An update, for those who are wondering.
The weather in Jeonju is brisk and cold, but bright, which is a major improvement on how the weekend began. Friday was cold and dark (and busy, as well) and Saturday was almost something out of a tale penned by Edgar Allan Poe, if he could have penned a tale about Jeonju with all its neon-and-techno-infused downtown scapes. Until Sunday, it rained and the sky grumbled darkly.
But then Sunday came, and with it, light. It was a fine, warmish day, not at all seeming like the winter that it is. Sunlight is good for us, fills us with hope and takes all our unhappiest thoughts from us, leaving them castaways in the oceans of light, at least for the day. So it was for me on Sunday. And it was good.
I saw two movies this weekend: Master and Commander, which I comment about on my friend Marvin’s blog since he went to the trouble of reviewing the movie (or posting nitpicks anyway), and a movie called Cypher. I think Cypher was badly done, but I suppose I’ve nobody to blame but myself for seeing it, since I knew nothing of it (not even who was acting in it) when I bought the ticket. I found, too late, that Kill Bill was still playing in one theater, so I shall see that on Tuesday during the day, if possible.
I am reading Walker Percy’s Love in the Ruins, which is an excellent book, beautifully written and thoughtful. Thank goodness John Wendel loaned it to me; I forgot to mention that to him when we talked last night. It was a good talk, and I marveled that he had the serendipitous wisdom to call me when he did, and remind me of several things I already knew. It was good to hear about like in Iksan… it seems to me more and more that the world is becoming a series of oases I leave behind me one by one as I trek across my life.
But I shall rush back to that oasis, Iksan, for one night. Kimberley and Chai will have an engagement party, for which I will have to be late because my band is playing a gig the same night, but after we play, I shall catch a cab to Iksan and try to make it to the party.
Another oasis waits on the horizon, a little house in Dharamsala. I shall live there for two months, shall write my novel and I think I shall teach a little English, this time just for the sake of helping out some people who need it. My mother always told me that when you are confused about things, faced with uncertainties or memories that are difficult to escape, the best medicine is to reach out to other people and help them; that it’s a kind of way of giving yourself that doesn’t lead to emptiness, but to a kind of fullness that can never be emptied. So I shall try it.
Maybe it’s the holiday season, but emails, phone calls, they’re swirling into a kind of nexus of good. We who live far from our loved ones, our families and closest friends, we’re lucky when we have those calls and letters. They remind us of the invisible threads that connect us home to so many kind and gentle people who love us. For home is not a place: home is people.
I’m slowly choosing my books for the trip: I plan on reading Don Quixote and Moby Dick and Midnight’s Children while in Dharamsala, but of the others I’m not so sure: should I attempt Rimbaud’s complete works, or The Iliad? And of science books: should I explore cosmology, or neuroscience and consciousness? I can’t seem to decide… I only know I will steer clear of SF novels for the whole trip, as I shall be writing my own SF novel while there.
So many little things to do: pack what I am planning to send to Canada and America and Cyprus and Mozambique in the post; get travelers’ cheques and travel insurance; submit my travel notification to the University; get a decent backpack for hauling my stuff to Dharamsala; find a winter home for my saxophones where they won’t be left somewhere to freeze and get damaged; figure out what to do to prevent the pipes in my flat from exploding from the cold in wintertime; burn some CDs full of MP3s so I can enjoy some musical variety while in Dharamsala; meet some people who are wanting to see me on last time, in many cases the first time in a long time, before I leave for two months… so much to do.
But I am well, for those of you who haven’t heard from me in a while, and won’t for a while.