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“A Writer’s Wife” by Seo Seong-ran

#Books on Demand l 2023-04-11

Books on Demand

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He disappeared. 

His mobile phone number has become meaningless numbers that don’t exist anymore. Not a single clue of his existence is left in my ten square feet of space. He is now merely a character in the story I’m writing. I realized that I was a month past my move-out date. December 1st, the day he left, was our fifth wedding anniversary. Now I have to get ready to leave as well.

내가 알지 못하지만 어딘가에 존재하고 있을 소설가 T는 내 소설의 주인공이기도 했다.

십 년 동안이나 아내의 헌신적인 보살핌에도 불구하고 

단 한 편의 소설도 쓰지 못했던 소설가,

아니 어쩌면 그는 수많은 소설을 썼을지도 모른다.

Writer T, someone I didn’t know but someone who would exist somewhere, was also the main character of my story. He was a writer who couldn’t write a single book although his wife had devotedly supported him for ten years. Or maybe he had written countless stories. 

중요한 것은 그의 소설들이 활자화되지 못했다는 것이다.

The important thing was that his stories were never published. 

소설가 남편이 긴 여행을 떠날 수 있었던 것도 아내 때문이었다.

빠듯한 수입으로 여행 경비를 마련할 수 없었던 아내는

은근히 추파를 던져오던 부동산 사장을 제 발로 찾아가 하룻밤을 보냈다.

It was thanks to his wife that the writer husband was able to go on a long trip. Unable to fund the travel expenses with her meager income, she voluntarily spent a night with the owner of the real estate office who had been hitting on her. 

T는 돌아오지 않는다.

그가 떠난 지 한 달이 지나도 돌아오지 않자 

아내는 실종신고를 내고 남편의 방에 쌓여 있는 책 더미 속을 뒤진다.

컴퓨터를 알지 못하는 아내는

파일 속에 담긴 남편의 글과 편지를 찾아 읽지 못한다.

T didn’t return. When he didn’t return even after a month, his wife filed a missing person’s report and searched through piles of books in his room. The computer-illiterate wife couldn’t read his writings and letters saved in files. 

# Interview with SNU professor Bang Min-ho

There is a story within a story. Yu-rim’s father is a writer and Yu-rim’s mother is a devoted supporter of his work, but Yu-rim’s father can’t write stories. That is, he can’t have his stories published. Lots of writers make debuts yet fail to publish any more books. Writers in Korea don’t get many opportunities to publish every year and make a living as a writer. Yu-rim’s father shows that reality of writers in Korea.

내가 쓴 소설은 유림이 엄마나 소설가 T의 이야기가 아니라

사라진 그의 이야기였다.

The story I wrote was not about Yu-rim’s mother or about writer T, but about the man who disappeared. 

한 달 사이 나는 몰라볼 만큼 살이 빠졌다.

먹지도 자지도 않고 매달렸던 소설은 원고지 천 매 분량이 넘었다.

소설이 책으로 나온다고 해도 그는 읽지 못할 것이다.

그는 자신을 주인공으로 소설을 썼다는 사실조차 알지 못할 것이다.

I lost a lot of weight in just one month. The story I had worked on without eating or sleeping went over one thousand pages. Even if the story was published, he wouldn’t be able to read it. He wouldn’t be able to even fathom that the story starred him. 

소설을 탈고하는 순간 나는 그를 떠나보냈다.

내가 이 집을 나서는 순간 그의 존재는 완벽하게 사라지고

오로지 활자로만 남아 있을 것이다.

The moment I completed the story, I let him go. When I left this house, his being vanished completely and would remain only as letters. 

Seo Seong-ran (Born in Iksan, Jeollabuk-do Prov., 1967~ )

Debuted with “Grandmother’s Peace” in 1996

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