A Daily Dose of Inspiration (Blonote review)

I almost accidentally deleted this post before publishing it. I am so relieved.

This blog post will be a little different. For one because I don’t have a suitable short piece to share with you – everything I’ve written lately has been very dark and a bit disturbing – so I’ll be sharing the prologue to my new book instead. If you’re interested, scroll down. I hope you’ll stick around to read the rest this time as well.

I might’ve mentioned a few times that I started learning Korean again. I wasn’t really making that much progress so I decided to give myself tests. It worked for English in high school so why wouldn’t it work for Korean too? Every time I scored under 70% I’d have to do 100 push ups and 100 sit ups as a punishment – it’s the closest thing  to my mother’s disappointment I could think of – but if I got over 90% I’d get a reward of choice.

Of course, being the shopaholic I am, I splurged and ordered Blonote on January 17th, three days after my first test. (I will refrain from posting any pics because photography is not a skill I possess and the ttmik website has great photos posted in the link provided.) I then had to study extra hard to make sure I deserved the reward.

If you’re unaware, Talk To Me In Korean is a great resource for anyone interested in learning the Korean language. I haven’t bought any of their books yet – not counting Blonote, as it’s technically Tablo’s book – because I’m permanently broke, especially nowadays, but they have plenty of free resources on their website too. I mostly rely on their podcasts for grammar. They’re fun to listen to, the speakers have great chemistry, and they provide helpful PDFs to summarise what they said.

Last month I finally decided to take the plunge and order something from their website. Had I been smarter I might’ve gone with one of their textbooks but Blonote caught my eye and before I fully realised what was happening I was looking at the order confirmation email. The shipping fees are kind of expensive but that’s normal when ordering stuff from Korea. The total for two books and a CD, including shipping, still only came down to a little over €40, which is reasonable. Estimated shipping time was 2-3 weeks.

Imagine my surprise when I received my package after only a week.

Ever since that day I’ve been practicing my self-restraint, only allowing myself a single page each day. It’s so hard not to read it front to back whenever it’s in your hands. Tablo did a great job and I am so stoked TTMIK made it available for sale on their (sister?)website. It’s hard to come by books in Korean here (in the Netherlands) so I’m happy I found a reliable source.

Unless you’re completely broke, I greatly recommend checking out TTMIK, especially if you’re (interested in) learning Korean. Honestly, I was tempted to even buy the Hangul Master book, even though I can read Hangul pretty well. It’s just that the promise of being able to read the titles of dramas/films from the poster /cover image/whatever it’s called was tempting. I had to remind myself that I couldn’t even read handwriting in the Latin or Cyrillic script to stop me from spending more money. If you do have the money to spare it’s easy to justify shopping at My Korean Store. I know I learnt more from TTMIK than I did from the Sogang textbooks I own.

So, now that I’m done freaking out over all the stuff I cannot have, enjoy this short piece:

A Bed of Flames – prologue

The scent of fire carried for miles in each direction, allowing bystanders to enjoy its exhilarating odour without the need to worry about their internal organs shrivelling up. In a way he was doing them a favour. As far as addictions went, his was fairly safe and unobtrusive to others in the vicinity.

Or at least it used to be back when he first started. No one looked twice at a homeless guy warming himself near a small fire, especially in the capital. The homeless were pariahs, social rejects of an entirely separate calibre, and as such more often than not completely overlooked.

That he didn’t actually fit it in no one seemed to notice. People were predictable that way; they didn’t want to see him so they didn’t. It was nothing new. A better person would’ve felt a shred of remorse at his blatant disrespect for the community but compared to the rest of society his actions were mildly bothersome at best.

At least he noticed them, provided them with warmth on those dreadfully long winter nights. He wasn’t a saint but he was honest about his shortcomings, at least to himself. And he didn’t pretend to be a good person.

Knowing all that, it was only a matter of time before he attempted stretching his boundaries. Stretch they did, further and further until even he was amazed by his lack of morality.

It was, therefore, only a matter of time before another human being would get caught up in it all. And another moment for him to realise it didn’t bother him in the slightest.


Flights of Fancy

I’m back! If you missed my last post, it’s because I forgot to put any tags. Yes, I’m an idiot. As usual, the short piece – this time a poem – is at the bottom of the post but I would appreciate it if you could all stick around for the entire post, as it will be pretty short and it will include some recommendations.

I have a love-hate relationship with rap music. I am naturally more inclined to listen to rock/punk/etc so rap isn’t always the first thing on my mind. Recently, that changed. My love for punk and rock remains but I also discovered some Korean rappers. I already knew about the great RM, Suga, J-Hope, etc but then I found Outsider. Holy shit. If nothing else, just give his song Loner a shot. I promise it’s amazing.

Then, yesterday, I found the iconic duo LeeSsang (리쌍) by chance and fell in love with their profound lyrics. My first introduction was their Tears of Pierrot trilogy, which I greatly recommend, though it’s very sad so be warned, as well as Painter/Song of Fire (화가), all of which can be found on Daechungpower’s youtube channel, with English subs.

Finally, today, I ventured into Big Bang’s territory and found T.O.P’s Doom Dada. It’s wacky and confusing and weird but also kind of funny and creepy and awesome. There are lyrics vids available for it, which I highly recommend, though they won’t clarify much, but the MV is worth a watch too. In fact, this song was my main inspiration for the poem in this post. Outsider made me feel; LeeSsang motivated me to write and change the world; and T.O.P inspired me. They’re all wonderful and deserve recognition.

Interesting fact: I came up with the title Flights of Fancy months ago, knowing I wanted to write something with that title. It’s the first time ever I came up with a title before I had an idea. Now, without further ado, I present to you:

Flights of Fancy

Flights of fancy,
on a spur,
whimsically this,
fancily flying,
fancy flights.
From day one
he beats a drum
freely, fearlessly
‘fraid of none
he beats his drum.
On a whim,
jumping up,
flying high,
burning bright,
burning out.
This and that,
zus en zo,
tu i tamo,
free to peruse.
And so he flutters
from one to the next,
always looking,
stuck with second best;
I wish this were the end.

From flowers to masters
to cheeses at night,
beers to piñatas,
no end in sight,
his endless plight.
Painting and sculpting,
even karaoke,
jumping and running,
fierljeppen out of spite,
never quitting.
his next pursuit,
forever forgiving,
singing lullabies to
crying babies
of the human variety.
Finally he found
a passion that stuck
and started writing
your favourite book.
These flights of fancy,
moments of spur,
looking lonely,
abandoned and dull.
And so he ends with
one last word.

The minute of free time I have…

Like the title suggests, I am VERY busy these days. I have an important university deadline 11 days from now and I’m awfully behind. Still, until I can get my creative writing out of my mind I won’t be able to focus on it.

I’ve had some lovely breakthroughs. I finally wrote out my planning for In the eye of the beholder and figured out half the storyline for Unusual (both to be found on my Wattpad page, if interested). (01-08-2017 edit)

And I’ve had some disappointments. I find I seriously dislike the first few chapters of In the eye of the beholder, but can’t figure out how to fix them. I’m desperate for feedback but haven’t received any in a long time, and when I did it wasn’t useful.

By the way, anyone seen that Grey’s Anatomy season finale? Holy shit. I need more, now please. Wow. They never disappoint. I find I deal with relationships (of any kind) much like Owen Hunt does, even though we’re completely different in other aspects of our personalities. Aside from that, I really want Minnick gone for good. I don’t like her character at all, I don’t like how (SPOILER) Arizona forgave her so quickly, their entire relationship sucks.

I can’t really think straight right now so if this blog post doesn’t make sense, my apologies. I’ll end it now. I would just like to remind everyone that I really suck at titles. Now, without further ado, I present to you another (very) short story:

Weapons Of Ancient Egypt

345 B.C.

Nectanebo II, pharaoh of Egypt for the past 15 years, was pacing in his chambers. He was on the verge of making a tough decision that all his advisors were opposed to. He didn’t care; he had to do it.

Many years ago, Persians had taken control over Egypt. Horror stories about that period were prevalent but Nectanebo knew it couldn’t have been so bad. Still, once the last Persian had been kicked off the throne, the great Amyrtaeus wanted to make certain such a tragedy would not occur again. He collected the brightest minds of the kingdom to help him create a superweapon. Unfortunately he was killed before the weapon could be put to use.

Baenne Nefaarud I, his killer and next pharaoh, had learnt of the weapon and claimed it as his own idea. He put it to use and soon his kingdom flourished. The creators, so fearful of the pharaoh they didn’t dare contradict him, were allowed to live, provided they continued to work, this time on improving the weapon.

Half a century later, Egypt seemed unconquerable. They had used the machines to build pyramids, to battle the enemy, and to control the citizens. The apple of Nectanebo’s eye was his temple dedicated to the Goddess Isis. Everything seemed perfect.

But Nectanebo did not have a suitable heir to the throne who he could trust with these weapons. They flew in the air without need for a pilot. It was marvellous. Yet he deemed them too dangerous in the wrong hands.

He suspected one of his servants would betray him for possession of the throne and he could not allow for them to have these weapons. The world would end, war would prevail until mankind was nearly extinct. He would not be the cause of this. He would rather let Egypt fall into Persian hands one more.

So tomorrow he was to announce these weapons would be destroyed and all writing about them as well. He had even hired some artists to replace images of these flying vehicles with other works of art. History was not to repeat itself, not with this matter. He would make sure.


‘’You cannot do this, Nectanebo,’’ his closest advisor and old friend told him. ‘’You will destroy Egypt.’’

‘’I will not allow that, my friend. Believe me, I am doing this for Egypt. My name will likely be forgotten but I will die in peace knowing I prevented a massacre of gigantic proportions.’’

‘’But the Persians! They’ll kill you without second thought. They will kill all of us. You cannot allow this to happen!’’ the young man yelled, upset.

‘’We will keep them at bay. And if we fail, it is because my predecessors let out soldiers slack. We may have these new weapons but we still need our soldiers to be strong.’’

‘’How can you speak so lightly? Do you not care for the kingdom? Do you not care… for me?’’ the man spoke, fresh tears staining his face. Nectanebo’s heart flooded with regret. He did care, for his kingdom and for his dear friend. Could he truly not understand Nectanebo’s reasoning? He wasn’t doing this out of spite. He was doing it out of love, love for humanity. Even if they were both killed it would have been worth it. And they would meet again, in the next life.

He pulled the man close to him. The least he could do was provide some comfort.


Nectanebo woke early next morning. He was going over his speech in his head, making sure it would be perfect, when one of his advisors stepped into his chambers.

‘’Pharaoh, if I may address you, I kneel before you as your humble servant.’’

‘’Speak what you came to say,’’ Nectanebo ordered him, not in the mood to listen to the man’s empty praise.

‘’Pharaoh, I thank you and beg for your forgiveness. What I am about to say is nothing short of insubordination but I dare say it despite this fact. I believe you are making a mistake, dearest pharaoh, wise king. I beg of you only to think once more, consider the consequences of what you are about to do, oh pharaoh.’’

Nectanebo was tired of listening to the man. ‘’Leave.’’

‘’B-but pharaoh,’’ the man stuttered.


His advisor left, muttering something under his breath that Nectanebo couldn’t hear. The man should be kissing his feet for allowing him to live. Nectanebo did not have time for this. He had made up his mind and would execute his plan.


‘’People of Egypt, I stand before you as your pharaoh. I have gathered you here because I have made a decision. We have all grown accustomed to having these droning flying vehicles around but this will change. Within seven spins of the earth I want all these vehicles brought here, where I will have them destroyed. I have ordered some artists to remove every hint of these weapons from our writing as well as our art. The transition will not be easy but I ask you to have faith in me, your pharaoh.’’

The crowd was silent for several minutes. Then one man started chanting ‘’all hail the pharaoh,’’ repeatedly and surprisingly melodiously. Soon others followed his lead until the entire crowd was chanting. Tears appeared in Nectanebo’s eyes. These were his people and they would do anything for him. He vowed to do everything for them.


The Persians kept their distance for several moons before they realised the sky was suspiciously empty. They were closing in and Nectanebo had to send all his soldiers into battle. As more moons passed he was running low on men and the Persians were getting closer every day. He appealed to his people, asking them to fight for him, for their kingdom.

The amount of volunteers shocked him, moving him to tears once more. he sent them out with everything they could possibly need yet they were bound to lose without help of the weapons he had destroyed. He awarded their families with all he could spare but it never felt like enough.

Soon, he was allowing women and elderly to fight too. He had little choice. The people, his people, continued to have faith in him. He could not let them down. He tried one final battle strategy.


‘’Nectanebo, they failed!’’ the pharaoh’s friend told him, having run all the way from the outside of the gates, where he had spotted the messenger.

‘’They failed! Did you hear me? What are we to do now?’’

Nectanebo put a hand on his friend’s shoulder. ‘’There is little we can do, my dear friend. The Persians are coming. I say let them come. We will gather everyone who is left and willing to fight and when they come, we will fight with all our might.’’

‘’But Nectanebo!’’ the young man yelled, in a panic now.

‘’Hush, my dear, it will be alright. Trust me.’’

The man looked at his closest friend and saw the determination in his eyes. He nodded. He would trust his dear pharaoh.


All the men, women, and children were gathered behind the gates. They had all been more than willing to fight for their pharaoh. He had equipped them as best as he could but he knew they stood little chance. He was among his people, alongside his friend. They would fight until the end.

A young boy came running through the gates, excitement and awe visible on his face. ‘’They’re coming!’’

And sure enough the first row of Persians appeared in the distance, from the northeast. Nectanebo grabbed his friend’s hand and reassuringly squeezed it. He was ready to fight with all his might, alongside the people he cared for so deeply. ‘’To battle!’’ he yelled.

The year was 343 B.C.