How to Pronounce Knife by Souvankham Thammavongsa

kindle edition of book with cat next to it

a nutshell: drawing on her own experiences, poet & short story writer Thammavongsa’s debut collection explores moments of unease or disjunction for Laotian immigrants across 14 stories

a line: “I know now what I couldn’t have known then––she wouldn’t just be gone, she’d stay gone.” (‘Edge of the World’)

an image: I liked how, despite living in the same apartment block, the two girls in ‘A Far Distant Thing’ would chat on the phone each evening to describe the details of their day – practising for their (aspiring) writing careers

a thought: the pressures & injustices involved in making a living are a recurring focus, and ‘Picking Worms’ is a particularly devastating instance of when doors are open for mediocre white people and closed for talented Lao people

a fact: born in the (Lao) Nong Khai refugee camp in Thailand in 1978, Thammavongsa and her parents were sponsored by a family in Canada when she was one year old

want to read How to Pronounce Knife? visit here

This Is My Story of Resilience by Uinise Tulikihakau

I came across this story on WCCC Stories of Resilience: Women of Tonga.

a nutshell: as part of a project to amplify rural women’s voices, Tulikihakau poignantly shares her experiences and feelings in the wake of Cyclone Gita

a line: “it really doesn’t matter if you are a woman or a man, what matters is the determination, commitment and belief that you can do whatever you set your heart on to do”

an image: despite the devastation of her home, Tulikihakau writes that she and her son were just happy to be back even if it meant sleeping among ruins

a thought: I couldn’t help but think Tulikihakau’s son is so fortunate to have her as his mother – her love for him come across powerfully, as well as her strength in ensuring he’s provided for, particularly since her husband’s death

a fact: among Tulikihakau’s side-work is the creation of leis (necklaces) for the Hawaiian market

want to read Tulikihakau’s Story of Resilience? visit here