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25 October 2004
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KLB - Facing the End of KLB

I am going to step away from the blog for awhile to consider whether or not I will continue to update it. Maintaining the blog used to be something I really enjoyed and, of course, I don't regret any of it. That it was able to inspire me enough to write a book and led me to meet a lot of good people has been well worth the price of admission. I've even been personally invited to see NANTA this weekend (and three friends!) by the tour manager!

These things, as well as other positive experiences, wouldn't have come to pass had it not been for KLB. It's been an important part of my life, almost a part of who I am, and I'll be sad to see it go.

I've always been surprised by the kindness and generosity of the majority of my readers, which is why I've kept updating as long as I have. It used to be quite a nice little community around here. Also surprising and touching has been the number of people who check my site daily and leave genuine comments and thoughtful opinions. Over the past few years, in addition to these comments, I've received hundreds of e-mails from people who have thanked me for writing and for inspiring them to come to Korea and give it a shot. (Wait a minute - now those people have taken all the good jobs! - oops!)

However, these days checking my site has become more of a source of dread than happiness. I continually wonder if I'm going to discover a bunch of nasty remarks in the comments section. Surprisingly, with the number of people viewing day to day, it took a long time before this happened. I don't think I had a single jerk for the first two years. However, over the past six months, it's gotten out of hand. People who don't know me continually put me down, put my friends down, and put my girlfriend down. This is something I can no longer ignore.

For awhile, I considered shutting down the comments all together, but what fun would that be? Reading comments and sharing thoughts is an integral part of the blogging process. Unfortunately, I now spend more time getting pissed off and deleting asinine comments from anonymous people and banning them than I do enjoying what others have to say.

I write honestly the way I feel about things, and I use my real name - much against the sound advice of people who know me. If I can't be honest and have to be careful about what I write, well, in my opinion, that makes anyone's writing stale and uninspiring, contrived, almost superficial.

Finally, unlike back when I started in 2002, there are tons of blogs about living and teaching in Korea these days. Many are fresh and exciting and already have quite a following. They offer new outlooks and points of view that I can't anymore now that I've been here for 4 long years. For example, I used to enjoy posting pictures of Korean food, but how many times can I do that? Fatman has all the food shots you could ever need now. James has all the pictures of getting plastered in the clubs that anyone could want. John (though I think he's already given up too) will have all the hooking-up stories one could wish for - I hope. Come to think of it, I'm not even much of a slacker anymore at my job - a topic I used to relish in!

I still have a wealth of material that I've never printed here, a trilogy of memories and future experiences to draw on, and I will continue to write honestly, as I always have in the past. Sorry to say it, but I may have to do so offline from now on.

The blog will stay online. As a matter of fact, I used to have a favorite blog of my own. Then one day, the guy just said goodbye and the next day the blog was gone period. That pissed me off, so I won't be doing that.

In a few weeks, unless by some chance I decide otherwise, I will shut off the comments and just leave the site here for memories and as a source of information for people who haven't read the blog. Perhaps I will stop by to post a few pictures from time to time or give an update about the next book I'm working on now. Until then, thanks for reading my blog for the past few years. I really mean that.

Shawn Matthews
Korea Life Blog


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