I haven’t really followed through, have I? I’m close to having Where the Sidewalk Begins ready, but I’ve only done one spoiler! lol. I’m sure you’re all hanging in there waiting for each one, right?
Appropriately, I pulled today’s “spoiler” from a poem titled “Echoes in a Fangirll’s Heart”, inspired mostly by David Bowie, with a small nod to Stray Kids (if you’re not familiar with them, check them out).
I hope you enjoy. And I hope you’ll stick with me for another month or so when I’ll have the book finished!
Once again I went to the internet to find a poetry prompt this morning. This one came from Poets & Writers and is highly appropriate for me although I did tweak it a bit. It says to write an ode to your favorite singer, placing them in a particular moment in time.
What better prompt for someone who can’t get through a day without listening to K-pop, right? I didn’t write this poem to anyone in particular, though. It’s more an ode to the genre, which is why the title is “Noraebang”, the anglicized word for the Korean word for “Karaoke”. It literally means “music (norae) room (bang)”, which is what I try to imagine my head is sometimes. An empty space that I fill with the good feelings of the music I’ve filled my life with.
Music is a funny thing. It twines itself into our memories and feelings. I reached a point in my life where a lot of the music I had enjoyed for a large portion of my life was too twisted into a part of my feelings that I needed to get away from…and then K-pop happened. A genre of music that is mostly positive and was completely new.
It helped me rebuild myself. And that’s what this little ode is meant to share.
I did it originally because Elon Musk. Need I say more? But I stayed because Twitter is so much more interesting than it used to be. Or maybe I’m just more interested.
It’s kind of like people-watching now. People post about something that interests them and somehow it ends up in my feed. Maybe they’re a fellow writer or Stray Kids fan or posting about magic or movies or something I’ve indicated in some way to the Twitter world that I’m interested in.
At any rate, the other day a fellow writer posted about The Princess Bride and how she’d just watched it for the first time. It reminded me of the time when as a seventeen or eighteen year old (don’t remember which), I rented the movie from Blockbuster, took it home and watched it on a VCR I’d borrowed from somewhere on my little black and white television. I probably watched that movie five or six times in that one weekend. I didn’t have a color television. Just black and white. And it was small. As in, they don’t make tvs that small anymore.
And somehow that didn’t matter.
Watching that amazing movie made me happy in a very content way because the power of the story transcended the medium. It didn’t matter that it was on a tiny screen instead of a big silver one. It didn’t matter that I couldn’t see that Buttercup’s dress was red. The story was still told and I still loved it.
I’ve been trying to remember to be happy in the space I occupy. I’m glad I was on Twitter and was reminded of that experience. Watching The Princess Bride on a small black and white television alone in my bedroom might not sound like perfect happiness. But it was. In that moment, I was happy in the space I had.
I was really shy about admitting the whole story about how Far & wee came to be. Why on earth would that be? I mean, I’ve already admitted I wrote twenty sonnets (and illustrated them) in nineteen days (okay, maybe that’s a bit of a flex…). I’ve admitted that I had no patience for getting feedback on the sonnets (this wasn’t that kind of project, honestly).
So I’m impatient and proud and may have rushed this project through (not just to be able to brag that I got it done in twenty-five days, but that doesn’t hurt). Why would I be embarrassed to admit what the spark was that put this whole thing in motion?
And here’s the shy part.
…the spark came from my persistent and somewhat consuming fandom for a K-Pop group.
There. I said it. I’m a K-Pop fan. K-Pop came along in my life when I needed a lift. And it gave me that! It started with BTS, but it quickly expanded to include groups like TXT and Enhypen…but especially the self-produced group Stray Kids.
If you come into my store, you’ll no doubt hear Stray Kids. If you surprise me in there, you might catch me dancing and sometimes singing along (you don’t need to hear that—I’m bad enough in English). I was fascinated when I found out they write and produce almost all of their songs. They help with choreography and producing the music videos. But especially the writing part. The poetry of these songs is incredible. In three different languages, no less. Mostly Korean and English, but they also write entirely Japanese songs as well as Japanese songs with some English mixed in.
It doesn’t hurt at all that they’re also handsome and charming in addition to prodigiously talented. And they adore their fans.
So how did they inspire me to write Far & wee, a book of sonnets about the balloon-man in e.e. cummings’s “[in Just-]”—when I’d been considering writing such a book for a long time?
It all came about when the leader of Stray Kids, Bang Chan, who loves to tease fans with spoilers they’re never going to figure out until it’s far too late, messaged his fans that his favorite color combination was pink and blue. And how together they made a whole new color.
Well, my first thought was that pink and blue really just makes purple. But I started thinking about pink and blue and purple and somehow it got mixed up in my head with the balloon-man (balloons come in all colors!). And there you go.
I won’t call Far & wee Stray Kids fan art, because it isn’t. But it is art that was done by one of their fans and definitely owes some of the inspiration to them. And a good bit of it was done with them playing in my AirPods or in the background.
So, thank you, Stray Kids. Because I’m really proud of this little book.