from the Korean Army to being published

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

Random #48: A Strange Mood

with 2 comments

“Success as the result of industry is a peasant ideal.”

– Wallace Stevens, as quoted in “Ten Jack-Offs” in The Most Beautiful Woman in Town (1983) by Charles Bukowski

Then success as the result of what should be pursued? Talent? A myth. It’s either a fortunate coincidence or a lie for people who make it and want people to love them more. Screwing people over? I guess that would be noble, wouldn’t it?

Who the fuck knows what it means but it suits me because I don’t like industry and I don’t want to be a peasant even if it means being something worse, a beggar in soiled rags and leprous hand holding out a dried-out gourd to accept alms for the no-good. It’s the decision I’ve made. It’s my bed and it’s no bed but I’ll sleep in it. I have no choice.

I’m in a strange mood today. I spent the weekend in bed, eating canned spaghetti and white rice and pickled radishes, because I’m only quasi-poor (and less than broke in reality) and I spent today teaching stream of consciousness and freewriting, and now I’m in a coffee shop with twenty-two cigarettes and a tepid cup of coffee reading short stories from another old (dead?), crotchety old man who liked to drink and fuck and smoke and write.

Bukowski’s dead. I was asked on a date with a disinterested but courteous girl what kind of writing I wanted to write and I told her I didn’t know how to describe it. Dirty realism, Wikipedia says his style was. I don’t know enough about writing or writers to define what I want to write but also I haven’t really written anything yet. I like the expression, though.

This strange mood is wearing out. I can feel it wearing out. Which is a good thing because I need to get back to working on the ms and I’m no good like this. At least it’s not so abstract and psychedelic as the last time I felt in this mood, maybe seven something years ago when I was mad in the desert of Afghanistan, mad not because of the heat but because I was being worked like a dog chained, a two-year service to a cruel, sadistic master with a rolled-up newspaper of time and privatism. It’s almost gone. I’m posting this not because of any inherent worth but because sometimes the shit that comes out of my head is strange and pointless and I end up throwing it away and not being prolific.


2 Responses

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  1. Just don’t go the way of Amy Winehouse, dude. You need to be alive to enjoy your future success.

    Speaking of smoking — one of my students told me about the smoking toddler in Indonesia. I didn’t believe him, but when I looked the kid up, there he was.

    Kevin Kim

    January 10, 2012 at 2:09 am

    • The baby has me beat. I’m only slightly above a pack a day and these are weak-sauce Korean cigarettes. I don’t think I have to worry about going down the path of Amy Winehouse. Not only are hard drugs unavailable (to most people) in Korea but I’m too poor to indulge in such luxuries. The smoking and the boozing and the looming onset of mental disease is real but at least the last one would result in mind-altering drugs.


      January 10, 2012 at 4:08 pm

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