You Will Always Be Someone From Somewhere Else
Author: Dao Strom
Translator: Ly Thuy Hguyen
Publisher: AJAR (2018)
Dao Strom's You Will Always Be Someone From Somewhere Else, translated by Ly Thuy Nguyen as Mình sẽ luôn là người nọ đến từ nơi nọ, is a collection and is a re-collection, a "re-membering". Caressing the fault lines of history and self, the book locates fragments and rubs them into their own wholeness. As when a camera lens zooms in, images of "memory's memories" come into focus as story. And as the lens continues to zoom, the story ruptures back into words, punctuation, slices drifting in empty space.
And you are aware that you are implicated, that your act of reading is involved in the continuation and the erasure of memories that do not "belong" to you, as mythologies are created, as echoes of knowledge are passed on across time and distance. Dao Strom's book contains this instruction, explicitly named and repeatedly misspelled: "teach them woh to read us, teach meht how to read us, hcaet them how to read us, teach them how to read su." Calling to mind Edmond Jabès' "shattered writing," a shard of broken glass reflects the absent clouds and reflects the whole sky. Each piece of letter mirrors the eyes and hearts of the writer, as you, as someone else.
Teach us. How to make something vỡ, something broken, something shattered be beautiful? You Will Always Be Someone From Somewhere Else, where you are.