Category Archives: Asian-American Identity and Diaspora

“Once I Wed a White Woman” in Sundog Lit 7

Issue 7 of Sundog Lit has gone live and includes a small short story of mine, ‘Once I Wed a White Woman.’ I am very fond of this story. It was one of the first times I wrote with an explicitly Buddhist theme, and one of those stories that came suddenly, the first draft in a single sitting. I didn’t even know or expect the ending, but it couldn’t have ended any other way.

Deep thanks to editor Justin L Daugherty for including this piece in the issue. I’m happy this is a piece I can share widely.

The Autumn Stories

This fall, as I’m preparing for the first residency at Queens, I’m lucky enough to see two of my stories published. First, “Asylum” appears in Connotation Press which you can find by clicking the link. This was my first real attempt at “literary fiction,” so I’m glad that it can find an audience. The story involves a groundskeeper in an elephant sanctuary.

Next is “The Golden Turtle God” which appears in the Fall 2012 issue of The Kartika Review. You can read it online at the link, or even buy it in print! I have to say it’s a little surreal to see my name and my words in print. A beautiful feeling, really. Hopefully, there’s a lot more of that to come.

Also, I love the gorgeous cover art. 🙂

The downside is that, with three publications, a good chunk of the work I’ve prepared for my Queens residency can be shelved (at least until later). I really only have enough work for this first semester, which means the writing process is going to be hell soon.

Acceptance to the Kartika Review!

I’ve another short story accepted for publication, this time to The Kartika Review. Very rarely do I ever write anything that stems from being Asian-American. I’ve actually taken great strides to distance myself from that identity. I want to be known for writing great stories, not for writing great Asian stories. I think Nam Le sums up how I feel on the matter best:

My relationship with Vietnam is complex. For a long time I vowed I wouldn’t fall into writing ethnic stories, immigrant stories, etc. Then I realized that not only was I working against these expectations (market, self, literary, cultural), I was working against my kneejerk resistance to such expectations. How I see it now is no matter what or where I write about, I feel a responsibility to the subject matter. Not so much to get it right as to do it justice. Having personal history with a subject only complicates this — but not always, nor necessarily, in bad ways. I don’t completely understand my relationship to Vietnam as a writer.

Hoan Kiem Lake’s giant turtle

I wrote this story after my girlfriend and I broke up (right around the time this blog was started). I was fairly distraught over the idea of suddenly being alone again and needed to write out my grief, sense of loss, and abrupt solitude. I didn’t want to do a break-up/divorce story (I seem to do those best when I’m not feeling like that). Somehow, the news article I read about a giant turtle from Vietnamese legend being discovered sick came into my mind and provided the backdrop for this story. I found myself writing about Vietnam for the first time in my life, but there was enough distance (and subtle amounts of fantasy) that I could do it without necessarily being very personal about the whole process.

The Kartika Review is a journal with a themed focus on the experience of Asian-American diaspora. Honestly, I could never write about my experience with that diaspora. It almost seems like whining. But I’m proud of what this story – originally very cathartic, raw, and super cheesy – has turned into. I’m happy and extraordinarily grateful to have it face the publicAfter, of course, the editor takes a knife to it. 🙂