Yet, It Moves

“I am not now
That which I have been” ~ Lord Byron

I have a hand-written letter sitting next to me.  It’s not finished yet, but when it is it will be a very important letter to a very important person.  Almost nobody hand-writes letters anymore–I briefly toyed with it back as a freshman, then gave it up.  Now I only save the most important words I’ll ever need to say for pen and paper and inside private envelopes.  I had to stop writing though, because I was just overwhelmed.

I’m not the person I thought was.

In my mind’s eyes, I see my avatar walking through a darkened hallway of shiny funhouse mirrors.  Each of them represents a facet of who I once was, and how I now remember it.  Stages of my life, reduced to a hallway of fading memories.  I can the elementary boy, precocious and slightly effeminate with an active imagination and afraid to leave the boundaries of home.  I see the middle school boy, awkward and fighting to figure out what he is.  I see the high school boy, a ferocious firebrand who was unafraid to cut people down, a raging rabble-rouser who didn’t know how to calm down or think things through.  There is college, the broken boy who fell down a thousand miles, who had to learn how to climb again.

And now, at the end of this hallway, there are two more mirrors with two signs above them.  Before and Now.  In one mirror, I see my own reflection.  The reflection I’ve become very familiar with.  Yet, when I look up the sign says Before.  Behind me in the other mirror is someone new.  A stranger I knew that was lurking somewhere, who as it turned out had been hiding in plain sight.

I called the last four years the Wilderness, because I needed to go away and I needed to fix the person I had become in college.  I had to rehabilitate that boy.  I had to leave.  One year for every year of damage that had been done.  One year to figure out what kind of animal I really was.

You’re never going to be the person you thought you would be, and you’re never going to be the person you think you are.  You need to love whatever that thing is you’ll end up being, or else you will die.

A lot of people spend a lot of time running away from the changes that happen.  I see it all around me.   Lives stuck in static, never moving and never going anywhere.  You may not be interested in change, but change is interested in you.

But I’m out of the Wilderness now, and I can see a new world out there.  I feel like an explorer, gazing on new lands I heard about in rumor and legend.  You’ve heard the words, you’ve heard what to expect, but what the eyes see and what the heart feels can’t be prepared for with what the mind thinks.

I’m going to lose more people.  I’m going to see friends gone under the tyranny of distance.  There might be more that I join hands with, or there might be less.  And already in these first moments, I feel like I’m writing with new hands, tapping keys with foreign fingertips, and feeling my spirit walk into some new body.  I wanted to panic and tell everybody about it, but communication just becomes harder even as it gets easier.  I thought I might try it here.

I’m out of the Wilderness now.  Four years of pain, healed.  The wounds have scabbed over and I’ll try to break the bad habit of picking at them.  I know who I am, for now.  I’ll keep that close to my heart.  People say a lot of things about who they are and what they’re all about, but that seems more like reassurances to themselves.    What is this thing I will become.  What will become of that person of the past.

“Life goes on,” I hear.  Sometimes it doesn’t, but then sometimes it does. Life goes on.

Πάντα ῥεῖ καὶ οὐδὲν μένει

62 Years Gone

“I was drafted, conscripted in the British Army, and I was there and I remember I was leaving, getting de-mopped and the officer said to me, ‘You’re lucky you’re leaving now because this looks like there’s going to be a lot of trouble in Korea,’ and that’s the first time I’d ever heard of the word Korea.” ~ Fusilier Derek George Kinne

The Communist Squeeze

“Okay, everybody, let’s sit down and begin,” I told them. There were only four of them. My advanced class was getting smaller and smaller every week, but the ones who stayed were the ones who wanted to stay and talk. Goofy, good kids. Goofy and smart.

They waited for me to continue.

“What is today?” I asked them, wondering if they knew, wondering if they understood the significance of today.

“Monday. June. 25.” The boy in front was quick to respond. He loved to practice speaking English, so he was usually the one who answered my questions.

“And what happened on this day?” I asked them. I wondered if they would understand what I was getting at.

” 한국전쟁,” said one of the girls.

“Yes, that’s right. The Korean War. 62 years ago, the Korean War started. Who fought?”

“북한 남한,” replied a different girl.

“Yes, North Korea and South Korea.” I was writing the information on the board. The kids seemed intrigued that I was talking about it, asking them questions, acting like I was their history teacher. “Now, who can tell me who the leaders of North Korea and South Korea were. How about North Korea?”

Silence. They were thinking, trying to remember and trying to be sure.

“Kim,” I started, trying to help them out as I wrote his name on the board.

“김일성,” the boy in front spat out.

I nodded and started writing his name in English on the board. “Kim Il,” I paused, having already forgotten his name as well. “Was it Soong or Sung?” I closed my eyes and thought about it. “It’s Sung. Kim Il Sung. Now, what about the leader of South Korea?”

“이승만.”

“Right. Lee Seung Man. In America, we called him Syngman Rhee.”

They found that interesting, that spelling of his name. All four of them were watching and listening carefully. I had never had the rapt attention of all my students in this class before. Maybe it was because it was the anniversary of the Korean War, or maybe it was because they were curious about a foreigner talking to them about the war.

“Now, who helped who in the war? Many countries helped and fought in this war. Do you know? Here, let’s start with North Korea. Who helped the North Koreans?”

A slight pause, then one of the girls speaks up. “중국. Wait. China.”

I write China down on the board. “Yes, and?” I looked back at the same girl who had answered.

“Ru-shi-ah,” she finishes.

“Yes, Russia. China and Russia helped out the North Koreans. Now how about the South Koreans?”

“America!” They shout it simultaneously. I quickly wrote it down.

“Anybody else help out?” They become silent. They look at one another, trying to remember any of the other countries that came to the South’s aid in 1952. I realize I need to help them along. “영국?”

“England! UK!” It’s the boy in front again. He’s excited that he knew it. While I’m writing U.K. on the board, he shouts out another country. “Tuh-ki!”

“Yes! Turkey also sent many troops to help out South Korea. Over 5000! Let’s write them down right here.” I smile to myself as I start compiling the list of countries that came and helped out the Koreans. “And don’t forget Ethiopia. They were here too. So were the Netherlands, South Africa, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. And there were more. Who brought them all together?”

The kids look at each other once again. I finish it for them.

“It was the UN.”

A wave of realization rolls across their faces. They nod and chatter with one another while I write UN on the board. I stood back to look at the list of countries that fought in the Korean War. The room was suddenly quiet. I turned around to face the class.

My co-teacher spoke up. “Why do you know so much about the war?”

“I read about it. I wanted to understand it.”

Uh, What?

These were the last few searches that brought people to my blog.

amanda donohoe tests catherine oxenbergs virginity

sinking ship short story

jbot bells

trix in korean writing

Okay, so:

1.) It’s nice to know people are looking for my stories

2.) People have interesting ways of finding my Lair of the White Worm review

and

3.) Either someone was looking specifically for my old post Turning Trix is not for Kids (Khagan?), or there’s someone out there who really wants to know about what Korean writers think about breakfast cereals.

Anyway, this also serves to let people know that I am still writing.  Kind of.  I’ve been busy with open classes (i.e., where people watch you teach a ridiculously rehearsed class that is more choreographed than a production of Cats) so I’ve had to put down the pen.  I’ve got a new story in the pipes though, but since the challenge is over, I’m taking my time with it before I throw it up.

There’ll be things back on here before the end of the month, so just sit tight all of my fan (that’s not a typo).

Get Back To Where You Once Belonged

What the hell?  Vintage Jbot?  In my WordPress?

I’ve been front-loaded and jacked up with enough caffeine and some such similar substances that I really want to write.  I need to writeAbout things.  About things that really happen and not the things that I make up.   I’ve really done nothing but projects on this blog as of late.  The failed John Carpenter project.  The slightly more successful Write a Story every day project.

More

Short Story – Good Company

All of the problems I have are keeping me from writing anything of value.  Here’s another short story I wrote before.  It was my stab at a Japanese horror story.  It’s called Good Company.

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Party of One

I haven’t been writing much. I apologize to all of my fans (that is, my mother). It’s not simply that I’ve been busy. There’s more than enough time to steal away a few words and sentences even in the short time I’m “teaching”. I guess you could say in in training.

It’s training for the mind.

It’s not enough that I’m simply trying to live healthier. I’m also trying to improve my depreciating quality of life. Contrary to manufactured belief, I’m not the good person that I trick people into believing I am. There are character flaws that run deep in these wayward arteries and veins. There is a heart that pumps equal darkness through its so-called light. I would argue that im scraping the tad sands if Canada as far as morality goes, but whatever.

Regardless of the awful truth, in this foolish soul I want to be better. I’m waging a quiet campaign to rid myself of my moral faults, because only a narcissistic soul begs for applause.

Whoops. Skating far too close to the line here.

It’s given me little to write about because I’m trying to fix what went wrong. But synchronicity is in place. I see it everywhere in my unfortunately doomed generation. Brief moments of awareness as we try to extend our childhood against the ugly tide of maturity. Ginsberg may have seen all the best minds of his generation destroyed, but I’ve seen ALL OF the minds of my own destroyed. But yet, more posturing. T.S. Eliot saw the same almost one hundred years ago.

There really is nothing left to complain about; if you’re not starving and suffering under a truly criminal government that is. The last complaints are reserved for the truly decrepit. Everything else is just shameless posturing for the over educated so that they can think for one brief sliver of a moment that they won’t be ground up into atomistic dust.

So as I train myself to be the better man that I think I can be, I realize that I’m paralyzed by the thought of “I just don’t know”.

Is there something worth fighting for?

No, no, no, a thousand times no? I don’t know. There was a time in my wayward life that I believed in the force of will. That no matter how horrible the reality you were still capable of your own density and destiny; that something might follow juvenile experiences.

This is typically where nihilism or naive idealism will take the helm; and pragmatism is just that voice that says ” I have a headache”.

I look around most days and I think “eh, fuck it”. I can see now why my father is so burned out. You can kill yourself simply by caring.

But I have a sister who is one decade my junior. She grew up in a bubble and the world will break her because it loathes a dreamer. But despite those odds, I believe in people like her, who can rise above the pain and make it right.

It’s a foolish belief beyond any sort of compression. But I believe in that dark blood and that impossible soul.

I believe in her.

And I believe in you, because it maybe you have that same rare spark, then well

Maybe I will believe too

I guess you could say that I’m far too Aamerican.

The Continuing Calamities of Catfish B.

The following is a true story.  It is a thing that happened.  Catfish B. told me so it was definitely a thing that happened.

SECURITY EMERGENCY CALL BUILDING MANAGEMENT CALL FACILITIES CALL THE COPS

THERE’S A FROG UNDER MY DESK.

EVERYONE STAND AROUND AND LOOK AT IT

TAKE A PICTURE WITH YOUR BLACKBERRY

OH GOD IS IT ALIVE

IS IT DEAD

THE THRILLING CONCLUSION: “There was a frog. It was a dead frog. I picked it up on a piece of paper and took it the garbage. EVERYONE FREAKED OUT.”

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