Writer Jeong You Jung
She finally realizes the dream that was never forgotten
All the kids in town dashed to gather around 10-year-old You Jeong whenever she called them. Since watching a show at a circus, You Jeong poured her out with fun stories. Kids burst into laughter when she told them how the 10 lazy and poor kids of Heungbu’s family shared a hay rug that had holes as a cape, and they all had to go to the toilet together. It was amazing to be doing something more fun than a ball game or simply running around. You Jeong entered school at age six, but she became the star of her school right away.
The master of storytelling naturally grew up to be a fantastic story writer. She won all of the local composition contests, and dreamed to become a writer. However, her mom wanted her to be a doctor. She was an intelligent and brilliant first child. She was raised to be tough and strong as much as she was precious and invaluable. Don’t forget how precious you are in your own life. Don’t cave in to any pressure around the world. Thus, her mom wanted her to be a specialist.
“That is why I majored in Nursing. I was frustrated because I could not do what I want to do, but I could not dare confront her. I knew my mom loved me as much as she loved herself. I submitted to her love.”
Don’t give up on your dreams. If you don’t give up, you will realize it sooner or later. If you give up, you will forget about it. So, always keep your dreams in your mind. A professor in the Department of Korean Literature said so. She took a course on novels for her general studies. The topic was ‘my face.’ She had to write anything about her face on a blank sheet of paper for a test. She filled the entire sheet, front and back, with her story, and the professor suggested a transfer, telling her, “You should be a writer.” You Jeong burst into tears because it was a dream she thought was impossible.
“I did not give up even after failing in the contest 11 times, because there were no easy opportunities. If I was able to major in Literature from the beginning, I might have given up quickly. But I wanted to do it no matter what because of the difficult circumstances. I promised myself that I will pursue it.”
Her mom did not approve at first, but she finally became a writer. She was not just a writer, but she was the best at stealing people’s attention. She became the author of a novel that kept readers captive from the moment they open the book until the last page.
A novelist who writes stories that can fuel lives
The latest novel started out with a memory of her mom’s death, an unhealed scar and a trauma in her life. Her mom stayed at the hospital where she was working for three years, and spent the last three days in the Intensive Unit.
“I talked about my mom for the very first time through <Jiny, Jinnie>. A story of life and death. I wanted to address the meaning of life through death, and measure the meaning of death through life.”
She was actually getting ready to write a story about ‘the people trapped at sea.’ But as she was nearly finished with her research, a line from the last book she read remained in her heart. “Nothing exists at certain moments of time.” It was a statement of a British thinker, Bertrand Russell. When she saw that sentence, she was swirled into the three days and nights during which her mom struggled between life and death. Her imagination stretched out of control, and new stories sprang out. That is how her new, warm, heart-touching story, which reminds us of her earlier tone of voice, began.
The writer has always feared death. But she now knows that her devotion to life gives her the strength to win. At the end of the interview, she made a confession. “When I was working on the novel, <28>, I was diagnosed with cancer.” I am barely doing what I really want to do, and there are so many stories to write. Why now? She was in despair, but she did not let it show.
Don’t be weak. Don’t depend on anybody. Her mother’s years of lessons kept her strong. She did not tell anyone. She just kept on writing cold-heartedly, even when she was undergoing radiotherapy. But she did not stop. Pouring out stories was the way how You Jeong Jeong stayed alive. Now, She can barely talk about the past, that is has been seven years form there, knowing she is doing fine.
Like there is time when nothing exists, You Jeong Jeong’s stories exist at certain times of our lives. For the time, the writer pushes away the fear of death, and revels in the agony of creation today. We have to be thankful. I read <Jiny, Jinnie> again. It is a book that fuels my fierce life. My pulse is beating again.