from the Korean Army to being published

the blog of an "ex-patriot" writer in Korea

Entry #31: Show Me the Story

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“Don’t just tell me. Show me.”

There are many parallels between writing and love. Both are utterly frustrating and often not worth the effort. You look at the successes of others and ask yourself, “What does that lame motherfucker have that I don’t?” A big vocabulary? Deep pockets? Passion? In the mind of every man, he has the innate ability to satisfy his reader’s every desire and must therefore share his ink with as many readers as possible.

Depending on the definition of a relationship, I don’t seem to be able to maintain one for more than a month or two, more often than not, less than that. I’m usually not given a reason—usually the girl disappears, runs for the hills never to be seen again—but it’s not necessary because I already know that I’m a subpar boyfriend. Terminally lazy, I often skip the honeymoon period of the relationship and fast forward to the stay in and never leave the bed phase. I erroneously assume that she’ll understand how I feel without me having to express it verbally or through acts beyond letting her in the door, sharing my ink, or catching her a cab home.

In my writing class, I teach my students to show and not tell but am unable to apply it in my own life. I’m just another cliché, another case of those who can’t, teaching. That’s why I’m here at the coffee shop, alone, working on a new draft, working on a narrative which shows rather than a thematic account which tells.


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