Life in General
I was up late last night copying links for my sidebar. Ungh. Now I must go attempt to teach, and then it’s a lunch date with some old friends, writing up report cards (I had to peel your boy off the wall last week. Please feed him less sugar. or Your child is destined to become an evil genius. Whatever you do, do NOT let him start hanging out with Jedi Knights. If he does, it’s all gonna be downhill from there.), marking notebooks, and then going home for a quick bite and meeting my friend Young Ja, who will help me buy a discount-model cell phone, which I’ve discovered is a near-necessity to my life here.
I hope I can get the links stuff done tonight, but I’d also like to add another 3 or 4 pages to my novel. Ah, where does all the time go?
Things up North. Ummmmmmmmmmm. Not necessary.
Life in General
But fun, at least. Yes, really.
These days, I am working on things like:
– being able to say things in the imperative, like “Stop the car over there please,” or “Give me a phone card, please,” or “You have a nice day, now, y’hear?”
– being able to do negations with the greatest of ease in all forms of address, from the most informal to the most formal. There are lots of ways to do this. Too many. Imagine in English being able to say, “Don’t do that!” or “Do that don’t!” or “Not do!” Except it has to do with levels of formality, I think. Anyway…
– being able to make if-then and other conditional/hypothetical statements, like, “If you build it, they will come.”
The thing I need more of is practice speaking with real people. I spend a lot of time with books, not enough with flesh-and-blood Korean-speakers. Hm. What to do? Swimming was a good time for working on my listening, but now that’s out for a while. Ah well, I’ll sort it out.
These days, since my novel has taken the turn into somehow morphing into a kind of futuristic potboiler, I’ve taken it upon myself to read some mystery novels. During a trip to Seoul I managed to pick up an old, abused hardcover copy of Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep. I’m precisely halfway through it and in awe of the plotting and style. The story is just getting more and more convoluted and I’m finding it harder and harder to put down.
Another thing that’s exceptionally well-done is the treatment of the culture… the underground P.I. culture, the local culture, the world of the cops, all of it. There’s a lot that the reader has to simply pull out of implication, and that’s really cool. I’m working at making my own writing more like that, the sort of thing where you immerse readers in a sometimes-shocking and deeply alienating world, instead of explaining about it. That’s something that happens in the best SF all the time… you see it in Bruce Sterling (especially in his stunning Holy Fire) and John Brunner (Stand on Zanzibar being only one fine example) and Maureen McHugh (well, in her China Mountain Zhang, on the basis of which I am willing to declare her an amazing writer) and so many other writers. Well, and here it is happening in a potboiler. Land sakes. I understand now why so many people advise young writers to read everything.
I just had lunch with a co-worker, Thai, and we watched the (?) inauguration of the new South Korean President, Noh Mu Hyun. He looks pretty young, and fairly happy about his new job. I myself would be terrified, but then maybe his confidence is warranted. I hope so, considering the way things are going with Pyongyang. It seems his last gig was as the minister of fisheries, which is kind of interesting, innit? (That page might be updated soon, I don’t know. But it does contain bunches of lists of who’s in major government positions in every country in the world, which is kind of cool…)
(I’m humming the children’s fishing song in Korean in my head now. Hm. Maybe it’d be better if I put on some of the music my Mum sent me. You can tell where my musical sensibilities came from; in the office, I declared that she’d sent me some great dance music. People didn’t believe me till I clarified it was Renaissance dances. Which is generally better than Chemical Brothers any day of the week.)
Right now I am busy trying to get this thing up to snuff, and get my ear all healed up. Life seems so busy these days, but it’s also good.