Essays

Bottlenecks: My Mother’s Walks and Other Perils

Before the pandemic, my mother and I took walks. A temporary truce to our bickering, physical activity and fresh air made us better.

Liberation/Fall

I’m helping my Dad write his memories of being a soldier in the Vietnam War. The project started years ago when I first interviewed him about his time with the Vietnamese Communists. Then he told me that he wanted to write down his memories himself.

A Suitcase of Recipes: Diasporic Vietnamese Cookbooks and the Stories They Tell

I'm thinking about refugees and how we write about the foods of our country of origin. How we often apologize for our hard-to-find ingredients or for the funk that makes them so damn tasty. How we think it necessary to convince readers that our cuisine is "easy" and "simple." How we adapt until we forget ourselves.

A Relation To Infinity

"Last summer when my grandma on my dad’s side passed, my parents attended the funeral in Saigon. They burned a piece for me. They conjured me. I was transported to them, made present by a flame."

Apocalypse Never: Writing Our Origin Stories and Imaginative Futures as Montagnard Americans

If history is made durable by the survival of the written records, as Montagnard Americans in the twenty-first century, a radical act against our historical erasure is to write our stories now.

Beyond War Talk

It is almost instinct to reach for the war as a subject of reflection, not for lack of imagination, but because it has indelibly informed how we, as the diaspora, move in the world.