THE AESTHETIC BLITZ | A collection of essays currently under review
This manuscript begins with a story — my story. It is the story of a girl whose wholeness is shattered, first by others, then by society. It’s the story of a girl who spent a lot of her childhood looking into mirrors, or at a television screen, or inside of a book trying to find the image of herself reflected back to her but never could. Instead, she creates her identity with the tools found in the materialist and media-saturated American society she grew up in: an “aesthetic blitzkrieg” of objects from philosophy to music to movies to politics to art to the character of Sabina from Milan Kundera’s novel, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, herself a displaced immigrant, drawn to shattered mirrors and glass. It is through this distorted reflection of the world that Sabina sees her reality. The narrator, too, wants to see her reality through these broken images, but can she?
As a Korean adoptee, as a neo-modernist or post-postmodernist, this narrator desires wholeness. She circles around the telling of her story, going back and forth in time and from city to city. My interest is in connecting my own experiences with the larger discourse on adoption — itself a revolving blitzkrieg of images and information. The sense of self for a transnational and transracial adoptee has been described as akin to a “schizophrenic.” While this prose/poetry hybrid is certainly fragmented and somewhat disjointed, each section builds on, dialogues with and sheds light on the previous one as if pieces of a puzzle or flashes of images crossing a television screen. The reader will want to continue not to find answers, but to live in the most fundamental questions: Who am I? Where can I begin?
100 PERCENT | Manuscript-in-progress
The notion of French actress, Fanny Ardant, being “the last great love” of François Truffaut is one that captured my youthful imagination before I’d ever been in love myself. It has stayed with me through the years, as has the idea of writing a fractal, but instead of geometric patterns which repeat and repeat, I wanted to create a formal style that fractalized writing. When the second woman I loved asked me what my definition of love was, I didn’t have an answer for her, but I thought back on all the books I’d read (or tried to read) about the quest for love and the struggle for knowledge, and I knew that a new project had been born. “100 Percent” is an attempt to define love using all of that research from great minds like Thomas Merton, bell hooks and Ortega Y. Gasset to the movies of Fanny Ardant herself and Showtime’s The L Word. Like in chaos theory, each section uses similar language and concepts to approach an ideal definition of love. I devised a pattern of words, phrases and ideas that are repeated throughout each twenty sentence fractal.
To hear older versions of the first two fractals, go here.
A long lyric nonfiction essay that begins with the questions: “What is my story? What is my life concept?” As a Korean adoptee, I don’t know my original frame, but I know I need a different one to go forward in life. As a writer and an artist, how does one surrender all control, all sense of self or artifice, without becoming lost? Through researching grief and trauma psychology, child psychology and the trope of the lost or abandoned child, dialogical self theory and fairy tales I hope to come to new revelations about my personal experiences in relation to myth, reality and the concrete, all held within the metaphor of the red frame.
To read the first essay in Waxwing, go here.