I walk around the Namdaemung area, and enter the famous market. A Japanese history writer takes me into his friend’s Ginseng store. He has written some books about Korean-Japanese history.
“Five books. But I still very poor.”
-“Aren’t most writers?”
“You will have success. Be Nobel writer.”
His friend smiles. “Nobel writer.” he repeats nodding his head and let some more cigarette smoke pass his lips. In the ashtray they have laid wet some paper to neutralize the smell of smoke. I smile back and suck on the ginseng candy. “You poor. Take many” he says and demonstrates what he expects me to do by grabbing a fistfull of candies.
“No, thank you”. He fumed again and I imagined being in a Wong Kar-Wai movie.
“You can be Nobel writer” he repeats.
“Yes”, I say, and then I tell him the truth.
“I want to be a noble writer.”
That evening… you know what. I’m visiting like heaven and stuff. It’s a little bit personal but so interesting that I want to mention at least something here. It is a mise-en-scène, a trick of the mind, that I’m sitting on that leather chair. “It’s like I’m dreaming” the mother says and yes YES, that is what it’s supposed to be. A dream, the past is a dream never dreamt. I ask for a dictionary. What is this all about? Stammering “it is a thing of the past” and silence. Silence in heaven – damn I’ve been there, what’s that as a traveling destination. Getting all tipsy and stuff, will they serve ambrosian here (and marchmellows). Continue. In Korean – what a challenge. So I miss her. Want to see she’s happy and all. Happy. You know, my mother: her I cannot visit no-more, but she I can, still, now, today, on the eve of her birthday. “She veeerrry angry” the mother says. Tame smile from the father. “It depends on her mind.” Of course. Never mind. At least I know you guys are healthy. Thanks for letting me peek in again. And by the way, are you still so keen about Jesus and going to church and all? Yes. But you don’t seem so keen about the forgiveness business. You know what? I think that religious veil is just a farce. A shrewd means to cope with your own bitter and vindictive personality. I know some psychology, and I can tell. Worshipping that beautiful man on the cross, chanting amen and all the world is love – why? Take your mental shovel and dig, dig deep. You ploughed the ground to sow the seed of hatred. I know, you don’t want to hear it. It’s too ugly. The smooth chants of Jesus and the smiles and the sermons of redemption and forgiveness they enable you to be inhumanely cruel to others, to people from outside of your pious contemptuous pack. But it’s cool de ma part. Look, it’s good for a writer, like doing a field experiment, stuff like that. What? It’s an interesting experience. The intermingling of present and past, things that last and those that pass, the quintessence of so many pages of prose of prose of Proust. Anonymity here please, privacy. But if you’re going trough something similar just contact me I’m sure we can work something out. You want to cope with someone’s death? Get rid of someone else, but make sure that person is still alive somewhere on the planet. Wait a couple of years and then visit that person. If you plan and execute it well that might be like a lever to scoop you out of your mourning.