Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Displacement – David Wong Louie

In the contributors notes Louie writes that this story is about his own displacement.  I really enjoy what he has to say about the development of this story, his memory of its creation and evolution.

“With my other stories I can easily remember how each part evolved in the writing but the particulars of this story’s origins escape memory.  I cannot call back the clear-headed instant Mrs. Chow first walked across my imagination, nor the image or detail from which she bloomed.  I don’t remember a single crisis in the writing of the story, though I’m certain I suffered, as always, through many.  I suspect this haziness of memory isn't a matter of forgetting at all, but has everything to do with having known the story, in some deep way, even before I wrote a single word of it.  When the characters were new and strangers to me, when the story’s events were still surprising, they were at the same time familiar.  Nothing stands out about the story’s writing because this familiarity won’t allow it – in my memory the story wasn't revealed in steps, by a process, but was a piece that simply arrived, something had.  The Chows’ story is about refugees, people off balance, whose dislocation is not just spatial but cultural psychic, and emotional; it is, as I understand things, the undefined, unarticulated unease I have known my whole life – my own displacement.”

I don’t think many of us can make it through our lives without feeling a little out of place.  I’m one of the fortunate ones.  White male in America.  Yeah – not too tough sometimes.

I've written enough about my displacement – which was of my own choosing – and in the end was wonderful.  It altered my life. I need to find ways to displace myself more often.  Displace my mind.
I have found creativity and discovery in some of my displacements and I feel at some times that I am not displaced enough.  
I push myself into a physical displacement on the mornings that I run and in those mornings, I find something…something…something – not quite sure what it is yet – but it’s good.

Perhaps what I feel physically is a little bit of that unarticulated unease Louie writes about.  I know that it’s possible to displace my mind – I just gotta figure that out. 

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