Dear my visitors: Subliminally, I’ve been chasing the illusions of peace and beauty in all seasons of my life. Miraculously, I’m given a bouquet of poems, prose, a novel (Nayoung’s Journey), images and poem videos. The following are the links to the literary magazines that have published some of my works, as well as my YouTube videos. As a bilingual writer, my book in Korean, "천송이 목련화 (A Thousand Magnolias)," which is a collection of poems, stories, and images, has been published as of May 25, 2022.Thank you so much and the very best to you all! Therese
With my warmest wishes to you, I’d like to present a poem remembering the forgotten in the season of celebration.
Dear my visitors: With my warmest greetings to you, I thank you for your browsing by today. It feels like an infinity since I posted an article on this Preamble page and I hope you’ve been safe and secure despite how the world has turned around with so many tragic surprises. It is the reason I’m presenting this article, to share with you a sense of peace with my tree yoga, together with some images inspired by the grace and resilience of all the trees I’ve passed by, especially the oak I hugged recently. Thank you again for your visit and I wish you the very best in your continuing journey for peace and happiness!
My Tree Yoga (In Search of a Sense of Peace)
Another summer was leaving, leaving indelible footprints of chaos from earthquakes, hurricanes, wildfires, floods, draughts, famine, political and ethnic conflicts, not to mention the biblical number of deaths around the world from the Covid-19 pandemic metamorphosing into a Delta variant. In tandem with these tragedies, my sleep disorder and anxiety over everything was turning me into a phantom of self of sort. Then one day, as if the weather was sickened by its own violence, it turned toasty sunny, turning the sky azure blue. It was this pleasant surprise that made me want to make a long-awaited visit to the park and shake off all my despair and concerns while walking around without a mask. Thinking the weather could turn erratic again as suddenly as it had turned heavenly, I wanted to take pictures of my visit, me in it, as a souvenir for my wintry days. As I am still a stranger to the world of selfies for a reason or two, I decided to call up a talented young photo-artist I knew, who works in a café for living as an accomplished African dancer besides her photography. I asked if she would visit the park with me come Sunday and take a few snapshots of me. Her answer was prompt and delightful.
Because of the subway delay, by the time we entered the Southern edge of the park it was already 4:45pm. As we walked briefly marveling about the pleasant weather, I could see from a distance a large crowd of park visitors strolling around the meadow I had planned to be. As we stood in the quiet grove of tall trees, I heard my photo artist saying, “It’s nice and peaceful here!” “Alright, Ashinique, if you think so,” I said and took out the camera from my purse. “Here let me give you my old camera. The video part is broken but takes stills and quite simple to use,” I said and took off my mask. “Wow, it looks so small and handy,” said my photo-artist holding the camera that snug into her hand like a glove. I took a few steps looking around a sunnier spot in the grove when I found myself facing a tall and handsome oak tree.
I didn’t know what came over me, but I felt like hugging the oak that was slim enough to put my arms around. I had passed thousands of trees in my life, even wrote a poem, “Ode to the Oak,” about a very old oak but hugging a tree had never crossed my mind. And here I was already putting my arms around the young oak. Realizing what I was doing, I felt confused, tinged with guilt, nearly breaking into tears that I would have missed a chance to hug a tree forever if it were not this oak standing in front of me. At the same time, I felt embarrassed for my flabby old arms embracing without its permission. But then I got boulder and gave a firmer grip around the trunk and leaned my saggy cheek on it, partly draped by my weepy white tresses. It was that very moment when I felt a cool and warm sensation on my skin touching the bark as if the oak was reacting to me with its tenderness embracing my embrace like a long-lost friend, and we connected.
I felt like weeping with joy in my weepy-white tresses, but then I wondered how many trees like my oak must have perished from the forest fires around the world, not to mention the countless animals living with trees as their protectors and shelter. Although my oak was young and alive, it also had been suffering from the ravages of the warming climate just as much as we humans were, and it was persevering with courage and endurance no less than us, in their noble silence. I felt like weeping from the irony we shared, from the unknown futures we faced together in our continuing struggle. With this realization, my despair, fear, and anxiety that had been pestering me for years seemed to be fluttering away like a butterfly, as if a new dawn was breaking in the calm of the morning. In that harmony with nature, came a sense of peace I had not known before.
Before I knew I started to dance around the oak, pirouetting from one tree to another, giggling and laughing like a child, even forgetting that there was my photo-artist snapping pictures somewhere around my periphery, until I heard her giggle holding my camera in her hand. In that moment of exultation, I tiptoed and stretched my neck toward the infinite height of the young oak and opened my arms wide and swung them around feigning I were a dancer in her trance. Feeling a new sense of incredible wellbeing, I turned round and stood with my back against the oak and gently bent my knees. I then slowly, ever slowly, started to curve my back backward, so far down to the thump of the tree—one of exercises I used to do in NY Sports Club until two years ago under the unblinking eyes of the surveillance cameras watching every move. I slowly straightened myself up before feeling a pinch on my back, letting out a scream of joy that I was still able to do my coveted exercise, and that with my oak! In that excitement I stretched my arms far and wide again and flailed them around as if I were a tree swaying in the wind. Thus was born my “tree yoga” there and then!
Some three hours later after taking Ashinique to Au Bon Pain outside the park, where we enjoyed warm cups of tea with honey and some pastries, chatting about a good time we had had in the park, I got a chance to sit down at home and plug in the memory card on my laptop. To my pleasant surprise, there were a few photos that looked rather interesting, in my personal opinion. I was surprised how my photo-artist was able to take those still pictures despite my constant movements. Although there was no audio sound, I almost could hear myself giggling, hissing, and screaming like a spirited free soul doing her “tree yoga.” There was one photo in which the lovely hazy sun is peering at me through the oak, creating one lovely image of the three of us—the sun, the oak, and me—sharing one sublime universe together. It was the photo which gave me a new sense of peace, just like the moment I was hugging the oak, which is a perfect souvenir for me to cherish for my wintry days, or for any days to come! "Warmest, Therese"
"Therese Young Kim Tree Yoga In Search of a Sense of Peace."
"Credit for the images of My Tree Yoga: Ashinique Spivey"
Dear Reader; hello and welcome to Your Sentimental Stranger!
First let me briefly introduce myself as a naturalized U.S. citizen, who came to America after studying English and literature in Kyung Hee University in Seoul, Korea, and worked as a free-lance interpreter for 25 years mostly in the New York State and Federal court system and at international conferences. In my continued pursuit of writing, I attended literary conferences at the 2010 Juniper Summer Writing Institute of the University of Massachusetts, and the 2011 Wesleyan Writers Conference.
As a bilingual writer, a short story in Korean (translation: Lady in White Mink) was published as a finalist in Jigumunhak (Global Literature), and a number of poems and a story were published in Munyesajo (Literary Movement and Trend) in Seoul, Korea. Essays and poems were also published in New York Munhak (Korean Literature of New York) and in the literary column of The Korea Times New York.
As for stories in English in the U.S., "A Certain Story of War" was published in Infinity Literary Magazine, Issue 25, and "To Be Beautiful Again" appeared in ROSEBUD Literary Magazine, Issue 40. Part of the novel, NAYOUNG'S JOURNEY, originally called, Oriental Woman, was selected for the final round reading of 39 manuscripts out of 646 entrants in the 2003 James Jones First Novel Fellowship Contest. It was also one of the semi-finalists under a title, The Journey of an Oriental Woman, in the 2005 Lewis-Clark Discovery Award.
Living at the crossroads of a multi-cultural backdrop, I take great pleasure exploring our bustling city with great parks, glimpsing at the beauty and humanity crisscrossing through all seasons of life. Sometimes I retrace fond memories in the deep recesses of a time gone. These are the memories that come around in their soft hue, offering me the reason to cherish my dreams beyond time and space.
One late summer, I strolled by the Hudson River in the glow of a pink twilight. Bathed in that light, two birds kept flying above me, gently circling each other, dipping up and down, as if they were in a ritual of their aerial courtship. In that magical moment, I started to click on my old analogue camera, only to find the shutter getting stuck, which was the end of my camera. Expired as it may, it left me some lovely pictures that are beautifully laid out and sprinkled throughout this website, thanks to the outstanding Earthlink Web Design Service, especially the one with the sky split in two color tones, as if dawn and dusk had manifested themselves in the picture, with a bird traversing them. How it ever happened remains a mystery to this amateur photographer. But I'm delighted to share them with you, together with my poems and stories.
Thank you so much and a magnificent journey to you!
Nearly three months have passed since Your Sentimental Stranger was launched in the Web. I’m deeply grateful to everyone who has visited my humble site. Thank you so very much!
Here I’d like to inform you about the great news that came about rather recently ― our beloved world-class literary magazine, ROSEBUD, contacted this writer, confirming that they’d like to publish the story, “Behind the Blind,” in their 2015 Spring edition #59.
Incidentally, the piece happens to be in this website in PROSE page, and, you may also notice that “To Be Beautiful Again” had once appeared in ROSEBUD #40. Thank you so much ROSEBUD for this honor!
You may also find that I added a couple of new poems in the POETRY page, as well as three more photographs from my now extinct camera, one of which appears in this page.
Thank you so much again for your kind attention, and the warmest winter wishes to you for your healthy and peaceful Holiday Season!
A very warm hello to you after a long and severe winter, now spring moving in with us, and thank you so much for visiting Your Sentimental Stranger in such a number far exceeding my dream.
In gratitude, I’d like to take you to a bygone era in ancient Korea, where some precious artifacts and legends were born, such as stone lamps and Kisaeng girls. The former appears in my poem with pictures in Prelude, the latter in Nayoung’s Journey with Author’s Note and images, one of which appears below. I hope you’ll enjoy this brief interlude.
I’m also quite pleased to inform you that my short piece, Behind the Blinds in Prose is being published in ROSEBUD MAGAZINE #59 (www.rsbd.net) this spring. It’s my second piece being published by the magazine following To Be Beautiful Again, which was published several years ago. Thank you so much for such an honor, dear ROSEBUD!
Incidentally, I posted another story, Peony Love, with a very lovely picture of a robin in the park. This picture was also taken with now extinct analogue camera, which caught sight of a lone robin just before, I think, he is about to give another peck into the ground, although he looks quite satiated. Also posted is the second chapter, The Purple Night, another excerpt from NAYOUNG’S JOURNEY, followed by Author’s Note about Kisaeng girls with images.
My readers; thank you so much for your time and I wish you the best of the warmer season in excellent health and peace!
A pleasant hello to you this lovely summer evening!
It’s been nearly half a year since I wrote to you. How time rushes by, turning one moment’s episode into a memory, only to be eclipsed by the next in such an alarming succession! So many tragic tales seem to have washed ashore in the digital wave and still unfolding; however, there were also tales of incredible human spirit of courage and goodness as well.
As you may notice, I’ve posted some new texts and images, in which I’d like to highlight a poem, Katrina’s Child, in the Poetry Page, in remembrance of the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Quite a meagre one, but humbly, I’d like to dedicate the poem to the hungry and displaced people around the world, especially the children.
I believe that each day we wake up to its unique color, sound, image or smell. But in my personal level, I’d like to remember this summer as the time when my beloved Umma (Mama) had passed away 30 years ago, leaving me her incredibly soft and warm hand in my grasp, which has been burning like eternal candlelight in my memory.
Last but not least, it’s been a year since my website, Your Sentimental Stranger, was launched, and I extend my special thanks to Earthlink Web Maintenance and other talented members for their wonderful services.
Dear Readers, thank you so much for your visit and I hope you enjoy occasional moments of quiet pleasure as well as the flowers of life plucked from my little garden of writing.
Again, thank you so very much and I wish you a glorious season in excellent health and peace!
"It is a cool, crisp Fall/Winter day, with the North Star shining so brightly in the night sky, twinkling like a tiny spark, lighting the path to an old/new reality. Here I stand, wrapped in the peaceful silence of the moment, blanketed by that deep, wonderful feeling of being protected and loved, much like the way a baby or a young child feels when cradled in his/her Mother's or Father's arms." From "A Christmas Reflection - JUST BE" Written by Leanore T. Anastasio. December 2017
From the Poetry Project c/o St. Mark's Church open reading, November 30, 2015, New York City. Poems were written and read by Therese Young Kim. Video recording by: Nadine Matthews Copyright by Therese Young Kim
Kisaeng Girl in Outdoor Hat Courtesy of Hyunam Publishing Co. See NAYOUNG’S JOURNEY
Dear Readers, your questions or comments posted here will be kindly honored.