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This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog
Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
“All right! That settles it then. We’re doing this!”
“Woo-hoo!” Mideum exclaimed cheerfully at Dae Soo’s decision, raising her glass.
Then, Seo Joong chimed in, “Now, let’s set the tone, shall we? Will there be given topics for us to write about, or is it gonna be free-topic?”
“Yeah! The whole reason behind starting this was to replicate what it was like to be part of a Literature Club, wasn’t it?” I think it would be fun if we all write about one shared topic. What do you think, Dae Soo?”
At that, Dae Soo contemplated for a little while, but it wasn’t long before she had made up her mind.
“OK. We can only write about one topic at any given time. Let’s keep it special. Instead, why don’t we each decide on what genre we want to write in? Essays, novels, poems, reviews, translation, anything.”
“OK, then. Now, the question is: ‘What are we all gonna write about?’ Any suggestions? Anything you’ve been wanting to write about?”
A shared topic. Everyone in the room was immersed in their thoughts, trying to figure out what would be the most appropriate topic for the club. At that moment, Geun Woo, who had eventually joined in on the fun, raised his hand.
“What about a certain object? Like a violin, for example. We practice writing about objects with Mrs. Baek from time to time.”
“That doesn’t sound half bad,” Dae Soo nodded with a lukewarm expression. Although it wasn’t a bad idea, it wasn’t very captivating. Then, Joon Soo chimed in, “What about a certain time period?”
“That’s not bad, either,” she said with a similar expression on her face, and without saying anything, San Jung sipped her wine quietly.
Then, Sang Choi said, “I guess we have nothing else to write about except love.”
“That gives you way too much advantage! C’mon, now, you hopeless romantic. Get with the program.”
“Yeah! If that were the case, I’d suggest we all write about an unsolved, mysterious case.”
Sang furrowed his forehead at Mideum’s adamant opposition.
“But love is universal and an essential component of art.”
“You do have a point there, but as long as you’re part of the club, it wouldn’t be fair to everyone else to have to write about that topic.”
“Yeah! You took the the words right out of my mouth, Dong Gil.”
Although Sang still looked displeased, he retracted his suggestion. From then on, a number of other opinions came up, but none of them were convincing enough to move the authors. As everyone listened to each other’s opinions while immersed in thought, Dae Soo opened her mouth and said, “Death.”
Then, the authors responded keenly to the provocative word.
“Also another essential component in art,” Sang said, murmuring, “along with love.”
“It won’t give anybody an advantage.”
“And you can think of all sorts of stories related to it.”
“I think that’s the most charming one, so far.”
“Sounds good,” San Jung said her first affirmative answer. Death was, inarguably, one of the most common themes in art, and countless authors had written about it. On top of that, none of the authors in the room were experts on the subject of death, making it the fairest suggestion so far. However…
… with the exception of Juho, it was highly unlikely that any of the authors had experienced death themselves. And it wasn’t something that he can share openly about, either.
“I’m on board,” he said.
And Dae Soo said, wearing an excited look on her face as if quite satisfied with how things were turning out, “I sense something really special is about to happen.”
“This almost makes me wish that the club was bigger. We’re not gonna publish them, are we?”
“Let’s play it safe, for now. Once we try to make a profit out of it, that’s when we lose our creative control.”
With that, Dae Soo and Dong Gil began to discuss matters that were more realistic, and Juho took a sip of his Coke. Some authors were already starting to think about how to go about writing their segment in the magazine, and just as Juho was about to join them, he locked eyes with San Jung.
“Not sure yet.”
“San Jung, remember that he even has translation at his disposal,” Seo Joong interjected, holding a beer mug in his hand.
“He can probably write things like reviews or essays just as well,” Dong Gil added, and Juho didn’t try to deny it. After all, they were both accurate. Authors tended to be sharp and perceptive. Juho had a number of creative tools at his disposal, from translation to essays and reviews, and he was more than capable of utilizing those tools to his advantage because of his experience at the Literature Club up to that point.
“And I’m guessing that you’re sticking with novels, San Jung?”
“Yep. I like novels the best.”
She was someone who went as far as relocating to the mountains for the sake of writing her novel, so her affection and obsession toward novels was only natural.
“I think I’m drawn to novels as well.”
From the moment ‘death’ had been decided as the shared topic, Juho had felt strongly inclined to write a novel. Writing for a magazine with such established authors was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and just like San Jung, Juho was also drawn to writing novels.
Then, Seo Joong murmured, “Maybe I should go with a novel, too.”
“I’ve been think about the same thing for a while now.”
Juho smiled and chuckled at the competitive remarks from the authors, and of course, he, himself, didn’t intend on backing out, either. Then, Joon Soo asked after having been thinking for some time, “Are we limited to writing one piece each?”
“No, not at all.”
“Then, I’ll write a novel AND a poem.”
“I’m perfectly happy with writing just one novel.”
Joon Soo and Geun Woo seemed like they had made up their minds for the most part, and Mideum, too, raised her hand to say, “I’m going with a novel!”
“I think I’m leaning toward a novel, too.”
With that, Juho counted how many authors had chosen novels as their genre. There would be nine novels and a poem, which unintentionally shifted the focus of the magazine to original novels.
“So, are we all writing novels then?”
“That’s not a bad thing though, don’t you think?” Dae Soo said, and Juho nodded affirmingly. There was nothing bad about it. Besides, all of the pieces would be on the subject of death, so every single piece would be worth collecting.
“You seem confident,” Joon Soo asked quietly, and just like before, Juho didn’t deny it.
“Yes. You see, I happen to be acquainted with death, myself.”
“Aren’t you the youngest one here?”
“Choi, there is no particular order in which people go.”
“What are you saying? You sounded a little edgy there.”
“You’re gravely mistaken.”
Ignoring the light-hearted bickering between Dong Gil and Sang, Dae Soo looked at Juho.
“Now that I think about it, you were pretty explicit about the mother’s death in ‘Sound of Wailing,’ right? It was brief, but it had weight.”
“Wait, does that mean this topic gives Yun Woo the upper hand?” Dae Soo asked, narrowing her eyes, and Mideum waved her hand in denial.
“Nah, that can’t be right. You and I have both written a slew of death scenes up to this point, and so has everyone else here.”
“I know that. It’s just that I don’t see Yun Woo as the type to be confident for no apparent reason.”
That was her perception of Yun Woo. As Dae Soo expressed her light-hearted concern, Juho waved his hand in denial, saying, “I’m just showing off, so, please, you don’t have to have your guard up.”
“OK, then. But keep in mind that I got my eyes on you,” she said emphatically. To which, Dong Gil added with a chuckle, “Nobody’s stupid enough around here to let their guard down when they’re competing against Yun Woo. Except, maybe Choi.”
“I never let my guard down. I’m just confident.”
Then, taking a swig off her beer, Mideum said, “Speaking of which, Yun Woo should be on his toes, too. We have San Jung, and then there’s me… anyway, there are so many authors here!”
“That’s true. Mr. Bong here is a magician when it comes to figures of speech,” Seo Joong took the opportunity to chime in, and Joon Soo returned the compliment, “I’m nowhere near your level, Seo Joong.”
“Unlike Joon Soo, my buddy here specializes in writing rigid sentences.”
“You mean clean-cut and calculated?”
“Geun Woo writes stories that are just as depressing as he looks.”
“Please don’t say that out loud,” Geun Woo complained, but it was swiftly ignored.
“And then there’s Choi. Yes, he’s not all that pleasant of a person, but his writing is anything but. Gentle, and lovely. And don’t even get me started with Dae Soo and her frightening stories. Mideum might not be the best with reasoning, but you are good at keeping your readers on their toes. San Jung. Well, what more can I say? She’s the backbone of this country’s literature.”
Unlike all the other authors who had looked perplexed by what had sounded like either a compliment or an insult, San Jung acknowledged her place with confidence. When it came to writing, she was a person who was neither yielding, nor modest. Then, lastly, Seo Joong moved on to Yun Woo.
“Last, but not least, our young, genius novelist, himself, who’s more than adequate, to say the least.”
Juho felt that the word ‘adequate’ was far from describing him accurately, thinking that he still had a ways to go as an author. With that, he raised both of his hands and said, “Go easy on me now.”
Then, Mideum slammed her beer mug on the table, shouting, “You know, my heart starts beating like crazy when I think about how these authors will portray death.”
“I’ve been meaning to ask, but is she drunk?”
“No way. A few beers isn’t enough to get her drunk.”
“I’m telling you, I can never tell.”
Sang and Seo Joon said in turn, and finishing her last bit of beer, Mideum ordered herself another glass. She was quite the drinker and seemed like she was capable of drinking three times as much as everyone else in the room.
As Juho stared at her intently, Mideum asked as if misinterpreting his gaze, “Would you like some?”
“No, thank you.”
“C’mon, now. Teenagers tend to want to try everything at least once out of curiosity, you know?”
At that, he realized that there was no way to talk himself out of the situation.
“So, would you like some?” Mideum said, shaking the new cup that had just arrived at the table with the beer.
At that moment, Dae Soo gave her a slap on the back, “What do you think you’re doing!?”
At the same time, Juho saw Sang lowering his hand, as if he had been just about to offer Juho some alcohol.
“Yun Woo. You make sure to learn your drinking etiquette from no one other than your parents.”
“Of course. I didn’t even feel like drinking, anyway.”
With that, Juho took a drink off his Coke as if to prove himself to Dae Soo, and Dong Gil and Joon Soo smiled with satisfaction. The club seemed to be made up of a healthy balance of adults who were both good and bad influences.
“How should we go about writing our epilogues? Should we write something about the first issue?”
“We can also publish one piece at a time.”
“Hm. What should we do?”
Although the plans of publishing their own magazine were still in their early stages, the faces of the authors discussing them couldn’t be happier. Planning for an anticipated future always brought about joy.
“Oh! We’re gonna need a name. What should we name our magazine? Death? Like our topic?”
“That would be the simplest and the most straightforward.”
“But isn’t that kind of… ominous for the name of our first issue?”
“Yeah. Something tells me that our first issue will be our last.”
“There have been plenty of famous literary magazines like that, though.”
“Well, we’re just starting off. We shouldn’t be thinking about the end already.”
As Juho listened quietly, he brought up a thought that rushed past his mind, “‘The Beginning and the End.'”
“‘The Beginning and the End.’ How’s that for a title? After all, there’s nothing in this world that says death marks the end of our lives.”
“Not bad…! Not bad at all!” Mideum agreed enthusiastically, and Sang Jung nodded quietly as well, looking like she had lost interest in the matter.
After contemplating for some time, Dae Soo said, “OK. We’ll decide on ‘The Beginning and the End’ as our working title for now. Once we come up with a better title, we’ll change it then.”
At that moment, the door opened, and everyone looked toward it. It was Madame Song, who had come by to greet her regulars while things were slowing down in the restaurant. And everyone greeted her welcomingly.
“Madame Song! The food is amazing as usual!”
Needless to say, the person who was the most excited to see her was Mideum, and Madame Song expressed her gratitude by smiling like a bear cub.
“You guys are running low on drinks, right? I’ll go bring some more.”
“You’re seriously the best, Madame Song.”
She greeted the authors one by one, and when she saw San Jung, a cheerful expression appeared on her face.
“Oh, my! It’s been ages! How’s life in the mountains?”
“Good. I love your cooking still.”
“While you’re all here, eat up. You guys are writers, so you need all the energy you can get.”
Then, as San Jung dropped her head slightly, Madame Song turned her attention to Juho.
“Juho! It’s been a while since I’ve seen you too! I love that you’re getting along with all these authors. How are they treating you? If any one of these people pick on you, you let me know.”
“C’mon, Madame Song. You don’t really think we’ll do something like that, do you?” Mideum asked proudly, as if completely forgetting she had been about to offer Juho a drink.
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