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Story of 12 people who were invited to ‘start a solitary death’

Story of 12 people who were invited to ‘start a solitary death’

Posted June. 17, 2022 07:45,   

Updated June. 17, 2022 07:45


In the novel ‘The Workshop on the Solitary Death,’ which was published by Mineumsa on June 3, the 12 characters receive an invitation from the sender, “Midnight Laundromat” that reads, “Do you want to start dying alone from today?” Those who are invited, such as Song Young-dal, who lives with suppressed instincts after stabbing a friend in the eye with a pencil when he was in school, and Kang Jae-ho, who has become a burden on his parents by not being successful at passing a civil service exam for a prolonged period of time, take comfort from others who attend in the online workshop.

In a phone call with this newspaper on Thursday, the book’s author Park Ji-young (48, photo) said, "As a freelancer, I've been thinking a lot about 'connection,' because I don't belong anywhere. The elderly population, who are at risk of dying alone, are cared for by the state, but the younger population who are isolated without affiliation are in a blind spot without care. My story started from the imagination of ‘what if there was a space where these people were connected to each other’.”

The workshop highlights that, “Engaging in something trivial three times a day is how you will enjoy becoming more insignificant every day.” The workshop participants do and share meaningless acts every day, including writing up what are underlined in the books in the library onto post-it notes, creating one joke a day, etc. The point of this workshop is not to carry out trifling chores itself, but to recognize that there is someone watching what you are doing.

“People who live alone without belonging to anywhere forget to take care of themselves at some point,” Park said. “By engaging in the solitude of others, I wanted them to understand that they have the power to care for other lives.”

The author held a workshop on her own on the solitary death as well. The ‘petty things’ she undertook was to draw hashtags out of three things that happened during the day. She wrote up something by linking to the hashtags.

All humans are bound to be lonely, but it is important to nurture solitude well. Why not start your own solitary death workshop today?”

Jae-Hee Kim jetti@donga.com