Moving day is fast approaching and even though moving in South Korea can be exceedingly painless, it is not without it's distractions. For one thing, the new apartment is a two bedroom with a proper living room and a kitchen big enough for a dining room. I'm super excited to not have people in my bedroom when they come over, mostly because I can toss all the clutter inside and close the door. Yes, I do that.
But, the apartment does not have a washer or a refrigerator or a TV. I've live with the TV appliance before, though thanks to the internet, not without TV. I make this latter statement somewhat ruefully because TV is yet another distraction.
In fact, everywhere I turn there seems to be a plethora of distractions: horseback riding on weekends, baking, nail art, tv, audio books, and Boggle. Never mind that I'm terrible at Boggle, or that my nails more often than not look like a three-year-old did them.
My cat is also partially responsible. He does not like it when I use technology. He will sleep happily until I pick up the cell phone or start taping away at keyboard... fwap, he's in my lap or on the keyboard typing tttttttttttttttttttttttttt with his belly and thinking oh &*^((& when did I last hit save?
However, to be fair, the real issue is not all the other things. It's how I feel inside, which is to say, I'm not compelled to write. It is a far different beast than writer's block and is an indirect result of being fulfilled by work and life outside of work. That is the root of all things unwritterly these days.
When I first arrived in Korea in 2008, I faced a similar conundrum with my writing. Suddenly, I had a comfortable paying job. Not rich by any means but good enough and the lack of financial strain was initially a motivational reduction. Later it became a boon, but there was a transition period whereupon I questioned why I was writing if it no longer presented a significantly differently lifestyle. Because, lets face it, a lot of what attracts us to our dream is not only the thing in and of itself, but the lifestyle that comes along with it.
Going back even further in my life, I wanted to work with horses because I imagined that meant I'd get to ride horses a lot more when in reality, working in horses almost always means more time is spent scooping poop than in the saddle. In the end, I realized that I hadn't really been writing for financial gain, but rather to feel a void....
Ever since I was the smallest child, my brain has been a busy beaver and no work I've every done has satiated it's relentless creativity. Thus I created more work for myself in my spare time. This is at the crux of what I feared in going after a career in the good old USA (that and also never traveling to amazing places again). But life is funny that way and now I'm facing down the barrel of a new gun, one that has nothing to do with finances.
If life, both inside work and outside, can fill me up, what will motivate me to continue writing? I didn't know the answer to that until today, when, while rushing to the post office on my forty-minute lunch break, I suddenly found my mind drifting to a story of mine. Solutions appeared, dialogues took place in my head and I suddenly fell in love with story telling again. And also realize that success in writing not equate to a better life, but rather, just a different. What's left is telling a good story and I'd rather like to finishing telling the stories I've started, even if nobody but me reads them.
One unanswered question remains though. When I finish telling myself the stories I've started, will I be content or compelled to imagine new stories? Okay, my cat is jealous of my keyboard now, so I have to go. Have a great day!
Mariel R. is an ESL teacher, horse trainer, writer, editor, sporadic blogger, and lover of beer. She lives in South Korea with two cats, three horses, a German Shepherd and 17 chickens.
Bear (Gom in Korean) then (above) now (below)
Geumbi (Goldy in English) R.I.P February, 23, 2018