Gary is downstairs listening to a CD from The Searchers, his favorite group from the 60s (they were still playing a year ago). I have spent several days working on a poem for a local event. (With my luck they will not like it, but honest, I couldn’t write a cheerful “pandemic” poem. Others will.) As I sent it off as an email attachment I had word that the gallery is taking down the show the end of the month. They did not sell anything of mine (or from two other people). Yes, disappointing. But the poem . . . here’s the first stanza:
Birds fell from the sky this past summer, a warning as defiling as riots and bloody marble, the risk of living in dangerous times when all times prove dangerous.
I have not been busy with my hands in over a week and this is not healthy for me. Especially not lately. Worser and worser.
We have managed walks even with periodic downpours and insanely high tides. I packed two large boxes of books for the “out room” (to get rid of) and we took down the Christmas trees. I wound off skeins of handspun yarn to prepare for a new warp later this week. I have promised to read a friend’s poems. There was the poem that went through twenty drafts. Really, I should feel busy.
Mostly what I’ve done to get through evenings, and actual days over the past year is to watch Korean series on Netflix. I started with Rookie Historian which is historical and rich with costume and fluff. Actually, that is not quite accurate. I started watching Korean television series after Gary and I were drawn in by a multi-national series, Sense8. (All sorts of trigger warnings for that one.) It was the Korean actress Bae Doona in that show that led me to look for other works she’d done. We enjoyed the first season of a detective show and I even enjoyed the first season of the zombie series, Kingdom.
Then the pandemic. I have read that many people find relief in horror during these horrible times. I am not among those people.
Give me a humorous Korean limited series with beautiful clothing, some excitement and drama, and a happy ending every single time. I mean that. Gary ignored the first Korean series I watched, sat down a couple of times for the next one I watched, and was totally sucked in by Mystic Pop-Up Bar. Then while we were watching Live Up to Your Name together, one episode a night, I managed to sneak through A Korean Odyssey during the day without him noticing. He just watched DoDoSolSolLaLaSol too.
Eye candy, virtue triumphs, and bad behavior is punished. No sex. No nudity. Some blood, but no gratuitous bloody corpses. The historical series all might be filmed on the same enormous village set. There is a massive tree. A bookstore. Forests. The contemporary series are mostly set in cities. Everywhere: Korean fabric, colors, patterns, and architecture are to die for. People die in these series too, but not the main love-interests. It is harmless entertainment, less nationalistic (there are still issues with the Japanese) and less anxious than the Taken series for one example, and far more attractive to watch.*
By way of contrast, we also watched both seasons of the Icelandic series, Trapped. Tense. Smart, complex, great characters, a lot of ice. And tense. I can recommend the first season. But even that one is grim.
We are still waiting for the new season of Borgen, which is brilliant. Anne with an E is brilliant. And so is Tokyo Stories: Midnight Diner. Anne has no subtitles.
I got Gary to sit down with me and watch all of Queen’s Gambit, and it turned out he loved it. (Does it help if I reveal how it ends?) I enjoyed the second viewing as much as the first, more perhaps. The chess games played during the series, even some of the games you can’t see much of, are actual games. The events are all historically accurate and in terms of design and Gary only found one song that was from the following year, and the novel is supposed to be great.
I watched a short video interview with Ann Williamson on Fireside Chats by The American Sewing Guild. Ann’s work is exquisite and original, made by piecing, appliqué, and beading kimono silks. Jackets, scarves, blouses, skirts, at least one small quilt. She talks about her history as an artist, her process, and demonstrates the techniques she uses. I particularly appreciated her explanation of how Japan stabilized the shape of the kimono for centuries, which left them free to focus on color, pattern, and texture in garments.
I do not want to escape my life. I want reminders of how beautiful the world is and that I am not the only one to see that.