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Author Archives: In Choi
Although I was born and grew up in Korea, I read books mostly written by English and American authors as a child. I especially loved Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, and Robert Louis Stevenson. Back then, my only reason for reading was for the joy of reading itself.
After my family immigrated to US, learning to read in my second language has become the biggest challenge I had to overcome. Throughout my colleges years, I spent a lot of time just reading textbooks for all the math and computer science classes I had to take. Then, reading just became a punishing exercise where my only objective was to understand and acquire the necessary knowledge to get through the course work.
In my late 20s, I began to realize that throughout my young adulthood all I read was technical books that did not give me any joy (although without them, I probably wouldn’t have a career). At the same time, I thought my reading level in English was just good enough for me to read books written by “serious” writers.
For whatever reason, it didn’t occur to me that I could go back to authors I used to love in my childhood. Somehow, I thought that they had to be “serious” writers. Of all the writers that I started to read, Jorge Luis Borges and James Joyce spoke to me more than anyone else. Borges especially became a literature teacher I never had. While reading some of the forewords in his book, I was delighted to learn that one of his favorite writers was none other than Robert Louis Stevenson.
Inspired by that fact, I recently reread Treasure Island in its original English. There was so much joy in just getting lost in the book and I came upon a scene that was a defining moment in the story (at least to me). It is a moment when Jim Hawkins realizes who he is or who he should be.
The word holus bolus is used ever more appropriately. How beautiful it is to get a reading advice on English literature from a blind Argentine writer whose time was well before me! This experience made my recent trip to Buenos Aires all the more special.
I hope anyone who reads this post becomes Borges’ disciple like me. I think this beautiful prose “A Prayer” can easily turn anyone into one:
In my recent business trip to Tokyo, I’ve decided to read Alice in Wonderland on the plane. There was a Japanese cartoon series based on Alice in Wonderland I loved to watch when I was a kid and I thought reading it would somehow help me find my way in Tokyo…
If there is a dish that can be served during the tea party in Alice in Wonderland, Omurice has to be it. It’s a Japanized version of western Omelette with fried rice in ketchup.
To me, this is the quintessential Japanese food and a very worthy offspring of western Omelette. It’s hearty, colorful, inexpensive, and very very tasty. Everyone who visits Japan should try it instead of cold and overpriced Sushi that most people seem to favor for a reason that I can never understand…
This bullet is an old one.
In 1897, it was fired at the president of Uruguay by a young man from Montevideo, Avelino Arredondo, who had spent long weeks without seeing anyone so that the world might know that he acted alone. Thirty years earlier, Lincoln had been murdered by that same ball, by the criminal or magical hand of an actor transformed by the words of Shakespeare into Marcus Crutus, Caesar’s murderer. In the mid-seventeenth century, vengeance had employed it for the assassination of Sweden’s Gustavus Adolphus, in the midst of the public hecatomb of a battle.
In earlier times, the bullet had been other things, because Pythagorean metempsychosis is not reserved for humankind alone. It was the silken cord given to viziers in the East, the rifles and bayonets that cut down the defenders of the Alamo, the triangular blade that slit a queen’s throat, the wood of the Cross and the dark nails that pierced the flesh of the Redeemer, the poison kept by the Carthaginian chief in an iron ring on his finger, the serene goblet that Socrates drank down one evening.
In the dawn of time it was the stone that Cain hurled at Abel, and in the future it shall be many things that we cannot even imagine today, but that will be able to put an end to men and their wondrous, fragile life.
- In Memoriam, J.F.K. by J.L. Borges
Perhaps the word Jerry-Build perfectly describes how Abecedarium blog was conceived. It was a very long process of trial and error. All of us had to work together to come up with the best way to build a blog that could allow general public to post their artworks easily, but at the same time we had to make sure that they were moderated every step of the way.
You can see the example of Abecedarium Jerry-Building from my scribbles:
Day by day, it was as if nothing was happening. But as I look back on it now I feel that we achieved something special and very unique. Here’s to all of us who had to work so hard on this project…
When I was a kid, I ever so much wished that all the corruptions, crimes, and unpleasantness in my neighborhood would one day be washed away, elutriated. How naive a kid’s mind is! As I grew older, I realized that everyone would have to live with and even become an active observer or a willing participant to what society in general regards as “evil”.
In the middle of night I woke up and couldn’t get back to sleep, so I decided to read a short story that would help me fall a sleep again. The short story I decided to read was “Death and the Compass” by Jorges Luis Borges, a wonderfully imaginative Argentinian writer whom I recently discovered. Instead of falling a sleep, I ended up reading the whole story.
The word Bibliomancy immediately came to my mind. The story disguises itself as a detective/mystery story, but it’s much more than that. Where else have you read a detective story where a detective reads religious writings to solve a puzzle? I don’t want to spoil the fun by telling you more. You can read it online here:
After spending past five years of my life in Los Angeles, seeing magnificent towers and sea of people on the streets of New York really dazzled my imagination. For the whole time I was in New York, I couldn’t rest; I couldn’t take my minds off from the world around me.
In Los Angeles, big real estate developers are trying to build what they call “Times Square West” in Downtown LA. But, I doubt that it will ever match the fierce splendor of Manhattan .