outwait outrun outwit


an archive of pleasures, wounds, sublimations
& other curiosities :: elsewhere :: profile

At this moment, I am probably doing any of the following: reading, sleeping, playing pinball, eating in greasy spoons, taking LOMO photographs, brooding in front of the heater, avoiding an unfinished major proposal, facilitating a class, tutoring at San Quentin, scribbling hello, planning trips to elsewhere, or peeling oranges here.

As a daughter of refugees who came here and never returned, I write from and about the many spaces I occupy as a young Cambodian woman living and writing within the United States.

There is no beginning to my story. No once upon a time, in a little city called San Diego, a girl was born. That's way too simple. It's not about time, about a met b and then c happened, no linear chronological schema, past tense, for me, thank you. I like my stories complicated.

Maybe the story begins with my Mummy and my Mummy's mummy (it is, after all, their story as well). Or when Pol Pot seeded his Killing Fields. Or when Mummy met my father. Or when I came to Berkeley and wrote the first story/only to return to the story/to retell it/retold maybe it would make sense.

Maybe my story's about place/what is home? what is the homeland? what is community? who are the people who became my parents? what is childhood? What does being Khmer and U.S. born and female and young and a writer entail?

These are a few of the questions at the center/dark and tangle-haired/of my story and language is my comb. I try/often frustrated/to comb straight these snarls, make sense of History and history, sort out fiction from truth or transform truth and lies into fiction.

Current obsessions? Childhood, the desirable citizen, the State, crushes, desire, the secret Asian woman, rage, fear, moments without proper names, elsewhere, genocide, friendship, the impossibility of safe spaces, innocence, language as a weapon and/or a tool of escape or infiltration.

Go ahead and write meŃpeel an orange.


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