There’s an infinite past… And I come to poetry because I want to write the primary source documents for my mother and I.
Paul Tran (source). Paul studied history and has found that poetry (an act of creation) is a way to address the present and expand the histories of Vietnamese Americans that white scholars and writers cannot.
Before typography came language.
I have been thinking of authorship and what centering history means, as much of it is displayed through individuals and individualized events, objects, etc. when truly we are all an accumulation. What is left unsaid, and therefore eventually forgotten? Yet, the now perpetually becomes the past. Past and future are extended. But why think of past, present, future separately when they exist all at once?
It is incredibly powerful to be able to hear queer Vietnamese American creatives and thinkers. It has been hitting me to realize that only contemporaries exist for this perspective, as the Vietnam War ended only 45 years ago. I am part of the precedent.
I wondered why I had a hard time truly taking the advice of older people. Part of it is probably a tendency-to-not-listen-to-adults problem, but also they are fundamentally not me and I am not them. My brothers and I have always learned the hard way, i.e. by doing. It is still a mystery to me the what and how of getting help, when so often it is just a matter of getting me to do what I am thinking. Getting help is often getting validation or some form of permission. When will I entirely be autonomous?
I think I am most autonomous when I make, as thinking and doing synchronize. Then critique and feedback and deadlines are structures for maintaining momentum more than anything.
Still need to do this:
Audre Lorde’s Questionnaire to Oneself
What are the words you do not have yet? [Or, “for what do you not have words, yet?”]
What do you need to say? [List as many things as necessary]
What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence? [List as many as necessary today. Then write a new list tomorrow. And the day after.]
If we have been socialized to respect fear more than our own need for language, ask yourself: “What’s the worst that could happen to me if I tell this truth?” [So, answer this today. And everyday.]
After looking at these questions again and typing them out, I am realizing that I already am doing a lot of these.