Wearing a Mask of Your Own Face: On Persona, Race, and Identity

Not too long ago I published a (craft/lyric) essay on persona, race, and identity. It was lucky enough to find a home on Brevity’s (a great online journal of creative nonfiction) blog. You can read it here if you like.

I wanted to share the news since it came out but couldn’t quite find the words I wanted to introduce it. I wanted to say more about masks, about how even the body can be trained into a costume. I wanted to talk more about identity, about being biracial and my fear of “passing,” though to be honest as what I have no clue. I wanted to confess all the ways I still try to remain invisible or hide behind persona but secretly hope you meet my gaze, which is how most masks give the wearer away.

What I mean is here I am. I want to give myself away. Look me in the eyes and don’t blink. Not even once.

One comment

  1. Such beautiful writing in this essay, Michael–how you capture the complexities of self-presentation on the page, interpersonally, and in the mirror. As a writer of persona poems, I’m both inspired and sobered by your important reminder that “Persona, at its best, is a deep understanding of another that leads to a deeper understanding of the self.” Really, *everything* you say here is crucially important, and I’m delighted this essay is getting such wide airplay!

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