Thursday, January 31, 2008
Earlier this week, my colleagues through me a going away dinner. I wore a tux because I wanted to look my very best for the men and women who meant so much to me.
What's interesting is now that APAIT will become part of my past, it'll provide necessary distance for me to write about that time in my life.
Today, I took one last look at my surroundings, walked through the old rooms, the familiar hallway. I said my good-byes. There was a 21 year old Latino guy who cleans our offices. He speaks some English, but mostly Spanish. I had said hi and bye to him many times. As I left, I couldn't remember the Spanish word for good-bye. A co-worker had to remind me: adios. Ah yes, adios. Then I tried to remember how to say good bye in other languages. I know rudimentary French and Tagalog. My mind went blank. Good-bye can be a difficult word to remember. Hello is so much nicer.
I start a new job on Friday at MAKE ART/STOP AIDS at UCLA. Ola! Bonjour! Mabuhay!
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Friday, January 18, 2008
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
I started this job when I was twenty-five. I wasn't even writing then. APAIT was made up of writers and other artists when I began. It fostered my creative endeavors. It was at APAIT when my co-worker writer Joel Tan handed me a flyer for a free writing workshop. That flyer began my writing life.
Saturday, January 12, 2008
Saturday, January 05, 2008
This brings me to the point of this post: The men of color versus the women of color who write about them. I was heavily involved with the Asian Acting community when news about the movie making of Amy Tan's "The Joy Luck Club" was happening. Cool, work for Asian actors! I read the book and loved it! There was, of course, grumblings from Asian men on how we were portrayed in the novel and eventually the movie. We're losers, abusers, and wimps. I am sure that this was not just because of the Joy Luck Club, but from years of dealing with these stereotypes. It hurt more when Asian guys were often passed up for white guys in these stories.
There was one respected actor (don't even dare ask me who he is, I ain't telling) who cursed writers like Amy Tan and Maxine Hong Kingston for writing what they were writing. He pointed out that both women married white men. I could swear he spit when he made that last point.
What I said then is what I say now: we can't tell writers (or artists of any kind) what to write and what to say. If it's offensive, let's use it as a point of discussion and cause for change. In both my novels, Asian men like Bong Bong Luwad, Logan Ito, Jory Lalaban, Emerson Lalaban, and Michael Zhang have problems (as complex characters should), but I tried to make them compelling, interesting, and physically attractive characters. And don't go telling me that my Asian characters aren't real men becuase most of them are gay. Go there and I'll kick your ass.
If people are upset at how Asian men are seen in novels, you are not reading Chang Rae Lee, Ha Jin, Mas Masumoto, Brian Ascolon Roley, to name a few. If you don't like the way Asian men are protrayed in movies, start seeing movies from Asia. I found Wong Kar-Wai films especially moving (In the Mood for Love is a personal fave).
As for Asians dating whites...I don't care. I have more important things to think about like finding ways of illuminating the human condition. There are over six billion people on earth. Well over three billion are Asians. Why are we making such a ruckus over a few million (if that!) who may be marrying non-Asians?
One thing I love about turning 40 is I feel more empowered to say what's on my mind. (For those of you who thought I already had a mouth, you ain't seen nothing yet.)
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
This is me excited to see a musical based on the epistolary novel that helped me put together my semi-epistolary first novel "Letters to Montgomery Clift." Um, I don't know if you can see but that's a black faux fur collar on my coat. I sewed it on myself.
After the musical we went to a New Years Eve party. That's my friend Ericson. He took my author photos, like the one you see on the upper left side of this blog. My coat with the faux fur was a big hit. I got lots of compliments. When people asked me what kind of fur it was. I said, it was cat. That was my joke all evening: It was cat. If you're an animal rights activist and you're reading this, ask a French person what "faux" means.
This is me first thing in the morning, waking up being 40. I'll prolly throw a big forty birthday bash later in the year, when people are recovered from the holidays. That's the problem when you're born on January 1st. Every one is exhausted and broke. I'll wait until Spring when everyone is fresh and saved up some money. I can get really good presents then.
I reflected on being 40. I went on a hike by myself in Elysian park. I first discovered this path when I 14. As I walked, It dawned on me: I'm really doing this creative life stuff for good. I was happy and proud of myself. This same old path looks different every time.
I was also feeling kinda old. Then I went to play with my god son, Cameron. He made me feel young again.