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Tear-flowering Boy: Childhood Stories

Tear-flowering Boy: Childhood Stories scrap

눈물꽃 소년: 내 어린 날의 이야기

  • Author

    Park Nohae박노해

  • Publisher

    느린걸음

  • Year Published

    2024-02

  • Category

    Essay 수필

  • Target User

    Adult 성인

  • Period

    Contemporary 현대

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Description 작품 소개

The first autobiographical essays by Park Nohae

“Thirty-three stories from my childhood”

“This is the story about the great gifts that brought up who I am”


Poet Park Nohae is back as his younger self. A poet who shook up the time and souls with his raw words under a cruel dictatorship; a labor activist, democratic activist, and revolutionary sentenced to death and confined to solitary; a friend who shares the sadness of children worldwide suffering from war and poverty; and an adult who led the way in searching for the light in the time of loss. The most frequently asked question from the readers was: “What gave you the strength to go on?” To which he answers, “It all started with the ‘tear-flowering boy.’”


Tear-Flowering Boy is Park’s first collection of autobiographical essays about his childhood. It illustrates the growth of a boy who used to be called “Pyeong-i” in the small Namdo village of Donggang until finishing elementary school. The times were dark, impoverished, and full of sadness, but he writes that his mind harbored no darkness. “Now I finally realize the great gift that I’d received. I must talk about how those brought me up and made me who I am.” (from the Author’s Note) This is why Park tells us about his secretly kept memory and the fundamental power that sustained him throughout his life.


A selection of vivid prose instead of condensed verse, Tear-Flowering Boy presents affectionate writing with its use of tender yet rhythmic Jeolla dialect. The readers would be immersed in the stories as warm as an umni’s touch— “umni” is a Jelloa dialect for “mother”—and discover a small boy churning their hearts with his smiles and tears. Between Park’s sense-awakening sentences, we can vividly see the mountains, fields, and oceans the boy pranced around, smell azaleas, beach roses, and camellias by the season, and picture the movie-like sceneries that fostered and nurtured the poet—earthy front yard, narrow paths in the neighborhood, school, marketplace, and small church. The illustrations accompanying each of the 33 essays are drawn with pencil by Park himself, adding to the warm sentiment when traveling between the text and imageries.



In this increasingly cruel and violent world,

We have waited for such pure and graceful stories


“There are certain ‘life-defining periods’ for a human being. The first is one’s childhood—the period when their views in value, life, and the world that lead the rest of their life start to form, and when the fundamental power to advance into the vast world develops; when everything that hadn’t bloomed yet was already concealed inside.” (from the Author’s Note) Tear-flowering Boy takes place at an era of widespread scarcity, without electricity and books to read. But it was rich in nature, compassion, and time, the times lived by “the people with pure hearts from earth.”


“He didn’t do what he did because he wanted to. Don’t blame anyone; just look after yourself,” said grandmother, accepting the young man who had sinned and giving him the strength to live on. There were also adults in the neighborhood who made Pyeong-i, after losing his father at seven, take a lap around the village to give courage; friends who fought against the wrongs and cried together; a teacher who gained the nickname of “Mr. crouch-over” as he always leaned over and listened attentively to his students; a trinket seller who carried and talked about all things in the world; mother who taught with her own way of life instead of words and prayed in tears by his pillow; “my friend” Father Jose at the church; older neighborhood friends who were full of romance, styles, and affection; and his first love who approached him like a poem and sharpened his pencil.


Even when they were poor and uneducated, people back then had dignity and mutual care and lived honest lives of speaking the truth. The story of a boy who grew up in such a community unfolds, and the heart-wrenching memories that cannot come back evoke nostalgia and hope. “In these increasingly cruel and violent times, when explicit vulgarity and tastelessness sicken the soul” (from the Author’s Note), reading the stories of a pure and warm-hearted Tear-flowering Boy will calm your internal storm and fill your mind with genuine and profound energy.



“I know it’s hard. I’ve cried a lot, too.

Those tears will become flowers, and your gaze will become a path.”

Park Nohae hands you “the tear flower” of hope and courage


“Losses are as deep and massive as gains, degrading the noble human spirits and virtues, seeds of hope lost and forgotten. […] [I had to write these essays because] I must remember and pass on the world and times, the human struggles and wonders I experienced only there and then on Earth.” (from the Author’s Note) As such, Tear-flowering Boy is also a legacy of memory that Park drew from deep reflection upon himself. The collection awakens in us “the original things, the purity of humanity that are lost too soon” and hands us the embers of hope that have been long indwelled.


“It’s okay not to know well. People are the way itself. Those who listen well shine brighter than those who speak well, and those who ask well are more precious than those who claim to know well.” (12p The Way I Found After Asking Around) “You got to see a lot of good things and read a lot of good books while your eyes are lively and work hard and do good while your body is youthful. If you don’t use them while they’re good, you’re spoiling yourself.” (70p A Lap Around the Village) “Comparing yourself with others is to lack endlessly. That’s the cause of all illness. If you limit yourself to your dream, your goal diminishes. You got to set a great goal first. And all you got to do after that is be sincere and diligent.” (217p In Search of a Dream) “Relax yourself! Relax your whole body and empty it out, then you’ll never sink.” (144p That Summer of Secrets)


What makes a person who they are? How the relationships be between parents and their children, teachers and students, neighbors, and friends? Which moments created you who you are today? How should you live your life at this moment? —Tear-flowering Boy lets the readers reflect and cherish their own stories. “What kind of adult has the child in you become?” asks Pyeong-i the boy, with a bright smile and glistening eyes. “I know it’s hard. I’ve cried a lot, too. But you have days yet to be lived of your own, surprises of the journey waiting for you. Those tears will become flowers, and your gaze will become a path.” (from the Author’s Note) Take a journey through the story of Pyeong-i, which will nurture mind and spirit after turning the last page.

Reference

Support from Slow walking

Author Bio 작가 소개

Translator`s Expectations 기대평

There are no expectations.

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