U.S. novelist and author Elizabeth Strout writes in “Olive Kitteridge,” “Big bursts are things like marriage or children, intimacies that keep you afloat, but these big bursts hold dangerous, uneven currents. Which is why you need the little bursts as well: a friendly clerk at Bradlee's, let's say, or the waitress at Dunkin' Donuts who knows how you like your coffee. Tricky business, really.”
A while ago, I happened to read a short story titled “A Little Burst” in this book again while organizing books on a bookshelf. I added new underlines to the book. Every time I read her novels, I discover new phrases. I love sentences that are both private and universal, which I find more often in “Olive Kitteridge” than in any other book that I have.
Transcribing sentences, I was reminded of “sohwakhaeng,” a Korean word which means “small but certain happiness.” I suppose that those who love this phrase might have applied lessons from her sentences to their life. Looking at Olive, a character who leads a normal but special life in the story, may give a lesson that it takes a bunch of skills to enjoy joys to the fullest. Small joys give us a sense of security but come in tranquility. As they sometimes are too trivial for us to notice, they require us to pay much care just as big joys come only when we should endure long years of hardships. Just as I underline books and fold the corner of a page, I may have to mark every special joy that arises every single day.
While modifying a short writing to improve on my sentences after I got a call, I recalled small joys that I wish not to miss from cats jumping on the knees at the right moment when I feel chills to the freshness of lemonade that is made of icy lemons that I grind on my own to well-maintained chin-up bars and two swings that I find in the playground in front of my new place. I’d rather try to hold images of triviality and peaceful calmness because big joys Seoul Marathon 2022 runs through downtown amid springthat rarely happen are bound to last long in my mind even if I try less hard.