I Will Live as an Actor

A moth.

Like a moth flying toward a dim light.

It was a failed life.

Of course, it could have been seen as a victorious journey from another person’s perspective.

Yet, if life’s balance was burdened with additional weight, it would inevitably struggle to maintain equilibrium, ultimately becoming twisted.

I was fittingly known as a country bumpkin, having grown up surrounded by the hearty accents and salty sea air of sailors of Yeongdo, an outskirt of Busan, the so-called second capital of South Korea.

“Ah, our Yeongguk has claimed first place again!”

My mother, who sold fish at the Namhang market, received my report card with her wrinkled hands.
Little did she know that her son was adept at lying and had been forging report cards to squander his allowance.

As a child, I felt embarrassed by my mother selling fish at the market and despised the lingering fishy odor on her hands.
I attempted to distance myself from it as if it reflected life’s lowest points.
Still, like my dark complexion, it eventually became an inseparable part of my existence.

“Yeongguk, would you like to help at the market?”

Even after closing her stall late into the evening, my mother never hesitated to prepare dinner.
She meticulously deboned thick mackerel and placed them in my bowl of rice.
Her heart ached to give everything to her only son, but at that time, I was too naive and clueless to grasp the depth of her love.

“I need to purchase some study materials.”

“How much do you need?”

“Ten thousand won.”

My mother took a crumpled ten-thousand-won bill from her pocket and handed it to me.
She gave away her entire day’s earnings without a hint of sadness.
Instead, her eyes brimmed with regret for not being able to provide more.

During middle school, my mother believed I excelled academically.
My forged report cards consistently ranked among the top of the school, raising her expectations.
But when I entered high school, her anticipation gradually morphed into disappointment.

Eventually, I began smoking and socializing with other delinquents.
Having squandered my school years in such a manner, all that remained was a college entrance exam score too shameful to reveal to others.
Would my guilt towards my mother have lessened if my entrance exam score had been satisfactory?

[Jang Yeongguk, applicant for the Department of Theatre and Film, Hanyeong University.]

In the first place, I never wanted to become an actor.
I simply completed the application form after seeing the glamorous lives of famous actors basking in the spotlight and living in opulent apartments with breathtaking views of the Han River.
Since the Department of Theatre and Film didn’t emphasize college entrance exam scores much, it was a viable option.
To my surprise, I uncovered a latent talent during the admission interview.

“Acting is an innate gift.
Although it can be developed, inherent talent is of utmost importance.
Today, we are here to assess the extent of Yeongguk’s capabilities.
Would you like to perform the lines and dialogue from the script?”

I glanced down at the script in response to Professor Noh’s question.
The role was that of a murderer, a cynical and thoroughly calculated psychopath who had no qualms about killing people as if it were as simple as having a meal.
It was the story of someone who had lived a life he had never truly experienced.
Despite the short lines, I unknowingly became one with the character as I read the script.


I wanted to become an actor, a famous one at that.
But, as time passed, I came to a realization.

My talent was as minuscule as a firefly’s light, and the world was filled with individuals who shone as brightly as the sun with their talents.
But I didn’t give up.
I was confident that I would do anything for success.
Even when I skipped meals and filled my stomach with tap water, I never left the theater.
Eventually, my once feeble talent ignited like a firefly’s glow.

Perhaps the heavens were on my side.
One day, I caught the eye of a famous producer and was offered a supporting role in a weekend drama.
But the drama failed due to the poor acting of the idol cast as the lead.

It was unheard of for a terrestrial weekend drama to record single-digit viewership ratings.
Fortunately, industry insiders who took notice of my acting led to

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