In my first four weeks here I have met five writers who say they don’t write. I’m starting to get it—it’s hard to tell people you’re an artist when you live in a place where there are a lot of people making art and getting paid to do it. Living among writers who have books and publishing contracts can be intimidating. It can make you think there is a good reason why it hasn’t happened to you.
We crossed the Nam Song river to find our bungalow—a bamboo hut with a corrugated steel roof, a king-sized bed under a mosquito net and a shower. Beyond the green rice fields limestone karst formations rose up, layer after layer, tree-covered in places and gray and pink slabs of exposed, naked rock in others.
She had me pinned by the wrists in the grass of the Kipahulu Campground. She was saying “You were such a punk. Always fucking up people’s shit. I used to really like you.” I wanted to tell her that I was different now, better, less violent, but people have a stubbornness in them—they are often more loyal to their ideas of people than to the actual people themselves.
One caveat: the life here is addictive… After a year of watching your savings dwindle living a frugal lifestyle, you stick it out until the last $1,000 you have is the money you use for a flight back to Seoul, where upon arrival they hand your flight money back to you. In cash.
Don Draper. Donald. Draper. It’s a strong name. Masculine. The “DD” initials look good on cufflinks. If it wasn’t a made-up name it would be the kind of name a guy would want to have. But then again in the world of the show it’s not a made-up name, is it?
I had been told that I could live in Portland without a car. That was largely false. Yes, I survived biking to work and back, a total of five miles ever yday. But I didn’t thrive. To live in America and not drive is to diminish your participation in the common culture. And this is no small sacrifice. You miss it. You miss the freedom a car provides. You feel as though the rest of the population has capabilities you lack.
As the fight reaches the 30-minute mark the bulls are exhausted. Their sides heave in and out. Time after time they break from the fight and stand looking to their owners for direction. The hide covering their polls is gouged and bleeding. Again the owners yell and again they thrust, digging with their front legs, their humps straining as they work new angles, trying to turn the other or drive him back.