Essay “FOR THE DREAMERS” in Briarpatch

photo by Kayla Isomura as part of The Suitcase Project

Nobody talked about our family history while I was growing up, so I’ve been working toward uncovering it on my own. Sometimes I get so immersed that I forget how heavy-hearted it all is. When I am able to pause and pull away, see it through someone else’s eyes, or relate it to the present day, my heart gets whomped.

I wonder, how can I feel such heartache while simultaneously falling in love for the first time?

– excerpt from FOR THE DREAMERS, as published in the March/April issue of Briarpatch Magazine

I’m excited (and nervous!) to share the link to my essay FOR THE DREAMERS, which is now published in the March/April 2019 issue of Briarpatch Magazine. This essay was selected by author Alicia Elliot as the winner of  Briarpatch Magazine’s Writing in the Margins contest for creative non-fiction.

I’ve had a hard time knowing how to describe this piece (if you read it, you might have a better understanding of why), but here are a few things my friends have said about it:

“This essay…is real, achey, and beautiful.” – Angela

“I have a big feeling caught in my throat for how important this essay is to me, for how much the fragmented nature of this essay exactly captures the difficulty I have articulating my grief over climate change, and family history, and the way everything is intertwined.” – Laura

“my fave time 2 read this is when ur feelin sad n determined to heal.” – Tom

I really appreciate the reflections others have shared with me who have felt this piece resonate with them, whether other writers, community organizers, activists, artists, people of colour, millennials, and beyond.

At times, I find it hard to speak the words I know that need to be said out loud. Writing as a medium feels like a vessel through which I can share my perspectives amidst the nuances of our complicated realities. Thank you for reading and responding.

A big thank you to my friends who read this essay in various drafted forms, mentors Kevin Chong and Jackie Wong for the constant encouragement, my TWS crew, contest judge Alicia Elliot, and Briarpatch editor Saima. Congratulations to my sister Kayla Isomura whose photo essay If only they knew what we know now was selected by Jalani Morgan as the winner of the photography category. Please also read “dis place” by Angel Sutjipto, the honourable mention in this contest, for a piece which is equally powerful and stunning.

sending warmth and care,