Wednesday, February 25, 2004


By the Sea

I watched Il Mare yesterday at Peloy’s house, while he was doing his bathroom business. It reminded me a bit of that Hallmark TV movie, The Love Letter (the one with Campbell Scott and Jennifer Jason Leigh). This one is a Korean film that may or may not be based on the same movie, but certainly a lot of elements are present within both films. The soundtrack to Il Mare, by the way, is amazing.

The story is about two people, Eun-joo and Hyung-sen – one lives in 1998 and the other lives in 2000. They communicate through this beautiful ornate mailbox at Il Mare, which is the name of this house that Hyung-sen’s father designed for him. He’s an architect turned construction worked in defiance of his father’s expectations; she is a voice actress who’s been recently left behind by her boyfriend for another woman. They arrange to meet in 2000, but Hyung-sen never shows up. I won’t give away the ending, but it’s an incredibly beautiful film.

What I remember the most is this line, from a letter Eun-joo sent: “There are three things in this world that we cannot hide: coughing, poverty, and love.”


I find myself making plans already for the summer. It’s rather disconcerting to be able to realize, and to accept with absolute equanimity, that this will probably be the last summer that I will have a student, that next year, as I graduate (and all roads lead to that direction) I will also be searching now for steady employment, and a life that is concerned with making a living.

Ate Tin and I were having coffee yesterday afternoon, and among other things, we started talking about conventions and how we are bound by them. Of course, she says that she’s more bound to society’s expectations that I am, but in hindsight, I’d like to point out that perhaps we just deal with these expectations on different levels.

At this point, I think the main reason of what drives me to excel is the fact that I’d like to shatter the conception that a writing student will not make money in this world. Of course we all know how little money there is in the arts, but the possibilities of the field are endless. And that is what I’d like to explore.

And yet, to deviate from the norms that we are presented with…isn’t that a kind of convention, too? Isn’t that expected: the whole “we are artists, therefore we are misunderstood” sort of attitude towards the world? And so, even those who defy convention are still bound by it, in an ironic sense, by being a deviation – because the universe has already allotted space for these strange creatures who are not “normal.”

And so we go back to that age-old question – What is normal?

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