I've had a long practice of documenting, writing down stories I had heard from family, friends, acquaintances, and even from patients I would meet in my workplace. These glimpses back into pieces of personal history were always interesting to me. I revere the stories I heard from family and relatives about family history, immigration, folk tales, WWII incarceration, struggles, triumphs, and even the banal events that transpired in the past giving me a window to ancestors I can no longer talk to. My writings in journals and notebooks about past injustices are an aspect that fuels my art work.
In 2013, I took a writing workshop for Japanese American writers. The group, led by poet and USF Rhetoric Professor Brian Komei Dempster, were documenting and publishing stories collected from internees from the WWII American concentration camps. The workshop I took was opened up to the third generation, Sansei, to gather their stories they may have gotten from their parents (Nisei, second generation) and grandparents (Issei, first generation, who are all pretty much gone now). This was the first time I put a documented personal story into a form which was like a book story, not just for my own journals. The result was my story called The Wound. It tells the story I remembered, in great detail, of when my mom first told me about the Japanese American incarceration camps. It was difficult to do, painful in some ways reliving my late mom's pain once again, but it was satisfying to tell the story of her telling me, a young child at the time, of the event. I found writing, like art making, quite satisfying indeed.
Since then, I took a fiction writing workshop through the University of Iowa's The Writing University, which is run by the Iowa Writer's Workshop and am currently taking another writing course through Stanford's Continuing Education department. There are a few short snippets of stories I wrote during the Iowa workshop and more recently with the Stanford course that I think are fairly acceptable. I wrote a poem, for an assignment a few weeks back and then later changed it so it moved outside of the parameters of the assignment. But I kept the first stanza and a half because I liked it. I read it at a open mic portion of a poetry reading, Perspectives from Camp, at the Japanese American Museum San Jose. I think I got a pretty good reception and had people tell me how much they liked it. The poem is called Bachan's Gifts. It started as a seed of an idea from the child sized silk kimonos my Bachan smuggled in from Japan. Apparently, sailing over the sea in the early 1900's, you could not bring silk. She sewed the silk and the silk kimonos into a thick futon blanket and brought them here. I think she took them to the camps with them stored carefully. But I am not sure....the Danielsons stored many of their objects for them while in camp. Jichan and Bachan worked for their apricot ranch in Suisun.
So, I am starting a writing blog/page portion of my website of my short stories and poems since it is like art making for me---another personal creative voice.
See "Written Work"