interview by kiki nicole04.01.2018
What did you read last, and what do you want to read next?... Last: a chunk of Richard O. Prum’s The Evolution of Beauty. Next: Rebecca Solnit’s The Mother of All Questions and Bitch Planet by DeConnick and De Landro.
The title of a Christmas carol for millenials?... "No One Can Afford to Buy Presents Anymore"
When is the best time to write?... Early in the day, preferably just after showering and eating. Writing sessions can go on up to eight hours if I get some momentum going, so I don't like to start too late in the day. If I stay up until 5am writing it ends up disrupting the whole week and I'm trying to be more responsible with my time lately. I also record ideas and random lines on a tape recorder during or after long drives down a simple route I'm familiar with. Driving relaxes me, and that's when I think easiest.
Favorite book at 16?... American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis. My taste has branched out more and of course I recognize the many problems with this work, but I do think it has a lot of insightful commentary to offer about American culture and capitalism, the many faces of violence whether global or domestic, far-reaching or intimate.
Whose spirit do you carry within you?... I don't know how to answer this question, actually. I don't have heroes, I have teachers. I don't believe in spirits or souls or any of that. I think we're born and then we die. I think consciousness is a brilliant accident. There are people I look toward and try to honor, but I keep their names to myself. It's not that I carry them with me. I reflect and grieve. I wonder, I stay up at night thinking, "What a goddamn shame." I think I know, as much as I can know anything, that we're alone.
Best weapon against intrusive thoughts?... It's hard to be consistent about it, but the best thing has been talking myself through it. My most frequent intrusive thought is the sentence, "I want to kill myself." I either talk aloud or write about what's actually going on. Sometimes it's that I'm anxious about a stressful situation, sometimes I feel guilty about this or that. So I go, "I don't want to kill myself, I am actually [insert scenario]." Then I rationalize. If I feel anxious about a situation I can't immediately change, I remind myself that I've done all that can be done in the moment, that I can come back to the situation with a clear head once I have options, and that not immediately dealing with it isn't the worst thing in the world. It can be an exhausting process, but it's the most effective. Otherwise I find as many distractions as possible, engage my senses, pace around the house sighing a lot, cradle my head under the sheets and moan like a demon.
A meme you heavily identify with?... That sad baby monkey picture.
What do you wish people would stop asking you?... I wish people would stop asking me about "identity." I just don't give a fuck about that shit anymore. The people being asked about "identity" aren't ever straight white cis men and focusing on this aspect of already othered people's lives is just another way we reinforce the notion that the apex of cultural hegemony is and should be the first-served default. I want less identity, more personality. And I have qualms with giving neat, easily recognizable answers for a lot of that. Like when I'm at Planned Parenthood and they ask me what my gender identity is, I just say "Here are my pronouns and I don't know, I'm just not a fuckin lady." By its very nature, my particular experience of gender is indefinable by our shared lexicon. I want no part in identifying myself in ways the state can record and legislate and exploit. I have no interest in giving you an answer. I have no interest in defining that. I have no interest in being seen so much as being free, and since I don't see us being free any time soon I'll settle for protecting myself.
Describe your day as if it were a Fall Out Boy title... The only Fall Out Boy song I know about is "Sugar We're Going Down" and I'm not saying that in the douchebag "audiophile" way like I would have in high school. I'm actually kind of embarrassed that I missed such huge cultural moments because I was too busy trying to impress people as a kid.
What was the last thing you made with your hands that you’re proud of?... I just made a few things: a thumb ring made of chains, a chain necklace, a chain stick n poke under my knee. I'm really fixated on chains right now. A couple weeks ago it was worms. I kept thinking about worms.
“In a dream, you found a way to survive & you were full of joy.” What was it?... I bombed all the banks.
Sung Yim is a writer and visual artist from Korea. They are the author of What About the Rest of Your Life (Perfect Day Publishing) and Flowers Are for Pussies (Ghost City Press). Their work has appeared in Rattle, Kweli Journal, Contrary, The James Franco Review, The Wanderer, Crab Fat Magazine, and elsewhere. What About the Rest of Your Life can be purchased at www.perfectdaypublishing.com.