An inconvenient life

A play by Ins Choi

I was at a really great little bookstore earlier called Theatre Books.  It was my first visit there. I went in specifically looking for Kim’s Convenience, a play by Ins Choi (no relation) that I’ve been wanting to see for a while now. It’s about a first generation Korean immigrant family living and running a convenience store in the heart of downtown Toronto.

My family did the same for thirty years. Our store was open 7-11, seven days a week.  My friends used to feel sorry for me because my family never ate meals together, and because my brothers and I were always working in the store. But that was the only life we knew growing up. The worst thing of all though was living with the constant threat of being robbed which happened so often, we lost count over the decades.

The book that I’m currently writing is also set in and around a family-owned variety store. Mary, my protagonist, is a Korean-Canadian immigrant who struggles to break free from the rigid expectations imposed on her by her parents and her culture.

The single story

Chimamanda Adichie is a novelist originally from Kenya. In this clip, she talks about the danger of listening to a single story about a culture or a country, and about how she found her authentic voice.

Does it even need a name?

Just added some background information about the book that I’m writing. The convenience store in my story remains nameless. I often struggle with names and sometimes even dread having to name a character. Like many writers, I often look up names to see if their meanings match the characters I’m creating. The other challenge is knowing people with the names I want to use in a story.  I still need to overcome my fear of offending readers – although I’ve come a long way since I first started writing. Writing, even fiction, requires courage sometimes.

I’m wondering if the store in my book needs a name or if it should remain nameless, a generic random store in the heart of Toronto to represent the hundreds of other convenience stores all over the city. Thoughts?