I’m starting a tinyletter.
As someone who has spent most of her life immersed in the literary from personal, private, to academic and professional circumstances, I still find it difficult most days to have a conversation with someone else in literature where it feels like play. By play, I mean the lighthearted ease of revelling in what you know and love with another person.
Perhaps it’s the specificity of literature I love as someone who claims Diasporic and Transnational studies of literature as her focus; the often obscure and complex histories of those texts and their general exclusion from canon.
Or maybe it’s the multilingual loyalties, deep love for translations and what we call “world literature”, which to me, just means a focus that doesn’t place North America as the center of the universe.
There’s also multi-genre loyalty, as I claim inheritance from classic colonial British fiction, beloved loved postcolonial and Asian literary canons of magical realism, creative nonfiction and poetry, indie magazines, the Chinese classics, and a LOT of Japanese manga.
As a writer who wears multiple hats, working in community organization space and at an interdisciplinary level with other artists, I struggle with wanting to water down the sometimes difficult process of text engagement in order to have more palatable interests. I want the aesthetic instantaneity of image. I want the viral potential of video. I want the dual medium of comic.
I have always felt the tension of my larger community’s general disinterest in text (an inherited problem of its own proportions). I feel grief. I feel loss. I feel alone.
I constantly feel like I’m losing the words that have impacted me, although I retain the dent of interaction. I feel disoriented amongst the lists of canon expected of me – a literature MA. “No, I haven’t read that. But I have read all of Honey and Clover, and cried a lot in the second half.”
My blog has always been a space for me to experiment with form, content and voice. To figure out what I want to say, why I do the things I do, log my experiences and reflect on the circumstances. On this blog, I test my voice again and again.
Tinyletter, however, is my tenuous answer to a brain in tension. What holds these differing interests is my interest. Why share this interest? I’m not sure. Maybe I’m hoping to discover I’m not alone. Maybe I’m drawn to its tagline, “Newsletters for people with something to say.” Maybe it’s just catharsis: an inventory for healing.
If blogging has always been my act of breathing, tinyletter will be my thumbprint – a complex singularity that makes me identifiable to me. Tinyletter is a collection of the things that inspire and impress, the words that move and make, the context and reason I want to test my voice again and again, to make sound and silence into space and time.
To all those who might be similarly lost, who might be daunted by the ever-shifting presence we call literature, who want to dive into new texts, who want to have conversation. This tinyletter is for you too.