There is a permanence that settles into written words. Like a surrendering of thought, a writer subjects herself to questioning, misunderstanding, and definition. However, hesitancy can be an even more dangerous restraint: a constant cycle of thinking and rethinking until either emotion provokes the explosive expression or logic suppresses unborn thoughts.


There are not enough words to perfectly transcribe the thoughts in our heads. That doesn’t mean that we should keep silent. It means exactly the opposite, that we must practice our use of these words. We must study and experiment the ways in which different combinations result in more accurate representations of thought. To be a true wordsmith we must master the arrangement of words such that they not only verbalize profound thought but more curiously evoke within a reader deep emotions that resonate with truth.

Tablo’s “BLONOTE” has made me appreciate every word for its nuanced definition. Placed in the right spot and with the most suitable neighbors, each word plays an important role in forming articulations of both obvious notions as well as insightful revelations. Most of the resulting declarations that Tablo makes are not mind blowing in content but by the way in which he chooses to craft his language. It forces you to think, have that “Aha!” moment, and let linger a trail of after thought.

twenty two and inspired to write (like Tablo)

늙었다는 생각만 한다.

뚜렷하게 기억하는게 별로 없지만 뭔가 그립다.

배운것도 많았을텐데 아직도 왜 빈 말만 하게 되는건가?

어른이 되는게 별로 신나지 않다. 두려우기 시작했다.

아이들이 노는 모습, 웃는 소리, 엉뚱하게 뛰면서도 가볍게 음직이는게 한때 생각하지않았던 이재야 부러운것들이다.

22살 부터 사람은 이런건가? 생일 마다 일년이 벌써 흐른 경험들이 과거에 갇혀 있다는 사실을 새롭게 배우는것같다.

하지만 난 다르게 살고 싶다.

I’m not sure why writing in Korean helped me choose my words more easily. Perhaps it is because of my limited Korean vocabulary that I had a less difficult time knowing which words to use, meaning that for all of the statements above, there could have been a better way to express my thoughts. It is definite that I could not help but feel that I’d rather use the right words from a still unfamiliar language than use incorrect words from a language I know so well. For now, I guess, I need to embrace my limitations.


Thoughts that I am old are the only ones that I have.
Though there isn’t anything I remember clearly, I do miss something.
I must have learned a lot but why can I only express empty words?
Becoming an adult is not exciting. I have begun to fear it.
The way that children play, their laughter, and the seemingly light way that they run around silly–all of which we once barely noticed–are now what we envy.
At 22 are all people like this? Every birthday, it seems, we discover–as if for the first time–that one year left us with experiences that are now trapped in the past.
However, I want to live differently.

Even though the original words were mine, the fact that they’re thoughts I feel are best expressed in Korean makes awkward and unpleasant the act of translation. I fear that rewriting my work from Korean to English is equivalent to the loss of many emotions and thoughts. It is a curious thing that I am struggling to express myself using my native language, English, and that I depend on Korean for a more effective anchoring of what is floating in my mind.

I think that when one language does not have the specific capacity of expression, we should turn to another. Language is not just a set of words applied to grammatical rules, but the cultural implications of one’s decisive arrangement of sentences in relation to these rules. Borrowing words and phrases from another language can help break down the walls we build up due to our inabilities to express. So in ways I feel that I’ll find myself turning to Korean (and maybe even Spanish) to fill the gaps in my thought that English cannot. This is the privilege of knowing more than one language: a greater freedom of expression.

M.J. : 03/06/2017


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