Category Archives: jeju artist

an short essay

I have never forgotten my dream

  After graduating from college, I got a job straight away.  I work for the local government . Since then,  20 years have passed. The young man in his late twenties has changed into a mid-forties father of two sons. I’ve been married for ten years.

However, for quite a long time now, I have felt that my choice of the current job was the young man’s big mistake. Unfortunately, that was an attempt to live up to the expectations of other people.

I feel like I don’t really have a choice–I need something different.  I mean, I have to report to work to earn a living and then what? When I get home, I have hardly enough enthusiasm and energy to give my family the attention they deserve.

I’ve come this close to quitting my job more times than I can count. This is a serious issue for me. I dread having to go to that stiff and rank-based impersonal system of the office.  I’m a stranger who quietly opposes the bureaucratic system that swirls around me like a typhoon everyday with its red tape, rank-based code and boss’s orders. But there’s nothing I can do about it. I jump through hoops all day in the name of some outdated process that someone with an important signature wrote down and ever since then it’s been treated like the word of god even though it’s inefficient and often straight up ineffective. I’m not allowed to think for myself. If I see a better way, forget it. Thinking critically and voicing my insights are not only unwelcome but that kind of attitude can get a man in trouble. And it’s sad but I’ve gotten in line. I’ve followed the orders. I’ve marched to the beat of my boss’s orders. Accept what I’m told and ask no questions. Just a “Yes, sir” and off I go to wait for the next payday. Make waves? Not me! You can’t change the system. Either deal with it or get out of the way. It’s a freight train and no one is going to stop it.

  I’m older and wiser and all the voices around me are getting quieter.  I can hear that the voice of my own heart which was so quiet before is calling loudly. The inner-calling from myself  has become louder and is hard to ignore. My inner-calling yells so loud it is the only thing I can hear sometimes.

 One day I woke up and I realized that I was forgetting who I really am. I became deeply depressed and I wondered if I would ever recover from my willing assimilation into that impersonal…no, inhumane and unloving system. So my inner-calling has been getting louder with each passing day.

Ok…I feel like I’ve been holding back from telling you what my inner-calling is (that wasn’t my intention). Anyway, it’s my dream to be a writer. I mean, quit my current job and write full-time. I’ve been working on a novel for many years and I think it has a chance.

Now I am telling you my future models.

 One day I was inspired by an American writer and am now striving to follow in his footsteps.  A few years ago I happened to learn about the Korean-American writer, Chang Rae Lee. I looked him up on Google. He was born in South Korea, but he moved to the U.S. with his family at three and grew up in the U.S. After college graduation, he became a securities analyst on Wall Street for one year. However, he decisively quit his decent job to become a novelist.  In 1995 he published his debut novel, Native Speaker.  Ever since  I discovered a copy, I have been newly motivated towards a new goal. That is to become a bilingual novelist whose books are published in both Korean and English.

Recently on the internet I was lucky to have a chance to know an American poet named Shin Yu Pai.  I visted her hompage and listened to her reading poems from College Visiting Writers Series.  I was greatly inspired by the poems.  I  soon  listed her as my future model.  Now I contact her regularly.    

 I can tell you with assurance that I am currently preparing to study in the U. S. where I will meet Chang Rae Lee and Shin Yu Pai and tell them my dream.

Thanks for reading my poor essay.