There was an asklist on Tumblr, and there were several questions on it that I wanted to think on (regardless of whether or not anyone sends in an ask – a popular Tumblr blogger, I am not). The questions below are from this post, but I’ve put a lot of thought into my responses. I’ll post about half today and about half next week.
1. If someone wanted to really understand you, what would they read, watch, and listen to?
If I’m allowed to cop out on the first question, read my own writing. My style, my word choice, the stories I tell – both humorous and would-be-insightful – are probably the easiest gateway into who I am as a person. Read this blog, where I am a version of honest I am unable to be elsewhere.
If I must answer as this was meant to be answered, read The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, where each narrative voice gives rise to a facet of my relationship with the world around me.
Watch the recent Japanese animation Yuri!!! on Ice to understand the vein of stories I hope to write and see more of in the future: stories of self-improvement, meaningful relationships, love of all kinds, acknowledgement of flaws, and celebration of different cultures. Watch Criminal Minds, which fueled my more morbid interests for many years and drives much of my writing even now. Watch Make Happy by Bo Burnham, which I may not have enjoyed, but I still think on meaningfully.
Listen to “Still Sane” by Lorde. Listen to “Unsteady” by X Ambassadors. Listen to “Bright Lights and Cityscapes” by Sara Bareilles. I have linked audio, not music videos, for these songs, as the meaning I ascribe to the lyrics may not the same as those that the songwriter, artist, or producers do.
2. Have you ever found a writer who thinks just like you? if so, who?
I have yet to meet anyone who thinks just like I do. I doubt there is a perfect match of minds for anyone. I have found writers whose stories mirror the kinds I hope to tell and others whose style are the kinds I hope to learn from. I have found writers who share my values in some important issues and not others. I think it is only fair to distribute the burden of my philosophies across several different people.
3. List your fandoms and one character from each that you identify with.
Though I am a fan of things, I never really consider myself a part of the fandom. I don’t remember the last time I identified with a character, either. I’m always me and they are always them. I enjoy talking about anything I’ve written an M&M about though, so I guess those count as fandoms.
4. Do you like your name? is there another name you think would fit you better?
I do not dislike my real name, both English and Korean. However, if I think too long about how it sounds, how the letters feel on my tongue, how the sounds are representative of me when I am not there, my English name bothers me. A lot.
I can’t articulate exactly why that is. I may just dislike having an identifier, period. Often times I am also bothered by how strongly gendered my name is. I believe I would have preferred a unisex name, given a choice.
However, on the internet, I am Sable, and that is close enough.
5. Do you think of yourself as a human being or a human doing? Do you identify yourself by the things you do?
I have too strong a sense of self to consider myself anything other than a human being. I am identified by who I am. However, I will only be remembered by the things I do.
6. Are you religious/spiritual?
I believe in a higher power, and due to my upbringing, my prayers default to an Abrahamic God. However, I like to believe that every religion and belief in the history of humanity had a basis in some truth. If there truly is a higher power, it is likely incomprehensible to us, and each person’s beliefs merely tends to a single flower in what is likely a full, wild, and intangible ecosystem beyond our universe.
7. Do you care about your ethnicity?
I do not care about my ethnicity, which I often forget exists. I do, however, care about my heritage. I often think of myself as Korean. I only remember myself as Asian when ethnicity is relevant to the conversation. I will always fight for people of color and I will always be aware of and outspoken towards the unique issues East Asian-Americans face when confronted with them, but I am first and foremost Korean.
I am of the belief that every culture must keep a firm hold of its own identity so that we do not become lost, muddled, and homogenized in a “White People and POC” dichotomy, as is strongly present in modern America. We would lose so much richness and depth in the world if we fall into such a trap.
8. What musical artists have you most felt connected to over your lifetime?
Sia conveys, through her music, a powerful sense of triumph. Her unique style of lyrics, composition, musical progression, and vocalization gives each of her songs a distinct, heartbreaking sense of strength – the surge of joy, spite, and relief that comes with the each breath of air when fighting against a riptide of misery. Each of her songs carry an undercurrent of melancholy, but she has both feet firmly upon the earth now. The water can try to sweep her feet out from under her, but she is grounded and stands tall.
I can relate to that. I can cherish that small sense of triumph along with her.
9. Are you an artist?
The short answer is yes. I hold artistic ambitions and I truly believe that the heart is the medium for change. Artistry colors, shapes, and moves our world, and I want to play my part. However, long answer, I will only be an artist if I take action. So in that sense, no. I have yet to finish any of my projects. I have yet to accomplish anything. Until then, I cannot in good conscience call me an artist.
10. Do you have a creed?
“Arrogance in moderation. Pride in excess.”
11. Describe your ideal day.
Are we talking in present day or in the future? Since it wasn’t specified, let me speak of the future. I want to live either alone or with a platonic life partner in a spacious apartment. I would wake first when the sun starts to rise, light filtering in through the east-facing window. I cook breakfast for myself, perhaps an omelette, and then I move to my desk with pen and paper to write. The cat occasionally pleads for attention but I am otherwise undisturbed. The desk is south-facing. I write my stories for so long I forget where I am, forget who I am until the sunlight starts to warm my skin. I take a break for tea and check skype to check in on my friends. They share humorous anecdotes from their day. Dinner is not my responsibility – either a friend stops by or my platonic life partner has brought something from outside or I decide to order in. Perhaps this is a vacation or just a weekend. Perhaps on a day aside from the one I write about, I have a day job, I don’t know. However, my ideal lifestyle is one in which this kind of lifestyle can slot in.
12. Dog person or cat person?
Much to my parents’ chagrin, I am likely a cat person. That is not because I like them more than dogs but more that a cat would fit better into my spacious apartment goals than a dog would. My dream is to own an affectionate, dark-coated cat that I adopt from a shelter. Superstitious people still adopt black cats to kill them – how awful is that? I think if possible, I would adopt a cat with special needs just because I know I could provide a considerate home. If I get a dog, it would have to be medium-sized so that it can live comfortable in an apartment without a yard. The difficulty with me raising a dog would be that I really, really would not want to take it on walks.
13. Inside or outdoors?
A little of both – ideally I would be indoors but out of the house. I love working in cafes, and I have to say, the dearth of them around my college is slowly eating away at me. I miss Seoul with its countless distinct cafes. Working with a notebook or laptop in a cafe, with sunlight filtering in or the patter of rain against the glass or snow slowly coating the streets, there’s nothing better.
14. Are you a musician?
No. I have an array of musical skills, but I lack the instinct to put them together in any meaningful way. I know musical theory and I can deconstruct and reconstruct orchestral pieces if I am patient enough, since I can hear distinct instruments and identify harmonies, but I am unable to even come up with a single musical tune. I never devoted enough time into the flute, violin, or my voice to consider them something I can use with pride. A musician, I am not, but that’s okay.