DREAM POP ORIGAMI combines lyric personal essays with autobiographical lists about growing up as a hapa teenager in small town America, falling in love in the big city, growing through the pain of cultural hyphenation, traveling to Japan for the first time as a Nisei, and teaching/serving abroad in Argentina and Burkina Faso. Dream Pop Origami is textual choreography between author and reader, an anti-memoir that resists narrative linearity at every turn, and also a series of intersecting circles, vignettes, and confessions about mixed-race Asian identity. DPO is told with a voice, an ambition, and an affection for the world that is larger than life, each narrative strand intersecting into an innovative, cohesive, and multimodal tapestry about multicultural self-discovery and racial metamorphosis.
Targeted Age Group:: 22-50
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
When I was a boy, I hated reading. Part of that was based on how horrendous the elementary school curriculum was in Northern Michigan in the '80s, which assigned a lot of badly written text books and other kids' books. Another part of that is that I craved books that had mixed-race/hapa/AAPI characters I could relate to, whether they were immigrant stories, Asian American stories, Japanese history and culture, or just general diasporic literature in general. But one day, I stumbled upon choose-your-own-adventure novels and I was hooked! As it turned out, it's not that I didn't like reading, it's that I didn't like reading the books assigned to me, most of them written for another era, another reader, and another perspective. Since my parents didn't read books, the books I read at school were the only books available to me. Choose-your-own-adventure novels excited me because they gave readers agency, which I found exhilarating.
Years later after I'd volunteered in the Peace Corps in West Africa and Azerbaijan and then moved to Portland, Oregon, I realized that I wanted to write a memoir about not just my travels throughout the world, but about being mixed-race in America, about the redemption and the importance of love in our lives, about Japanese aesthetics and masculinity, and about the slow process of excavation, exploration, and suturing to understand and conceptualize who I was. This was the process I took to become whole again by putting myself back together one piece, one memory, and one story at a time.
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