Monday, August 10, 2009

Intro to the Blog

Like many things do, this project started with a conversation. In a literature class about Pacific diaspora, my instructor and I talked about Hawaii, about going back and calling it home. I was born in Hawaii, and I have been back, both to visit and in a move that at the time I thought would be permanent. After less than a year, I had to leave the island because I never felt that I belonged there. It wasn't, and isn't, my home. Despite that fact, I'll admit there is something about the place that pulls at me, much like I imagine most people feel drawn to their hometown.

It is this idea of a hometown, a point of origin, and a lack of one that tugs at me. I am from Hawaii, but also from the mainland. I am half-white, or as I'm called in Hawaii, hapa haole. Because of this, I have never felt like I completely belonged anywhere. I'm just as hesitant to say I'm from Seattle as I am to say I'm from Hawaii or any other place I've lived. Consequently, I find myself constantly attempting to be part of something larger than myself while simultaneously resisting it. I feel always at the edges of any group of friends, and I feel left out even though it's because I've probably placed myself there. At sporting events, I can become enamored with and frightened by the collective crowd rising up for one purpose. Every city, ethnicity, or place has a culture all its own, and I feel that my halfness keeps me from fully belonging to any culture. Maybe this is my own faulty way of seeing the world, but it's my perception and it rings true to myself.

"Do you write about this?" my instructor asked. I said that I don't, not much. In the past I've probably never recognized or wanted to avoid an identity that may seem to be created by a sort of deficiency. I've said before that living in Hawaii, where my brown skin matched the majority of my peers, and moving to the mainland at such a young age that I didn't realize my skin tone was different from almost everyone else has allowed me to mature through my formative years without the stigma of being identified as a minority. While this is largely true, it doesn't hide the lack of cultural connection. It just means I have left that pull of Hawaii mostly unexplored.

So here I am, writing about it, but I want to do more. I became curious about the literature coming out of Hawaii by the Japanese, Filipino, and Hawaiian writers, and any other race or group of writers from Hawaii. The blog idea started as a way to write and collect essays on literature from Hawaii without the formality of the scholarly essay. While I'll definitely write these research-based, literary criticism type essays, I hope to use this blog to write and collect personal essays and anecdotes, photos, drawings, paintings, and any other art form regarding Hawaii that I may create or come across.

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