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I'm currently editing and writing a story that's taken about three, maybe four years of my life. I think I started it about the same time I did Mosquito Story. I know I started it shortly after I got back from Vietnam in 2002, and that was shortly before I took up slush reading at Gothic.Net. Something I do remember about slushing at Gothic.Net after that, which stuck because the reality of Ho Chi Minh City was a mood and a half, was how I'd occasionally get these stories about Vietnam. Zombie stories, or something. Tour of Duty-style romps through the bleeding jungle. Always American. Always somehow bent on revenge. Used to bug me to no end, not just because zombie stories are t3h 3b1l, but because there has got to be more to write about Vietnam than the mysterious enemy in the woods, and there is.

The year I was there, for example, was the year America began opening up ties with Vietnam again, and Bill Clinton became the first American President to visit since the War. I went to the pho shop where Bill Clinton ate, and his photo hangs on the wall. I wrote poetry about Ben Thanh market and the Saigon River, which I sent to diorling from an Internet cafe on Nguyen Thiminh Kai Rd behind our hotel. I remember that cafe because once I forgot to bring dong and only had ringgit on my person. The kind shopkeepers said I could pay the next day, and I did. Poems published and hard drive crashes later, I don't have these poems with me anymore. I still wish I did.

I wrote a poem about the American War Crimes Museum that eventually became a longer piece I finished last year and submitted as part of a final project for a poetry class. And a flash story about the balcony of the hotel apartment I stayed in for a month that was also published. I made a lot of sun dresses I never wore more than once. I bought a couple of beaded denim bags I wore till the straps started to wear out. And I have a plastic bag of tiny glass animals. My final day there, I dreamt that my second last hamster died and came to me to say goodbye. I went home the next day and found out it died the hour I touched down.

And I started writing a story about the River Saigon, and a restaurant shaped like a catfish I sat on when I was 20. Maybe I'll finish it soon.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 5th, 2006 08:55 pm (UTC)
I envy you. I spent the first couple of years of my life in Ho Chi Minh City before it was called that, during Teh War, and I've been itching to see it as an adult, the last few years. (Unfortunately, that's going to have to wait until I make a bigger dent in my child support backlog and get my passport back.)
Jul. 5th, 2006 09:05 pm (UTC)
It'd be worth the visit, I'm sure, if you do get to go. The people were lovely. I remember them the most because they were so down-to-earth, gracious and very kind.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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