As I Am: Two. More. Days.

American

“We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus – and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve…; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.”  

–President Barack Obama, 2008 Inauguration Speech

“There’s no such thing as perfect writing, just like there’s no such thing as perfect despair.”  

–Haruki Murakami

Our intention: Being American–and more specifically, being a hyphenated being–is hard.  Living the hyphen–this is the the invisible work, the all-too-familiar work of living the in-between. We hope that this series can illuminate, somewhat, the prism of colors that is the American people, so that that hyphen might become a little less taught, a little less strained between two worlds.

Cheers to the work.

 

Sincerely,

The Editors

As I Am T-MINUS THREE DAYS

Asian

“Writing for me tends to be closely bound up in the exploration of my identity as an Asian American . . . To me to write well is to battle stereotypes. To write well is to create three-dimensional characters that seem human.”

–David Henry Hwang

“You write about Sacramento so affectionately and with such care.”

“I was just describing it.”

“Well it comes across as love.”

“Sure, I guess I pay attention.”

“Don’t you think maybe they are the same thing? Love and attention?”

–Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird

Our intention: To fight against stereotypes. To see and be seen. To pay attention to the ways in which we are different and the ways in which our values are universal. To find the richness in our traditions, to feel the sun on our skin.

‘Til then, friends.

 

With Gratitude,

The Editors

As I Am Launches in Four Days!

 

That’s right, folks–FOUR DAYS!

To get us all hyped, we’re going to spend the next few days briefly meditating on the four letters of PAAC before we drop the first post on Friday!  Today’s is Progressive.

 

Progressive

“Our deepest calling is to grow into our own authentic self-hood, whether or not it conforms to some image of who we ought to be. As we do so, we will not only find the joy that every human being seeks–we will also find our path of authentic service in the world.”

–Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak

“We have a world to conquer…one person at a time…starting with ourselves.”

–Nikki Giovanni

Our intention: Self-awareness is a radical act of self-love. Whether progressive in our politics or our theology or both, it is our intention that AsAm writers, young and old, can use this space for self-reflection both individually and communally, of our past and our present, so that we might better serve this beautiful, ailing, broken world.

 

Much Love,

The Editors

 

Easter Sunday

Love Letter from Yǎ Wēi Pó-Po

just then I
went to clean your room,
sweep the floor.

now listen –

these hand that
smell of garlic and
look like maps
pull so tight
the seam of all creation
to be close to you.

after all,
you are mine – we are
family.

call me, okay? even if
you say nothing, you just breathe
quiet by the receiver,
I hold your voice to my ear –

I hear you, maybe
you hear me too but
do not understand.

please do not worry, bǎo-bèi.
I know the trip cost so much,
across a long universe
with that load on your shoulders,
but look, I already buy
you your ticket home –

ai shh-ya, be quiet.
you make me smile, silly child.
put away your coin.

I already buy
you your ticket home.


雅威 (Yǎ Wēi)
A translation of Yahweh common with Chinese Catholics; literally: “ethereal authority”

婆婆 (pó-po)
Matron, grandmother, mother-in-law

寶貝 (bǎo-bèi)
Precious, treasure, darling


Created by: Ophelia Hu Kinney
About the author: Ophelia Hu Kinney is a second-generation Chinese American living in Maine with her wife. She is the daughter of circumstantial pragmatists and the sister of a hopeful romantic. Her work has appeared in The Common and HESA Inprint, and under a pseudonym, she blogs with her wife about LGBTQ Christian life and identity. Contact her at opheliahukinney(at)gmail.com if you’d like to read their blog.

Image by: Ellie Yang Camp
About the artist: Ellie is a professional calligrapher based in Mountain View, California whose first meal in heaven will be the perfect bowl of Taiwanese beef noodle soup.

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