|Joy Kogawa Talks to Karlyn
Koh: The Heart-of-the-Matter Questions."
The Other Woman: Women of Colour
in Contemporary Canadian Literature. Ed. Makeda Silvera. Toronto: Black
Women and Women of Colour P, 1995. 19-41.
Her writing and Ethnic identity 20
. . .in the very first years when I was publishing [1960s] I was like the other people of my generation--I had virtually no consciousness, except in a negative sense, of Japaneseness. I would see myself as white. I wrote as a white person. I wrote, in fact, in a male voice initially. In that sense I was a mimic, I read and I wrote what I read.
p. 21--her poetry
the struggles that I had were struggles with questions of love and evil
and death, and those are universal questions, so I didn't have any
particular consciousness, again then, of race. I didn't associate my suffering
as the suffering of a person who was a miniority human being. I simply
attached it to all suffering.
the writing of Obasan
the two novels and two voices 30-31
. . . after writing Obasan and in a way being forced into public situations, the Naomi character that was within me, who basically could not talk, and which is really the way I used to be, got more and more transformed, and the Aunt Emily voice came out. I found myself being more like Aunt Emily. And I think in Itsuka I was much more like Emily, but since I was writing in Naomi's voice, I had a problem because I didn't want Naomi to be transformed too suddenly. I ddin't know how to do that anyway because she didn't have a parallel experience to mine. I had had a public kind of attention that helped me to change and Naomi didn't have that. So Naomi had to remain the way that she was, more or less, although she could be changed a little bit through the redress activity. . . It was just that there was a stroy I had lived through, and I couldn't write about it while I was living through it.
knowledge and ignorance 38
...when you don't know what you don't know, it's not so bad. When you're in denial you can go on with your life--it's a great survival tactic, . . .And I look back and i see that I have lived my life in denial and that's what I write about. It enables me to thrive to the extent that I did.
But the fog is denial, the fog is surviving.. . .it keeps us safe, it keeps the sun from coming through and destroying us. The sun is like the truth. I mean the truth is waht enables things to grow.
But too much of it kills us. And so although one wants the sun, one
also--...--puts up the show that protects us, that's denial. . . .You have
to tear it away and that's the hard part. It means going in directly to
the sun and/or into the flame and surviving that. . . .So that's what you
do when you're no longer in denial: you go rushing into the thing, you
get to the safe place.