So called as the “Queen of the seasons,” Spring usually shows us wonderful sunshine and charming breeze. However, the day that I had an interview with Geuldasom, the campus literature club, was uncommonly gloomy. The coat that I just bought for a cool yet sunny day was not warm enough, and I started to feel blue, affected either by my expectation or by the unpleasant, gloomy weather. I instinctively forecasted that the interview with Geuldasom would be dull. However, I was totally wrong. If you also think that an article about the campus literature club will be boring, you will find that you are as wrong as I was while you are reading it.
As I opened the door of the club, I was surprised by an unusual sight. Too shy to be interviewed, most club members do not usually come to the office when there is an appointment. Accustomed to one-on-one interviews, I could not help but feel confused - and I hoped that I did not look so - to see far more interviewees than I had ever encountered at one time. The room was full of club members, but I carried only two cups of coffee in my hands. Kim Seung-heoi (Dept. of Business Administration, ’14), the manager of Geuldasom, jokingly said, “Most of them did not know that we were going to be interviewed. They just now got it,” Thankfully enough, all of the members in the office joined the interview, and eagerly shared their thoughts. That was when my first prejudice was dispelled. I had thought that people immersed in literature would be shy and tranquil. Then, I learned that those immersed in literature were active in sharing their thoughts and had a great sense of humor.
Geuldasom, the literature club, has been newly enlisted as the Central Club of the University of Seoul (UOS) this year. However, the club’s history goes back about 40 years. There was a Central Club at UOS called Cheongnyeon-munhakheoi (Youth Literature Club), but it lost its status as a Central Club in 2013. Even though the club lost its status, there were members who were still active. To rejuvenate the club, those members renamed it Geuldasom, meaning “love of literature,” in Spring2014. After putting much effort into their activities, Geuldasom was finally promoted to Central Club, and they continue their passion for literature.
There are 52 members in total, and about 30 members participate actively. The proportion of male and female members is 3 to 1. One of the members said, “This is a huge leap. Originally, we only had two girls,” and everyone in the room agreed with laughter. About 20 freshmen joined Geuldasom this year. The reasons for joining the club are all different, but Kim Gwang-ok (Dept. of Urban Sociology, ’13), the vice-chief of the club, adorably said, “I took tremendous comfort from literature when I was preparing for the college entrance exam. I wanted to continue to get that consolation.” As she said, those who are exhausted by the harsh realities of life might be looking for an escape route, and Geuldasom could be a healthy alternative.
Geuldasom is not just a passive reading club. They do all kinds of things that are related to literature. The main activity of Geuldasom is their Creative Writing Discussion. One or two members voluntarily share their work - poems, novels, or essays, form does not matter - and receive feedback from others. When asked if it is stressful, they replied that it makes them a little nervous, but it is a truly valuable experience, since it is difficult to find those who will treat their work earnestly. Besides, whether to share one’s own work is voluntary, not mandatory, so there is no need to feel pressure.
In addition to sharing their work among the insiders, Geuldasom share their writings with the outsiders. They publish their pieces regularly in Daehakmunhwa, the UOS student magazine. In 2014, they participated in the Sinchon Culture Festival as student authors and displayed their creations. Geuldasom also held their own literary awards for the first time last year, the Geuldasom Literature Award. The award was supported by UOS News, Jeonnong Broadcasting Station (JBS) and the Student Council of Dept. of Korean Language and Literature. The Judges were composed of professional writers who graduated from UOS and the winner got a prize in addition to putting his work on the UOS News. Lastly, to wrap up each year of activities, they annually publish an anthology of the works of all members.
Different from my expectation, the literature club Geuldasom was far from “blue.” There are plenty of charming, humorous people who can give positive inspirations. As I was also affected by their good energy, I decided to spend this Spring with books which can cheer me up like Geuldasom did. What about you?