An excerpt from my interview over at Redivider with editor Matt Salesses:
AC:…I remember when I was a writing student in college feeling like literature was a big food court at the mall, and for being half-white and half-Asian, I was like, will I be able to work at the Korean restaurant, or at the white people restaurant? What if I can’t work at either restaurant because I don’t belong there? I was just thinking about these things while having lunch at a sushi restaurant in Middletown, CT where all the waiters there were Asian, even though all of them were not Japanese. And they were standing around looking sort of dejected and it made me think about that food court idea of literature again. Like, “Here I only get to work at the sushi restaurant or the soondubu restaurant.” I think that’s disgusting. It’s beneath all of us and I’m looking forward to the day when we all collectively get over it.
MS: But it must be so much easier to get a job, too. You think, “I could just get a job at an Asian restaurant.” Some people probably just take it because it’s so much more convenient.
AC: And that is also true. There certainly are a lot of cultural rewards for deciding to fit in with that group. But then you lose yourself, even though you also have audiences who are there because of what you are as opposed to what you wrote, and that’s not cool. That’s just weird. I feel like certain writers have their careers not because they’re any good, but because they’re willing to represent a kind of collective projection on the part of a particular community as to what that community wants to see itself as. And I’d much rather be a little more chaotic than that. And a little more connected to life.