My Joy in Writing
- Youngmi

I used to carry a little notebook with me when I was at high school. I used to write things - whatever came into my mind between classes or at the train stations while I was waiting for the next train. I liked to observe people through the window sitting in the back seat in a bus. But as soon as I found something interesting or thought of something interesting, I started writing about it in my mind. I then opened my notebook and started writing things down when I got bored with studying at night. I enjoyed writing and I was very good at it.

I’ve made my best friends while I was at high school. Among many things that we’ve shared during three years of school days, we all wrote one diary book each year, making three thick books by the time we graduated. Three of us made a rule to write a diary entry every third day. If, for instance, I wrote some diary tonight, then I would have to bring it to school the next day to give it to another girl. If I didn’t write a diary or didn’t bring it to school, I had to pay fines.

We saved these fines in a coin box until we got enough money to buy some books. We used to go around second-hand bookshops to buy more books with the little money in our pockets. Some of the books we read at that time were “The Third Wave” by Alvin Toffler, “Animal Farm” or “1984” by George Orwell, etc. Even though those books were translated into Korean, we didn’t fully understand them. But we just loved our reading and writing activities. I wonder if we would have developed our good friendships if we hadn’t shared our diaries.

We sometimes apologized through the diaries after having big arguments with each other. And we often discussed through the diaries, the things that were not easily spoken about face to face.
My high school teacher, who taught Korean literature, encouraged me a lot about my writing. He used to read my poems in the class explaining what he liked about them. When he had to move to Japan to teach Korean-Japanese students, he asked me to come over to his office. I was very surprised and thankful when he gave me a poetry book. We didn’t talk much at that time because I was almost about to cry. But I believe that he wanted to give me a message that I needed to keep up writing. After he moved to Japan, we exchanged letters almost every month for about two years until I went to university. I was very happy whenever I got a blue air mail envelope from Japan. He was almost at the age to retire at that time, so he might look like a grandfather now. It’s sad that we lost contact after I went to university.
I think I lost my joy in writing at university because all my interests moved to science and technologies. During the two hour coach trip to come home every weekend, I would just fall asleep instead of looking out the window thinking and writing in my mind like I used to when I was at high school. All I did was just write little notes about due dates of reports in my little notebook.
Writing is not only a way to describe what you think, but is also a way to communicate with other people. This year, 2002, my class had some time to read our own writing to other people in the Flemington Reading and Writing class. If I hadn’t had the chance to listen to what classmate Rosa wrote about her walk along the river, I wouldn’t have known how much she enjoys everyday life. I was amazed to know the way she looked at nature, especially the birds that she saw while she walked along the river. She wrote that every bird was different to each other. Through her writing, I got to know that she valued every life on earth, important as it is.

When we then listened to Shao’s writing about her father, all of us had to search for tissues to wipe our tears. From what I heard from her writing, I believe that she will live as a warm hearted, nice person, like her father. When I listened to Mei’s story, I could picture how much she enjoyed her childhood as a happy little girl. I’ve never thought that Anzu was such a brave girl to travel all around Nepal on a bike before I listened to her story about her journey to Nepal. She wrote about a terrible and dangerous moment when her friend’s bike was broken and that it would be a funny story someday. It’s really a funny story now, and I believe that she will overcome any obstables in her life like she did on her bike trip.
I wonder sometimes why some people find joy in writing. If there was no one else to read about my writing, would I still enjoy writing it? In the film ‘Finding Forrester’, the old writer explains to his young friend how to write. “First, write as you feel from your heart, then re-write it with your head later.” Writing is one of many wonderful and beautiful things that human beings can do. I am glad that I have this joy in my life, which is writing. I hope that I will keep this joy by writing as I feel from my heart. I might need to carry my little notebook with me as I used to when I was at high school.