Wherein I stumble upon a surprisingly effective method of overcoming writer’s block
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes. Photo by Marga Santoso on Unsplash.
So, I’m getting divorced.
Don’t worry—I’ll spare you the details.
I find myself only mentioning my private life at all, because I wanted to explain my sporadic writing as of late. Only once I got started, I just couldn’t bring myself to roll out the same old platitudes about the stress of the new semester, or simply being too busy.
Actually, the start of the new semester was very stressful. I have been busy. But the truth is, neither compare to the hell I’ve been going through these last few years, especially this past summer. Or how it’s just been so exhausting pretending everything’s okay.
Sorry to be so dramatic, and so cryptic. But simply making it “official” is helping me to move on, by forcing me to write about it. For just these few lines alone, knowing thousands of strangers are going to be reading them, reflect many hours of grappling with my demons. Let alone the thousands more I’ve only written to myself.
It’s in the same spirit of candor, and of writing as a process, of both informing and learning, that I want to apologize for being unable to produce the long, well-researched posts—à la The Grand Narrative—which I know most of you prefer. My head just hasn’t been in the right place, and now you know why.
But now, I realize know how desperately I need to write anyway.
So what to do?
Just write of course. But that’s easier said than done, when writing is both the solution and the problem.
Well, for the time being, avoid those long posts. Just write whatever brings you joy instead. Whether that is: informing people of an interesting-looking Korean documentary on #Metoo that you’re going to make an effort to see, despite the lack of subtitles; sharing a paragraph on the gender politics of Japanese fitness clubs that made you buy the book on the spot; waxing lyrical over a sculptor’s unique skills, even if you did only find out about their two week-long exhibition half an hour after it had ended; gushing over how good it feels to be reading and understanding a Korean language book about feminism and the Korean entertainment industry, whilst also ruing how its contents seem so resistant to being shoehorned into any post here; venting your frustrations about how almost all the novels you’ve recently been reading on the promise they would deeply explore the female gaze and sexual desire, just haven’t hit the spot, and asking readers for recommendations; letting everyone know about an upcoming Zoom lecture on the 1940as wartime mobilization of Busan women into factories,* which sounds interesting enough to stay up all night for; or admitting your concerns about how many of your posts—and likely your views—on various aspects of Korean sexuality are likely very outdated, and how you’ll go about addressing those.
It doesn’t matter if you’re not an expert on many of these topics, or even know barely anything at all about them. Sharing and talking about them with smart people like your learned selves, is how we all become more knowledgeable.
So, provided they all prove worthy once I put pen to paper, all of those posts will all go up in the next few weeks. They also represent just the tip of the iceberg, which I’m glad to have finally given myself permission to reveal, and excited and anxious to begin breaking apart.
On which note, on Monday I’ll bring you the first of what I’m calling My Vignettes. And all, like their namesake, very much still belonging to the same Grand Narrative.
*(The lecture is at 1am, Saturday October 8 Korean time, 12pm Friday October 7 Eastern Standard Time. So if you’re also interested, please don’t wait for my post about it to register!)
If you reside in South Korea, you can donate via wire transfer: Turnbull James Edward (Kookmin Bank/국민은행, 563401-01-214324)