Entry #33 – Interviewing My Mother; 「winter lovers’ serenade」Releases Tomorrow

I believe in the madness called “Now”
Time goes flowing, breaking my heart
Wanna live, can’t let my heart kill myself
Still I haven’t found what I’m looking for
Art of life, I try to stop myself
But my heart goes to destroy the truth
Tell me why, I want the meaning of my life
Do I try to live? Do I try to love in my dream?

– X JAPAN, “Art of Life”
lyrics from Genius

Hey all, it’s Kohaku. I hope you’re having a great week.

Since I mentioned it last time, I want to briefly talk about the oral history interview I recently conducted with my mother. Interviewing your parents or other relatives can be a little awkward, but I think that it can be very significant because it opens up avenues for talking about things that you don’t normally talk about – like your parents’ childhoods, immigration stories, refugee stories, and so on. I felt that I didn’t really know a lot about my mother, her childhood, and why she came to the US. She’s a 1.5-generation Taiwanese immigrant and she doesn’t usually talk about herself or her life story – in part because she feels like it’s not your “typical” Asian American/Asian immigrant life story. And maybe that’s true, but that doesn’t make her story any less important. She didn’t want her interview to be shared with anyone, so for that and other reasons I won’t post it or give specific details, but I thought it would be fair to just mention it. I came out of the interview after a little over an hour, knowing a lot more about my mom, her family’s reasons for migrating, and her worldview in general. The process was liberating in a way, but it also scared me – because what if I hadn’t interviewed her? Maybe, despite being parent and child, we would never have talked about any of this and I just never would have known. I think there is a lot of information, a lot of emotion, a lot of wisdom that gets lost between familial generations and people in general. I’m not saying that the older generations are always right, or that the younger generations are always wrong, but the lack of communication can be frightening. Humans in general seem to have a hard time bridging the past and the present; that’s something I want to work on moving forward.

Speaking of moving forward, I have a new poetry compilation for you all. It’s called 「winter lovers’ serenade」and it’ll be published tomorrow. Let me know what you think! It got a little rushed because I’m really running short on time recently, but I hope it still turned out okay. Also, the deadline for me to submit Love Letters to the World We Made to that art reception is this Friday, so I’m scrambling to find time to finish that, too. Expect the last two parts to come out sometime this week – if they don’t, you know I’m in trouble!

I’d better get to work. I’m just gonna keep running toward the end. You all take care of yourselves.

Lots of love,

KT

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