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Read Life Doing Your Own Thing
Cho Park Jiyeon  |  smt_jyp@sm.ac.kr
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승인 2015.03.07  00:14:49
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PHOTO BY PJY

“Low but steady.”  This phrase refers to heat intensity, but it is also sometimes used as a metaphor for steady effort.  The common idea behind countless sayings about effort is consistency.  To do something steadily “every day” is never easy.  However, there is a woman who has kept this idea by creating her own daily reading room.  She started this habit in her youth, and now the room is overflowing with book, which drove her to become a power blogger, a book editor, and an author of two books.  The Sookmyung Times met writer Jo Anna, owner of the power reading blog “A Room of One’s Own,” to seek advice on life.

 

You often refer to yourself as “Egoism” and have a blog titled “A Room of One’s Own.”  How did you get or come up with these names?

"Egoism" is a word I came across in the essay book, And Did Not Say Anything written by Jeon Hyerin.  I really loved this word from the book, and I claimed it as my nickname.  However, some blog followers started referring to me as Mrs.Ego.  My blog title originates from Virginia Woolf’s novel, A Room of One’s Own.  When I created the blog, it felt like my own personal room.  It was enjoyable posting every day to the blog.  I uploaded various statements like confessions on the blog, and in fact, I still do that.

You have had the blog active for ten years and wrote two books that sprung from it.  What does the blog mean to you?

It is very meaningful for me as it is my history.  Whenever I seek a keyword for a task, my blog is the place I look to first because all my materials and sentences are posted there.  In short, it is my own personal portfolio data.  It is also the history of my youth.  I even became a writer thanks to my blog.  I sometimes say my blog is more important than my business card.  Today there are huge numbers of power bloggers, but when it was uncommon, I was able to get a lot of various proposals thanks to my blog.  In addition, I had the pleasure of meeting a fan who followed me for eight years.  Looking at her in person, I could see how hard she’d studied my blog work over the eight years.  Growing together through the blog makes me feel good.

 

Recently, many students open blogs to record activities like certificates or other various qualifications for employment purposes.  Though our intention to begin blogging is completely different from yours, what do you think about today’s blogging style?

I have noticed the increase in number of companies looking towards blogs and SNSs recently.  Although I have seldom considered uploading my qualifications, it might be necessary for today’s students in order to relay messages and e-mails.  Students who dream of entering the publishing or media industry want to begin blogging, so they sometimes ask me how to manage their blogs.  Generally, a blog is easy to create, but today it is even easier than in the past.  However, it is important to keep it up steadily.  Also, if the blog is not personal, it becomes meaningless like trash on the Web.

   
PHOTO BY PJY

How was life during your undergraduate days?

Books were my friends in quiet places of the library.  No one disturbed me, and I could be alone, so I felt relax in the library.  At that time, I read roughly 30 to 40 books a month.  And there were a lot of announcement tasks because of my major, Korean, but I tried to enjoy the work and did my best.  As a result, I developed and grew a lot from the tasks.  I also create my own day course by utilizing my spare time between classes.  I went to see early morning showing movies, stopped by bookstores to select books I want to read, and then borrowed the books from the library.  Then, I went to cafes to read over a meal before heading to my part-time job.  I also went to other schools to attend a lot of other classes.  I wanted to use my time wisely, so I split my free hours.

   
PHOTO BY PJY

Your post about the book This is Why It is Not Youth is impressive.  Although some students are certain about their future, there are others who see themselves as society “surplus” or “losers.”

I too entered a university I didn’t want to attend.  I was ashamed of it at first because after graduating from a special-purpose high school, I watched my friends enter good universities and eventually get good jobs.  However, not one of them was interested in books, but I firmly believed my future was with books.
                      Books gave me the strength to overcome my envy of them.
Please read anything.  Try picking up any kind of book and reading it.  If it’s not interesting, you can toss it aside and try another.  I know it may sound like a cliche, but don’t fear failure.  I’ve seen friends following a set path in life suffer huge setbacks from small failures because it is the first time for them to experience pain.  Just as Murakami Haruki says, in order to mature, one needs to go through stages of pain.  If you skip the stages, the injuries are bigger and last longer.  It is much better to fail several times.  Don't say 'I want to do' or 'I have to do.' do it right now.

 

“I am much too busy to read a book” is the excuse often given when students are told to read more.  Why do you think people are reading less these days?

I heard the same thing when I was a student.  However, I suppose in recent years technology has lessened our human spirits like the invent of the smartphone.  Students are not even reading the required books for course assignments.  When I hear excuses, I believe it is also related to the fact that they have no idea what books to choose and read.  What’s even more disappointing is many students think reading is a luxury they can’t afford because they are anxious about their future.  To these students, I always say read only when you “make time” for it.  Participate in a reading club or use your spare time during such things like the morning commute to read.  Students are not reading because they lack the will to do so rather than being too busy to read books.

   
PHOTO FROM JO
   
www.google.com

Would you like to say a few final words to our readers?

Please follow things to the end.  Pushing through with a goal will lead to love and the courage to work steadily.  University is a great time to play away the hours, but it can also be boring.  I was once under academic probation due to my wild days at university, but after coming to this realization, I got interested in studying and reading rather than playing.  You need to experience a lot as a student, but I think it would be nice if you see the landscape around you at various times like the commute to school.  Feel and accept how weather changes and how time flows.  Although I hesitate to voice this idea, you need to get outside.  Don’t always stay indoors.  Please don’t forget to look up and view the sky anytime, anywhere.  By living this way, you will truly feel life.

JO ANNA(JO)

• Writer & Editor
• Author of Bookstore under the Moonlight and The Following Page I Met You
• Power Blogger A Room of One’s Own (ddinne.blog.me)
• Editor of Design Eum

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