1st Piece Accepted in 2014

Today I got the best kind of email.  Simon Waxman, the managing editor at the Boston Review, contacted me to publish my lyrical essay,"The Day I Lost Rock and Roll," at the BR.  So, of course, my day became fucking awesome.  This essay is part of my high-concept memoir, Dream Pop Origami.  Be on the lookout for my essay in the near future!

Nominated for a Pushcart Prize in Creative Nonfiction

I learned yesterday that my lyrical essay, "The Transfusion of Yukiyo Kanahashi," my piece about memory, dementia, nostalgia + love, written about the last seven days of my obāsan's life, was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize by Jennifer Derilo, the creative nonfiction editor at The Kartika Review.

Anyway, I know that thousands of people get nominated every year + only a select few actually win, but this makes me feel good.  Of course, I'd love it if the reading committee selected my essay for their anthology, but for the time being, I'm extremely grateful to have been nominated for such a prestigious prize.

Anyway, if you're interested in reading my pushcart-nominated lyrical essay (for bragging rights, posterity, sleep aid, escapism), you can find it in the 2012-2013 anthology of Asian Pacific Islander American Literature.

Good Rejection from Brick Magazine

While this is a gracious + thoughtful rejection letter, strangely enough, this is the second time BRICK magazine has told me my essay was both engaging but also "too personal." I'm trying to imagine an essay that's not personal, + I'm having a hard time understanding how someone writes nonfiction without being extremely personal (unless it's journalism).  Either way, I really appreciate the kind words but I don't understand that critique, at least not for this genre.

Dear Jackson,

Thank you for submitting " . . . " to Brick. Although your piece is very engaging, I regret that we must pass on it as it is a bit too personal to be of interest to our more general readership. We are a casual literary journal, and we generally publish pieces on art and the writing life. 

We do wish you all the best with your writing.
A*** G*******-R**

Lyrical Essay about Love Republished in Australia

Sometimes when you write shit down, you have no idea what's gonna be big when other people read it.  Truthfully, I don't pretend I have a damn clue what excites readers--that's why I try to write things that excite me + hope readers feel the same.  For those of you who haven't read it yet, I published a lyrical essay a little more than a week ago in the Good Men Project entitled "How to Stay in Love." I wrote this piece about LB partially because I'm still crazy in love 6 years after we started dating, and partially because the older I get, the more I realize how uniquely awesome our relationship is (+ I should know, I'd had tons of shitty relationships in my life, so I've got a point of reference).  Anyway, Kristin Shorten, an Australian journalist from News emailed me last Monday + asked if they could republish my essay on one of Australia's top news websites.  And I was like:  fuck yeah!  So here's an abridged republication of my essay, "How to Stay in Love" in the lifestyle section of News.com in Australia, along with a few pics of LB + me in Socal + Buenos Aires for your viewing pleasure.  I've also included, just for the hell of it, a picture of the front page, just to give you some context of where my essay fits within the bigger picture of today's news cycle on this website + why it got republished in journals + news engines like The Herald Sun, Courier MailNews Whip + Optus Zoo, among others.  My essay was even republished on a German website called Ad Hoc News with a picture of Michael Jackson!

Lyrical Essay about Staying in Love Published at the Good Men Project

There are a lot of things I'm not qualified to write about (of course, this has never stopped writers before).  But one of the things I feel I'm eminently qualified to do is write about love.  I've been in love more than once.  I've been in too many relationships to count.  Some of them have been horrendous slogs, others ephemeral + dramatic flare-ups, + quite a few fell somewhere in between.  Either way, one thing I'm good at is connected to one thing I believe in wholeheartedly, which is the capacity for humans to love + the redemptive place that love can play in our culture.  My life would have no value without it.  My best writing comes from a place of love (of characters, places, experiences, languages, ideas, etc., etc.).  My best relationships are overflowing with that stuff too.  Anyway, this time I wrote a lyrical essay about my relationship with LB, which the Good Men Project was happy to publish because they love it when men talk about love.  If you have time, I hope you'll read it + tell me what you think about my piece, "How to Stay in Love."

Lyrical Essay Published in Kartika Review

It's tough writing about your family, even tougher I think writing about your Japanese Grandmother when she was the heart + soul of your family as mine was.  Years after she passed away, I'm still trying to understand how much of my own cultural identity came from her, from our conversations, our meals + our holiday traditions, from her stories of Japan + of our Japanese family in Tokyo + Osaka.  After taking a class on war + memory with Viet Nguyen at USC during my early PhD years, Viet allowed me to write a lyrical essay instead of an analytical one for our final paper, which was an amazing blessing.  After a lot of intermittent revision over two years + more recently with the CNF editor at Kartika Review, Jennifer Derilo (who I respect/adore), my lyrical essay "The Transfusion of Yukiyo Kanahashi" is now live.  In many ways, it's heartbreaking + raw + honest + powerful.  But my hope is that this essay will keep her memory alive while also providing me (+ the reader) the space to take apart our own preconceptions about our selves while celebrating the erosion of memory + even life.  I make no bold claims about this essay except that it helped me celebrate my sobo's life + the Japanese ancestry in our family while also giving me the cultural + emotional space to finally let go of her + share my imperfect memory of her with the world (reader).  If you wanna buy a black and white hardcopy of issue 15, go here.  If you don't have funds to drop, you can also read my essay on line here.

1st Piece Accepted in 2013

After a rigorous (+ very helpful) revision dialogue with Jennifer Derilo, the very sharp, very smart + very detail-oriented Creative Nonfiction editor, I'm proud to announce that my lyrical essay "The Transfusion of Yukiyo Kanahashi" will be published in the upcoming issue of the Kartika Review.  This lyrical essay is part personal narrative, part memory + neuroscience critique, + part metamemoir.  It's a non-linear work about the last week of my sobo's life (my Japanese grandmother's), intertwined with political, cultural, nostalgic + speculative narrative strands.  It's a beautiful + heartbreaking + language-driven + emotionally raw piece, + needs to be shared with the world I think. I honestly can't think of a more culturally important journal to publish an essay about my sobo's life than in the Kartika Review.   I'll keep you posted.