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This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog
Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
What had been once a light-hearted and entertaining occasion had turned into something chaotic as everyone onstage each responded differently to Sang Choi’s remark. The majority of the authors resonated deeply with him.
“Man! That was satisfying!” Seo Joong said while strong displeasure appeared on Dong Gil’s face, and Dae Soo was busy trying to figure out how to handle the situation. Geun Woo looked even more depressed.
At that moment, San Jung, the quietest one onstage, raised her hand.
“I, on the other hand, liked his piece the most,” she said calmly.
As if the bomb that had gone off a moment ago hadn’t been big enough, she dropped an even bigger bomb. Often referred to as a rival of Yun Woo, her new book had put an end to his era. Despite her fame, which came with being the first Korean author to win a widely recognized award throughout the world, she had moved into the mountains, secluding herself from the rest of civilization in order to write. Fitting to her widely known image as an eccentric, she had blurted out words that most people wouldn’t even dare think about. Although Sang’s expression grew darker at San Jung’s sudden remark, he didn’t try to argue with her. After all, everyone was entitled to their opinions.
“In what ways?” Joon Soo asked while wearing his trademark smile, which was the exact opposite of the expression on Sang’s face. Thankfully, Joon Soo’s smile had the effect of diffusing the tension.
“That he wrote like someone who had died once.”
Although it was only temporary, the stage grew silent, and the expressions on the authors’ faces grew darker. Juho was able to see them clearly from where he was.
“Could you elaborate?” Dae Soo encouraged San Jung with an expression filled with interest.
Then, looking indifferent, San Jung explained calmly, “There’s nothing to elaborate. You’ve all read it. In which case, you should all be able to identify with me. The capacity Yun Woo displayed through this piece will be remembered for a long time through history.”
Although San Jung was looking in the direction of the audience, she didn’t lock eyes with Juho, and when he looked at her, she was under a spotlight on a platform of a slightly higher elevation. Her eyelashes moved with her every blink, and Dae Soo moved on to another person as if left with no choice.
“All right, then. How about you, Mr. Bong, our very own celebrity author?”
Feeling awkward with Dae Soo’s adjectives, he waved his hand in denial, and answered, “I strongly agree with Ms. Youn’s opinion, as well as Mr. Choi’s. On that note, I would like to share a story that I would not share outside of this event. There was a time when Yun Woo and I were having a conversation about an article that said that the veteran authors were struggling to pass Yun Woo.”
At that, the authors all laughed, simultaneously, since they all knew the result.
“And one thing I would like to make clear is that Yun Woo was the person who brought up that subject first, sitting on the passenger seat while I drove.”
“Lucky!” a voice shouted at that moment, and although Juho looked back, he couldn’t see where it had come from.
Then, remaining calm, Joon Soo kept on with a smile, “Right? Anyway, he asked me what I thought about the article, and I answered negatively, staying true to how I actually felt at that moment. Writing isn’t something that can be judged based solely on sales or ranks. Just because a book falls to a lower rank, it doesn’t mean that the quality has suffered. Neither does it reflect on the author’s skill as a writer.”
At that, Juho saw the older gentleman next to him nodding while letting out an affirming groan.
“That was when I felt a little mischievous. In Mr. Choi’s own words, I’m an author myself, so things like consideration for others or maturity go out the window when it comes to writing. Therefore, I said something completely unnecessary to him.”
‘Maybe it won’t be entirely inaccurate, this time,’ Juho thought. Joon Soo unfolded the story as if reenacting the events that occurred that day. To which, the audience, as well as the authors, listened intently.
Juho thought back on that day. ‘What did I say in response to the article?’
“We’ll find out,” Joon Soo said with his smile fading slightly.
“Can you get a feel for what kind of person he is from his piece? So, that’s why I thought to myself, ‘OK, then. Let’s see what you got.'”
Then, Yun Woo came out with his piece, and Joon Soo’s hand flinched ever so slightly.
“The moment I read the first sentence, that was when I realized that the journalist couldn’t be further from the truth, and how unnecessary of a remark it was that I had made that day.”
“Wow, that’s so unlike you, Joon Soo! You’re becoming more like Geun Woo, aren’t you?”
“Why are you dragging me into this?”
The authors behaved just as they had always had, even onstage, and the crowd exploded with applause as soon as Joon Soo finished his story, which was a stark contrast from the way they had responded to Sang Choi. Maybe Joon Soo’s popularity had something to do with it, or the audience also knew that Sang would grow cocky when encouraged.
Then, Mideum raised her hand in order to speak.
“I’d like to shed some light on the two most distinguishable characters, the brother and the sister.”
“Ah,” the authors let out.
“Yes, can’t forget about them,” Dae Soo said, and Sang Jung nodded in agreement. Appearing very briefly toward the end of the story, the two characters were a crucial, yet clever device within the story.
Mideum gave her interpretation, “When the two make their appearance, the time in the story speeds up. Under the author’s careful calculation, the sentences become shorter and more concise, and this is where we can really feel the different dynamics within this short story. The climax in the later part of the story becomes clearer through the two characters, and it gives the readers the impression that they are the incarnation of death itself, as if they had come to mark the end of the story.”
With that, her eyes shone with excitement, and that excitement spread throughout her face, looking like she was itching to shout out the truth. By the time her excitement had reached its peak, a voice intervened, “I disagree.”
It was Seo Joong, who had been sitting the farthest from her, and caught off guard by his interference, Mideum stared at him with widened eyes.
“They not only give the impression that the story is coming to an end, but also the implication of a new beginning. Especially the pen and paper in the brother’s hands.”
At that, Dong Gil nodded ever so slightly, indicating that he was reluctantly agreeing with Seo Joong over Mideum.
“The narrator reminisces back to a novel based on the two objects in the boy’s hands, imagining the novel he would write when he grows up. This can be interpreted as the boy having an infinite potential, and what he writes can be interpreted as a version of hope.”
Then, Seo Joong continued after clearing his throat.
“Based on the two sibling’s personalities in a story about the death of a person, I think their images are actually contradictory to the one they let on. Besides, it’s more interesting that way.”
Then, Mideum smiled as if showing that she was mature enough to accept Seo Joong’s opinion. However, the subtle twitch on the corner of her mouth indicated that she was struggling internally.
“Yun Woo had to be intentional when he made the child so weak and frail,” she said, standing her ground. Then, Seo Joong loosened his tie slightly, saying, “Maybe the author wanted to convey that even a weak and frail person like him can live on?”
“I disagree. I think we can approach it more directly, and think about the child who’s terminally ill.”
“I don’t know. I didn’t get that impression, at all.”
“Oh, C’mon, Seo Joong! Think about it!”
Then, Dae Soo interjected.
“Isn’t this fun? As you can see, there are so many different ways to interpret a novel.”
Judging that the debate wasn’t going to be any more rational, and that Mideum’s patience was reaching its limit, Dae Soo candidly moved on to the next segment of the concert.
“Listening to authors talk gets boring after a while, so why don’t we take this time and interact with them? Feel free to ask anything, including your own interpretation. If you wish to speak, please raise your hand.”
The audience fell into an awkward silence, and having expected it, Dae Soo rose from her seat and pointed at a random member of the audience.
“You there, sir. Do you have any questions?”
Rather than being caught off guard and flustered, the man jumped up from his seat with excitement and asked in a loud voice, “My daughter’s a big Yun Woo fan. Can you tell me what he looks like?”
There was a slight accent in his speech, as if he spoke a different dialect, and at the mention of Yun Woo’s name, the crowd went wild. At that point, Dae Soo pretended to be in a dilemma with exaggeration, and Juho joined in with the rest of the crows, shouting, “Tell us! Tell us!”
At that, all of the authors onstage responded with blank stares into the distance. Not only were there no pictures of him to show, but anything that had to do with Yun Woo was a sensitive topic. It was quite cumbersome.
“Let’s just say that he’s pretty good looking?” Seo Joong asked Dong Gil out loud, on purpose.
“One’s bound to be disappointed when they actually see him in person,” Dong Gil calmly reminded him of the reality.
Then, Sang waved his hand in disagreement, saying, “Whether people get disappointed or not when they meet Yun Woo in person isn’t our business. Besides, everyone has their own image of him in their heads, right?”
Therefore, no matter how high of an expectation a fan had when they met the young author in person, that meant that the responsibility fell solely on him.
Then, Mideum rose from her seat and shouted, “He’s so handsome! Second to none! Dreamlike! It’ll be beyond your expectations!”
Juho hoped desperately that that rumor wouldn’t spread. While he looked away from the stage for a little while, a member of the audience raised their hand, a woman who had dyed her hair yellow.
“I have a question for Ms. Choo,” the woman said clearly.
Having just shouted with excitement a moment ago, Mideum sat back down and listened to her question.
“There was a character based on Yun Woo…”
At that, the crowd lit up once again.
“… I’d like to know exactly how it’s based on Yun Woo, and how it came about.”
“Ohh. Great question!” Mideum said as she paused to think for a brief time, and after a while, she answered cautiously, “The book hasn’t been published yet, and we’ll have to have a whole ‘nother concert if I were to get to it all. A lot happened until I reached the decision to include the character in the novel. So, in short, I visited his studio in person.”
Yun Woo’s studio. At that piece of information veiled in mystery, the audience grew all the more excited.
“I gotta admit, there is some difference between the Yun Woo I’ve met and the character in my book, who is based on him. But, what I can say is that there is a place in the novel that’s based on him and his studio. Curious? I suggest that you wait until the book comes out.”
Mideum wrapped up her turn with a light-hearted joke. It was clear that she was trying hard not to repeat the same mistake as before. However, after a brief time thinking, she added, “If I were to add one more thing… Yun Woo is an author who writes an incredible amount, to the point of leaving me in shock. That’s it, for now.”
Looking satisfied, the woman in the audience sat back down. There were many people willing to ask questions, and after looking around for a little while, Dae Soo picked a person at random.
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