This weekend I had the pleasure of reading alongside some of my favorite Seattle poets at the Poetry World Series: Seattle Edition! It was a fun night filled with some amazing poetry. Shoutout to my fellow Blue Team members Jane Wong and Matthew Nienow, both whom have newly published books of poetry out and I can tell you right now….these two are brilliant. And the Red Team was not to be trifled with as anyone who knows John Beer, Jeannine Hall Gailey (who also has a new book out!), and Michelle Peñaloza knows they can thrown down some powerful, funny, and intelligent verse. It was one of my favorite readings I’ve ever taken part in, and I couldn’t be more honored and humbled to be amongst such great writers.
Oh, and that’s a photo of me with one of the judges for the night. You may know him from such literary things as EVERYTHING IN THE LIT WORLD. Thank you Mr. Sherman Alexie for your insight, wit, and generosity.
I wasn’t born in the states. But I wasn’t exactly born in Japan. I was born on a Navy Base in Japan…which complicates the idea of belonging. I can’t tell you what home is, or what home feels like. But sometimes I feel I’ve come close to feeling at home. The Pacific Ocean, for instance, gives me a feeling I can only describe as relief. It’s the same feeling I get when I walk into an Asian grocery store. Familiar smells and sights and sounds that bring me to myself just a little bit more.
And Seattle, this state in general, has seemed to give me a space of my own.
When the Seattle Review of Books published my poem “My Heart the Size of a Tea Kettle,” it’s hard to express how much that meant to me. To be located, recognized, in the place where I live, as if, maybe, this is my home, this community my family.
I still can’t tell you what home is…or if Washington is one for me, even after all these years. But even if I am a guest, I don’t think I’ve overstayed my welcome. I still greet this place with a sense of joy and feel I’ve many years to give here.
The last year has been filled with some of my favorite literary moments, from the publication of my chapbook and debut full-length to the acceptance of a collaborative book I wrote with my literary partner in crime. But as I near the one-year anniversary of my chapbook publication, as I near 40, as my marriage hits 14 years, as my youngest daughter enters school, I am reminded over and over of the pickpocket nature of time. It’s difficult (for me, at least) to keep this site up to date. I’ve let weeks, often months, pass. Then when I return I worry about sharing news that is no longer new.
But I begin again this fall with renewed energy and purpose. I want to share more, even if the news is old, because the things that make you happy shouldn’t go stale.
Here’s to beginning again and again as if for the first time.