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02.23.03, sunday night

I do not write enough.

I never write stories, except for when I am in school. I do not write essays, even though I should learn to write non-fiction because the act will reveal how much I have to learn about writing fiction.

I do not write to my friends enough. Or to strangers. Acquaintances. People who have found the writing on this site and sent me e-mails. People whose sites I have discovered, in my Hunt for good prose, poetic details, philosophical thought, the immensity of a mundane and fleeting moment.

I promise letters, and they unfold, in my head when I sit on a train or eat breakfast or slip into slumber at night, letters that would span reams and reams of pages, about many things, many people, but I never send them because I never write them.

I rarely write back. This is a major regret.

If I were to sit down and actually write, it would require - as I think foolishly - a quiet, well-lit place shut off from the world. Organized desktop, with computer, typewriter, pens, paper, scissors, stones to hold down the paper so that they won't flap away when a breeze slips into the room, bringing in ocean, salt, the stories of the world.

And were I to write, I would write about: genocide, war, diasporic and refugee subjectivities, Oakland, donut shops, sweatshops (mummy sewing piecemeal), the adoption of lil Cambodian bodies by infertile white American couples, growing up Baptist in San Diego, childhood, fear, little violences, solitude, longing, love, recovery, the places I have been, birds real and imaginary, living (and loving) in a state of emergency, people I have left behind (and the things we inflicted on each other, the many ways we loved each other), living without health insurance/the fear of rape/the fear of losing one's loved ones to cancer and exotic disease, people who inspire me, public transportation, the people in my neighborhood.

This is only a beginning, a list of the subjects I would begin with, because these are some of the subjects that have intrigued or plagued me since my early adulthood. I'm sure that as I get older, this list will evolve and expand, and take the shape of a complex architecture, a vast labyrinth of memory and fiction, a city that runs on the blood that is in my veins and the breath that is inhaled and exhaled so relentlessly.

But no. I do not write about any of this. Not yet. Because I think that I have not lived fully yet. Because I think that I have not mastered the language. English refuses to submit to my desires and finding it unruly, afraid of finding that perhaps my desires are not strong enough, the hunger ill-born, I do not submit myself to the writing. To the stories that would occupy me. I refuse to be mastered, and find myself mastered by fear.

So no, I do not write yet. I write only about the hunger and the fear, and the fears that I would write about and against go unwritten.


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