The Lava Never Sleeps: A Honolulu Memoir
My memoir is an exploration into place, culture, and memory, the layers of physical and emotional bodies that define who we are. Many landscapes shape how a woman becomes who she is.
My Chinese American family appears to exemplify the model minority. Despite the achievement of academic success and solid middle-class values, the hoarding of words (the withholding of physical and verbal affection) takes a toll. Such quiet crimes ripple out into the future, just as my experiences of childhood sexual trauma and emotional abuse have life-changing, longitudinal effects. Those actions that seem innocuous to adults can and do harm a child.
The power of story creates a refuge. Writing gives me the authority to tell my secrets to remove shame and to acknowledge our collective humanity. This is my journey to sort out cultural and personal identity and to make sense of family secrets, including childhood traumas. In the process, Hawaiian history, geology, and mythology become crucial touchstones for me. They remind me I am a child of the land, and this book is an island daughter’s expression of love for Hawai‘i.
March 2019 – Now available at bookstores and on Amazon. Published by Willow Books.