Bluebird Interview


She was born when Saturn and Uranus were housed in the Aquarius. That says pretty much about her. The Aquarian are known for their independent spirits, compassionate and caring nature, and unquenchable wants of knowledge, all enveloped in mysterious estrangement even among the crowds. Yet, Stephanie, the writer and the editor of her two-year old Web log, “The Stylus,” (formally known as “Offbeat) is generally quite approachable and genial although she is never too loquacious at a first meeting. In fact, you might find her quite interesting to talk to, especially when you strike up a conversation with her about books written by classical writers or about history, dogs, or cultures. And if any of these appertains to one of her writings published on her digital log, “The Stylus,” you will see her soul being elevated to the ether with her eyes sparkling like stars on the Persian night sky. On Monday morning at a cozy cafe in Avonlea, Bluebird had the pleasure sitting down  with a cup of warm hazelnut coffee to talk with her about her blog, from the inception, the purpose, and the future thereof.

BD: Hi, Stephanie. As Oscar Wilde has said that a woman who would reveal her age would tell anything about her, I won’t ask you how old you are because I suspect that you will not anyhow.

Stephanie: I appreciate your judiciousness. (Smile) And yes, you are right in saying that I won’t tell you my age. (Smile) But I am neither teen-aged nor maturely aged, single, like one of those 10 vestals in the ancient Roman Empire. (Smile)

BD: Okay, then let’s start talk about your Web log. What was the idea behind the creation of this log of yours? Did it occur to you all of sudden that you wanted to have yours like everyone else?

Stephanie: Well, I first started thinking about having my writing log about 2 years ago. I had always wanted to write things about what I liked and to convey it in written letters because I think writing revels one’s soul in his/her genuine self without worrying about the physical appearance and how to present the self externally in public. In that regard, writing is non-discriminating of all social and biological differences. And I always thought that in people’s writings I could see the intelligence and nature of the writers because people would tell about their innermost feelings by means of writing rather than by speaking, which I think, sometimes seems a bit pompous and artful.

BD: So, is this why you came to create your blog to write about what you think and feel that cannot be shared by speaking in public?


Stephanie: Partly so. And partly it’s because writing seems easier to communicate than speaking, which requires of me instantaneous faculty with dialogue that necessitates breaking from shyness. You see, English is not my mother tongue. Being a native Korean, the language differences between the two languages are as wide and deep as the Pacific Ocean: The English belongs to the Indo-European lingual family, while the Korean to the Ural-Altai to which the Japanese, the Turkish, the Finnish, and the Hungarian also belong. The syntax and the grammar are of course very different. So, it will be much different from, say, someone from any Western European country speaking and writing English because Western European languages belong to the same family as the English. Nevertheless, I want to break from such syntactical, grammatical, and literary inhibitions to craft the art of writing, just as Jack Kerouac felt the same about it.

BD: That’s a sublime motivation to create your blog. Then how about the name of your blog? It has recently gone through some changes…

Stephanie: Yes, indeed. But for the good reasons. First, it was started as “Offbeat” because one of the teachers at the language school I currently work at told me that my blog seemed to carry this offbeat vibes, a sort of New York feel, the independence, the avant-garde spirit that knew no boundary of subject matters of writing. So I thought it was a cool name for my blog and kept it until the last week. But suddenly I came to think that it needed name changing just for a change of scenery; you know the kind of moment when you want to reinvent your image with a new haircut.

BD: Okay, Stephanie. By the way, what are your readers like? Do you have many followers?


Stephanie: To be honest with you, I am more concerned about the qualitative likes I get for what I write from fellow bloggers who also love writing and publish qualitative posts by which I mean the writings, such as musings, creative stories, poems, and/or book reviews. The reason I say this is that recently there has been someone who creates several unsolicited blogs that only contain commercial stuff, copied works of others, or nothing just to get to my blog. And I tell you that I only appreciate the likes from those qualitative bloggers. And I also tell you that I don’t appreciate those of illegitimate ones’ likes. How do I know they are illegitimate? Well, can you like my writing as soon as I publish? That means that person does not bother to read my writing, which I take it as an offense.

BD: Who is that one plaguing your blog with empty likes? Have you done something about it?

Stephanie: First, that one appeared in my spam comment section. He said he liked my blog and asked for some advice of writing. I think I was too naive to even reply to him, thinking that he was going to have his meaningful blog filled with writings, but no… I should have never done that…. This is my character flaw; that I bring trouble and pain on myself through pity and compassion… In that respect, I sympathize with Katherine Cookson, who said the same thing in her memoir Before I go, about which I have also written.

BD: You must be really frustrated with that person… Sorry to hear that.

betty beaver

Stephanie: I even contacted an engineer at wordpress. about this issue in effort of stopping him from visiting my blog, but was told that because it’s in a public domain, there’s no way I could do that… And you know it’s really disheartening to see it happening in my blog because it is a sheer form of sabotage to my blog because my blog is not an object of popularity… Although my current followers are 52, what I care about is my works being duly appreciated by fellow writers, amateur or professional. Nevertheless, I don’t want to canvass for liking my writings. It’s just not me. But if you like any of my writings in terms of the contents regardless of any grammatical errors, that makes me feel fulfilled. And any comment is always welcome.

Don’t be shy to comment on any of my posts because I am a human being, too! (Smile)

BD: Stephanie, I understand how you care about your blog and your love of writing in this interview. Any word to your readers?

Stephanie: I just want my readers to know that I write because I like to portray what I feel about things in my heart in poetry and what I think about books I read in my mind in belief that taste and reason is universal in all human creatures regarding principles of judgment and of sentiment common to all mankind, as Edmund Burke averred in his essay On Taste. So Many Thanks to You, Dear Readers with My Whole Heart.

BD: Thank you, Stephanie. I hope your writings will have a wide range of loyal noble readership.

Stephanie: Thanks! Have a lovely day!




The Alpine Path by L.M. Montgomery

The Alpine Path: The Story of My CareerThe Alpine Path: The Story of My Career by L.M. Montgomery

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As one of millions of readers in the world who have loved Canada’s most famous red-haired Anne of Green Gables in books, films, and animation, I have always admired Anne’s creator, Lucy Maud Montgomery’s choice of words and illustrative descriptions of characters, things, and situations that make the story at once vivaciously realistic and fantastically romantic. Naturally, when I came across this book, I knew I had to read it with a heart to find out more about her life written by herself.

The Alpine Path is her autobiography, originally published as a series of essays in the Toronto magazine Everywoman’s World in 1917 at the request of its editor to write about her writing career. Montgomery found it odd because she did not think it as a “career” but something of a niche where she would always find comfort, happiness, and life itself abounded with the memories of beautiful Prince Edward Island whose chaste and restive loveliness was unsurpassed. Added to her natural affinity for words was her incessant diligence in practicing writing on a daily basis. Her topics of writing ranged from scribbling her thoughts and feelings to biographic accounts of her cats and critical book reviews.

Of all her fortes that enabled her to arrive as a writer, it was her indefatigable will combined with commendable perseverance and brilliant imaginativeness, all grouping around her indomitable aspiration to become a writer, as discerned in her narrative. Montgomery believed in herself and struggled in secrecy and silence by making writing activities strictly private because deep down, under all rejections, discouragement, and rebuff, she knew she would arrive as a writer someday.

What makes Montgomery’s books entertaining and approachable to readers of all ages are her ideas of a good story that consists of the following components: (1) absence of a moral undertone in a story lest it should be a didactic textbook or a fable devoid of literary merits and entertaining quality because literature should be “art for art’s sake and fun for fun’s sake”; and (2) use of imagination, which is a powerful tool to create a world of make-believe, based upon studying people and observing scenery in life to render realistic feelings to the imaginary world of fiction. To Montgomery, making use of the real to perfect the ideal is what gives to art its true meaning.

To illustrate, the famous liniment cake episode that happened when Anne made the selfsame cake by accident for the parson and his wife was based upon her own experience as a school teacher in Bideford boarding at the Methodist parsonage there; the parson’s wife mistakenly put liniment in a cake, but only the parson himself did not recognize it. Also, while working as a reporter for The Daily Echo in Halifax, she was often asked to write up a society letter when it was not sent by the requested lady of high society. Montgomery used her wide scope of imagination by writing such a letter as if she were the lady of high society, which gained popularity from readers.

As Benjamin Franklin once said, “Heaven helps those who help themselves,” Montgomery’s unyielding will and diligent practice of writing every day were the sine qua non of her meet reward as a successful writer. This charming autobiography is a must-read for not only fans of her books but also those who love writing and cherish in secret the thought of becoming writers. Furthermore, those who are struggling to rise above the planes of biological, psychological, or sociological inhibition through what means they deem inspirational and meaningful to achieve will find a kindred spirit in this book. Montgomery encourages her readers to climb up the alpine path so steep, so hard that it will eventually lead to the height sublime as she once did.