from the Korean Army to being published

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

Random #58: No News Is Bad News, and 3,000 Won Treasure

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It’s been a month since my last post. I wish I could say that it was because I’ve been hard at work with the revision, but I’ve accomplished very little in the past four weeks. The loss of my coffee shop, more work at my part-time job, countless entreaties to drink, a change in my work schedule at my “full-time” job, and general laziness are all contributing factors. I’m still hoping to finish this first overhaul of the manuscript and begin the arduous search for agents anew by the summer, but I’ve proven that I’m no good with self-imposed deadlines.

On another note, I was in my beloved Nakseongdae yesterday to get a haircut and take a long, depressing look at the gutted remains of my coffee shop and as is my habit, I stopped by the used bookstore around the corner. I love used bookstores, the way the books spill out of the bookshelves in towering stacks and overrun the narrow pathways meant for humans, like it’s them that own the place and not the guy who pays the rent—he’s just there to stack the books. When people can’t find a book they’re looking for in a “regular” bookstore, they get angry or frustrated. In a used bookstore, it’s a treasure hunt and occasionally you walk away with a rare find.

I walked away from the bookstore yesterday with two new additions to my personal library.

The first:


Charles Bukowski, Ham on Rye

The second:

player piano

Kurt Vonnegut, Player Piano

I picked up both books for a measly 3,000 won. I’ve scoured used bookstores in Seattle and have never seen any Bukowski. I wonder about the identity of this person in Seoul who is reading Bukowski and then parting with the books. That person’s loss is my gain.

Reading is an important part of writing. I’ve been re-reading Catch-22 for inspiration in creating interesting characters and describing the absurd and plan to re-read Factotum for inspiration in expressing the tedium of working shit jobs, and now I have something on the line-up afterwards.


Written by Young

March 12, 2013 at 5:27 pm

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