In the morning I wake up when it’s still dark, make a pot of coffee, and write until the baby wakes up, usually around 8:30. I play with him until he goes to daycare at around 10. Then I write or edit until 5PM, when I have to either head out to do a little work or pick up the baby, playing with him until around 10PM, when my wife puts him to sleep. If I’m lucky I’ll get a chance to run around outside for an hour. This has been my schedule, more or less, for the last two months, thanks to the incredibly generous winter vacation I get from my Korean university. I’ve finished three ebooks as a result, and I’m desperate, now, to publish them before I have to go back to work on the fourth of March. I’m currently waiting for some volunteer readers to get back to me with the comments they can post to amazon.com: the moment two or three of them say they’re ready to go, I’m posting. The first got back to me yesterday, and said she liked the book, which very literally had me jumping for joy.
Publishing a novel has been my dream since I was a child. I’m twenty-five years old now, and I’m finally about to achieve this lifelong desire.
Working more or less around the clock has only further confirmed that writing is the reason I exist. During these months I spent a lot of time talking and thinking about how to get myself out of Korea so that my family and I could enjoy a higher standing of living. My wife has said that as soon as I find a good job in America or elsewhere, we can go; the trouble is that as a Humanities BA. who’s spent the last three years teaching English in Korea I’m more or less just as qualification-less as I was when I first left America. I’m also not really interested in working as a dentist or a sales rep, and I chose to be an English teacher living abroad because it would give me plenty of time to travel and write, but now I have to think about the education and upbringing of my son. The idea of allowing him to wilt in the schools here, the possibility that he’ll have to spend most of his youth in a small crowded Korean city filled with cars and garbage—this is what’s driving me to work.
Another dream of mine is more recent, and it’s been growing in my consciousness during my vacation. I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, until I was about six years old, and every time I go back there I feel that it’s my home. The gingko stains on the sidewalks, the brownstones, the black gates and big brick churches, the playgrounds spraying water, the neo-Sumerian architecture of the public library, and the rolling fields of the park, all fill me with the most powerful urge to leave Gyeongju and return to my only true home. I was really happy when I lived there, and I want to go back and give my son the chance to grow up in that place—give my wife the chance to enjoy it—more than anything.
Publishing these books, and doing everything within my power to ensure their success, was my goal from the start; but success, it seems, doesn’t always result from talent alone: luck, chance, probability, lady fortune, all have to work in one’s favor. Only god herself must know how many brilliant people have never achieved recognition due to the whims of fate. Nevertheless, my ultimate dream is a combination of these two: the ultimate fantasy, the pipe dream of pipe dreams, the one that has me salivating all over myself in my sleep, is to live as a writer in Brooklyn.