Wednesday, December 28, 2022

A Sober End to 2022

Somebody subscribed to me on Medium. It piqued my curiosity and so I logged in for the first time in goodness knows when to discover that I have never written anything on there.

Perhaps it’s time to start.

Not just on there, perhaps I should start posting here again as well.

So, here I am, in Seoul, South Korea in the last week of the year with a mild case of bronchitis and a final few radio broadcasts to do before 2022 ends.

In case, you don’t know me (and let’s face it, chances are you don’t), my name is Paul and I’m a theatre maker, broadcaster, writer, translator, voice actor and general sort of person who is available for hire for anything related to the above. I’ve been here in Korea for the past 22 years (I came here with a touring theatre production, fell in love, moved here and never left) and it has been a reasonably good life (apart from the one time someone tried to burn down our building and almost killed us). Let’s move on.

The sober end of the title refers to me being on antibiotics for the aforementioned illness. No celebratory tipples for me till Saturday thanks to the (perhaps unnecessary, after all if this is a viral infection then the drugs are going to do diddly squat) prescription from my very pleasant local ear, nose and throat physician.

Probably just as well to spend this week with a clear mind after all that has gone on in the past twelve months.

Personally speaking, it has been an incredibly productive year that has left my bank account overflowing and my energy levels pretty much depleted to nothing. I have that very bad freelancing habit of saying yes to almost any kind of paid employment wafted under my nose, which means this year I have (alongside my usual radio gigs) voice coached one of Korea’s biggest film actors, taught phonics on video through cookery and art with a puppet duck, brought Anthony Browne’s picture books to life (on a very small scale) at the Seoul Arts Center, toured Gyeonggi-do Province with a storytelling jazz concert, performed more storytelling concerts online, pretended to be a number of world leaders for some government videos, narrated an audiobook about the life of Cardinal Stephen Kim Sou-hwan, written and performed in an (award winning — what? A very welcome and very big surprise) audio drama for Gwangju’s English language radio station, proofread a selection of books, flash cards and theatre surtitles, written and directed a puppet show based on a Polish fairy tale in Suncheon, translated a musical version of Romeo and Juliet into English, taught an online series of lectures on how to study English in fun ways with your children, and made my debut appearance on a KBS history panel show. I’m exhausted just remembering and listing what has been going on.

It has been a lot.

Too much.

At least according to my therapist.

So, I’m taking stock of myself at the end of 2022 and trying to work out what I will do, what I want to do and what I want to not do in 2023.

For the past decade or so I’ve had the luck and privilege to be able to write a few series of children’s books, along with a handful of plays and a larger handful of small scale storytelling shows and workshops. Next year I’m hoping to add at least one more play to the list, along with a novel that has been rolling around in my head for the past twelve months.

Whether either of them will actually happen is uncertain, but it will be fun to find out whether I can actually commit to either project without letting all the other work push them out.

nd so we come to the end of this first post, which will hopefully either endear you to me or push you away in search of a more suitable writer. Thanks for reading in any case. And may the end of your 2022 be sober/drunk/delightful/enlightening/terrible.*

*Please delete as applicable.