Wednesday, February 17, 2010

much to do

I'm still getting back into the rhythm of blogging, so you'll pardon me if I don't write with quite the same frequency as I did back when I was in Korea.

My plans to escape to the boonies are currently on hold, given the snowy conditions that have turned my neighborhood into the boonies. Before the big snows, I had thought about hitting Skyline Drive and being dropped off along the Appalachian Trail to do some hiking and camping for a week, but the entire drive is closed to vehicular traffic. Skyline Drive is still accessible to hikers, as is the Appalachian Trail, which runs more or less alongside the drive. Were I to hit the AP, I'd need to find a portion of the trail that lies outside of Skyline Drive, which is part of Shenandoah National Park. I could then follow the AP into the Park. In theory, with everything closed this time of year (snow or no snow, most of the guest-oriented facilities are closed from late fall to early spring), it ought to be a pretty quiet hiking and camping session.

The problem, though, is that any hike into the park would probably mean hiking back out the way I came: with the drive closed to visiting traffic, a driver would have no way to reach me once I was deep inside the park. So I'm not even sure that Skyline Drive is even a good venue for my needs.

"What are your needs?" I hear you ask. Well, I need to get on with my life, but I've been wanting some quiet time-- time to mourn, to reflect, to cry, to put the pieces of my mind and heart back together. Time to recover my irreverent sense of humor. Time to do some heavy-duty existential ass-scratching. A week or two of quiet will do me fine. After that, I'll be looking for work in the northern Virginia area-- probably teaching, but one never knows. I might even try voice recording, and parlay that into something acting-oriented.

In the meantime, I've got a pile of personal projects to work on, along with house-related projects-- another reason why I'm staying in the area and not returning to Korea right away. I'm looking more closely into self-publishing through, a publish-on-demand service that has vastly improved since 2004. Marketing on Lulu is easier than it is on CafePress, and the per-book profit margins look to be bigger than they are at CP. Along with re-formatting my old humor book, Scary Spasms in Hairy Chasms, I'm going to be reformatting Water from a Skull to match Lulu specs, and working on the manuscript about our family's battle with Mom's brain cancer. That latter manuscript might be shopped around to various agents, but it'll most likely end up being self-published. I'm an impatient guy; once a ms is finished, I don't like the idea of waiting 12-18 months to see my book in print, which is what would happen were I to take the traditional publishing route.

The house's renovation still isn't finished, and now we have the additional task of figuring out what to do with Mom's stuff. Personally, I'm not too sentimental about things like clothing or makeup, but I'll be consulting with Dad at every step to see what he wants done. Whenever I get a steady job, I'll likely work on my personal and parent-related projects over the weekend.

Finally, there's the question of money. I want to earn enough to get back to Korea and secure an apartment this time around; I turned 40 last year, and a 40-something without decent digs is a sad, sad sight. I've also got a whole library of books that deserve to be properly housed on decent shelves; right now, Sperwer and Joe have been holding boxes and boxes of my stuff, in Korea, since April of 2008. I had intended to get back to Seoul earlier than this, and they've been saddled with the burden of my mortal possessions for too long. Both guys (and their saintly wives) deserve a big dinner (or a truckload of cash) for doing what they're doing.

I also need cash so as to pay poor Dad back. I've been jobless since Mom's cancer made itself known to us; quitting work was the only way to be there all day and night, every day. From at least January 2009 until now, Dad has covered my expenses which, thanks to old scholastic loans and my BlackBerry bill, amount to about $700 per month. That's a lot of cash. I need to calculate what I owe Dad, then start paying him back. I might not be able to finish paying off that debt until I'm back in Korea, but I need to start.

So to sum up, Kevin's life looks like this for the next year or so:

1. Take time off from the world for a week or two.
2. Get a job.
3. Work on house and other parent-related projects.
4. Work on personal writing projects.
5. Earn enough money to start paying Dad back and have a lump sum of cash to take to Korea, then move back to Korea.

Money is the top priority right now; the trans-America walk will have to wait.

Much to do.


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