[…] I understand that China has no use for my affections. They will not save me from what many in this country see as the unforgivable fact of my foreignness, my blackness. Most pressingly, these affections will not save any of us from the long-term effects that exposure to this environment is having on our bodies.
“I think my poems are all Jewish because they’re all curious, and they’re all petitioning, in one way or another.”
I wonder, now, of all the stories she might have told had I worked harder to defy her, to learn her native language. I wonder how much more I have lost of my mother because I could not truly speak to her.
“While my writing is autobiographical, I don’t feel beholden to the facts because I’m using the materials of my life to create a story. The purpose is not to tell people that this is what happened, nor should people read my work in order to find out about my life. I want people to read these essays as works of literature, stories.”
I hoped to discover by means of an extended research project just how close the similarities might be, and where the differences lay. Such an endeavor could bring us nearer to an answer to the question, “What makes man human?”