Sunday, May 11, 2014

Perpetual Child Anthology Interview: Matthew Salesses

Perpetual Child: Adult Adoptee Anthology Contributor, 
Matthew Salesses

Perpetual Child: Adult Adoptee Anthology, Dismantling the Stereotype

Contributor Interview

Interviewed by:
Amanda Transue-Woolston (Co-editor & Contributor)
Mei-Mei Akwai Ellerman (AN-YA Project Co-founder & Contributor)
Diane René Christian (An-Ya Project Co-founder & Publisher)

Diane: Tell us about your piece published in Perpetual Child: Adult Adoptee Anthology.

Matthew: My piece is a kind of manifesto, I suppose you could call it.

Diane: How did you approach writing your piece included inside this Anthology?

Matthew: Honestly, I got angry about something and wanted to change it.

Amanda: Are there any adoptees that inspire you creatively? Feel free to answer in general terms of being inspired by the adoptee community if you do not wish to name anyone specifically.

Matthew: Yes, there are many, but here are a few outside of the An-Ya Project: Nicole Soo-jung Callahan, JaeRan Kim, and Mary-Kim Arnold.

Mei-Mei: Do you need complete quiet, a "room of your own," when you write or can you write under any circumstances? Does your writing simply flow from your pen, finger tips, or do you actually hear what you are writing, or see it as it takes shape?

Matthew: I need quiet to begin something. It’s very hard for me to get into a piece, but once I am in, quiet is slightly less essential. I just need to keep going.

Amanda: Is feedback from other adoptees, other adoption community members, colleagues, or friends/loved ones a part of your creative process? If so, how do you include others in the creation of your pieces?

Matthew: Twitter is a part of my creative process. Sometimes that means feedback from the adoption community. When my essay from the anthology was republished at The Good Men Project, for example, a tweet from another adoptee was included in the lead-in.

Mei-Mei: Given the choice to make three major changes in your life up to now, what would they be?

Matthew: Gosh, so many things, but what's the use? I’d rather change three things yet to come.

Amanda: Do you feel that your writing is in any way a legacy to your posterity or a tribute to your ancestors—or both? If so, in what ways do you feel your ancestors/descendants appear within or inspire your writing?

Matthew: I’m not into posterity. I’d rather have some effect while I’m alive. I’m not writing for my ancestors, either. I’m writing for people I hope to connect with (for real), which means people living at the same time as I’m living.

Diane: What projects are you currently working on?

Matthew: I have a new book of essays out: Different Racisms: On Stereotypes, the Individual, and Asian American Masculinity. I also wrote a serialized, kdrama-like adoptee novel, Marked, that will be illustrated and published by the adoptee magazine, Gazillion Voices.

Diane: Have you read any great books recently?

Matthew: Laura van den Berg’s The Isle of Youth, Roxane Gay’s An Untamed State, and Kirstin Chen’s Soy Sauce for Beginners are three recent books I was lucky enough to read in manuscript.

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