在在中 / 失去在 ~ Amid being / losing being
February is my most depressive month. It’s always been like this. I dread February because it’s cold and it’s dark and the magic of the holidays are over and nothing but the expanse of another long ass year yawns on. I don’t feel as dead this year, though, for some reason. I feel exhausted, I feel overworked, I feel spread thin, but I don’t feel dead. I keep thinking about how my friend M, when I told her that Feb is my most hated month, replied that Feb is her favorite because all her loved ones have Feb birthdays. And I look at my calendar and I see all these upcoming birthday parties & events, and I realize that it’s true for me too. So I think I’m trying to hold onto that. Feb is a good month because it’s a month when loved ones came into existence. (Okay, but why were parents so horny in May?)
I caught up with my friend A over miso noodles and coconut peanut butter curry. We devolved into discussing love and its many forms—my favorite topic. I always believed it bravest to (romantically) love one person. To choose to commit to one person, and one person only. But A argues that to love multiple is braver. And I think she’s right. Because isn’t love to be vulnerable? To share your precious self, your time, your energy? And to give that away, to multiple people, is terrifying—and so to choose multiple, rather than just one, is therefore the bravest act of all. I’ve been thinking about our conversation a lot. I feel grateful for that dinner, and for her.
I’m reading Yam Gong’s Moving a Stone, translated by James Shea and Dorothy Tse. The book itself feels special to me since I got to hear Shea and Tse read at Yu & Me months before my copy was gifted from two loved ones. The interplay of literary and colloquial Chinese is magic. I especially like this part of the poem “An Occasion”: “在山中 / 失去山 / 在水中 / 失去水 / 在在中 / 失去在 / 在你中 / 失去 / 我自己” translated as “Amid the mountains / losing the mountains / amid the waters / losing the waters / Amid being / losing being / amid you / I lose / myself.”
Two people on the Q train, sitting next to each other reading books. I was riding the Q to go meet someone who, a few hours after I saw those two, would lie down next to me to read books.
I dropped off my leftover 稻香村 pastries from last week for my friends who work too hard. It was really lovely to see them if only for twenty minutes in their apartment on a cold weekday night. We are trying our best to fit in love where we can.
Two cakes in one night! Lucky me!!! A slice of cheesecake at Di An Di, split three ways between friends who are quite new but already loved, then a slice of strawberry shortcake all to myself for my friend K’s birthday, K being someone I’ve been dear old friends with for years. It’s a recurring theme every week: cakes, pastries, and sweets are love tokens.
Cried over Koreeda’s Broker at IFC. Friends, I think we should all amass in one room, turn off the lights, lie down, hold hands, and go around one-by-one saying “thank you for being born.”
Some interviews came out this week! Wild.
I’m in The Guardian talking about mermaids, queerness, and Chlorine:
It’s a novel for anybody who’s ever dreamed of transcending their bodies and their selves into a truer state of being – truer to ourselves, not true to whatever standard society has set in us,” adds Song. “Which is, I think, what we all long for, and I think is inherently queer, because it might not be what we’ve been told how we should be.”
Song was not “necessarily conscious” of their decision to explore LGBTQ+ themes in this way – but on reflection, it makes sense to them. “I do think, looking back, being queer feels like moving through water while everyone else is on land, because you have to learn how to swim, you have to learn how to move your body, learn to adapt your lungs,” they say. “But at the same time, that’s what’s really beautiful about it, because being queer is so wonderful. You learn how to be.”
The book also resonates with the pride Song has in their identity. “I am an Asian queer femme in America, and in a way that makes me a monster,” they say. “A sexy monster, just like a mermaid, but a monster nonetheless. But I think being monstrous is far more fun than being a normal, boring human.”
And I’m in Dirt talking about @chlorinenovel:
Jade Song, author of the forthcoming novel Chlorine, began constructing an “artistic lineage” for her book while completing the manuscript. Chlorine’s Instagram page is a scrapbook of film stills, prose passages, and art exhibits, loosely related to the feminine grotesque: painter Cecilia Vicuña’s Angel of Menstruation, a screencap from the coming-of-age body horror film Ginger Snaps, and an aqueous passage from Jackie Wang’s poetry collection.
“I created [my novel’s Instagram] account before I finished the manuscript, before I had an agent, and before I knew what I was doing (I still don’t),” Song told me over e-mail. “My agent and publishing team congratulated me for it as a fun publicity move but that wasn’t my intention … No art piece or artist works alone, even if they try to pretend they do. There are always traditions and lineages to pull from and be inspired by, and I wanted to highlight and celebrate and share them through the page.”
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