Books by faculty and students: Laura Bae (12)

Vivien Sweet, Staff Writer

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“It starts off young; you start reading books when you’re in elementary school and something is going to click,” Laura Bae (12) said. “I was writing short stories by the time I was six.”

Over a decade later, Bae’s writing career transformed from writing casual prose to finishing a fullyfledged novel, “Parlor,” named after her favorite word in the book.

The plot follows Justin Nakamur, a naive Japanese American man fresh out of college, who moves into the outlandish apartment of an eccentric old woman back in his hometown where his parents reside. Bae said his adventures answer the question of “What happens after college when you have no idea what you want to do, but fate keeps forcing your problems your way?”

While drawing up the storylines and characters for “Parlor,” Bae drew inspiration from reading young adult fantasy novels and her classmates’ work in English. However, it was Japanese classical artist Yasunari Kawabata’s work that struck a chord within her, she said, as he had published multiple books reflective on his own life.

“I took a leaf out of his book, and I used the whole ‘the world does things against your will’ idea but with a more optimistic outlook,” Bae said. Once she had started her writing process, the central plot emerged quickly, and Bae added 65,000 words between June of 2018 and January of 2019. Bae also attends a writing circle in New Jersey where everyone shares short stories and receives feedback on their work.

Since then, Bae has sent her manuscript to her sister’s college-graduate friends who had majored in English to help work out the kinks in the narrative and add nuance to the characters, she said.

Although she hasn’t yet published “Parlor”, Bae already started to write the next installment of her characters’ lives and the overarching storyline. Since she’s always enjoyed writing, Bae plans on having a side career as an author in the future, she said.