I used to be part of a creative writing critique group. We were a bunch of writers, all with degrees in Creative Writing. They studied in the United States and most have Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) degrees, with focus on Creative Writing. My degree from South Africa is a Masters of Arts in Creative Writing (MA-CW). Our group's focus was speculative fiction. In other words, we wrote stories within the genres of fantasy, science fiction, horror, and sometimes steampunk, which is an off-shoot of sci-fi. Then we would read each others' stories and get together every other week to discuss and critique each others' work. The aim being constructive criticism. I really enjoyed it for two reasons. First, it was something far removed from my everyday Korean experience. We were just a bunch of westerners coming together and talking about something we have in common--our love of writing and speculative fiction. And secondly, it somehow reminded me of a big part of my identity, which is being a writer. In Korea I'm a literature lecturer and I'm a martial artist. These two things, my job as a university lecturer and my passion for martial arts, are the main reasons I am in Korea. That other part of me--the artist--is, I'm afraid to say, neglected. Therefore my crit meeting every other week with other artists was a good way to help me stay in touch with that neglected, however integral, part of me. Sadly, the crit group came to an end. The other members of the group all moved on; their sojourns in Korea having come to an end. That is the nature of expatriate communities.
One of my crit friends, the author Gord Sellar recently came for a short visit to Korea again to sort out some stuff. It was wonderful to see him again. We also did something I thought particularly apt -- we went to a steampunk art exhibit that is currently running in Seoul, until sometime in May of this year. Gord wrote a very nice update on his blog about the exhibit. Be sure to check it out. Below are a small selection of photos I took of some of the art:
If you happen to be in Seoul and have an interest in steampunk or the speculative genres, then I highly recommend you go to the exhibit. I definitely plan to go back there before it ends myself. The exhibit is showing at the Seoul Art Center, close by Nambu Bus Terminal.