Dear friends,

This Monday (the 2nd) at 6:30pm I’ll be reading at Pete’s Candy Store for an official Brooklyn Book Festival Bookends event. The event is celebrating the release of Anne Ray’s new book, Scenic Overlook, and will also feature readings by Mike Ingram and Edward M. Cohen. I’d love to see you there!

In August I had the joy of visiting Korea for two weeks, and it was a beautiful experience of reconnecting and connecting anew with old places, missed relatives, and gorgeous land. My grandfather was turning 90, so most of the clan made the hike to celebrate. I had so much fun romping around Seoul with my siblings and niblings and obliterating so many foods we missed. Though I didn’t remember the address, I was able to track down my old apartment in Mapo and took some selfies in front of it, and then I got a haircut (아줌마 cut way more than requested, but I look GREAT) and celebrated with a bowl of 물냉면.

A bowl of mul-naengmyeon, with kimchi and dumplings on the side
Victory noodles

We spent a few days out in the mountains of Yangpyeong where my grandfather and aunt and uncle live. Somehow I had no idea there was this beautiful landmark nearby called Dumulmeori, where two major rivers merge to form the Han river that flowers through Seoul.

A misty river at sunset with mountains behind fading into the distance
Dumulmeori at sunset

I could write all day about the trip, but I’d better leave it there. The last thing I’ll share is that I learned that my family name Yoon’s hanja is ; seeing as I’ve been learning some Chinese for my Tao Te Ching chancelation project I looked it up in my classical Chinese dictionary and was shocked to read:

2) 關尹 guānyǐn, Keeper of the Pass, reputed to have asked Laozi to write down his teachings (the Daodejing 道德經) before the latter left the corrupt Zhou empire through the northwest frontier.

It turns out this is another name for the sage Yinxi, associated with the same legend. The story is almost certainly apocryphal, and Yinxi is almost certainly not my ancestor, but I’ve taken this as a blaring sign that I’m onto something with this project, and ever since it’s been full steam ahead. I now have just 15 out of 81 chapters left to go, and most of them are short. Once I’m done with my first pass I’ll need to revisit the first.. many.. that I worked on, since I’m much better now, and there’s still a lot of other editing and technical work to be done. With that, I’ll leave you with a random one out of 10^20 possible renditions of Chapter 51:

Tao produces them;
Virtue cultivates them;
reality constructs them;
happenings perfect them.

And so among the ten thousand beings there are none
that do not honor Tao and revere Virtue.
They honor Tao and revere Virtue
not because this is obliged by any master,
but because they are forever in inborn-nature.

Therefore Tao produces them and Virtue cultivates them.
They foster them and nourish them.
They shelter them and mature them.
They cultivate them and rest them.
They produce them, yet take no ownership.
They act, yet wait for no fruit.
They steer, yet do not rule.
This is known as baffling Virtue.

If you like, send me an email and I’ll reply with a few more versions :)

Until next time,