baseball, poetry, and kim chi

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Bong-won sa

I have written nothing (I’d consider poetry) in the past five weeks. I feel very comfortable with this. There is no anxiety, no wondering if I will write again, no feeling in my stomach of wasting time. I think some of this comes from the completion of a two year project. My second book is done, just needs some editing, but that is something different. I am not sitting in front of a blank screen wondering where the hell this thing will come from. Editing is labor intensive, but not as dependent on magic, I feel much more in control of it. I was out eating chicken and drinking beer with a friend or two, watching Monday night football on AFN (it was taped. we go through great pains all day Tuesday not to find out the score.). He asked me how my Korean study was going. And I told him that I loved it. And why do I love it? I think it is bc it is so time consuming. it is this huge impossible puzzle that I will never put together, but I enjoy the pieces and watching the code work. It is keeping me busy. I think that is what writing does too, it keeps me busy. When I have little breakthroughs in the language (and they are little), I feel a similar rush of understanding that I get when I finally understand a poem. When I can work with it. Again, let me stress, this language study has only begun, and I am a long way off, maybe I will lose interest next week. But I think studying Korean, and having my mind working on it all the time, has deadened the need to beat myself up over not writing. I am giving myself that necessary down time, and feeling alright about it. When I come back to writing, I expect, it will look very different, it always does.

I’ve just moved into my new place. I have Stacy’s pictures hung and more floor space than I know what to do with. I live right under the Bong-won sa temple (click here and read below).

Bongwon-sa Temple
"The head
temple of Buddhism in Korea, which has born the long history and a traditional religious order – Taego Denomination, a denomination of married monks and the second-largest in Korea. At present, Monk Lee Man-bong (Tanchongjang) and Monk Park Song-am (Yongsanje, a Buddhist ritual), both holders of the Important Intangible Cultural Properties, the 48th and 50th respectively, reside here. This temple serves for the modernization of Korea's Buddhism and takes root in Buddhism instruction in the principle of Koreans' life."

It is quiet and full of trees and only a short walk from school. There is a bus stop about 3 minutes walk from here and I can take a bus down into shin chon very easily. every thing is perfect, except for one thing. At 444a every morning, the monks are called to prayer. At 444a every morning, I have been woken up by a bell/gong. It rings for 9 minutes and then goes silent. But while it is ringing, it really rings. I wonder why it has to go on for so long. It only takes one or two rings, and I am awake. Figure if I wanted to be awake, it would only take one. So why so many? Maybe there is something in the numbers, in the duration. I will try and find out. Either way, it is what it is, and I’ll just get up for those ten minutes and study a bit, then go back to sleep.

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