a bit out of sorts
Not sure how we got here, but here we are on the first day of the last quarter of the year.
Y’all, it’s October.
Tonight is a Harvest Moon in October, but and it’s also Chuseok 추석—“Autumn’s Eve” but in American English, it’s referred to as “Korean Thanksgiving” (a misnomer but obvious why). As an aside, it of course coincides with the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival and the Japanese Tsukimi because of the lunar calendar—look up the differences, if you’d like to know more.
I don’t think I learned the importance of this holiday until I was an adult; we never celebrated it growing up. It could be because my brother’s birthday is around this time, so maybe we were celebrating him? Of course, like any harvest celebration, there’s good food and being thankful for the harvest. That’s a given. But, a huge part of 추석 is paying respect to the spirits of your ancestors. Specific food is laid out in honour of the ancestors, and of course, certain alcohol is served for them, as well. You want to make sure they’re fed and happy in the afterlife, non?
I don’t know, there’s something heartwarming about these types of rites. Honouring those who have come before us; thankful for bringing us to where we are now. Any family-oriented holiday can be a complicated one, but even without much experience practicing these rites, I feel like there’s so much to learn from how we celebrate these times. My maternal grandfather moved his family from South Korea to Canada, and that same year I was born. I’ve only ever been to Korea twice in my life (my brother, never). But, can I, as part of the Korean diaspora, learn more of myself through these cultural celebrations? The optimist in me hopes so.
I really have been in a reading slump.
I didn’t quite finish the last book for my main book club. Not because it wasn’t compelling. I found Luster to be written in a stream-of-consciousness way that was beautiful, and worked for me. Sometimes I feel like I’m picky about how the literary fiction I read is written, I’m overly critical of the author’s writing. But, I guess it’s because how words are conveyed is important to me. The impact of the intended words. And, how I’m drawn into the characters’ experiences. This is normal, right? Like, others think this way? Or, are other parts of writing more important?
I touched on this before: how reading tends to be an escape for me. There’s so much going on right now that I need a breather in one aspect. But, nothing has held my attention long enough for me to finish reading. I will try to tackle the last quarter of the book I started, though. It felt too real of a story that I just couldn’t finish it in time.
Usually when I’m in a slump, I reach for something super light and breezy I can go through. But, what do you do when even that won’t cut it?
Here’s the thing: I finished New Girl, and while it was enjoyable, I have no huge opinion about it. Rewatching it didn’t give me the same soothing nostalgia as other shows. Which is quite disappointing. Jessica Day was the last acceptable manic pixie dream girl meshed with someone who we hoped would go beyond the trope, and tried. The absurdity of the show (for me) didn’t go far enough to match how Happy Endings ended up being a commentary of the hang out genre (not that New Girl is within the same genre). It just lacked something. I will always have a soft spot for Cece/Schmidt, Winston was a character with potential that was underdeveloped and pigeonholed, and Megan Fox held her own when she covered Zooey’s mat leave. I wish I had more to say. (Same goes for No Strings Attached. You know, the movie that came out opposite Friends with Benefits? The one with Natalie Portman/Ashton Kutcher to the Justin Timberlake/Mila Kunis? Yeah, it was fine.)
Last night, stressed from this week, I stayed up late watching Chef starring Jon Favreau. It was nice in a way that his shitty parenting was redeemed by the end of it, while Sofia Vergara plays his ex-wife. Ha. The food looked good. The plot was predictable. It wasn’t drippingly sweet. Really, though, it was just so I could watch The Chef Show. I wanted to watch the movie first before seeing what foods the show covered. So, now I can watch it.
This week’s writing is lacking. I’m drained. I’m making some progress in tidying my place, but there’s so much chaos around me that it’s hard to focus and gather my thoughts. I’m hoping this weekend will be a chance to reset a bit.
I’m ever so surprised that folks even subscribe to read my writing, and give space for my thoughts. It’s been nice have a space to throw things out into the ether of the Internet.
I wanted to share some newsletters I follow from much more talented folks:
Cerulean by Sarah MacDonald (a good friend whose vulnerable and beautiful writing pushed me to finally do this myself; the one whose link sharing format I ~stole~ because she’s so smart to do it that way)
You’ve Escaped by Anaïs Escobar Mathers (deeply personal writing that is both quiet and loud—a combination that is powerful)
Food and other things from Tara O’Brady (if you’ve followed her blog, you’ll want to follow her weekly newsletter)
Your Mom is Calling by Alanna (more food and fun writing and insight)
Please send me some lighthearted suggestions.
Chef – Netflix
The Chef Show – Netflix
No Strings Attached – Netflix (only if you want something easy)
7-Course Convenience Store Tasting Menu - Stump Sohla
Meandering Through Chuseok: A Quixotic Plate – Panchan
Are All My Friends Mad At Me? – Katie Heaney, The Cut
Jon Favreau Explains How He Got Personal With “Chef” – FastCompany
Is Neil Buchanan actually Banksy? An expert weighs in – Dazed