Hype!: Summer Novelist’s Writing Club

May 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

My dad was visiting for over a week.

I’m leaving for Prague in exactly one week today.

And in the meantime I’ve decided to participate in the Summer Novelist’s Writing Club on Facebook. The goal is to write 500 words a day from May 16th though August 28th, with the goal of producing a 53,000 word first draft by the end. It’s crazy and it’s amazing. I’ve started.

Have you? Join now for inspiration, motivation, pushes. I’ll be posting excerpts every so often. Here’s today’s.

Dear Hyun,

Some of these April days, the magpies by my house sing and shuffle on into the evenings and I imagine them swooping into the rice fields to have their midnight dances.

They have always done that in the unsure shifting time between spring and summer when it’s cold one morning, sweltering through that same evening so that we feel like sleeping outside, under the cooler blanket of night air and even the walls of our house seem too stuffy.

I have known their tradition since I was young. My father told me that was why I shouldn’t go wandering at night. I might stumble onto them and interrupt their important celebration.

They were pulling hard on the linen of summer, he told me. They had it locked in their beaks and if I sneaked up behind them and scared them, they might lose hold of it for good. It wasn’t like he was pinning mischief on me where it didn’t belong. Trips to Seoul, for me, were trips to scare pigeons into the sky after seeing how long I could follow one while it waddled. But what a way to scare a child. “You could make the world lose summer for good and then how would you feel?”

And so I have crept up quietly behind you and now I am frozen.

I know I shouldn’t be here. I know that standing behind you in the air that shudders between warm and cool is bad for both of us, but I am here already, aren’t I?

I don’t know if you’ve kept my letters, but you’ve responded, and that means something. You took time out from your day to remember my face, maybe. Have you remembered my face? If not my face, at least my voice and the idea of me. Maybe you are aware only of the windless space behind you where I stand.

If I spoke, would it shock you? The hairs on the back of your neck might be raised, but do you really expect me or am I still a ghost you only half believe in?

How can you believe in me so little? Hyun, when I hear the sound of the magpies, I sit here by my window and the moon and there is something bursting inside me. If I am a ghost, you took my last comb, the last strand of hair that left my head, or the spit on the side of the last glass I drank from. You took what is most important to finding me. Do you have it hidden in your barracks? Do you take it out in lantern light and show it to your friends?

I am fine. School goes on as it always does. My mother went to Busan to visit Won Joong for a while, so it is sometimes lonely without her, without you. I would be lonely at school, too, but I keep busy and I am working harder than ever. The other girls watch me, I think. I think that somehow they know what happened. So when you have leave, you have to come here and sit on the benches outside with me. We’ll sit under the eun haeng and they’ll walk by and see us. You’ll sit there with me, won’t you?

You can’t give it back, so you have to bring it back. I’m not just a ghost. I am standing behind you.

Eun Byul


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