Listen here: Podcastle episode 378.
If you didn't get a chance to read my flash fic fairy tale retelling "Yaga Dreams of Growing Up" in Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, you can now listen to it in the online audio magazine PodCastle. The recent episode features three pieces of flash in PodCastle's excellently produced show.
Listen here: Podcastle episode 378.
Recently I've had the pleasure of appearing on the Odyssey Writing Workshop's blog in a "Graduate's Corner" post, discussing the merits and might of small press publishing. The small press doesn't necessarily have the reach or the flashy . . . well, the flashy anything, but it can take risks on niche titles that might not be as well-represented by large publishers.
You can read the whole blog post on the Odyssey Writing Workshop blog, where I praise Chizine and Small Beer Press (of course I mentioned SBP, because I'm a total Small Beer Press fangirl), as well as discuss some of what was important to me as I built World Weaver Press from passion into press.
You know how there's software that can block your access to the internet for a fixed amount of time, supposedly to increase your productivity by keeping you off Facebook or other time-suck sites? Well, this is what I have: She may not be software, but she is soft. And she does keep me off the internet, but I don't think she's increasing productivity.
But this whole train of thought has gotten me looking into RescueTime and WriteRoom/DarkRoom programs. Although to be completely honest, I'm going to start with this writer's-hack of Microsoft Word (because why should I give up the word processing features when I don't have to?) I've followed the instructions and for my experience, it turns Word into a notebook. No, not a computer-notebook, but it tricks my brain into thinking it's writing in an honest to goodness notebook-notebook. As long as I don't over-analyze the fact that I'm typing not writing by hand, I can forget for a time that I'm on a computer.
Now. If I can just wrangle the cat.
Kdrama or k-drama is the abbreviated form of “Korean Drama,” by which we mean mostly those TV shows produced in South Korea since the early 2000s, but it also can encompass TV shows (and movies) produced in Japan, Taiwan, and mainland China.
The whole thing intersects sometimes with KPop or k-pop. K-pop can sometimes encompass kdrama and sometimes it’s used to refer exclusively to the South Korean music industry. Of course, there is huge cross over between the music industry and the drama industry in South Korea, far more than there is in America. In the States, most of us can name the Big Stars who’ve successfully crossed from music to acting or vice versa—Timberlake, J Lo, Will Smith—but in Korea these talents don’t hire their own agents who work for them; no, the talent works for an agency that shells out a lot of money to train and raise up the future star, ideally in as many entertainment fields as possible. Because if a member of Girls Generation is on a drama it guarantees a certain male audience, and if your favorite drama oppa sings you a song, you’re gonna buy his CD.
This may sound obscure to many Americans, but we’re not talking “cult classics” here. This is a finely honed money making machine that in under 15 years has come to rival Samsung* among South Korean exports. An utterly addictive, completely consuming, why-can’t-any-one-else-hit-on-this-formula, unique TV watching experience.
*(It so happens I’m watching kdrama on a Samsung TV. Totally coincidental.)
No, I don't speak Korean.
Whenever I explain to people what it is I’ve been watching lately, their first question is, “Is it subtitled?” This is uttered with confusion, perhaps concern, not inquisitiveness.
Yes, they’re subtitled. After five years of public school administered French lessons I could barely order at a French delicatessen, why anyone would think I suddenly had functioning foreign language skills was beyond me.
Most of the shows with US/worldwide licensing are subtitled in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. The really popular ones are dubbed into Spanish. I’ve yet to see an English dubbing, and I don’t think I’d want to at this point.
Of course, I understand the tension here: “Subtitled” has come to be a code word for stuffy, pretentious, European art house films. And what I’m discussing is pure candy, fabulously low-brow, insanely addictive TV shows . . . but subtitled.
We call it what it is: an addiction.
What I’ve found striking is that when people (online, English speakers) refer to their kdrama viewing habits, they call it “my kdrama addiction” or “I’m a kdrama addict.” And that is the long and short of it: Something about this type of entertainment breeds rabid fandom.
I can’t say I’ve ever heard someone describe themselves as an “HBO addict” or say they have a “sitcom addiction.” They express some form of like. Dislike, mild like, really like. Occasionally (rarely) love. But really, the “love” status is usually reserved for one show--I love True Blood!—rather than applied to an entire channel or genre or country’s output of TV.
Most addicting is the kdrama storytelling. Namely the lightheartedness. Dire things may happen. Horrible things may happen. But the show always resolves in a lighthearted way. “Antiheroes” aren’t really a Thing in kdrama. All the better. American and British film will only show a character alone with their emotions (particularly if those emotions are happy in nature) if it can serve as juxtapositioning for what comes next. A character alone in a car smiling is not a happy situation, it is a situation of utter dread because the absolute worst is about to unfold and a smart audience knows it--Downton Abbey, I'm looking at you. In Korean drama, a character shown driving down the road smiling, is shown to the audience to convey that he is happy, not to make more notable his eminent death.
I watch kdramas for the same reason I read romance novels: I know I won’t be depressed when the story is over, which is something no other genera of novel promises in every book.
Further addicting is the format.
Note to self: Episode One often sucks.
There are two giant differences between the way American TV is structured and the way Korean TV is structured that need to be understood to truly appreciate what you’re getting yourself into.
The first is that one “season” of kdrama encompasses the entire story. Usually it’s 16-24 episodes, but sometimes it’s 10 and sometimes it’s 50+. But whatever the number, every drama gets “one season.” The story’s end is in sight from the first episode. With rare exception, kdramas don’t “get renewed” for the next season. They are finite productions. So the story arc is like that of a miniseries or elongated movie.
The absolutely fabulous part of this is that it’s impossible to become addicted to a kdrama and have it canceled at the end of season on a cliffhanger. When season one ends, there is nothing left to be resolved; the story is done. You can enter in wholeheartedly and you will never be dumped by station execs! Of course, the flip side is that there will be no Season Ten to look forward to . . . and as someone who is a kdrama addict and has spent (unwittingly) a decade watching Grey’s Anatomy, I have mixed feelings about the many-seasoned show vs the one-season kdrama.
The second thing to understand about kdramas is that two episodes air every week. Where US dramas air once a week—for example, every Monday for twenty weeks—Korean dramas air twice—every Monday and Tuesday for ten weeks. What this means is that the story-hook, the thing that really piques your interest and solidifies your future viewership, often does not come in the first 15 or 30 minutes of the initial episode. It often comes at the end of episode one—sometimes it doesn’t come until episode two!—because the writers and producers of kdrama know that the second shot comes the next day.
These opening episodes meander around, establishing backstory and premise without great urgency because they appear to operate under the notion that they have two hours, not one, of the audience’s attention with which to flourish.
The result is that there are a great many kdramas I love that have an Episode One of absolute suckage. Kimchi Family and That’s Okay It’s Love, I’m looking at you. The story doesn’t know where to go and so it meanders around in the “set up” phase of things. Kimchi Family shows Ho Tae the gangster, and Kang San the restaurant chef in their roles pre-story, but there are only hints at the traditional kimchi-making family-centric restaurant that will turn out to be the beating heart for so many characters. That’s Okay It’s Love Episode One is a hot freaking mess. You would think, from that first episode, that the story is going to be about a party-loving DJ who gets knifed by a psychotic jailbird and a woman/roommates who engage in gross admissions of bodily functions. Nope. Not what the story’s about at all. In fact, That’s Okay It’s Love turns into a fabulous exploration of mental illness and how we treat it, live with it, and accept and thrive with it. But again, the first episode’s a hot mess.
Oh, and they're long. Really long.
I guess there’s a third thing that needs to be known. The average run-time for one episode of American TV is 43-52 minutes. The addition of commercials rounds it out to one hour. A “half-hour show” is really about 22 minutes long plus commercials. There are shorter shows, but predominantly, the average kdrama that makes its way internationally is 54-68 minutes before commercials. I think I once saw an episode that went as long as 72 minutes. Which is why, if possible, I suggest you engage them without commercial interruption.
Where do you find these things?
That’s the second-most asked question. If you’re just exploring American cable TV, or Netflix, or even Amazon Prime, you really aren’t privy to much of kdrama except for Boys Over Flowers. If you have Hulu, however, there is a surprising wealth of kdrama waiting for you. In fact, much of Hulu’s kdrama can be accessed without a paid subscription. Of course, there are commercials in that case. And even with a paid Hulu subscription the commercials diminish, not disappear. And not even they have all the drama.
Which is why I eventually got a subscription to Drama Fever—they have a substantial collection and once you pay to play in their sandbox, they stop the commercials, which when you consider that an episode averages 64 minutes, and I’m addicted to these things, adds up to a not insignificant portion of my life that I'm reclaiming. As I understand it, Viki also hosts videos and occasionally other sites do as well, but I can't speak to them from experience.
Drama Fever focuses on foreign language television for English and Spanish speaking audiences in North America. Their app features a Chromecast option that they continue to improve (the cast crashes a lot less in 2015 often than it did in 2014 and the subtitle formatting is vastly more readable in recent months) and the site can be rendered in either English or Spanish. I’ve not yet explored the selection of dramas and telenovelas in Spanish and Portuguese, but I know the site contains those shows as well as short films in Hebrew and French.
Not everything is available immediately. Many Korean shows are available the day after they first air. Some shows, particularly those coming out of mainland China, take months to release US licensing rights to online providers such as Hulu or Drama Fever. The hold up for any of these sites is acquisition of foreign licenses for the shows, which is controlled by the companies that own the show and is not not completely free of government entanglement. Although South Korea seems to have cleared that particular pipeline as many of the Korean dramas coming out right now are available in the US on Drama Fever within 24 hours of their original airing (give or take some for the translation teams working to subtitle them).
Where to start . . .
My first three dramas were The Last Cinderella, Coffee Prince, and Boys Over Flowers. All good places to start, in my opinion. I do not recommend entering the world of kdrama with a historically set story or one that has an opening episode set historically before moving into the present day (like Hundred Year Inheritance) because there is enough to juggle as you negotiate the subtitles and the visual story and the foreign social customs. Start someplace where the technology and the dress code is in line with what you're already are used to. Once you grapple with contemporary Korean cultural constructs, like formal speech vs “talking down” to someone or this oddball “I’ll leave first” thing, once you've Googled “sunbae,” and appreciate that bowing and kneeling are more physical than idiomatic, and that these are all present day social constructs, the historical dramas are not quite as overwhelming because they use or borrow the same constructs. It’s impossible for me to say how much is true to history and how much is because they’re written by modern Korean writers, but that’s neither here nor there.
The Last Cinderella is actually a Japanese drama in the vein of romantic comedy. Its focus is Sakura Tomoya (Shinohara Ryoko), a 39 year-old tomboy and hairdresser (odd combination, but roll with it) who hasn’t dated for a decade until a much younger man crosses her path. Twenty-something Hiroto Saeki (Miura Haruma) schemes his way into her heart one less-than-fateful night. Meanwhile, Sakura’s boss, good friend, and sometimes rival, Rintaro Tachibana (Fujiki Naohito) learns of Hiroto’s less than chivalrous intentions and does everything he can to protect Sakura.
It’s a great set up: tomboy faced with ongoing male affection from an inappropriate source realizes things about herself, her situation, and her friends who may be more than friends . . . but it didn’t go where it would have gone if it were an American show and that’s what I loved about it. Although I won’t say more than that because spoilers.
If you’re coming to kdrama as someone who loves American romantic comedies, try The Last Cinderella.
The next show I stepped into was Coffee Prince a Korean drama from 2007, which is old enough and popular enough to be considered a “kdrama classic” now. It revolves around a coffee shop (always a plus in my opinion . . . okay, let’s be honest, I started watching this show because coffee, coffee, coffee) although the titular coffee aspect does not emerge until several episodes in, and a “gender swap” plot. That is, a young woman posing as a pretty young man, which is not an uncommon plot in kdrama (or Shakespeare). However Coffee Prince is the most interesting exploration of gender and sexuality that I’ve seen in kdrama before or since. Note: a “prince” or “flower boy” is slang for a beautiful young man.
Drama Fever describes the show as “One of our most popular dramas, this romantic comedy tells the story of Han Kyul, the handsome son of a wealthy hotelier family who is set in his bachelor ways and constantly deflects his family's attempts to make him commit. The constant pressure to get married drives him to hire a goofy young delivery boy Eun Chan to pretend to be his gay lover to scare away his family's set-ups. Trouble starts when Han Kyul begins to get to know the hardworking and lovable Eun Chan, and begins to develop real feelings for him—only to discover that "he" is actually a girl disguised as a boy. A rare drama that deals with homosexuality, this controversial series received multiple awards, such as the 2007 MBC Acting Awards for Yoon Eun Hye and Gong Yoo, as well as Best TV drama award at the 2008 Korean Producers' Awards.”
The delightful part of this for an American intrigued by gender identity drama is that Eun Chan never offers a deliberate portrayal of femininity or masculinity, Eun Chan is simply Eun Chan. Initially she is mistaken for male, not deliberately acting thus to deceive, but when she’s offered employment in a male-only position, she grabs at the chance to ease her family’s poverty. Perception of the character's is entirely based on the viewer’s lens not the character’s intentional switching of modes to suit gender norms. This grows intriguing when Eun Chan develops feelings for two men, one who has always assumed her to be a woman and one who has always assumed her to be another man.
Yoon Eun Hye is stunning in the role of Eun Chan, one that I think many kdrama actresses would hesitate to take because it challenges the pervasive hyper-femininity of the kdrama star actress.
If you’re coming to kdrama as someone who loves American drama about gender identity or realism that does not succumb to plotless artsy crap, try starting with The Coffee Prince.
Next, because I had been made aware that this was the alter upon which the church of all Asian drama was built (not the foundation, but the alter), I watched Boys Over Flowers.
Boys Over Flowers started as a Japanese manga/anime, became a live action Japanese TV show in the 90s, had a Taiwanese remake, then another Japanese remake, then finally in what is perhaps the most famous version, a 2008 Korean remake. If you’ve any familiarity with anime, you’ll see its influences in the way Boys Over Flowers is filmed, including Gum Jan Di’s three part reactions to the stupid things Goo Jun Pyo says: first her face is contorted in listening confusion, then beginnings of disbelief, followed by outright anger and outrage. It’s also apparent in how the two male leads, Goo Jun Pyo and Yoon Ji Hoo are dressed, all in black and all in white/light gray, respectively. Plaids and argyles are granted only to the secondary male characters.
If you can accept the “comic book” aspects of this show, then you’ve gone a long way toward embracing the light hearted spirit of kdrama.
The story follows Guem Jan Di, a poor high schooler who ends up a student at the most prestigious of fictional high schools. Her desire to stick up for the downtrodden both gets her into the school and makes her the target of the most influential clique on campus, the F4. The F4 consists of four “flower boys,” insanely beautiful young men of wealth, who run the school as far as the student body is concerned. Led by Goo Jun Pyo, they can make or break anyone on campus. Jun Pyo is cruel and capricious, and when Jan Di crosses his path, he expects her to break immediately, same as everyone else. When she doesn’t, he decides that Jan Di, the first girl to challenge him, will become his first love . . . regardless of her feelings on the subject. Or his vicious mother’s feelings on the subject of an impoverished girlfriend for her heir-to-the-family-fortune son. The story covers more than two years of Jun Pyo and Jan Di challenging each other as well as society. They grow and change, overcoming hurdles within as well as without. And there’s some great on-location shoots. You can tell from the opening episode through the last that this is anything but a low-budget production.
If you’re coming to kdrama as an anime fan or someone not afraid to engage in the corny, ridiculously over simplified aspects of high school romances, start with the new classic Boys Over Flowers.
"Melodrama" is not a dirty word in Korean entertainment.
One final consideration to take into account: The reasons many of us can find kdrama more addictive than American TV is because it engages the top available film equipment to produce a show that is not going to be canceled mid-story . . . and because it isn’t afraid of melodrama.
There was this moment that would happen about once a semester in my MFA workshops: the instructor would pause, considering his or her words, then say, "But don't you think this is getting a bit melodramatic?" That was it. The stink had been stunk. "A bit melodramatic" was a demand to excise everything dramatic and melodramatic and vaguely plot-ish in the story like a surgeon removing tumors. Melodrama. It wasn't a story death sentence, not in workshop, because the story could be saved before attempting to publish it . . . but if it wasn't removed in time, then yes, melodrama meant creative death—this we had instilled in us.
Let’s face it, a critical review that says an American TV show is indulging in “melodrama” is a damning review. “Melodramatic” does not produce high ratings. The last bastion of melodrama on American TV is the soap opera, and honestly, I can’t take those any more. For one, it just goes on and on and freaking on without a realistic moment.
Kdrama can primarily be thought of as romantic comedy, although there are action stories and those that are more dramatic than romantic . . . but sooner or later they’re all melodrama.
And everyone’s okay with that.
There is no aspiration whatsoever to excise the melodramatic. And that lets the drama indulge in the near-melodramatic and excise the “gritty realism” that has come to permeate American TV.
Don't get me wrong: Grit has its place. Particularly if one is scrubbing out one’s sink. But one does not always need to scrub the saccharine residue of entertainment from one’s eyeballs. Sometimes it’s best to apply substance and saccharine together, without apology. Sometimes it's time for kdrama.
First off, I have done A Thing: my short story "Candy, Shoe, and Skull; Sallow Flowers Plucked Like Chains" appears in this month's issue of Niteblade Fantasy and Horror Magazine.
And yes, it's the dark fairy tale issue.
If you know me, you understand why that is perfect.
I've read the magazine and there are some delightfully wondrous and oh-so-dark retwistings of fairy tale in these digital pages. So far my favorites, other than my own story (because: of course), are Eric J. Guignard's "A Kiss and a Curse," a Beauty and the Beast retelling of dire consequence, the narrative poem "Et je ne pleurais jamais les larmes cicatrisantes magiques; c’est seulement un mensonge joli: Arne-Thompson Index No. 310" by Elizabeth McClellan featuring a Rapunzel with agency and engineering on her side, and Rhonda Eikamp's "The Men in the Walls," which is also very, very dark. Well, they're all dark. This is, after all, the dark fairy tale issue. But there's a delight in these dark stories that my brain keeps turning over and over. I love the twists and shapes of these tales.
My piece, "Candy, Shoe, and Skull; Sallow Flowers Plucked Like Chains,"really came about because I kept picking at the notion of where fairy tales come from, then applied that to the modern world.
We're all just dark and twisty beings who don't understand what's going on.
There are two main theories in folklore studies about the origins of these stories of the people and the fact that so many cultures developed the same basic tales seemingly independent of one another. One notion is that these tales arise from the collective subconscious. That human brains are all hardwired similarly -- we fear the dark and unknown, we have a thing about shoes, we conflate eating, sex, and cannibalism -- and communicating this to each other produces narratives. The ones that resonate with the listener get retold, and retold, and retold. Over the generations, a regional flair gets added or subtracted as the culture changes. Eventually, the tales were written down, but that didn't stop them from changing.
The other notion is that humans craft fairy and folktales as a coping device -- the tale itself is a means of understanding the world we live in. This notion draws mythology and fables in under the same explanation even though folklorists like to firmly divide folklore, fairy tale, myth, fable, tall tale, etc. into their own groups. But the notion is that we tell origin stories to explain why the sea is salt or why the sun chases the moon across the sky. We also tell stories that are warnings: don't take candy from stranger houses, be careful or a fox will trick you out of your riches, nobody likes vain mean girls. Beauty and the Beast tale types are generally seen to convey the hope make the best of a bad arranged marriage and maybe it'll get better.
When strange things happen, we seek explanation. What goes on when people leave civilization? What is out there? What happens to children who wander off from town?
Letting it unravel to its furthest logical outcome.
I started in a modern(ish) world that possessed fairy tale logic -- a belief that wonder and action create life not just action; therefore, magic (in certain forms, such as talking bears) exists. I then brought forth a town and gave them a collective voice who didn't know what happened to children who wander off from town. And I let them tell their story. Let them set forth into the modern-yet-fairy-tale world to discover the tale-truths of their existence.
I hope you'll pick up a copy of Niteblade and see the story for yourself as well as the other great offerings in the issue. It's well worth the $2.99 to get the ebook or PDF edition. But since we're talking about money . . .
Niteblade has an interesting sales model: Once they reach $50 of sales and/or donations for an issue, the stories and poems unlock and become available online as well as continuing in their for-purchase avenues such as Amazon Kindle. (N.B. The sidebar meter does not appear to be updating in real-time, rather it's a once-a-day update. I think.)
So go forth, and unlock the dark fairy tale goodness.
Hibernation 2015 - wherein I discuss stashing food supplies and what I achieved of my pre-hibernation goals, and perhaps, the dreams I will dream during said winter incubation period
I recently got asked to do a Thing in another city, and I very seriously replied that I was, in fact, in hibernation until the end of February. A conservative estimate. In truth, the end of hibernation depends on the end of Snow Season, which is different from the end of Winter. Although the two are not wholly unrelated.
Northern Michigan winters are not something I take lightly. Yes, there are places where winter is worse and/or more persistent. But this is nothing to be sneezed at. Unless you have the flu on top of being trapped in your own house and really we all should have just gotten flu shots. No, I'm not completely cut off from civilization -- see, I have the internet, I have all the civilization I need -- but when your means of getting to the grocery store or anywhere else in town is a tiny compact car, you reevaluate your ability to fight the terror in white.
And damn if road slush didn't nearly do me in the other day. It wasn't even snow! Or ice! Just the goofy slush! Argh.
So I don't travel between Christmas and the start of March. Not if I can help it and certainly not for any distance.
The cupboard shall not run bare (aka, keep your pantry from streaking).
I have a December through March worry, which becomes a full on January and February neurotic maxim, to always have several days worth of food on hand -- food that can be turned into meals, not just a box of Cheerios and a pound of butter. Shudder. Because we never know when the next big snow is going to hit.
Last year the weather forecasts were dead on. Then again it seemed like we got 2-5" every day last winter, so I guess it's not that hard to predict. But this year they predict 3" we get none. They predict 6" we get none. They predict 5" we get 12." Sigh. And even when a mild 5" fell earlier this week, and I had diligently shoveled out all the requisite paths -- clear sidewalk for school kids, clear steps for mail man, clear driveway for me to get the car out -- I slipped and slid all over the place courtesy of aforementioned slush. So I try to stay off the roads the day of snowfall if I can. (A home office is a brilliant thing.) But if it snows for three days . . . I'm screwed. Or at least stranded.
Which is fine. Because I prepare.
I like to have enough on hand that I could, if needed, wait it out for a week until a clear day afforded me passage to the market that did not land me in the ditch or making new friends and acquaintances of the let's trade insurance information variety. At the very least I can stretch things out by eating rice and kimchi until I realize that I'm not Korean enough -- even in my own mind -- to eat kimchi with every meal. (It should be noted that technically I'm not Korean at all, I just watch too much K-drama and it's been rubbing off on me.)
But be certain that I keep the kitchen stocked this time of year. Freezer and cupboard are ready for battle, sir!
My great-grandmother canned food because it could get the family through the winter when there wasn't much in the way of produce. My grandmother canned food because it was cheaper than store-bought. I admit getting into canning very small batches of apple sauce, peppers, and freezer jam out of a mixture of artisnal snobbery, reclaiming my heritage, and a desire to eat better food -- there is absolutely no reason why jam and sauce made from ripe fruit should have sugar added to it. Just sayin. But now it's proving a useful part of my hibernation strategy.
Did I get everything done pre-hibernation?
Nope. I've been making so many lists these past six months. Twelve months. And I've just not been crossing off enough items.
But what really kills me are the items that continually reappear on each list. Not items like laundry where the task reappears because it has to be re-done regularly, but tasks that just keep getting pushed down the road. I'd only have to do them once, but I just can't get around to them. They're killing me. Not the actual task, but the task's undoneness -- that's what's killing me. Chipping away little pieces of my soul, pieces I think are grains of confidence. And shoring up the damage is going to take more than a tube of toothpaste and some matching touch-up paint. More like plaster and a gallon to recover the whole wall.
Most (but definitely not all) of my editing projects got done this year.
Most (but not entirely all) of my writing projects are nowhere near done. They're so not-done they're practically raw.
I hired four Assistant Editors to work with me on World Weaver Press and its imprint Red Moon Romance. The application and interview process went for about six weeks. And they started work just before the end of the year. They're keeping me busier day-to-day but in a way that I hope will be great for the press because it will mean more content for readers and a faster editing process for authors. And maybe, just maybe, I can get some writing done.
In Xanadu did Kubla Khan a stately pleasure-dome decree...
In my hibernation, I dream delightful dreams of Getting Everything Done and Writing Daily or Writing At All, and worth mentioning: Cleaning Out My Email. A fanciful bird flits across my vision -- Getting Ahead of Schedule! -- and I dismiss it as too fantastical, too brightly and elaborately plumaged to be real.
Each item crossed off the list brings me closer. But it's still a damn long list.
My biggest dream for 2015 -- whether it's a fanciful opium dream of a poem never to be remembered in full or not -- is to complete some of my own writing projects. Revise short stories that have been sitting for several years and perhaps plow through the first draft of the novel that's also been incubating for a . . . um . . . almost five years.
I don't want these projects to turn into my own "Kubla Khan." A vision in a dream. A fragment. Oh, no. I want, need, desire greater than anything to find the edges of the thing, to seek the flesh of it, and give it shape and life and purpose.
Coleridge blamed the opium when he accepted that he would never finish what, admittedly, became a rather famous poem. But I'm not sure I could live like that.
For starters, I'm not big on opium.
Writer, book designer, coffee addict, cat herder, learning to code, MFA grad, Odyssey Workshop alum, tech geek, kdrama devotee, avid reader, and a somewhat decent cook.