Queequeg's Mark

during my diseased days

(monoracial love: a disease waiting for formal classification)

my white girlfriend’s white grandmother asked

“what do your people celebrate?”

as if a holiday could mean something other

other than quickly dated fashions

(afros will never come back)

and unintentional oversights

(dish doer doesn’t mean disowned)

and moments of happiness

even if over cigarettes

holidays mean pictures

embarrassing pictures

where the threats and pleads

to smile and pose

where the feuds and loves are

for flashes

the things we can share

but never hold

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About HILA

Have you ever seen a clip episode of your favorite show?  You know the episodes where you’ve waited the entire week, and instead of the cinematic adventures you’re expecting, you get the highlights of what happened over the season or the entire series.  It’s a bit of a let down because your expectations are so high, but you know you’re going to be more anxious to watch next week’s episode when the story starts rolling again.  That’s what Hawaiians in Los Angeles is; it’s that clip episode that highlights what has happened before to get you anxious to hear about what’s going to happen next.

Here’s Christian blabbing away about one of the most profound works on Hawaiian Culture being released on May 15th.

Queequeg's Mark

Rereading Chapter two of Hawaiians in Los Angeles is interesting because of my attempts at creating a story arc; one that parallels chapter one but also adds to the continuing story.  To do that, it mirrors chapter one by showing different individuals and families making their way to the continent following business and success.  These families meet and foster relationships with each other.  In other words, the chapter starts out with individual successes.  The people who appear in this chapter will surprise you.  Unfortunately, there are so many people who didn’t appear.  Really, this chapter should be the longest chapter in the book because it is about Local culture rather than strictly Native Hawaiian culture, but for some reason, the community didn’t really get their act together enough to contribute all the accomplishments they have done.

The story of Hawaiians in Los Angeles moves forward the the community gathering together…

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HILA Contributor Copies

Probably the most profound book on Hawaiians in Los Angeles I have ever written.

Queequeg's Mark

It’s here!  Lessa and I got our contributor copies of Hawaiians in Los Angeles, far and away the greatest book on the history of Hawaiians in Los Angeles or at least the most recent.  Copies go on sale May 14th.  Amazon and Barnes and Noble are taking preorders.  We are taking requests and will be selling at various events in Los Angeles.

May 15: Toyota Automobile Museum

June 8: Exhibit [a] and ATC(LE)

TBA: Silverlake Library

July: Barnes and Noble Torrance

July: Alondra Ho’olaulea

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HILA Poem: familiar magic

In buildup to the multiple events we have planned for Hawaiians in Los Angeles, Christian is working on poetry inserts to go with the pictures and chapters in the book. We’ll post the early drafts of the poem on his blog and this joint blog. Remember, this is just a draft, a taste; the good stuff won’t happen until you see him in person.

Right now, he will definitely be reading a few selections of these at Exhibit A for After the Carnival (Literary Events) June 8th and maybe at the Santa Monica library reading and the Barnes and Noble Torrance reading.

Queequeg's Mark

When I started “dating” Lessa, she went to Europe for a month and left me with “Hawaiian Like Me” as the first track on a mixed cd full of mixed messages—I was dating; she was not.  In her absence, she told me “it’s a warning to say aloha because you’ll never find another Hawaiian like me.”  Aloha is a spell, and if you hear it, run.

On the top of a cathedral in Italy, she ran into a classmate.  Some might call it aloha.  Maybe random.  I called it bullshit.

When my wife’s aunt accused us of withholding information and asked “why didn’t you tell me you were writing a book with Nani Nihipali?” I answered, “Hawaii is geographically isolated; everyone’s a cousin.”

While going through pictures, one of the other Filipino writers said “I went to high school with her” and pointed to a picture of Lessa’s hula sister…

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Queequeg's Mark

To help promote the soon-to-be released Hawaiians in Los Angeles book, and to help it cross genres beyond photography and history, I’m writing a series of poems about the pictures in the book as well as life being married to a Native Hawaiian while not being Hawaiian myself, which, if you know Lessa, is something she’s really excited about.  The reading will be at Exhibit A 555 Pine Avenue Long Beach, CA 90802 from 7pm-9.

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Proofing Process 1: Hawaiians in Los Angeles

I’m really excited about seeing Hawaiians in Los Angeles.  But I’m not too thrilled about a quick turn around to get the proofs back.  Overall, though, as I’m rereading my words and getting ready for publication, I am happy with the product.  It isn’t everything that I had hoped it would be; there were plenty of compromises made between me, Lessa, the cowriters, and the publisher, but the messages that we wanted to send are all there.

Specifically, I just finished rereading the introduction and the first chapter.  The introduction is either one of the more complex works I’ve ever written or the most confusing.  In two pages, I cover the modern history of Hawaii from creation myth to ideology to its history of colonization and informal segregation.  There is a paragraph or two that are really high concept, but with Lessa’s help, the whole remains approachable.

The first chapter is both informative and emotional.  It explains why Hawaiians came here and how they fostered relationships, but what I am personally drawn to is the bittersweet moments of those early family gatherings where parents and grandparents had to make touch decisions to stay in Hawaii or follow their children.  My intent was to keep the information and emotion balanced so that the reader, when inclined, would have their heartstrings tugged by the tragedy of familial distance or, with no personal stakes in the situation, insight into a much overlooked segment of American history while reinforcing the hope and promise that the Native Hawaiians felt in coming to Los Angeles.

I hope the distance between concept and execution is not as far or daunting as it traditionally is.