I am a black, malaysian, and gay american writer from Worcester, Massachusetts.
I write about ghosts, monsters, and the catastrophic failure of systems that are supposed to keep people safe. My essays have appeared most recently in Black Warrior Review, Alpinist, and Bay Nature magazines, and my speculative fiction is forthcoming or appearing in Lightspeed, Clarkesworld, FIYAH, Nightmare, and other fantastic/al magazines. My work has received notable mentions in Best American Essays and Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy, and the runner-up award from the Black Warrior Review nonfiction contest.
I am a Tin House Scholar and a graduate of the VONA and Viable Paradise workshops. I have a B.A. from Harvard College, and studied law at Stanford Law School, after which I worked on radical criminal policy change in California. I am currently at work on a collection of short stories and a novel.
I write fiction
- Wind Up Teeth | Death in the Mouth, forthcoming October 2022
- Every Atom Belonging to Me As Good Belongs to You | Nightmare (2022)
- Life in the City | Solarpunk (2022)
- Forest Thing | Fireside (2021)
- Do Nothing | Lightspeed (2021)
- The Field Tiger | Clarkesworld (2021)
- You Without Me | Midnight & Indigo (2021)
- The Black Menagerie | FIYAH, reprinted in Lightspeed (named a notable story in Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy 2021 (2020)
and Year's Best Dark Fantasy and Horror Vol. II)
- Thunder Only Happens When It's Raining | Anathema (2020)
- A Good Mother | Syntax & Salt (2020)
- The Road to Damascus | The Harvard Advocate (2008)
...and am occasionally interviewed and/or well reviewed
- "Every Atom" author spotlight by Leighanna Derouen
- "Do Nothing" author spotlight by Jude Griffin
- "Forest Thing" reviewed by Alex Brown
- "The Field Tiger" reviewed by Charles Payseur
- "The Black Menagerie" reviewed by Maria Haskins, A.C. Wise, Charles Payseur
- "Thunder Only Happens When It's Raining" reviewed by Charles Payseur, Maria Haskins
I also write essays...
- Love and Affection | Black Warrior Review (non-fiction contest Runner Up)
- The Story of the Butterflies | Bay Nature
- Redwood Memory | Bay Nature
- The Generosity of Trees | Bay Nature
- The Body of Climbing | Alpinist (named a notable essay in Best American Essays 2021)
- The Anchor of Care | Field Notes
- Light the Fire: Vernan Kee and Weston Snowboards | The Daily
- The Problem Solvers | Trust for Public Lands
- Best Hike Ever: Massachusetts | Backpacker Magazine
- Interview with Ryan Hudson | Elevation Outdoors
- Building Abundance with Brown Girls Climb | Outdoor Retailer
- How Redwood Forests Can Heal Us | Redwoods Magazine
- Why We Run | Trail Runner Magazine
- Don't Ride Sally, Don't Ride | All City Cycles
- The White Side | Elevation Outdoors
- After the Hike | Feathered Friends
- Go to Nature to be in the World | Osprey
- Octavia Tried to Tell Us About Space | Blavity
- Because She's Powerful: In Conversation | Frank News
- Because She's Powerful: The Political Isolation and Resistance of Women with Incarcerated Loved Ones | Essie Justice Group
- Not Just a Ferguson Problem: How Traffic Courts Drive Inequality in California
WHY DO I WRITE?? ^^^
A question I have asked myself many times is “why do I write?” Maybe what I mean is, “what does it mean to take the time to write in this moment?”
To me, prioritizing writing means hoarding time for quiet, solitude, dreaming, and wondering. The urgency of justice tells me that there’s no time for dreaming or wondering. An analysis of power tells me that if I don’t take time to think, dream, and wonder, art will remain the province of white men and women with resources, whose imaginations will then continue to take up an inordinate amount of space in the collective imagination of this country. I worked on lawmaking in California for long enough to understand that imaginings become stories become culture become law. For me, it is no great leap to understand that the United States thrives as a violent, white supremacist nation because the dreams, wonders, and visions of Black and Indigenous people and other people of color are systematically excluded from its collective imagination.
So what does it mean to be a queer Black and Malay person taking my time and writing stories?
Writing moves at the slow pace of healing, not the rapid pace of trauma. But taking my time to write means I’m not giving my time in other ways, and spending hours in nature thinking about an essay instead of drafting legislation to close prisons or defund the police can feel like wasting time rather than taking it. How can I choose to respond to the violent trauma that’s killing Black and Brown people everyday in this country *by writing stories*?
I don’t know. I do know that I’m not alone in learning how to navigate this complexity. I am part of a long tradition of Black, Indigenous, Asian, Latinx, and other people of color in America choosing to make political art as a way to navigate individual power and oppression alongside structural power and oppression within a social, political, and economic context none of us can ever fully understand.
In one sense, writing, and sharing my writing, is my way of giving the time I’ve taken back to all of us, so that we can enter into an imaginary space that sees, welcomes, loves, and values us. That does not imagine us as dead, or worthless, or only worth as much as we can work. That imagines us with wonder. We deserve to be imagined with wonder.