First Language(s): Korean
Second Language(s): English, Spanish, Swahili
Melanie Han is an avid traveler and a poet. Born in Korea, she grew up in East Africa, and is currently pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing in Boston. She won a Boston in 100 Words award, and her poetry has appeared in numerous journals and magazines, such as Fathom and Among Worlds.
What was your favorite book as a child?
I was always a very imaginative kid, and loved folklore and fairy tales. My favorite book growing up was an abridged and translated (into Korean) version of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Complete Fairy Tales". These short stories took me to faraway lands and introduced me to new friends. One of my favorite memories as a teenager was being able to read that book in English after I'd been studying the language at school for several years — it felt like such an accomplishment to me at the time.
Do you remember the original reason or motivation why you started writing creatively?
Because I grew up in a foreign country as a TCK (Third Culture Kid), I always felt different. I was Korean, but I was living in East Africa, and attending a school that was predominantly white. Any time I felt out of place, I started recording those incidents in my diary, which eventually turned into poetry.
What was the most adventurous or thrilling thing you ever did/experienced?
I think most of my adventurous experiences have all come from traveling. When I was in college, I decided to see more of the world, and since then, I've had the opportunity to visit 60+ countries and almost all 50 U.S. states (only 3 more to go!). I guess a few of my top thrilling moments include skydiving in New Zealand, camel trekking in the Sahara Desert, and bungee jumping in the Andes Mountains. Traveling gives me inspiration to write!
Do you listen to music while reading or writing?
I rarely listen to music when I read or write because I find it distracting. Every now and then, I'll turn on instrumentals, but I've realized that songs with lyrics make it hard for me to focus on my own voice. Song lyrics are stories and poetry, so I get too drawn into the singers' or songwriters' stories when I'm trying to do my own reading or writing.
My Dear Yeast
Issue Fall '20