Online & Anthologies
In Boston, I was immersed in queer and immigrant communities that nourished and sustained me. In South Dakota, all I had was this book.
The newest addition to Red Hen’s Anthology Series, Two-Countries: U.S. Daughters and Sons of Immigrant Parents is an anthology of flash memoir, personal essays and poetry edited by the adult child of an immigrant born and raised in the US. The collection contains contributions from sixty-five writers who were either born and/or raised in the US by one or more immigrant parent. Their work describes the many contradictions, discoveries and life lessons one experiences when one is neither seen as fully American nor fully foreign. Contributors include Richard Blanco, Tina Chang, Joseph Lagaspi, Li-Young Lee, Timothy Liu, Naomi Shihab Nye, Oliver de la Paz, Ira Sukrungruang, Ocean Vuong and many other talented writers from throughout the US.
“My love affair with women started when I learned about the female suicide bombers in Sri Lanka. I was five. It blew my mind that women—the make-upped, dark-eyed beauty queens of Bollywood movies—could be dangerous enough to strap on explosives under the folds of their sarees.”
“This is a rage we’ve all inherited, folded up in the pleats of cotton sarees, transmuted from the heads of our mothers at the same time they scolded us for not knowing how to cook daal, and how will we keep a man happy? We learn our anger through osmosis, or maybe it’s in the breast milk, spreading through our veins long before we learn how to look only at the floor and walk without showing our ankles.”
“My plan was to book a flight on my credit card. I would take a cab to the airport, arrive in a Midwestern town, rent a car, and drive to a gun shop. I’d buy a gun — a small, reliable pistol — and drive out into a cornfield.”
“My anger has fragmented these stories. Perhaps it’s because anger is not sustainable as an emotion. I could write only little bits and pieces at a time, couldn’t make myself stay in the trance for more than an hour. Almost all of the little fragments in both stories were written at different times, sometimes years apart, and then put together into a coherent whole.”
In Conversation: Writers SJ Sindu & Gabrielle Bellot on the Publishing Industry, Marginalized Identities, and Being Labeled a Queer Writer
“The art, and only the art, must exist for me in that mind-space. Nothing else. And at the same time, I know that my mindspace, which was constructed by the lived realities of my life (including my identity as a transnational queer writer of color), will inevitably slant my writing.”
“If you’re a South Asian writer who wants to get published in the Western market, the directives are clear: Write about a large family. Write about an arranged marriage. Give it a Bollywood ending. “
“Too many of the stories about South Asian people and culture that become popular in the Western world are told by white people (The Jungle Book, Life of Pi, Slumdog Millionaire, etc.). Shouldn’t we ask ourselves why white audiences seem to only want to read about brown people when, like Riley’s name, the stories themselves have been twisted and made palatable for them? Why is the consumption of brown stories still, at its core, about white people and their needs?”
Test Group 4: Womanhood and Other Failures
“I watch my mother kill mice. I kneel on an office chair, pumped up to its full height so I can see the frigid steel of the lab table from my fourth grade height. The mice are a white that matches my mother’s lab coat. She pulls them one by one out of their cage labeled ‘Test Group Four.’ They have to die, she says, because they are sick.”
Negotiating the Bi-Nary: Strategic Ambiguity and the Non-Nameable Identity in the Classroom
Writing on the Edge, Fall 2014