I cut the string a few days after the Chinese New Year welcomed in the Year of the Monkey. I waited the extra days because I was tentative about cutting something that had been with me for an entire year, something so passive-aggressively attached. I didn’t think the cutting would hurt—the attachment didn’t go that far. But I did wonder what I would do with the string once it was no longer a part of me. I felt as though I couldn’t throw the string away, and yet to keep the ratty thing was also unappealing. The string was an accumulation of time, had gathered the experiences of that year more accurately, and certainly less ostentatiously than any journals I’d kept, any reflections I was attempting to write.
I am writing from the country of my childhood and adolescence, the place that inspires everything I write, the place that invigorates and exhausts and devastates me like no other place on earth.