The Flipside

by Fred Colton

They were supposed to practice writing Mandarin characters but Luke always just sat there and drew dicks. 4,000 hanzi to learn and not a single one Luke couldn’t turn into a thin veiny phallus. He incorporated scrotums as needed to help with the curves and slants. Slid the drawings to the other students and everyone chewed off their bottom lips off to stifle the laughter. Hanzi made of cocks. Just twisting and snaking around each other.

Mandarin, mandatory since kindergarten. Mandatory in over one hundred countries. Kids, Mandarin is your passport to the world. Learn it and you can trade stocks in Paris or be a professor in Capetown.

“Or I could just stay here and keep winning races,” Luke told his parents, and his brother Bob, and the bowtie in the guidance office.

Writer’s Block

Bored in Korea? Read a book! Teakettle Mountain Released on Amazon

Slide1Teakettle Mountain, the story of one loser English teacher’s quest to not be a loser, has been re-released on Check out the story reviewers are calling “a joy to read”—available now for $2.99, less than a third the cost of a cup of coffee in our adoptive homeland!

Update: Now available for free!
Get your copy here.

Reading List: Days and Dreams by Kang Seok-kyeong

My Reading List section has mostly been focused on academic works about homosexuality in Korea, but I see no reason why it shouldn't include fictional works that touch on homosexual themes.

The Ecstasy of Reading (Flaubert)


If you have ever felt, upon reading some comment or review that complains about too much description in a given book, or too many difficult words, a feeling of disgust—if you have ever suppressed an urge to roll your eyes when someone you know wonders about the point of fiction, or dismisses entire genres out of hand—then you must stop reading this blog post right now and go devour The Temptation of St. Anthony.

I Love Salammbo

They went through other corridors and other rooms, finally arriving at a door where, for greater security, a man was attached by the belly to a long chain sealed into the wall, a Roman custom recently introduced into Carthage. His beard and nails were abnormally overgrown, and he swayed to right and left with the continuous rhythm of a captive beast. As soon as he recognized Hamilcar, he rushed towards him, crying:

‘Mercy, Eye of Baal! Have pity! Kill me! It is ten years since I saw the sun! In your father’s name have mercy!’

A Sample Chapter From Sorabol

A Rewritten Zen Koan

23. Eshun’s Departure

When Eshun, the Zen nun, was past sixty and about to leave this world, she asked some monks to pull up wood in the yard.

Seating herself firmly in the center of the funeral pyre, she had it set fire around the edges.

“O nun!” shouted one monk, “is it hot in there?”

“Such a matter would concern only a stupid person like yourself,” answered Eshun.

[“Go fuck yourself, then, you stupid fucking asshole!" screamed the monk, picking up a burning piece of wood and throwing it at his master before the other monks could restrain him. "Burn in hell for all I care! I hope the flames are hot! I hope they're scalding hot!"

Things you should do to make your writing more effective.

1. Write about yourself.

2. Don’t write about yourself.

3. Cook dinner.

4. Don’t describe anything.

5. Remember stuff you can’t recall.

6. Don’t write about stuff you don’t care about.

7. Don’t write about stuff nobody cares about.

8. Everyone cares about something. Write about it.

9. Check your spellings.

10. Don’t use fucking metaphors.

11. Be bizarre.

12. Be straight.

13. Write drunk.

14. Be addicted to something.

15. Sign up for facebook/twitter/tumblr/pinterest/linkedin/wattpad etc.

16. Delete your facebook/twitter/tumblr/pinterest/linkedin/wattpad etc. account.

17. Have sex with someone you shouldn’t.

18. Go without sex for years.

19. Break your heart.

20. Hate everything.

21. Travel.

22. Look at stuff.

23. Walk.

24. Read stuff that annoys you.

Busan 2060

Jake Stetson stared blankly at the pile of reports on the table of his Jangsan studio apartment and sighed. Wearily, he opened the first book:

“Teacher is stupid and me is kill Teacher”

Typical, he thought, and was just about to score out the “is” when he remembered the most recent communiqué from the Ministry of Education; “Is,” it said, was now an acceptable marker for either past, present or future tense, (“I” had surrendered a long time ago.) Jake blithely wondered whether this particular entry was a confession or a threat but left the sentence untouched. Looking out the window onto the greying expanse of Jangsan Old Town, Jake allowed himself a rare moment’s contemplation. Where, he thought, did it all go wrong?

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