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This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog
Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
“What are you drawing, there?” Joon Soo asked.
“The answer is a single brush stroke away,” Juho gave him a somewhat ambiguous answer, but both he and Joon Soo knew the meaning behind that sentence. Then, a quiet chuckle sounded, and Juho stared intently into the white canvas with only the single streak of blue.
‘Maybe I should paint a dog or something. What would dogs be like internally? What would they think about?’
There was a dog that always barked in the distance when Juho would visit Yun Seo at her house. And despite how it sounded when it barked, it wasn’t the wariest of dogs. It was simply trained to be defensive and to bark whenever strangers were near. If one were to give it a human language, it would say something to the effect of: Bark. Bark.
Juho swallowed quietly. ‘No, that’s not it.’ Then, he thought of all the training he had received in the Literature Club taught by Mr. Moon. Dried filefish and squid, salt, apple. He couldn’t remember anything except for the things he had eaten. If Mr. Moon were to see him in his current state, the teacher would immediately start grumbling about his reluctant choice of career. With that, Juho decided to paint something else. Yun Seo. She had always emphasized love: to love each other, as well as oneself.
‘Writing for myself. Me.’
The subject Juho had chosen to embrace and portray was himself.
Then, the blue streak on the canvas turned into a river. The lesson was about portraying the spirit or inner nature of an object, but that didn’t necessarily mean that he had to paint a river. In fact, it would have to be the person looking at the river. Juho wanted to paint the inner being of that person.
Juho looked down at the palette in his hand, filled with clean, crisp colors. Yellow, green, purple. They were all vivid. Then, in his head, he tried listing a set of sentences. ‘He was looking down into the river while holding a piece of paper in one hand and a pen in the other, writing with trembling hands. He was depressed and angry with himself. He was trying desperately to hope for something and to make something happen. He wanted to live. He wanted to write.’
With that, Juho put down the palette and the brush and picked up the pail of water, which was filled with a gray liquid of a rather peculiar shade. It was the result of the different colors mixing together. Then, rising from his seat, he picked up the paper from the easel and stepped off the bench.
“Careful. I wouldn’t want you to get splashed.”
Before Joon Soo had time to react, Juho threw the water in the pail at the paper in his hand, wetting his hands and the sleeves of his uniform. However, Juho paid no attention to it. What had once been a white piece of paper was now soaked in water, limp and hanging lifelessly in his hand, as if it would tear away from it at any given minute. Then, putting the empty pail down, he picked up the paper with his both hands, and turned around.
However, the Yun Seo and Joon Soo were staring over Juho’s shoulders.
“My, my. What’s with all this water?” a familiar voice said. When Juho turned his head slowly toward where the voice was coming from, the surroundings that had grown fuzzy became clear as he took his eyes away from the paper. It was Geun Woo and Hyun Do, who stood behind him.
“Hello,” Juho greeted the two, and Geun Woo received his bow while wiping the drops of grey liquid off his face, which looked like moles.
“This isn’t toilet water, is it?” he asked, looking at the pail. Then, pointing at the empty pail, Juho told him the source of the water.
“Sorry about that. I didn’t know you were there.”
“I wasn’t expecting to get soaked, either.”
“Did your clothes stain?”
“Yeah, but it should be fine. If not, I’ll send you the bill.”
Then, walking past Geun Woo, Hyun Do said to Juho while looking at the paper in his hand intently, “Next time, try putting the paper on the ground before throwing water on it.”
At that, Yun Seo and Juho looked at the painting and Hyun Do in turn, and leaving her old friend standing, she asked him, “What do you have there?”
After a brief thought, he answered, “It depends on how my readers interpret it.”
Juho gave them a somewhat ambiguous answer. Then, narrowing her eyes, Yun Seo asked another question, “Then, how would you like to name it?”
Thankfully, it wasn’t too difficult of a question.
After cleaning up after himself and letting his painting dry on the flat bench outside, Juho walked into the house and saw four people in the classroom. There were traces in there that made it seem like Yun Seo had been teaching even up to a moment ago, and the projector screen in the front was only further proof of that. Then, Juho sat next to Geun Woo, who had changed into a fresh set of clothes.
“Did San Jung make it back in one piece?”
She had stayed at Yun Seo’s house not too long ago while visiting her old teacher to seek help in overcoming the crisis she had been facing. However, the fact that she was no longer in the house meant that she had been able to overcome her obstacle successfully.
At that, Yun Seo nodded affirmingly while chuckling quietly. Sitting in front of the desks, she was holding a steaming mug with both of her hands.
“I wasn’t expecting her to show up, like that,” Yun Seo seemed like she had been pleasantly surprised by one of her old pupils visiting. “Do you know what the first thing she said to me was, after walking in through that door? ‘Mrs. Baek, is it true that you’re coming out with a new book?'”
“What did you say to her?”
“I asked her where she had heard that.” It was the confirmation, and Yun Seo looked intently at Juho and said, “She told me she heard it from you.”
“It just came out, somehow.”
Then, Juho asked curiously, “What did she do here? Did she write?”
“Nothing.” The answer came from Geun Woo, instead. “San Jung didn’t do a thing the entire time she was here. She didn’t even write.”
“It might have seemed that way,” Yun Seo said. “As long as we keep our eyes open, there will always be an endless stream of information flowing into our brain, which then, sorts and processes them automatically at a subconscious level. So, San Jung might not have written a single word during her stay, but she had so many different experiences.”
“I saw her snooping around your studio while you were writing, Mrs. Baek.”
Then, Joon Soo interjected in order to rephrase Geun Woo’s rude choice of words.
“You mean, she was observing Mrs. Baek writing, intently.”
Neither Joon Soo nor Geun Woo seemed to know about San Jung’s visit in detail, and Yun Seo, too, didn’t explain to them what had happened with San Jung. Simply, she told them that the author was free from her crisis and had now regained her ability to write.
“I see,” Juho said, relieved. Hyun Do kept listening to the three until they had finished talking since he was a person who much preferred to listen than to talk. And although neither Geun Woo nor Joon Soo were explicit about it, it was rather obvious to Juho that they were conscious of Hyun Do’s presence, and the fact that their backs were much straighter was further proof of that.
Then, taking his eyes off of their backs, Juho redirected his attention to the projector screen and asked, “What’s that? Did you watch a movie in here?”
“Huh, how’d you know?”
‘Was it a slow day?’
At that, it was Yun Seo’s answer that cleared up Juho’s question.
“It was for a lesson on writing a visual portrayal. In other words, writing out a scene in a movie.”
“Like a depiction?”
It was common for authors to strive toward writing a story that their readers would be able to visualize what they were reading in their heads as soon as they read it. Authors who excelled in portrayals were capable of making their readers picture the scene in their heads immediately, from characters to the background to the climax. It was like watching a movie. Not only was it possible for those authors to convey things like acting, dialogues, monologues, and the background, but also the epic background music, the taste of food being eaten by the protagonist, or the scent of summer rain.
“It allows you to perceive touch, sound, smell, and taste at a deeper level, even looking into the character’s mind.”
An author had the power to tell their readers the mindset and the motives behind their characters’ behaviors. They were capable of making the readers understand every event in their novels, making them resonate with them and sending chills down their spines… Assuming that the author had the skill for that, that is.
“If only,” Geun Woo said while wearing his distinctively depressed look, and Juho, too, identified with him. An excellent portrayal called for a firm foundation in the story, so that the changes in points of view or the detailed descriptions wouldn’t confuse the readers. Jumping back and forth between the internal and external being of a character, an author had the creative power to decide what to reveal to their readers, and among those present in the classroom, the author who was the most skilled in doing just that was Hyun do.
Like most things, writing evolved over time, as well as based on trends. And Hyun Do was capable of encompassing both modern and contemporary literature in the way he wrote, allowing him to move his readers from deep within, stimulating every sense. It was also one of the reasons for his long-lasting career as an author loved by many. He was sensitive to changes and quick to adapt. At the same time, he was able to embrace those changes. The careful calculations that went into his writing were both powerful and beautiful.
“How are you able to describe things like that, Mr. Lim? I’m telling you, I find myself getting impressed everytime I read your books,” at Juho’s question, Geun Woo and Joon Soo writhed silently for an unknown reason, making quite a fuss.
Then, chuckling quietly, Hyun Doo looked down, and said, “Thank you for your flattering words.”
In other words, he had no intention of telling the young author. Then, Yun Seo asked Juho, “Would you like to give it a try? I’ll play a movie.”
Just like she always did, she walked toward the front of the classroom before hearing Juho’s answer and turned on the projector. As the light came on the white screen, Juho rose from his seat and turned off the lights in the room. Although the room wasn’t completely dark because of the light that shone through the window, it wasn’t bright enough to disturb them from the movie.
Then, Juho observed Hyun Do, who was sitting in the opposite side of the classroom, against the light. Drinking his tea with a calm expression, his posture was quite sharp.
“I’m curious about what we’re going to be watching,” Juho said, and Geun Woo chuckled quietly. Being able to take lessons from Yun Seo for free was a huge privilege, so Juho simply waited for the movie to play on the screen.
“There it is,” Geun Woo said to Juho as if signaling him. As the person on the screen began to move around, the first thing that caught Juho’s attention was the passionate music. It wasn’t background music. In fact, the person on the screen was playing the piano.
‘A recital, maybe?’
It seemed to be taking place in a conference hall, and because there was little context, Juho had to infer what might have happened prior to and after the scene. The camera focused on the look on the faces of the audience rather than the performer, who was playing an intricate piece of music with ease. There were strong emotions on their faces, like jealousy. The music only built up the tension toward the climax, and although Juho had no idea who the composer was, it was obvious to him that the person had been rather twisted on the inside. Then, a man bit into his fingernail, and at that moment, the movie stopped abruptly.
“Aw! Can we watch a little more?”
“This is it,” Yun Seo said emphatically, asking, “How would you portray the inner state of the members of the audience?”
It was a continuation of the lesson that had previously taken place in the front yard. However, it was the opposite this time: Turning a movie into writing.
“First of all, I can clearly see jealousy on their faces,” Juho said, and Geun Woo interjected quietly, “I wonder if you know what it feels like?”
At that, Juho answered, “You think Yun Woo has never been jealous of anyone?”
“Geun Woo, leave him alone,” Joon Soo said in order to prevent Geun Woo from interrupting Juho. At that, Joon Soo clenched his lips tightly. Then, the scent of alcohol in Juho’s mind tickled his nose. In his past life, not only had he been jealous of other authors who had been more successful than him, but he had also been incredibly pretentious, regularly blurting out things like: “That’s nothing! Give me a pen, and I’ll write something like that with my eyes closed!”
It was a rather embarrassing past, which he wouldn’t even think about sharing with anyone.
“The man at the end had to be a rival of the performer. Whether it was intentional or not, he’s probably comparing himself to the performer, and it seems like he’d just discovered that he had lost. The nailbiting shows that he’s anxious, so it had to be a situation where he couldn’t afford to lose. Maybe they were having a bet?”
Juho started off with his overall understanding of the situation, and Yun Seo nodded affirmingly. In order to turn the emotions in his heart into writing, Juho had to start writing, which meant he needed a seat.
‘Should I write from the narrator’s point of view?’
With that, Juho decided to unfold the story by how the man on the screen would respond to or be affected by the situation from the omniscient viewpoint. The all-capable God would know every thought in the man’s mind and had every right to expose them to the readers.
“First off, the spacial setting is a recital, so it makes it easier to give impressions like: ‘He’s sensitive to criticism.’ But, one thing we need to be clear about is that the reason for his nailbiting had nothing to do with the criticisms of others.”
“Then?” Joon Soo asked light-heartedly, sounding more like he was looking for confirmation rather than an answer.
“It’s his own. He recognized his defeat on his own. ‘I can’t sound or play like that.’ You can tell from the sound, acting, camera angle and the contrast in the overall color scheme just now. Look, this man is closer to the camera than the performer onstage, yet he appears even smaller somehow. It has to be a visual portrayal of the inner state of the character,” Juho said, pointing at the screen. Just as he had said, the performer and the member in the the audience were both on the screen, and the screen captured the image over the audience member. Although close to the camera, that character appeared smaller than the performer onstage in the distance.
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