Bloomsday 2016. It’s almost 9:30 p.m. at the time of this writing, and I put in a full day of teaching and planning before taking my roommate out for his nightly hour-long tour of the neighborhood. But, it just doesn’t seem right to let this day go by without writing something. Like a Halloween without candy or a birthday without cake. This is a day when the words should flow freely, so please, just sit back and let me ramble for a while.
“‘Start Again’ I Heard Them Say”
My life has started over in a number of ways over the past few months. I’ve started my new job, which seems to be going pretty well so far. I had a birthday on May 25th (it’s never too late to hit up ye olde Barnes & Noble Wishlist for belated gift ideas, by the way). And, most significantly, I suddenly find myself with far more free time than I’ve had in literally the last five years.
I’ve had big plans for this free time ever since I signed on for my new job way back in December. My three biggest projects: (1) I want to get some serious writing done; (2) I want to drop about 65 pounds; and (3) I want to start working with North Korean refugees again. Thus far, I’m doing well with two out of three.
Back in the Tutoring Life Again
In the past three or four weeks, I’ve attended two meetings at TNKR (Teach North Korean Refugees), a group that pairs English tutors with students from North Korea. I submitted a resume explaining my qualifications, and I might find out whether any of the students have selected me to be their tutor as early as tomorrow. Fingers crossed.
Back on the Treadmill Again
The battle of the bulge rages on. It’s kind of embarrassing to look back and see how many times I’ve blogged about my various plans to lose weight during my time in Korea. I was going to the gym. I was competing with my buddy Kristian. I bought a bicycle (which was stolen last winter, sadly). But this time – knock on wood – is different. With more time and less stress to deal with, I feel like I have some advantages that I didn’t have before.
I’ve joined a gym here in Seoul, and Doreen, the gal who hooked me up with my new job, has introduced me to Couch to 5k (C25K). If you haven’t heard of it, C25K is a free running app that can supposedly get you off the couch and have you ready for a 5k in just eight weeks if you stick with it and do the assigned 30-minute exercises three times a week. I’m already on Week 3 and loving it, so it must be doing something right.
One thing I didn’t realize about myself before I started C25K was how much my obsessive-compulsive tendencies affect me in the gym. It’s always been very hard for me to relax during a cardio workout because I constantly watch the clock to make sure I start walking/running/jogging at exactly the right times. I’ve even made playlists of songs that could measure these things out for me. C25K takes all that stress away by keeping an eye on the time for me. If I need to run for two minutes, I hear a little chime and a prompt that says “Begin running.” Two minutes later, another chime and “Start walking.” It even tells me when I’m halfway finished and when I only have one more minute to go. All I have to do is rev up my playlist – 423 of the best songs in my music library – and feel the burn. It’s flawless. Can’t wait to post before-and-after pictures.
I Know I’m Slipping
The one front where I’m not quite hitting all my marks is my writing. I’m definitely writing more than I was before, but I haven’t managed to get into a good routine with it just yet. These things take time. The funny thing about writing, though, is that sometimes you don’t really want to get into a good routine, because you know your other responsibilities are inevitably going to pull you away from it, which is extremely frustrating. That’s why I’m currently trying to save up enough money to take a year off and do nothing but write. In the meantime, I’ve been trying to figure out how to balance everything out.
A few weeks ago I read a book called The Miracle Morning, which explained how a person could potentially reach any goal they’re trying to reach by waking up a few hours earlier than normal. The writing in this book was atrocious, and it occasionally veered awfully close to that silly “tell the universe what you need” bullshit that made The Secret so popular a decade or so ago. (What’s that called again? The Law of Attraction? Something like that.) But it did offer a few good ideas that I’ve been trying to implement in my life.
For example, I’ve been waking up early several days a week to do an hour of writing in the morning before work. I also made a list that spells out exactly what I’m trying to accomplish. By May 25th, 2017, I plan to finish my long-delayed story collection and reach my weight loss goals. Wish me luck.
And oh yeah, please visit, like, and subscribe to me on social media if you haven’t done so already. I need my fanbase to be ready when my book is finished. 🙂
“You Opened It. We Came.”
In completely unrelated news, I’ve been going back and watching all the Hellraiser movies again, even the straight-to-video sequels where Pinhead is reduced to making brief cameo appearances. I’ve always enjoyed horror movies, as anyone who saw the kitchen at Apartment 86 can attest, but Hellraiser gets a few extra points in my book for being a bit more literate than the average ’80s slasher flick. (Not that there’s anything wrong with slasher flicks, mind you – I love Jason, Freddy, Michael, and Chucky too.)
Since I began this particular movie marathon, I’ve had to be very careful what I say to my students.
Student crying and whining?
“No tears please. It’s a waste of good suffering.”
Student asking for a bathroom break at an inappropriate time?
“Trick us again, child, and your suffering will be legendary…even in Hell.”
Student tattles for a trivial offense, so you punish them instead of the student they’re ratting on?
“All problems solved.”
I realize now that Clive Barker is a writer I should become much more familiar with. Sounds dumb, I know, but I’ve always associated him with his movies and never really thought of him as a serious writer. My mistake. Gonna start looking into his stuff very soon. Any suggestions?
Rambling Off Now
There’s more I could comment on if I was wide awake, but I’m not, so I won’t.
Happy Bloomsday, everyone. Thanks for reading.