Happy Valentine’s Day folks! My heart is bleeding all over the sleeve I wore it on. Sandy Lam sent me a very disturbing cartoon.
On the happy occasions front, two fun class visits yesterday– one to Roy Miki’s huge first year English class (250 students). He’s been teaching Salt Fish Girl and talking to students about polticization and critical awareness. A student came up to me afterwards to ask about durian. She grew up in Malaysia, where it is just a part of everyday life. I talked to her about how racial stigma in country so often gets attached to smell. I talked about smell as a hook into buried memory. It’s interesting to speak to Asian students who didn’t grow up alienated. Of course I understand the historical specificity of my own experience, but her experience in this geography, especially as one that might not be all that uncommon was a strangely unsettling surprise. Not because it is bad– not at all. Only, how does it mean we might locate ourselves here differently?
An hour later I went to see Steve Collis’s creative writing class. Long, and hopefully quite productive discussion about writing practice, its connection to questions of what is ethical. I was asked to talk about how I came to have this practice. Interesting for me to go back to the late 80s early 90s moment of my own politicization/coming to consciousness or whatever you want to call it. And how a broader concerns around language and structure quickly became a part of my writing practice. It was fun to think about the situations (Yellow Peril, Writing Thru Race) and the people who first got me into this stuff(George McWhirter, Jim Wong-Chu, Paul Wong).
Constant-transit-boy Ashok Mathur is in town. So is Leonard Lee, who is back for the next round of shooting for Tailor Made. I had supper with them on Sunday. Ashok got a bunch of lamb skewers and kebabs from Granville Island, some mussels and some arugula. Lenny brought sushi. I brought a chocolate from the Italian bakery down the street. We feasted. Later on, Ashok’s roommate Steve Lee came back from skiing on Grouse Mountain. He’s a potter, and had a whole bunch of beautiful ceramics on the table waiting to be boxed up for a sale in Michigan. I bought a solid, thick-walled cup.