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Home-making: An Anthology on Belonging, Transience, and Memory

Read the Home-Making Stories

Presented by the Asian American Resource Center

In collaboration with ATX Asians

Introduction

From a need to cultivate community during a time when we were doing our best to social distance, stay at home, and protect our communities, ATX Asians partnered with the Asian American Resource Center to co-host a two-part online writing workshop and virtual storyteller showcase to explore the meaning of home.

There was no better time to do so as Asian Pacific Americans than during a pandemic when we are all trying to stay safe, deal with isolation, and protect loved ones.

Though the space was intended for Austin-based community members, the workshops also brought together storytellers from across state lines and even national borders! Everyone from writers by trade and hobbyists joined and were guided through writing exercises and drafts by ATX Asian community member and writer, ena ganguly. Our time spent together focused on collective healing by excavating our unique ideas of what “home” means to each of us. Participating in this process led us to incredible self-reflection and community connection. The theme of “home” connected our stories in a diversely beautiful quilt of experiences and perspectives.

Our storytellers wrote, workshopped, and polished their meaning of homes, which they recited to a live audience over Zoom on September 12, 2020.

The exercise of community building with strangers over Zoom, with a limited amount of time along with the hefty task of building the meaning of home through words, was met with great fervor, commitment, and diligence by each of one our writers. We are grateful to have shared valuable time and space with one another to hone in on the craft of storytelling on home, healing, and community. The writings of each author were so generative, moving, and thoughtful that the Asian American Resource Center suggested a digital anthology to immortalize the works of each writer.

Without further ado, we are honored to present to you the stories from Home-Making 2020: An Anthology on Belonging, Transience, and Memory. This anthology will bring the reader to a sense of home that may be astonishingly familiar or brilliantly new. No matter your sense of home, we hope you feel the tenderness with which each story was crafted.

ena ganguly

Editor

About The Organizations

ATX Asians for Social Justice is a group for individuals who identify as part of the Asian diaspora to build communities, coalition, and solidarity with Black, Latinx, Indigenous/Native American, LGBTQIA+, disabled, undocumented, and other marginalized communities. The mission of ATXAsians is to provide opportunities for all members of the Asian communities in Austin, Texas to learn, explore, promote, organize, and take action around issues in the realm of racial justice, especially against anti-Blackness, and liberation.

The City of Austin’s Asian American Resource Center opened in 2013 as part of the Parks and Recreation’s Department Museum and Cultural Programs Division. As one of the rare city funded community and cultural centers for Asian Americans in the United States, the AARC’s vision is to empower Austin's diverse communities through cultural understanding and life-enhancing opportunities. The AARC provides a variety of programs and events to the public throughout the year, such as weekly senior meals and wellness classes , educational workshops, cultural festivals and resource fairs, and a year round community exhibit program dedicated to showcasing Asian American artists. Even though the AARC facility is currently closed to the public due to COVID-19, the staff continues to work diligently to build community online.

Video: AARC Presents: Home-Making, A Live Storytelling September 12, 2020 Event Recording

Meet the Storytellers

Jen Lee

Jen Lee is a Chicanese-Chinese-American writer based in San Francisco. She cohosts The AuthEthnic Podcast, which fosters real conversations around race and social issues from an APIA perspective.

Anuradha Naimpally

As a dancer, Anu loves to tell stories through the gestures of Indian classical movement. She has made her home in Austin, TX for the past three decades after growing up in three countries and over six cities.

Tu-Uyen Nguyen

Tu-Uyen Nguyen (“thoo-wee-yen wee-yen”) is a Florida-native Texas-transplant, a post-refugee grown daughter investigating the multilingual potentials of self-sacrifice.

Samridhdi Shrestha

Samridhdi Shrestha is a Nepali-American writer and a student at UT studying neuroscience, Asian American Studies, creative writing, and human rights and social justice.

Dana Wing Lau

Dana is an eater, feeder, and creator. She acts, writes, and co-hosts ExploreVeganATX, a food series where she gives her epicurious take on all things plant-based. Currently, she is working on a pitch for her very own food show; exploring food through the first generation Americans. www.danawinglau.com

Marlon Hedrick

Marlon is a poet, musician, videographer, and archivist originally from the island of Saipan. His creative work explores themes of family, ancestry, and identity through personal & public forms of history & memory.

Leta Moser

Leta is a collector of experiences and identities. She is overjoyed to be participating in the collaborative sharing of stories, self, and voice through the AARC home making workshop.

Kenneth Berba

Kenneth Berba, of Philippine descent, was born and raised in El Paso, Texas. Besides working for a food non-profit, he pursued a wide creative range, including theatre/film acting and improv and now getting back into writing. He is also writing a feature-length horror screenplay.

Sahar Ali

In her past life (before marriage and motherhood) Sahar was a real-life Carrie Bradshaw who, among other single woman pursuits, wrote the SWOT column about life as a single woman over thirty in Pakistan. A decade into her 40th birthday, life as a SAHM (stay-at-home mom) In Austin is far removed from her desi SATC (sex and the city) days. She now cooks, Facebooks, and hikes to keep her sanity.

Hoi Ning Ngai

Hoi Ning Ngai is a passionate explorer of the world and of the self. She currently works at the Bates Center for Purposeful Work, helping students figure out who they are and who they want to be, personally and professionally.

Maya Pilgrim

Maya Pilgrim (she/her) is a Filipina/American who loves to start things and might even finish them. She co-creates validating, healing and learning spaces while being a mother, partner, and companion species to a dog and ever-growing number of plants at home.

About The Editor

ena ganguly is a heart-led and courage-fueled 1.5 generation South Asian immigrant, born in Patna, India, and raised in Missouri City, the historic suburb of southwest Houston. Seen as a cat whisperer by many, proudly queer and Bengali, ena is a writer, poet, and editor. ena is the anthology editor for Home-Making: On Belonging, Transience and Memory, in collaboration with the City of Austin’s Asian American Resource Center, and editor for Search & Find, an anthology by Roots. Wounds. Words. and Carnegie Hall.

Learn more about ena and her work by visiting her on Instagram @enaganguly.

Acknowledgements

Thank you to the supporters and the contributors of this project.

The Asian American Resource Center, ATX Asians, Sahar Ali*, Anî La'arni Ayuma, Kenneth Berba*, Jennifer Chiao, ena ganguly, Marlon Hedrick*, Dana Wing Lau*, Jen Lee*, Francis Mendoza, Leta Moser*, Anuradha Naimpally*, Hoi Ning Ngai*, Tu-Uyen Nguyen*, Maya Pilgrim*, Kymberlie Quong-Charles, Samridhdi Shrestha*, Farah Tamanna, Juliane Tran, Alice Zhang.

* indicates they are featured on this online anthology and performed at the live storytelling event.

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