at just the right angle to tell me that we were almost at the bar and sure enough there on the street was an angry Korean couple holding a startled waygook up against the wall while life continued to move blissfully on around it. Sam and I got out of the cab and I figured on the game plan. Sam seemed confident enough that he could find my apartment and considering that he had been in country less then 72 hours I sent him to said apartment to take a nap. I gave him all the bags and anything of import that I had on my person and kept my cell phone. Sam headed one way and I walked across the street for what fate might await me.

Fate would be an angry pair of Lee's, Ms. Lee being slightly shorter and plumper then the wiry Mr. Lee, but both were pretty pumped up on adrenaline and keeping Mary quiet helpless against the wall. I walked up and grabbed Mary's hand without looking at either Lee and said "We're going" and we did. I wanted to know how bad it was going to get, and if living in Chicago had taught me anything, staying in a bad situation never solves it. If you can get away, do so. I didn't know if we could and there was only one way to find out. Unfortunately what I found out was that the Lee's were a rather persnickety pair of people and were not letting go of the new found prey without some old fashioned pay and rather like that octopus I was watching early, I found myself tangled up among several pairs of legs and arms and not sure who was touching what or whom.

Now I was annoyed so I did what any city girl would do in this situation. I dialed 112. That's right because in Korea you do not dial 911 you dial 112. It works better if you dial 112 and can actually speak Korean, but having only been in Korea for about six months at that point my Korean was beyond bad and the poor beleaguered police officers could do nothing but tell me to call back from a payphone. Calling back from a payphone would have allowed them to trace the call. Perhaps fate is not so persnickety but I was no where near a payphone. This is a good thing. I learned that the police had already been by at least once that afternoon and had basically listened to what the Lee's had to say and were then on their way. It was for all intents and purposes a dispute between employers and employees, and since they friendly neighborhood cops could not speak any English they figured it was best left up to the employer to work it out. The police left. Mary called me when the cops had walked away.

Without police back up I wasn't really sure what we could do. I saw a cab out of the corner of my eye and grabbed Mary's hand and we ran for the street and got a cab to stop, I pushed her in and me after thinking to tell the cabbie some directions. Again as fate would seem to have it, this jam was going to be resolved some other way. Mr. Lee dived into the car and across both of our laps wedging himself very firmly into the cab in such a manner that we could not shut the door or move and our only choice was to get out. The angry cab driver made it clear that getting out was also the only choice. After a few more limb tangled moments we ended up back on the street, back against a wall, with a now red faced and angry Mr. Lee shouting and pinching my arm.

That's when I got pissed.

I try not to get fighting angry. It tends to be a bad thing. I like thinking and fighting angry removes a great deal of my ability to think. I'm not good with anger if I get angry, I just tend to stay angry and get more so. I also tend to hurt people when I get angry. Sometimes because I can't help it and sometimes because it feels good to do it and in just the right situation because I have to hurt someone to help myself; this was a hurt or be damned sort of situation I had gotten myself into.

Thinking kicked in through anger. I looked at Mary and asked her why we were still here.

"If I try to run he grabs my bag."

"Leave the bag."

"I can't."

At this point I had turned to put myself between Mary and the Lee's. Her neck was red from the bag handle where it was being used as a garrote or a leash. My back was taking the worst of the punishment right now which came in the form of being punched a bit by Ms. Lee. What Ms. Lee didn't know is that I've asked for a lot worse and what she was doing was by no means going to move me away from the wall if I didn't want to be moved. Still thinking I told Mary to stick everything important in her pockets. Not coat pockets or shirt pockets but in the pockets of her jeans. I let the Lee's hit and push me closer while I laid out the plan in quite quick whispers that hopefully would not be understood by our assailers. She nodded when she had everything in her jean pockets and looked at me.

"Now!"

I shouted it out and at the same time turned hard and pushed myself against the wall taking the Lee's with me. Ms. Lee grabbed for Mary's bag which she had moved onto one shoulder just in case. While she did tug it, she did not succeed in actually getting it away from Mary and Mary ran. In the momentary confusion of having pinned the Lee's against the wall I managed to grab both their arms and hold on. I couldn't watch where Mary was going, but I wasn't worried about it at the time. I was more worried about Mr. Lee who was like a wet cat in my hand. Having only one hand per person I knew that eventually one of them was going to get free. Ms. Lee in the high heels would not catch my girl, but Mr. Lee loose and running would be a problem. I held on for as long as I could until finally with a twist and a Karate chop Mr. Lee broke free and took off after the now disappeared Mary.

I looked at the arm that had freed him where there were several messy scratches from Ms. Lee from earlier engagement. I turned to her now, still trapped and struggling in my grasp, and gave her my best "cat that just ate the canary" grin and told her she was not going anywhere. I waited about five more minutes before letting her run after her husband and Mary. I then took a deep breath, counted to five, and started to walk in the same general direction.

No one knew where Mary had gone. Mr. Lee was stopped and looking and Ms. Lee was next to him and I started walking past them. I was far enough away that there was distance but when they started running towards me I got annoyed. I ducked into a store. Like many stores in Korea this one had two exits. I did this trick three or four times until I ended up in an alley behind the park that was in between me and one of the apartment buildings that Mary must have escaped into. Then my pants started shaking again. I remember the octopi at the market but again it was only my phone. Mary. In a building

"Where?"

"I don't know."

"What are you doing?"

"I think I can see him."

"Are you still on the first floor?"

"Yes."

"Go up!"

"What?"

"Go up! Now, go up. Don't stop, go as high as you can, but go up!"

"Up?"

"UP!"

I hung up the phone and squatted down in the alley waiting for the Lee's. They did several turns in the park looking for one or both of us but were not finding either. Eventually they disappeared and so I emerged and started walking towards Mary's last known direction. She was nowhere to be seen, but neither were the Lee's. Trembling jeans again and I answer the phone. Mary had climbed down after climbing up and we arranged a rendezvous which after two wrong turns I finally made. At this point she was very well hidden.

"Why up?" she said as soon as she could see me.

"Because."

"Why?"

"It was a foot chase. They figured you would try to get away, and I most cases that would make the best sense. But in this particular case it made more sense to stay put and get distance. I figured they would expect you to run maybe try to hide in building. Most of the time, though, no one goes up. They go out, the go round, they dash off, but not up. Up was the safest direction. Besides, he is going to give up after a few floors figuring you must have. How far did you go anyway?"

"Pretty much to the roof." I looked up at the twenty story apartment and smiled.

"Yeah, he definitely would not have gone that far."

We decided after several more moments of hiding out that it was best to try and make it back to my apartment. I scouted ahead and we dashed almost cartoon like from lamppost to boulder to tree to cab where I was able to give the directions in Korean to get me home. Fortunately for us the Lee's who were now driving around in a car did not see us. At my apartment we walked in to find Sam who was reading a book and patiently waiting. Mary's beau was called and directed towards my villa so she could be escorted home after relating for a third time exactly what had happened. People parted ways and I looked at Sam. It had gone from breakfast time to dinner time, the day had basically passed and I figured grub was in order.

"How bout fish?"

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Indian Giver

A few weeks ago with a fresh paycheck burning a whole in my pocket I walked down the street to pick up some holiday cheer things for myself and for others who might need some cheering. It was a nice brisk end of the year sort of day and I was feeling all kinds of good about myself. And hey, why not, end of the year and all what better way to end it then feeling good about oneself and paying money for something to bring a smile to my face.

As I was on my way I walked past a small little shop that I'm rather fond of, a chain of sorts that sells Indian imported goods. Yeah, being in Korea isn't nearly exotic enough, I have to buy imports from India; I'm just that cool. I start outside the little shop that is jam packed with so many India goodies and treats that it takes a few minutes to take it all in. I enjoy the warm colors, red, yellows, and organges. Body colors and heat colors, things that warm the mind and soul a bit more then the often overpowering primary colors or far too subdued pastels of some Korean traditional pieces.

Please don't misinterpret here, I love a lot of Korean traditional pieces; have in fact made two beautiful silk blouses out of Korean silk, not to mention lining my coat with a purple and black Korean silk that I found at the local market. I have all kinds of Korean trinkets in my place and on my person, including a Korean Kut power sampler special that I bought at the local Buddhist/shamnist shop on a strip somewhere. I have Korean ceremonial bells and a beautiful set of ritual casting knives to help me tap into the magick of Korea. I love Korean things but sometimes, after five years of living in Korea, something exotic is just a nice change of pace. New colors, new trinkets, new things.

I browse at first looking at the shoulder bags and lamp covers, and small little poster rolls, umbrellas, wind chimes, all things outside the store that catch my interest. I enjoy the smell of things. I lift them to drink in the scents, desert smells, dry and full of spice like some seasoned far off land. My mind drifts and the store door opens with a twinkle and the prettiest Korean girl smiles wide at me. She has bells on her ankles and an embroidered wrap skirt tied round her waste. She wears a vest that is also heavily embroidered but the colors match beautifully and carry across her arms ending at wrists that dangle with beads and silver rings. She smiles with full lovely lips that are tastefully over rouged, and in perfect step with the rest of her costume, finished with eyes lined with dark kohl for the desert and a bedazzled bindi graces her third eye. She smells like cinnamon, clove and vanilla, scents that I am intimately familiar with, and the fragrance provides a perfect counterpoint to the jingling songs of her bracelet and ankles.

"Anyounghaseyo" she says to me, which translates almost literally to "Peace be with you" to which I respond most properly "Anyounghaseyo" which in context is similar to saying "And also with you." She throws the door wide and invites me into her shop which shimmers invitingly with a subtle magick of it's own. I cross the threshold and lap up the ambiance, the colors, everywhere, piled Persian rugs, embroidered bags on poles meant to hold up the place, walls covered with the most lovely jewelry made form various stones, silver rings to decorate the ears, the nose, the lips, and fingers sparkle and all of it reverberates with the most subtle Indian vocals coming from some sound system hidden under scarves farther into the store. I let it overwhelm me because I want to be overwhelmed it's the end of the year after all and this is like a quick trip out of Korea. A vacation in twenty minutes with a lovely girl who has converted herself into a Tawaif for my amusement and pleasure.

I let her take my hand which is cold form standing outside so long in her warm one and lead me over to the jewelry. She takes my bags out of my hand drops them to the floor, very casually releaving me of my burdens. I let her do it and just relax and go with the flow. She doesn't speak English which is fine by me, when I'm out of my apartment or the bars I frequent I prefer Korean, and so we default to Korean with her laughing at me in a "Oh, silly Waygook" manner if I mispronounce. She corrects me patiently showing me the shape of her mouth and tongue and I repeat as best I can, as she laughs and shows me something else. I ask the name of a piece, I ask how much something is, I ask her where she is from and what her school name was. She asks me how long I've been in Korea. She puts an earring in my ear and calls out "Eepieyo, eepieyo." Pretty, used for children and those that are thought to be cute. I'm flattered and I smile. She tells me my face is very small. This is a high compliment in Korea and I take it with grace. She strokes my eyebrows and shows me some bindis that I might purchase later.

The store is not very big and the two of us standing together in the front of it, now surrounded by my bag on the floor, are taking up almost all the room and yet there is some narrow space to negotiate a little further back to her smiling compatriot who has been sitting the whole time and watching us play like old school friends. She is decorated to match her sister seller and she waves and beckons me to the back of the shop with a smile. She calls me over in English and I realize she has some basic skills and I'm happy to oblige to answer some of the questions she might ask, but keep the conversation simple and switch to Korean as necessary. She stands in front of a shining buzzing case full of silver rings and I know before I stand in front of it the game is lost because I'm going to end up buying something from that case and there is just no help for it.

The two girls stand and pull my hands forward over the case and pull out rack upon rack of silver rings dressing me up like a doll, touching my face and hands, all polite and very innocuous. Casual touching in Korea is quite culturally acceptable and I admit that the amount of time I've spent in Korea has made me very relaxed to it. I don't mind when the girls grab my arms to walk arm in arm down the street, or the petting of hair and body, you just get used to and adapt to these sorts of things. It becomes natural, no more sexual then changing with a sister, and yet because I'm an outsider there is always a thrill of acceptance with it. The girls know I won't shy away from their touch which is why they do it, where another foreign woman might quickly put back in place the western rules of personal space. I just don't care, I enjoy the camaraderie and the secret joke that I often share with my Korean girlfriends. It's just not that big a deal.

The girls work in tandem to dress my hands up in silver and every so often I might ask a price for something and my heart skips a beat when they quote for me. Ah, yes, these would be the high end racks full of beautiful things that I want but can not afford. I let them know politely in Korean that it is a little out of my range and ask for something slightly more on the line of a teacher's salary. As more racks appear I find a glittering piece among them that I recognize and sure enough it is the exact match of a ring I bought in college and lost about two years ago in Korea. I had picked up the original in a place called Horsefeathers that is perhaps the long lost progenitor of this very shop. The rings shines at me and looks like it might be perhaps two people intertwined but only if you look closely and even then maybe the light is playing tricks on you. It is beautiful and brings me back so many memories that I know I will buy it now matter how much they ask. What better omen for the end of the year then to begin the new one with a replacement for so many memories lost? Fortunately the price is within my teacher's salary range and so I buy the ring and wear it out that day.

The girls and I talk for a few more minutes; they ask where I work and why I'm still in Korea. They ask me if I have ever been in love. We talk and idle away the time and I realize that I've spent close to a half hour in a shop that I had originally intended only to enjoy at a distance through the window. I smile and motion that I need to leave and the second shop keeper, the one who speaks the bit of English, looks at me in all seriousness and asks me, after taking a moment to think over the words, "Do you like…cannabis?" I pause for a moment convinced that something odd in either her accent or my ears has perhaps misinterpreted this subtle vocalization and turned it into something else. I ask politely back "Pardon me?" and she repeats much more imploringly now, "Do you like cannabis?"

Being that I'm a foreign teacher in Korea and being that I'm a foreigner in general there is only one correct answer to this question. I might think of a dozen answers to the question depending on who is asking it, but the cloying sweet incenses have suddenly taken on a heavy weight and are pressing down on me and I'm wondering if somehow I've been trapped by some lovely Kali incarnation in this pretty store. I ask again to clarify just one more time, but then answer the question correctly with a sound no.

She looks a bit sad at this revelation and I realized that I, brutish foreigner, have missed something discreet here but I'm not sure what it is exactly that I have not caught, and I'm not sure if it can be explained. She looks up quickly and speaks in breakneck Korean to fast for me to follow and I feel my eyes getting wide with further confusion as she continues. I finally respond in my best little girl Korean voice that I don't understand and she holds up in her hand a box of incense. The box is covered in pictures of the prettiest little Mary Jane leaves one could hope to see this far from Jamaica and there on the side in big red letter surrounded with a bright yellow outline is the word "Cannabis". I finally get it, she was offering me "service" something free with my purchase and I had very uncouthly turned her down. I smiled now, understanding my faux pas and said that yes of course I liked cannabis and happily slipped the incense into my bag.

I walked to the front of the store and waved goodbye and as the girls stood together to watch me go and wave me out. A silver ring, a warm happy feeling, and marijuana scented incense in my pocket. What better way to start a new year?

Monday, January 15, 2007

I Kill Me

I say the most wonderful things sometimes. No, no, really I do. I'm in no way trying to pat myself on the back here, but sometimes I amuse the pants off me. You can be critical if you want to but let's face it diary keepers are some of the most conceited people on earth, and those that not only keep diaries but do so in a public forum go beyond narcissistic. So you if you, dear person, are reading and enjoying you cannot be critical of my self conceit because without it you would have nothing to read.

I was saying I kill me sometimes and I ran across this little bit I jotted while reflecting on my 30th birthday with friends:

"I celebrated my 30 birthday ten year old style. I invited a bunch of twelve year olds to my party and we played pin the tail on the donkey, hit a piñata, ate cookies and donuts till we were sick and watched Wil-E-Coyote Cartoons. It was probably the best party I could ask for. Expect it lacked strippers. That would have put it over the top. Granted that and the twelve year olds probably wouldn't have mixed, but what can you do."

I'm just reflecting on how amused I am with myself. Man, strippers and twelve year olds in the same classroom. It's amazing they still let me come to work.

As a side note, I think my favorite party with strippers ever would have been the disgusting Guido stripper brought to Armstrong for the celebration of I believe Froth's birthday. I don't think I shall ever forget Tom holding the overly distraught Forth in his arms and comforting her while over her head he dangled a five dollar bill..Ah, memories.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

A lovely model

A friend of mine came to my place once. She was getting ready to leave Korea and I was sad to see her go. We had a lot of fun just being together. She was lovely in shape and form and she agreed to do some modeling for me. I've finally got around to working up some pieces based on her.

The following is safe for work version. If you'd like to see the not safe for work version you can travel to my website: SaraDevil

The Formidable Madame 2007 Watercolor on Paper




If anyone out there is inspired to model, please let me know. It is always more fun to paint when the models were poised specifically for pictures that were in my head.

Other new art including mini-bites from a set I'm working on for the next art show.

Rainwasher 1 2007 Acrylic on paper (1 of 8)



Again, the whole new gallery online.

Absence and Creation

I have been, during the holidays, occupying myself with the most peculiar projects. Partially this is to distract me from my own mind. I find my own mind can be a very uncomfortable place to be sometimes and it is far better to get away from it then to stay in it. Aside from that the fact that currently my favorite voices have been silent and taunting me with it. So in a very pointed fuck you to my own brain I've been reviving long lost hobbies as a way of amusing myself and distracting myself.

One of the favorites among these is a hook and some string which I can use to get myself all tied up. And for those of you who are not aware being all tied up is really where the fun is at, if you haven't lately I highly recommend getting all tied up or tying up someone else if you'd prefer. As it is I have gotten myself all tied up in black yarn with a soft bizarre sort of sparkly hair that the pretty young Korean girl who was plying her wares convinced me to buy. The yarn was quite thin and meant to be used doubled over so that I had to concentrate while performing my art to keep two things going at once, difficult but not impossible.

My distraction at the moment has been crocheting. This is not the same as knitting and for those not in the know it requires only one implement to construct a piece with crochet, rather then the two needles you will need to use if you are someone who knits. Also with crochet you are working to make something with a hook by essentially wrapping up some very well done knots until you have what you wanted. I enjoy crochet for any number of reasons. The first is that while doing it I can completely blank out my conscious mind so that my only thoughts are hook and thread streaming through my hand, the line before me, and the count that I need to accomplish. Everything else is gone, a silent yawning numbness that I cannot achieve through any other medium. I enjoy the silence, crave it, and so crochet has been very handy for that particular in the last few days.

The second motivation for my plucky habit is that you can create an object via crochet much more quickly than by knitting. I simply don't have the patience for knitting. I like speed; I like the fast pulsing fury of doing something and getting it done. Like painting or playing piano I want dull numbing rhythms. I want to find a pace and work it till I'm satisfied at least momentarily by my efforts and then, after a break, I want to do it again. Crocheting satisfies that need I have to create at a rapid pace, to bring something to life with only my hands and to take pleasure in what I have wrought.

With the thin black yarn I picked up with it's almost fur like sparkly tendrils I have made myself a scarf. I lost my last homemade scarf which was stitched by machine from velvet and silk (my tastes for luxurious fabrics have not yet been quenched) and I was distraught about the loss which drove me to want to create again. The need, as I've already stated, to get out of my own head made me decided on crocheting. While sewing in general will also put me in a black numb place where only I and my creation exist it does not last nearly as long as the welling yawning black hole that is crochet.

I discovered this wonderful displacement when I started to crochet in high school. Being a rabid reader and being at that time employed by my sadistic mater familias to manage the fabric store that she had acquired and quickly wished leave of; I found myself a reader surrounded by an endless wealth of things that could be turned into other things if I were to apply but a little time, patience, and attention to direction. This lead to all sorts of creations when I wiled away the hours from arrival home, to starting my other job as hamburger wench, making anything that might come into my pretty little head. Among other things that I learned to do or create were fantastic jewelry, sewing clothing and odds and ends, quilting, homemade sex toys, painting, and accounts payable and receivable. All of these crafty little talents have come in handy at one point in my life or another and crocheting when I discovered it went to the top of the list just under sewing and just above homemade sex toys as my favorite thing to do when I was alone in the store.

Crocheting, however, is not an easy thing to learn to do from reading alone and at some point the mater torment noticed that I had taken up the habit. She decided from this that she would be ever so gracious and enlist one of her friends who knew how to crochet to help teach me the art. Now this might have been considered a kindness, and perhaps you, dear reader, might think that I paint my accursed progenitor in a bad light, but I assure you this was not a kindness. My tutor in the skill had three different failings which almost made me throw down my hook and yarn for good. Among these she was the fanatical sort of Christian that believes everyone should be converted, a mortician, and left handed.

I admit that I overlooked the first two as forgivable but the fact that she was left handed when I was not did certainly make me think unkind thoughts about the person who asked for these lessons. I was getting on just fine with my books and diagrams and instructions and figured that this, like making friendship bracelets, was something I was far more likely to learn to do if I just kept practicing and reading and would not be aided by someone trying to show me how to do it. And in this, as in so many things, I was mostly right. Watching her do it without trying to instruct me allowed me to see the form more clearly than the pictures in the books I was reading, but when she actually tried to teach me I would get so frustrated that I'd stomp my foot and march away to go play with a sewing project, or painting project, or homemade sex toy as a way of calming myself and my now bruised ego. I hate not being able to do something and it drives me to madness to only half know how to do something and do it badly so failure at this hobby was making me angry.

Fortunately my tantrums were eventually too much for the poor mortician and she ended up abandoning me to my own devices and from this I found yet another book and applied what I had watched to what I had already figured out on my own and before I could make another handcrafted earring or dildo I was crocheting. And then, the darkness; the wonderful silence of my mind which blocked out everything, everything, no sound, no thought, no remembrance, no motion, no movement, just the ebbed nothingness of my fingers working in thread and a count in my head as I worked along.

This was such freedom for me, to be able to escape my own head so thoroughly. It was so much a novelty that I would take crocheting everywhere. I would bring skeins and skeins of yarn with me to school. I'd crochet on the bus, crochet in algebra, and biology, and English, and advanced writing. The only classes I never crocheted through were band and keyboard as I found the music filled the silence just as well as the hook and thread. I've crocheted any manner of things since I learned how to do it. I've made gigantic blankets, handbags for myself and friends, caps, hats, scarves, dildo cozies, gloves, hand warmers, and once even a jock strap. I've made all sorts of fun things and have truly enjoyed the blissful peace that comes with the making. I like finishing things but this always comes with a sadness because once I've done I must again return to the idle chatter that is my constantly working mind. As it was, I crocheted through months and months, and even years of what might otherwise have been distracting chatter created in my head to drive me to madness when no one else was there to do it for me.

So it is that I find myself contemplating the mystery that is being currently left without my favorite torments that I have taken up the hook and thread once again to escape into a creation that is just a real as music, art or writing but far more emptying then any of these. The scarf is lovely and I take pleasure in draping it over myself as I prepare to leave for class in the morning. And now that it is finished I do find myself a bit concerned with the voices that have either returned or failed to do so. Some of them are there and they comfort and soothe me while others remain as silent as the grave and work me to worrying. More distraction is what I need; more entertainment to get me out of my own head and I've come to the solution at last. I'm going to make a sweater.


,

Words within Words

Occasionally I feel like a thing out of control. I feel like a thing out of control this month. In all honesty I have felt like a thing out of control since around December 7th. I realize that this is partly my own head and the rest is just merely what it is. Unending realities that create these little puddles of meaning in my own mind. What I have come to realize is that they mean nothing, and that makes me worry about myself.

I paint today. Go to the art studio and strip down in the cold space. Paint, color, brushes, the sticky smell of oil, and grease and paper from the old renovated studio that surrounds me. Sounds drift up from the tax collectors offices downstairs, click and clack in sway with me as I move around and apply color to paper. I open up my thoughts and dreams and let them spill onto the walls in front of me and try to ignore the stiffness in my fingers and nipples from the cold of the space that surrounds me.

I do not care for the cold but these things that must come out must come. Cold or no. I pick up my brushes and dip my hands in cold water and pick color upon color. My work lately is full of primary colors. Primary, primal, emotion and thought and deed and need spilled onto paper in random but not random places.

I paint a piece that is fire and breast, bone, pulsing pubis, and flash of flesh on white. She dances with me as I bring her to life and give halos to her nipples as she explodes out of the fire. She is warmer then I am and I think I might love her.

I slap down several dozen sheets of a paper on top of one another and this will become a series. Windows, doors, open places looking in. I've been bad you see, excessively naughty. I've been peaking in through windows that I'm not allowed to open, and spying at those that live inside. I enjoy the spying but it makes me feel guilty, ridden with fear, and a bit of humiliation, to look and to look in. I see smiling people and happy faces, life and love and togetherness, things that I have, things that I have wanted, things that I crave. Looking drives me to the canvass and I splash upon it what I feel, my shame, my fear, my hopes, my dreams. Windows and doors open up on the paper before me and I fill them with light and color, shadow and darkness, motion and stasis.

I open page after page, tube after tube, mix color and water and dust the flecks from my fingers and hair, nipples, chest, jeans. I move about in a sea of color and I lose myself in it. I enjoy the loss. I enjoy the desire that fills me when I contemplate losing myself. I enjoy the subtle passions that can flare as I touch all these deep things, dark things, experience, memory, motion, sound, I look at all those things and commit with fluid and make them real, or perhaps by giving them life make them even only more unreal.

I enjoy the cold stark solitude of the space in the cold winter afternoon. I play music loudly and dance violently as I spill out my desires onto thick white sheets. They will be a mess when I'm done with them. They reflect, a mirror which peaks from the page, showing me as I really am. Showing everything, lies, truths, iniquitous ideas that drive me and drive me. The paint moves onto the paper, from the tips of my brush, or the tips of my fingers, or the tips of my body. It is like music, like playing and bringing thought to life in sound, such is the fluidity of my color of being. It brings a control in some ways while still allowing me to submerse myself in cold and calculated chaos.

Exposition

Years pass quietly, quickly, and coldly and it seems strange to me to think that this one has ended so suddenly and with so much malice. I was hoping for less, and easing of sorts, something to take the edge off, something to make the world return to normal and bring back the semblance of balance the defines the reality of my waking days.

But there was no gift to me, no hoped for answer. Nothing but the same spinning on thoughts and dreams that are both real and imagined, flitting through a brain that is neither prepared nor wants to accept what reality may be. I enjoy my daydreams more then my waking days sometimes. Who doesn't? What does it make us, though, that dreaming can become so much more important then the drudgery? And what happens when the desire to submit to the dream becomes more important then the reality that sustains the body in the waking world? I do not know.

And end to dreams perhaps. I've made a new year's resolution but I will not share it here. It is mine and I shall keep it a secret, like so many other secrets they spin and weave themselves. Partly secret dreams, partly secret thoughts, partly secret other things, and wouldn't you like to know all the things that I can define as a secret. There are so many and so few could fathom the truth of them all. That is because there are the secrets, but also because there are the lies and I will not tell you which is one and which half dozen of the other. Perhaps I am more fascinating then I seem because I make up the bulk of who I am. And it is far more likely that I'm honest about everything in which case I find myself frightening and disconnected with the world that waits beyond the dying embers of my computers glow. My own world beyond the rainbow, this thing I have constructed out of half living and half lies, full of so many strange and wonderful creatures and me alone in the center of it wondering what will become of me.

Sometimes I wish I was alone.

And sometimes I dearly wish that someone, anyone, would end it by being real and ending my self imposed exile fromwhat? Life? Fantasy? Desire? Remote dreams of happenstance and missed connections and nothingness?

Ah, nothingness. See there is the thing that I wonder about the most for this upcoming New Year. How much of it will be free to be nothing. I have a tendency to fill my life with things upon things. Drama, lovers, art, work, fashion, school, philosophy, visions, alcohol, and other distractions. All of these things work together to create the opposite of the abyss that I would be happy to let take me. I'm afraid to be caught at the center of some yawning vortex and not be able to either move out or plunge downward. No motion.

That is the problem then. Will I ride the eddies in the void or will I be the center, the non-flux eye of a storm that spins around me and will always be more then I can ever be?

It's not so much an end of the year crisis, or existential crisis, as it is an exegesis. It's not cataclysm that I spill out here. You can see that, if you are looking for it. It is what is seems, no pandemonium, no silly crux, merely what it is. The purpose to elucidate for my future self so that perhaps I will be able to look back on the changing tide of this year and see that I was not who I thought I was, or maybe that more accurately I was exactly who I remembered being, which is more interesting than I think I am.

I end this year with a longing. And next year, perhaps that shall be filled, and perhaps it shall merely continue until this annotation on my own self becomes nothing and worse for its attempt at explanation.

Do I exist if what I want to exist for no longer does? Or better, what do I want to exist for? Or better still, why ask the question, existence is too precious to waste it pondering such nonsense anyway.

Years do pass don't they? So quickly and bringing always so many strange things and oddities and musings, experience and life, friendships and friend endings, fun, drama, pain, fear, satisfaction and lust. I have no idea what could possibly make this coming year top this one that was last ending, but I'm excited by the possibility. I am nothing if not always excitable.

Before the End Something New

Before the end of the New Year a few new pieces of art from me. They can be found on the bottom in the pictures section of myspace and will be added to my website soon.

A thank you to Greg for making the studio space possible and providing a place for me to exorcise my demons.

As an introduction here is a piece:

Mon Petit Cauchemar Watercolor and Acrylic on paper 2006



Enjoy the others. And of course, more art at Saradevil online.

Tis the Season

Ah there is nothing like the ringing of Salvation Army bells and people yelling at me in a language I cannot understand to make me start thinking of the holidays. What a wonderfully wretched time of the year, when the family has the joys of forced relative association, drunken brawls and of course, the annual trip to the state pen to visit the locked away relatives.
It, actually, makes me think of my last Christmas with my family, the one that pretty much turned me off the season altogether…not that it was a long trip. The last time I went home to see my family for Christmas was the winter of '97. The whole trip started with a 15 hour train ride from the Midwest to the East, where I waited for twenty minutes in a nice big snow drift to be picked up by my parents. Lucky for me, my parents did not pick me up; instead I was treated to an extra special ride home in a pickup truck with my mother's lover (my fathers best friend, of course, and to add to the drama, about a month before I left home I had the pleasure of walking in on the action, which is how I knew).

So after the uncomfortable 30 minute drive to my small little ass-crack of the universe in West "By-God" Virginia, I arrived to an empty house, a strange odor, and an uncomfortable sinking feeling that this was only going to get worse.

I was conned into this particular trip home by my mother who called to inform me that all of the family needed to be together to support one another in a moment of crisis. My brother, in his infinite wisdom had somehow managed to acquire a gun, and had stuck up the village hotel. Now, being that the size of the town I grew up in is 500 souls, you can imagine that the suddenly bereft owners knew the assailant. Not that they police would have had much difficulty fingering him, as he left with a bag of money and started walking down the freeway. As he was walking, he realized that the police would be looking for someone matching his description, so he removed his clothes to obfuscate his identity. Surprisingly, the police immediately apprehended him when he walked naked past the police station, and it was yet another job well done. I was informed of all this about three weeks after it happened, which did not increase my level of concern in the least, but somehow I let myself get suckered into one last trip home.

Upon arrival I began drinking vodka with a coffee chaser. I did not sleep. I stayed up all night watching movies. I drank. I drank a little more because I wasn't sure the first drinks were doing anything. Then I had some more to drink for good measure.
The parents and sisters and my remaining brother eventually arrived to great me, but for the most part, I was a bit past my peak, so I don't really recall it all that well.

The next morning was Christmas (having gotten in on Christmas Eve), and everyone converged on the living room where I had spent the night whiling away the time with alcohol. There was present opening for my brother and sisters who were still young enough to enjoy Christmas. Eventually my mother came down the stairs, and managed to turn all the smiling faces into uncomfortably silent stones with the fight she immediately initiated with my father.

My sisters and brother began to sulk. I continued to drink. My mother started to cook. We were forced around the large table to eat breakfast. I had started practicing the habit of vegetarianism at College; my mother refused to accept this and eventually forced me to eat a few pieces of raw and bloody venison. I would regret that later. After the breakfast we piled into the van for the four-hour drive to the detention center my brother was in. On the way, I was sick. It was cold. I was uncomfortable. My parents argued in the car.

We spent about five minutes total with my brother, whose only words where to my younger sister. Those words are as follows: "I want you to have the chapstick next to my bed." Surely enigmatic, but it turned out the chapstick tube contained my brothers stash and he wanted my sister to have it.

I spent a total of about 4 days with the family. I always tried to make these trips as short as possible, but this one seemed horribly long. I did not sleep for the entire trip. I spent the night drinking vodka, and generally wanting to escape from the madness. I'd never had a great deal of fun on a fifteen-hour train ride but the train that took me away from my family was the most pleasant ever.

Why is it that the Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa, slam-dunk makes us do such stupid and unforgivable things? Is there a cloud of instantaneous guilt that hangs over the holidays making us more culpable to long trips that we know will only be excruciating? What is the universal force that pulls us towards the family functions that just keep going and going and going? Frankly, I have to admit, that if it were not for my email service and the cold, I might have forgotten Christmas altogether this year. And, hell, I may yet.

Mantra

I woke from nightmares. Nightmares. Why are my dreams so rough and tumble, why is my mind so dark and haunted at the moment.

I woke up trembling in a cold sweat and thinking that I lived in Chicago and that my old landlord had come to ask about the rent and the odd menagerie of people living in my apartment.

I woke up all I could think of was a mantra, a mantra to make it all go away. I lay shivering in what should have been a warm bed. Over and over my mantra.

I'm in South Korea, everything will be okay. I'm in South Korea everything will be okay.

I think part of me did not believe it was true.

Dreams

My dreams were dark this morning and poured over me so that I feel I must write about them to understand them even a little. It's an odd thing dreaming. Sometimes dreams hit me so deeply that I remember them for decades and can still spin on the memory incarnation. Sometimes they fade immediately upon waking and there is nothing but sleep and the need to curl deeper under warm blankets and forget the days. Sometimes they are nightmares that will not let me sleep, make me feel wakeful for an eternity; make me fear the nights slumber when it comes again.

This dream I have last night it plays off of old nightmares. Storms. I dream vividly two nightmares that occasionally reoccur. The first is the dream full of storms, tornados that will chase me into dark basements where I will fear to leave. I know they are just waiting for me, twisting and twirling outside those doors waiting and I'll be sucked into it and never heard from again. The other is water. Floods and torrents of water that wash over and destroy everything and everything.

Last night I dreamt of the flood, oceans of dark water coming for me. It has been a long time since I've dreamt the flood, maybe a year. I can recall the last one and I know it was just as I was about to leave my last job that I dreamt the flood so I know it's been at least a year. The flood is dark and cold and wants to take me away.

I close my eyes and in my sleepy somnambulant state I find myself in my apartment lying naked in bed, safe, secure, snuggled warm, happy, I want to be happy, and believe I'm happy, but then I sense it. The flood is coming and I can feel it in the very core of my being, water coming to wash everything away. I look outside and I can already see it rivers, torrents of black water washing over everything. There is nothing left, but my small apartment door and the big wide world is drowned in the flood. I close the door. I know what I must do.

In my heart I want to save two things, I want to save the people I surround myself with. This is important to me. I want to save my things. That materialistic nature has wormed it's way into my nighttimes again and I dream of the things I put into my life as replacements for all the things I've left behind. I want to save these things. I know what I must do.

I bring them into the kitchen. The people first. I stack them up like firewood on the floor. It's okay, It's okay, I whisper to them in my dream, this will save you. And I keep saying this as I light them on fire and watch them burn, quickly, cleanly, until nothing is left but the smell of burnt wood. They burn like wood that has aged a hundred years, blue flames, burning hot leaving nothing but dust, not even a scorched mark upon my floor. The people are gone, destroyed in puffs of spiritual flame and somehow in their destruction I know they are safe. They do not scream as they burn, maybe that it is.

I look then to the things. The things I want to keep. I begin to gather them up. Some are more important then others, but as so many things in my life I look for those objects that have history written on them in the hands that handled them, my own fondness, their traveling, their coloring, the effect upon my mind, my body, my hand. I gather the things that penetrate my thoughts most deeply and bring them together upon the floor of my kitchen and douse them in candle wax and toss the candles in. They have to burn or I will lose them. Everything must burn.

I feel it then, water coming in under the door, tickling at my toes, my feet are slowly becoming wet and I know the flood is winning and I'm losing. I find my lighter and start to light, but nothing happens. The material possessions soak with water, fill, swell, and won't catch light. I light a candle and toss it in and nothing, and the floodwater is coming now. I open the door to the small heater room off the kitchen and I can see black waters moving in the darkness and I know its coming. There is flotsam and jetsam tossing about in the swirling and I'm afraid that I won't beat the waters to the things that I want to keep. I find lighter fluid and douse the objects and try to light them again. Nothing happens and my lighter stops working.

A box of matches appears. A box that someone had given me at some time, hands are familiar but the faces in a distant past and won't reveal. I look at those hands and take the box of matches, but when I look up the holder is gone, disappeared, no longer anything but memory, taken away with the flames that burned up the people, but still there, throbbing, pulsing, beating in my mind all the same.

I throw match after match, and now the water is at my hips and I have not been able to burn anything. I spin, I turn around and there is nothing but water. I claw at it, reaching out, reaching up for air, but I cannot swim and my feet are locked to the ground, I will not leave this place. I did not destroy it all and so now I am trapped under it, to drown in it and everything.

The water swells and rises grey moving swiftly and carrying so many things on it, and then I wake up.

Sermon

Fuck memory lane. This recent wallowing I seem to be doing in some ancient historical past has got me buggered and annoyed and so I shall tell it rather blithely to go take a rolling hump at some other quantum state of reality and I shall look instead to something else.
I wonder, what else there is to look to sometimes. State of the world in flux, state of reality in question, state of mind

There is a power in being able to completely step away from the truth of things. To adumbrate in plain view of everything as it moves around you and to enjoy and amuse in the same game. I spend far too much of my time contemplating my own amusements, and why not? Truly, why not, isn't this mysterious existence we have gotten ourselves embroiled in about the day to day amusements that drive us to keep going day to day? Take it away and all that is left is hollowness, shells of empty flotsam moving for no purpose and towards no end; or maybe all towards the same end?

Maybe it is me. I think about that and think about that. Maybe it is my own indolence that has me feeling so terribly pissed about everything and anything. I walk to work. Everyday I walk to work. I walk from work. I walk to work. I walk from work. My art studio stares at me emptily for I haven't visited in two months. My instruments sit and gather dust. Even my poor vibrator is neglected on my bed stand feeling sorely angry and underused, and I am just rage, and anger, and burning, hatred, need, pain, all manner of things that make me feel everything and nothing. Welling emptiness, no, this is not it. Something else then.

There are the faces as I pass. I walk down the street this morning past construction workers doing their work. They turn their faces on me, sneer at me, smile at me, look at me as some illusion, some out of place object that is loathsome to them for invading their country and spreading with impunity the imperialism, shackles, the language I force upon a country with a history richer then my own homeland. Does that make me the oppressor? If I no longer want to do it does that make me the oppressed?

Lies, and truths and meanings obfuscated by my own spinning mind. I look upon drunken ramblings about my own reality and scoff at myself. Such a stupid silly girl, I should give it up. Give up drinking and just do what is required. Accept the lies. Settle into the working world and be content with doldrums. There is simplicity in that. Perhaps that is what I'm missing with all my little rambling on my future-past. Simplicity. The quiet comfort of waking and doing nothing by lying about and reading, eating chocolate while absorbed in a book, listen to music and settle the mind, watch a movie while I hug myself. No, I don't think that is it either.

Something else then.

If in our history there is a writing of our future then what does that mean for me? Should I think perhaps on Mircea Eliade and his view upon time? We choke on all of our history, the line that builds and builds and builds without ending. It causes forces we cannot comprehend because as beings we cannot comprehend time unending. Let us celebrate in a pagan ritual and destroy the world, bring about our own apocalypse and let it wash over us, the end of all things. And I will sit there until the end of the world sit and wash and wait and wonder and renew. Bring about the ending and on its very heels those same heathens will spin and dance and fuck into the very center of the earth and restore, recreate, clean, pure, slates upon which to write a whole new history. But only for a time because the end will spin round again and we can destroy and create at our own leisure and it will be good.
Come, let us do it then. Let us end and begin and end again. Destroy our histories and be free of them. Rebuild, renew, phoenix-like rise fresh and pure without the muck of insanity that is our own past. I'll meet you at the bar on Renaissance Street and we will drink with the Babylonians who are waiting there.

Lost and Found

Korea got cold which was to be expected. However I lost the scarf I've had for the last three years and am rather upset about it. The scarf, for those of you who may have seen it, has made at least one trip to the U.S. with me, was made by hand while I watched, downtrodden, as election results coming in announcing another four years of darkness, and was generally very comfortable for cold winter walking in Korea.

The scarf itself was constructed from two pieces, the first was a half yard of black velvet and the second a piece of black and purple Korean silk that matched the coat lining I put into my winter coat during the same election. Unlike the lining which I hand stitched into my coat, the scarf took only an hour to put together and probably got more use then the winter coat which I switch back and forth between my oversized jacket.

As it is, I suspect I will have to make a new scarf. I'm not happy about needing to make a new scarf as I do get rather attached to the memories that the old one had. I suppose this is a problem I have, developing memory attachments to objects and then being frustrated when those objects disappear. I had a similar response to losing my keys a few months ago. The keys had a big heavy key ring that had a single card spade dangling from it. I found that playing card spade significant for some reason, it was comforting to have it riding in my pocket. The spade was a gift from one of my students at St. Paul, Lisa. It was one of the first times a mother gave me something that was not perfumes and since I generally don't tend to wear perfumes it was very nice to get something that was not perfume. Other then that it was just very surprising to get something that was, well, just so cool! Whenever I would fondle the keys I'd always stop on the spade and enjoy it. The keys also had a leather key strap from The Different Strummer the music shop in the Old Town School of Folk Music one of my favorite places in Chicago. I was angrier about losing the trinkets than I was about losing the keys.

I seem to be suffering a rash of losing things lately. I'm not sure why. I figure I do have my head on my shoulders fairly firmly, but maybe my brain is not as focused as it needs to be. In the last two months I've lost aside from the scarf and the keys, a ring I was rather fond of and now cannot find anywhere, a butterfly bin-young (a hair pick with a butterfly on it) that I haven't used since my last vacation, a pair of black slacks, three dozen pairs of socks that lead to buying new socks while hoping the old ones would turn up, a CD to install software on my computer, a CD I bought from a Canadian artist to help pay for a flight home to get his cat surgery, three friends, and the sliver thread I used just this weekend to put buttons on my shirt. It's a rash of unexplained misplacement on my part. I'm not really proud of it, but I'm not sure how to fix it either. I need to just put an end to losing things.

In the meantime I've found a few things that make me fairly content with life at the moment. I've found a cute little restaurant downtown that makes a very nice pasta dinner good for taking girlfriends too on lazy afternoons, a small Indian shop that I hadn't seen before that has very cool rings and jewelry, a new coffee shop that I rather like, some fabric that I didn't think could be had in Korea, a nice piece of leather to make a leather jacket out of, western style tea, my bag which contains not only my passport but all of my identification which I thought I had last, and my mp3 player.

I'm not sure it all balances out, but it does keep me amused or at least on my toes. I am trying to be more aware and maybe I will even succeed. It's much more fun not to lose the things I hold dear. If I pay enough attention, maybe I won't.

I drink until I end tonight....

I drink until I end tonight.

Alcohol flows fast and sure. My mind blazes with a thousand thoughts. There is no more reality for me. Only a shot and the end of a night. I see another friend board a bus. So many friends board the bus.

The bus takes them away. They go on, they go to that thing that becomes the construct of home. I have known since I was less then eight that home does not exist. There is no safe place, there is no happiness that can be found in building or rock or ground or person. This does not stop me from seeking it. This does not stop me from wanting it.

Fantasies so close to real that I shake with the possibility and yet I will not succumb to my own foolish desires to be unreal.

There is no paradox here. I spin on the crux of my own reality and remain what I am. Only Sara. Too much to drink. Ending. Beginning.

Handcuffs and History

I love friends. I currently have a friend traveling in Canada but coming back to Korea shortly enough. He asks me "anything you need?"

My first thought was, probably not. My second thought was, yes, why there is one thing I could use. This is also what I wanted for my birthday, but unfortunately I didn't get it. What is the mystery prize, the thing I need? Keys. Keys for my handcuffs.

See, okay, I haven't had a pair of handcuffs since moving to
Korea. I loved my cuffs. Maybe you think I'm nuts, fine, I don't care. I loved my handcuffs. They had lots of history and I liked them. I used to wear them as jewelry. I liked the heaviness, the weight on my arm when I would wear them. I liked the shocked looks of observers who would notice my cuffs. It amused me to wear them as much as it often amused others to see them.

Did I use them for other things? Well, I once locked a very nice red haired boy to a chair in the coffee shop and made him sit while he was fed coffee beans for about an hour and then let him go. Does that count as used? It was fun. And trust me he was far to wound up upon release to think much of complaining.

Simple times called for a simple pair of universal handcuffs. Happier times. I think of all the wrists my old pair of handcuffs graced at some point or another and I smile. There was a history there, written in the cold metal clapped around someone
's arm; a history in which those who participated could say with a feeling of certainty that successful abandonment of societal mores had been achieved. There was freedom in those chains, simple, certain, pure freedom.

I realized how much I missed those cuffs so I got a new pair. They are new, only clapped around my wrists so far and only once. But then in my foolishness I put the keys on my key chain and then had my keychain abruptly stolen. It made me sad. Handcuffs, I suppose, are like home. You can go back, you can try to recreate, but it will never be quite the same.

Communication is Important

Communication is important

Me: Yes? Hello, this is Sara.

Them: We need a favor

Me: Sure, what's that?

Them: We need some plans.

Me: Okay, no problem, how many do you need?

Them: About five.

Me: Sure, can do, when do you need those?

Them: Maybe you don't understand. We need five.

Me: Right, five, sure, I can do that, when do you need them?

Them: No, no, we need five from each level.

Me: Uh (calculating) you need 20 plans?

Them: No.

Me: Okay. What do you need?

Them: (Imagine a list of things that includes pretty much everything that could be imagined)

Me: Okaaaay…Well, when you do you need this done by and please don't say tomorrow.

Them: Tomorrow.

Me: Right, okay, I can't do that.

Them: Oh, yes, and I forgot some thing.

Me: What did you forget?

Them: (Add kitchen sink and first born)

Me: Right. Yes, okay, well when do you need all of this?

Them: Tomorrow.

Me: Okay, I can't do this by tomorrow.


Them: So you can have it done tomorrow?

Me: No.

Them: When can you have it done?

Me: Next week, maybe on Friday.

Them: Oh, no, we need to turn it in this Friday.

Me: Right, well uh….?

Them: Oh, I forgot something else.

Me: Right. What else?

Them: (Arm and leg, I should have known better then to ask)

Me: I won't be finished tomorrow.

Them: Excellent see you tomorrow. Click.