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2 Feb

Under the weather – I have been under the weather for the past week—I caught a little virus or something that wreaked havoc on my digestive system. Let’s just say that things were flowing a little too smoothly. My innards are apparently still somewhat sensitive, but I have some herbal medicine (what some people like to call “Chinese medicine,” and what I affectionately refer to as “rabbit turds”) that will hopefully straighten things out. I haven’t eaten much of anything but rice gruel for the past week and it’s getting a little old. I made the mistake of trying to eat something solid a few days ago, though, and my intestines just freaked out and sent the food flying through and on its way.

“...for Koreans, diarrhea ranks about the same as a runny nose on the cultural inappropriateness scale.”

Maybe it was just my family, but I seem to remember that diarrhea wasn’t mentioned in polite conversation in the States. When my mom called the school to explain that I would be absent because I was cemented to the toilet, the euphemism she used was “he has a bug.” A “bug” being a virus, of course. But you didn’t mention the diarrhea itself, just it’s cause. It was like speaking in code. If you heard that one of your friends “had a bug,” you nodded your head gravely because you knew that he was sitting at home while his butt pretended to be a busted fire hydrant.

In Korea, though, people have no problem talking about diarrhea. I remember years ago when my wife would say to someone, “Oh, Suho’s not feeling well; he has diarrhea,” while I gaped at her in horror. In fact, I must admit that I still cringe inwardly a bit whenever she does that, and I don’t generally go around telling people that I have diarrhea. I say, “sohwaga andwaeyo,” which is pretty much what I said up at the beginning of this entry—my digestion is not working. It’s my new euphemism, and it’s quite handy, since it’s vague and pretty much covers just about all of the ailments that I suffer.

Anyway, that’s just another one of the little cultural differences that makes life interesting. I don’t know why it is so, but for Koreans, diarrhea ranks about the same as a runny nose (except at the other end, I guess) on the cultural inappropriateness scale. Maybe Westerners would talk about diarrhea more if it wasn’t so ridiculously spelled. Then again, maybe not.

Never fear, though—I do not intend to spend the entire entry talking about anal explosions. If anyone is actually still reading this, the primary reason for writing today was just to let all you Liminites (woohoo, new word!) out there know that I am still alive. Even though I haven’t posted much of anything for the past week (barring a Workshop entry), I have been working on content. I hope to have the January wallpaper up soon, and I’m also ransacking my frost photos for something on which to base a new color scheme. The freezing cold (along with the aforementioned anal explosions—OK, I’ll stop now) has prevented me from taking too many pictures, but I have tried to snap some whenever it snows. It has, in fact, snowed a few times so far, but we haven’t gotten more than a couple of centimeters at any given time

Written content is also currently in development. As I mentioned in a previous entry, the search engines really, really like Liminality, and so I have decided to write an essay on the meaning of Liminality for those who may stumble onto the site looking for a definition. I almost feel as if I have a civic duty, especially with Google looking over my shoulder and jumping up and down and pointing every time I say the “L” word. Not that I don’t have my own reasons for writing this essay—liminality was a very important concept in my M.A. thesis and will continue to be a very important concept in my Ph.D. thesis, so I figured it was about time that I actually figured out what it meant. Just kidding—kind of. The fact of the matter is that I never really sat down and pored over Turner’s writings on the subject, and even though I understand the concept, I figure it couldn’t hurt to do some systematic research and put down my thoughts in an orderly fashion.

I’m also working on my Thailand Journal, which is now over two years old. I think it is a testament to the power of journals in sparking memories that even now, two years later, I am remembering things that I didn’t write down the first time around. Just reading about my experiences again is enough to bring back a host of things I didn’t know were still in my brain. I am now writing up the last few days, and then it is just a matter of reading through it again and organizing it (which will probably take a while). It is nearing completion, though, and I hope it will soon see the light of day.

Illness has taken its toll on the Workshop, and my output has suffered. I don’t know how happy I am with what I am writing right now, but I will not comment on the specifics. I will comment on an interesting thought I had, though, while reading something written by that David guy: “What I didn’t realize was that all drawing was copying. Good artists draw the same thing enough times until they don’t need the subject in front of them to copy it. They make changes to the copies, but most of the changes are derivative. The art and creativity comes from the combination of different copies and the changes made to the drawing, whether the changes relate to the medium (e.g., modern art) or subject.”

He is talking about painting, of course, but as I read that I had a real Keanu Reeves moment (think: “Woah”). The concept, of course, applies to writing as well. I’ve been a bit frustrated at my apparent inability to write anything interesting lately, and it occurred to me that maybe it’s because I haven’t read anything interesting lately. Not that that’s the sole reason for my funk, of course, but maybe it wouldn’t hurt to read some good writing. Or maybe I need to stop whining and worrying and just write. That was kind of the whole idea behind the Workshop in the first place.

Well, I’m going to wrap this entry up here. It’s a short one, I know, but at least it got off to an explosive start. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

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