(Photo Credit for featured image: Ghost Sighs)
I was asked to guest lecture for Professor Kira Donnell’s Asian American Literature course at San Francisco State University last Thursday, and the experience was nothing short of incredible. My talk was titled “A Narrow Road to the Interior: On Experimental Writing and Identity in Asian American Literature.” The slide show is available for preview or download here.After a near year of teaching a curriculum in American Literature and Writing Composition that I didn’t choose to students who had no interest in learning anything about writing or literature, I had begun to question whether or not I wanted to be in a classroom and whether I could still reach students, but as I was assigning poems from Kimiko Hahn’s The Narrow Road to the Interior and compiling my lecture slides, some of which I re-used from a previous talk I’d given on the traditional Japanese form zuihitsu as an undergraduate student at Kalamazoo College for a Mind/Body healing class, I realized that I do have a specialty. All of those interests and things I’ve been building on my C.V. that I’ve seen as random and disconnected do in fact go hand-in-hand with my focus on experimental creative methods (in this case zuihitsu and large-scale art installation) as a means to promote self-healing, identity and social awareness. It was such a privilege to be able to share some of my writing, my journey and myself with Kira’s class and to feel like I actually have some wisdom to impart to the next generations.
And after my lecture, I walked about a mile, drenched in so much rain that the pools of water falling from my soaked hair into my eyes as I took each step served as another welcome reminder that I can handle the grit and grime. And as I was driving and sometimes hydroplaning on the at times flooded roads, I was reminded of my near death experience, which I’ve written about in an essay called “Manifesto On Freedom” forthcoming in White Stag‘s #psychologia issue next month, available for pre-order now. My entire experience on campus felt cyclical and joyous!
I forgot to pee before leaving SFSU’s campus in rush hour traffic and thought on several occasions I may have to pee my pants as a lesson in humility (I’ve been told I’m like Charlotte in Sex and the City, though I don’t buy it), however praying to the angels resulted in a wonderfully miraculous moment where I was able to cross three lanes of flooded traffic to get to the last San Francisco exit before there would be no rest stops between the Bay Bridge and Walnut Creek (believe me, I know), circle around the Bryant St exit looking for a place to stop that was both safe and would have a restroom before I decided I would have to pull into a parking space next to this huge van and pee in front of the car, but when I pulled into the spot, I noticed the door to some large factory-like store was open, rushed in and was able to make it in time! And wonder of wonders, the store was full of dried wheat, leaves and flowers of all colors, and I was able to find the perfect bunch to fill my empty vase and complete the look I wanted in my new apartment that I’m calling K Squared Gallery. It’s moments like this (and the one I wrote about in “Manifesto”) that remind me what amazing guardians I have looking out for me and that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be in the universe.