Author Linda Sue Park visited and spoke to our school yesterday. Her appealing sense of humor and story-telling engaged her mostly young audience and me.
I like the story Park tells of the Korean fortune telling ritual. It takes place during a baby’s first birthday. I’ll do my best to paraphrase:
The baby sits on a table and placed before the baby are several objects: a pen, a book, a bowl of rice, a spool of thread, money, a plate of cakes.
If the baby chooses the pen, he or she will be a writer; the book, a teacher. The bowl of rice, and he or she will never want for food; the spool of thread, a long life. Money, and he or she will be rich.
The plate of cakes? Park pauses.
The baby will grow up to be lazy and never prosper! (I gasp.)
Who knows whether or not these fortunes are true?
I can tell you that my brother chose the money. He is a plastic surgeon in New York. Plastic surgeons make a lot of money! Here is the picture to prove it. A picture of Park and her brother as children appears on the screen. He’s holding the money in a chubby raised fist. Aren’t I adorable?! Park jests. Laughter erupts from the audience.
What do you think I chose? The PEN! we cheer.
The pen! That is what my mother says. She says, Linda, I always knew you’d be a writer. But! the author shrieks, there is no picture to prove it! She shakes her head solemnly and sighs, we will never know for sure.
You are probably wondering if a baby ever chooses the plate of cakes? Park has wooed her audience. We are all wondering.
As if revealing a secret, she comes closer and leans in. It’s out of reach. It’s out of sight. The parents always hide the plate of cakes!