Writing About Special, Ordinary Lives
- onJuly 21, 2015
- Vol.28 Summer 2015
- byCheon Myeong-kwan
I started writing fiction in my forties. Before then, I’d never nursed the hope or dream of becoming a writer. I had always thought literature was the realm of very special people.
For a long time, writers occupied an exalted position in Korea. They were regarded as people gifted with great knowledge, lofty consciousness, profound insight and inspiration about the world, and so there was something mysterious about them. At least that was how I felt. Not even in my wildest dreams could I imagine someone ignorant and ordinary like me becoming a writer.
Before turning to fiction, I worked in the film industry. I handled petty jobs, worked in production, and even wrote screenplays. My ultimate objective was to see my screenplay turned into a movie. At the time, I was possessed by the desire and anticipation of making my own movie. But, moviemaking involved a lot of money and arranging funds wasn’t easy. In the end, I had to leave Chungmuro, Korea’s Tinseltown, without having made even a single film. I was forty at the time.
I turned to fiction solely at the urging of my younger brother. If it weren’t for his suggestion, I’d never have dared to become a writer. I always thought the world of writers was poles apart from mine. That was how I felt as I sat irresolutely in front of the computer screen.