A&P (1961), a short novel by John Updike deals with 19-year-old Sammy’s personal feelings. As the narrator, Sammy is working at a market as a checkout clerk when he notices Queenie and two other girls there. Updike portrays the characters, background, and events with the greatest of care through the eyes of Sammy. However, the biggest reason this story kept my attention all throughout the book was not in the way Sammy behaved, but in the way the writer was able to focus on seemingly small or even trivial things. Even though I might have observed a young male clerk staring at girl customers in their ‘bathing suit with a little nubble all over it,’ I doubt I would have been able to recapture the moment or transform it into a novel.
In this way, I sometimes find myself overlooking small, trivial things. That is not to say that small things are unimportant. Rather, I would like to say that by giving importance to seemingly insignificant things like Updike manages to do is necessary in life. Think about it. When you answer incorrectly on your exam, isn’t it just a minor mistake? Even small insignificant inaccurate knowledge given in a few seconds could influence you more than you think. From small beginnings come great things. If you want to achieve something big, start small. When two of my mentees from the mentoring program I am part of complaint about the lack of executive power, I advise them to ‘start small.’ Instead of merely creating a bucket list full of things they “will” do, I suggest selecting items off the bucket list and approaching them monthly. Now, they are quite satisfied and headed towards their dream.
Once again, big starts may result in big failures whereas small beginnings are the strong foundation for great outcomes. Perhaps, you might feel November is too late to start something new, but you’ll feel fresh attempting smaller challenges that you let slide during the first 10 months of this year.
Koo Kim Gyohyun / Editor-in-Chief