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Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
‘A Peek at Yun Woo’s First Interview! The Web Gets Excited.’
“So, that’s the kind of person he is. I had a smile on my face the entire time I was watching it.”
“He’s so confident when he speaks. He doesn’t even look nervous or anything.”
“I’m in love! A fitting creator to his craft. Yun Woo will forever be a hero.”
“I was getting a kick out of the look on Pyung Jin’s face. He wouldn’t stop raving about how amazing Yun Woo was in ‘The Great Book Club,’ and he’d become a saint all of a sudden.”
“I can tell that he was really intentional in his choice of tie.”
“I think it sparkled even more than Yun Woo.”
“I love that Yun Woo’s talking about his own books. He answers all of the questions so seamlessly, too.”
“I can really tell that he wrote those books.”
“Man, he really was nineteen! He really did start writing books when he was sixteen!”
“He did say that he writes every single day. He’s not the youngest, first Asian winner for no reason.”
“He seemed pretty sincere when he was talking about failures. I mean, I can only imagine just how terrifying it must be to succeed at such an early age.”
“I really felt that he is going in the right direction with his life.”
“One can only imagine the burden. But then, he’s Yun Woo.”
“I, personally, am interested in the short stories in his school. The look on the critic’s face, that was exactly the look on my face the whole time I was watching the interview.”
“Zelkova! Get your butt in gear and publish those short stories! I’ll buy them! No exception!”
“I wonder how he was inspired by the cover design, though. I’d love to get my hands on those short stories.”
“‘You won’t find it in stores.’ Yun Woo, you savage, you.”
“I’m curious about who that homeless man was that he talked to while writing.”
“Same here. They seemed to be close. A family member, maybe?”
“Shoot, I’d be willing to go homeless if I got to read Yun Woo’s manuscripts before anybody else.”
“It sounds like he revises the heck out of his manuscripts. I guess it makes sense considering the quality. A genius that actually works hard. I wonder how that homeless man felt as he read the story taking shape.”
“I think I get what the homeless guy was feeling when Yun Woo said that he didn’t say anything and went about his way.”
“He’s gotta be the luckiest homeless person in the whole world.”
“Hey, I drink a lot. You could’ve asked me.”
“Company dinners for a week straight. I might as well make alcohol my middle name.”
“Philosophy major here. Count me in.”
“Corporate worker here. Count me in.”
(TL’s Note: Philosophy majors have a reputation for their drinking habits in Korea. Corporate workers, on the other hand, are often exposed to social drinking with their coworkers and superiors.)
“But, how can a person who’s never been drunk in his life write something like that?”
“I guess that’s what makes him Yun Woo?”
“I mean, there’s the whole spiel about alcohol, but I’m more surprised by his portrayal of love. Is he really nineteen?”
“I second that. I think this book really proved to people that they shouldn’t judge him by his age.”
“I can tell that he’s a thinker. You’re genius, man.”
“Authors do a lot of self-reflection when they write, apparently.”
“I wanna know that singer he likes so much! I wanna hear her hum, too!”
“Whoever it is, it sounded like somebody Yun Woo would like.”
“It dawned on me just how young he is when I saw his face on TV.”
“But one would never be able to tell from reading his books.”
“He’s probably livin’ it up at that age. So jealous.”
“Wonder how much he made from his books.”
“I’m sure he’s loaded from the royalties alone. His books are sold worldwide.”
“Isn’t it obvious? Everything about him is beyond our imagination.”
“I thought I’d know more about him after watching the interview, but now, I have even more questions than I had before I watched. He was weaving himself out of all the questions, and I feel like I didn’t get a single answer to my questions.”
“I really hope Pyung Jin brings him to ‘The Great Book Club.’ C’mon, producers! Get on it!”
“I’d pay to see that.”
“I heard that was the only interview he agreed to participate in.”
“Whaaat!? After all this time staying hidden and mysterious!? He can’t do that! That just ain’t fair! C’mon, Yun Woo! You gotta do at least five. What? Are you tryin’ to drive your fans crazy!?”
“I’m just thankful that he’s decided to reveal himself.”
“There’s truly no end to human greed.”
“I don’t know English, but can somebody remind me of which country his next interview is going to be in? I’m sure somebody’s going to translate the thing, right?”
“I’m sure it won’t take long at all until a translated version turns up on the internet. Where there’s demand, there’s supply.”
“Another interview? Is he making an appearance on TV in the US?”
“I think I saw an article say that there was nothing set in stone.”
“The US can’t be the only country tryin’ to get a hold of him. I’m sure there are a bunch of other countries tryin’ to do the same.”
“Pretty sure the people at his agency have it up to their ears.”
“They really have to take care of the little guy, especially when things are so hectic! They can’t let him get dragged around and get all torn up.”
“That’s a legitimate point. He did look pretty modest. I seriously hope he doesn’t change.”
“C’mon, people. It’s not like he’s been popular for a day or two. If he wanted to let it get to his head, it would’ve already happened.”
“I like every bit of that interview, but the fact that Yun Woo is acquainted with Hyun Do Lim made me love it even more. He’s just surrounded by good people, from the authors who he published the magazine with to Yun Seo Baek.”
“Hyun Do Lim. Is. The. Best. My parents and I love him.”
“Same here. I first came across his books through my mother’s recommendation.”
“Too bad neither of them are fond of making TV appearances. Ugh.”
“I heard somewhere that Yun Woo is a super unpleasant person to be around.”
“Where’s this from?”
“Seems like you’re the only one with that knowledge, buddy.”
“I just heard that he shook hands with his fans.”
“C’mon. He even shook hands and took pictures with everyone on set after taping. What about that makes him unpleasant?”
“You get a glimpse of his personality just from his friends’ interview at their school. They kept his secret till the end. Friends that loyal are hard to come by these days.”
“Boy, look at you!” Juho’s mother let out with a satisfied smile on her face. She had watched his interview on repeat a number of times. In the end, Juho, who was eating after waking up late, asked her, “Haven’t you watched that enough already?”
“What? The more I watch it, the better,” she said with her eyes fixated on the TV. “You’re a good speaker.”
Being a mother who had been watching her son grow up since he had cooed as a baby, she seemed incredibly proud to see him speaking with clarity. Meanwhile, Juho picked up a piece of the grilled mackerel and brought it up to his mouth. It was pleasantly savory. Although he wasn’t saying a word, his voice was reverberating through the living room, and just the sound of it made him feel sick.
“We have to keep this with us somehow. Do you know how to record TV shows?”
“I’m not sure,” Juho said, focusing on chewing. Meanwhile, his mother seemed to be set on recording the interview for the sake of preservation. Unlike on the set, the final cut of the interview gave off a much more serious atmosphere. There were only three people on screen.
“Who’s this homeless person you’re talking about?” she asked unsuspectingly. Because he had never told her about having a homeless man as a friend, Juho had to put his brain to work in order to think of an answer. In the end, he gave her an honest one, “It was just an analogy. There’s always a lingering fear in people living within capitalist societies, and I was simply reflecting that through my answer.”
At that, his mother nodded slowly and asked, “Is that so? People seemed to think that you actually talked to a homeless person.”
“Everyone’s entitled to their own beliefs.”
“That isn’t to say that you can make them think that they were lied to. You can’t afford to lose their trust.”
“Yes, mom,” Juho said without resisting. His mother’s words were always right. With that, she redirected her attention to the TV. Despite having watched it enough times to memorize all the lines, it was incredible how focused she was still. ‘Maybe I get my tenacious side from her,’ Juho thought. Then…
“You’re moving out soon, right?” she asked out of nowhere. Thankfully, since it was a topic that they had been discussing frequently, Juho was able to answer without any trouble, “Yes. I’m almost done packing.”
Then, he looked at his room. The door was open, revealing every corner of the room. It was, simply put, a trainwreck. Ropes and newspapers were wrapped around the stacks of paper, while all the boxes had been set aside to one side of the room. Juho had expressed his interest in moving out to his parents, and just as she had always done, his mother fully supported his decision. The first time the topic came up was when they were discussing what to do with the boxes of manuscripts that were starting to pile up in the living room.
“Should I throw them out?” she had asked cautiously.
“Sure…” Juho had said. Although he had made it seem like he had had no problem with her throwing them out, he had felt conflicted. When the time for a decision finally caught up to him, he couldn’t help but feel attached to the stacks of paper.
“I wouldn’t mind keeping them around, but as you already know, we don’t have a whole lot of room around here,” she’d said, and Juho had asked her in response, “Should we move?”
“I mean, you don’t go to school anymore, so there’s no reason you shouldn’t.”
Because his mother had been willing to discuss the matter with her son, they had talked in order to reach a decision. And by the time he’d started leaning toward moving out, Juho had brought it up, “What if I move out?”
Knowing that his mother would never get upset, no matter what he brought up, Juho hadn’t been nervous about bringing up the idea of moving out.
“That’s not a terrible idea. You wanna give it a shot?” she’d said, giving off a strong impression that he should experience it for himself. The reminder to trust the process over result tended to lighten the burden in one’s heart. From then on, things had progressed quickly. Until the publishing day of his new book, that is, until his face was officially known to the public, Juho and his mother kept looking around for houses. Since he hadn’t been looking for anything too spacious, they had looked for something within a reasonable price range.
“Accommodations are expensive nowadays.”
That had been the young author’s realization as he’d gone around looking for his new home. It made sense that he had ended up homeless in the past.
“Well, it’s a good thing we found a decent place for you,” his mother said, and Juho nodded while scooping the rice up from his bowl. Then, as if curious about how her son was feeling about living on his own for the first in his life or influenced by the interview, which she had watched on repeat for the last several days, she asked, “How do you feel?”
“Not too bad,” Juho said after chewing and swallowing a mouthful.
“I was really excited when I first moved out,” she said, reminiscing about her past. Meanwhile, Juho was also reminiscing about his past. After moving out on his own and going through repeated failures, he had grown distant from his parents. Not only had their interactions been limited to occasional phone calls, but there had been nothing sincere about those conversations either. Juho had been busy covering up his less-than-impressive life.
“Feel free to come back anytime if you ever feel lonely,” she said, just as she had done in the past. However, it hadn’t been long before the foolish son had forgotten about what his mother had told him entirely.
“We’ll always leave some space open for you, so don’t worry.”
Juho brought another spoonful of rice up to his mouth. It was deeply satisfying.
“I will. If I ever feel miserable, I’ll come back,” Juho said, deciding to take up on her offer that time should things go south.
“I’m beat,” Juho said to Nam Kyung on the phone.
“Just one more while you’re at it.”
“I’m exhausted, Mr. Park.”
Nam Kyung had asked the young author about making another TV appearance, which Juho turned down without delay. Interviews were quite taxing, especially when there were cameras around. After suggesting it a few more times, the editor let up since other plans had already been made.
“You’re coming over in a little bit, right?”
Juho had decided to pay Zelkova a visit in order to decide on an interview request from another country and to meet with Nabi.
“Be safe, now. Things are NOT what they used to be.”
“Don’t forget to wear a hat.”
After checking the time for their meeting, they hung up, and Juho went back to packing his belongings immediately after. Although he had the choice to call a moving service, Juho didn’t feel entirely comfortable with letting other people touch his manuscripts, especially when considering the nature of the manuscripts in the boxes. The idea of letting others see them was even more undesirable. In the end, he chose to put his time and strength into packing them himself. What he came to learn from that was simply how heavy papers really were. In fact, they were just as heavy as books.
“All right. Better get going,” he said, pushing all the boxes to one side of the room. After putting his hat on and a mask in his pocket, Juho left the house and headed for the bus stop. It was quite windy out, so he had to push his hat down to keep it from flying off.
There were quite a few people waiting at the bus stop, and Juho also waited for the bus to arrive. It was a process he was well acquainted with. After waiting for about five minutes and seeing the bus approaching from the distance, Juho took a step forward as people got in line ahead of and behind him. It was obvious that they were looking to get on the same bus. The bus stopped just past the spot that Juho had predicted. As the front door opened, people started getting into the bus one by one. Then, as Juho was about to get on the bus, somebody let out, “A red hat?”
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