88 Ways of Speaking: To Keep Myself
Essayist and a journalist, Son Hwa-shin (Korean Language & Literature, ’09)
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“Tigers die and leave their skins: People die and leave their names.” This is a famous proverb that points a great master’s name that lives on. Son Hwa-shin (Korean Language & Literature, ’09) as a high school student thought she also wanted to pass her name down, especially through her writing. “The idea that you eventually die, but your work lives for eternity is so fascinating,” said Son, with her eyes glowing with enthusiasm. News H met Son, a beginning essayist who just published her first book through Daum Kakao’s amateur writing platform, ‘brunch beta’.
“He was a person who knew exactly what he wanted.”
Son always had a passion for writing, and that led her to major in Korean language and literature. Nevertheless, she did not realize that writing can also be a breadwinning career. While having a minor identity crisis, Son went to an exhibition to clear her head during the summer of 2015. That is when she read the quote: “He was a person who knew exactly what he wanted.” “I was genuinely stunned by the words,” said Son. That was the moment when she realized that the root of her crisis starts from ignorance of her own wills. Son said what comes between ‘I am just a’ and a period truly represents oneself. Son thought ‘writer’ fills her blank.
"I am just a _____ ."Luckily enough, she encountered the notice for ‘brunch project’ online which promised its first-place winner with an opportunity to publish his or her book through Kakao. “This is it,” thought Son. She wanted the blue ribbon so bad to quit her job and focus on writing. “It would be a lie if I say I was never worried, but I had faith. The blue ribbon felt like mine, and I wanted to turn my life around with this award,” mentioned Son. However, life gave her a lemon. She did not make it to the first place but to second. Son, however, turned it into a lemonade instead. Second-place, unlike the first, is awarded with some funds to support the writer to publish a book on one's own. The process of writing a book proposal, sending them to several dozens of publishers, and having meetings taught her a lot. “Come to think of it, I feel lucky to win the second-place instead of first,” reminisced Son.
What fills your blank?
Writing as a way to love oneself
Son’s book ’88 Ways of Speaking: To Keep Myself (2016)’ contains 88 brunch posts that tell everyone to ‘talk like oneself’. “I felt like in this fast-changing world, people keep losing and forgetting who they are. In that context, I perceive life as battle to keep who you are.” Son strongly asserted that in order to talk like yourself, you first have to know yourself, which can be accomplished through writing. For most of the people who are afraid of writing due to various reasons, Son recommends them to write about what you like. It might lighten your burden by writing on an external subject, but in the end, all writings encompass the thoughts and logic of the writer. Once you get used to writing, Son emphasizes having one’s own style is also important.
Wanting to have excellence in writing, Son also studiously develops her own writing style. She aims at highly connotative, contextual writings through writing less. “I often think of art when I write,” said Son. Amedeo Modigliani or Edvard Munch reveals the essence of a subject not through depicting it in a realistic and specific way, but rather through simplifying and distorting it. Son also enjoys adding her literary touch to her news articles. “If you think of an article, it feels cold and simply informative. But an article can ironically provide a better understanding through literary approaches,” mentioned Son. This technique is called ‘not tell but show’. For instance, Son could simply write ‘the reporter met actor Hong at a café in Samchung-dong’, but by adding ‘a café with a beautiful chandelier’, readers can instantly picture the place where the interview took place.
Son definitely plans to publish more essays in the future. “I’ve never really thought of myself as an essayist, but by being called as one, I am even more motivated to write more essays,” said Son with excitement. Throughout the interview, Son turned into a young dreamer whenever she talked about her writing. With such passion and diligence, News H is looking forward to reading more of her works.
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Kim So-yun firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos by Choi Min-ju
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