MY BOOK: Dream of the Water Children
To be Published by 2Leaf Press in LATE SPRING 2016.
My book is not the usual memoir or the usual social science book or book of poems.
Through World War II, its aftermath, through the Cold War and Vietnam Wars, the women and mixed-race children of this theater of life-strife-memory, lay untold intimacies that have internalized the large picture of the US and Allied Occupation of Japan, South Korea, Guam, the Philippines and Vietnam.
In addition, before World War II, when the US Occupation of Asia were pronounced, the onslaught of European and US colonization and imperialism, forms of elite rule and occupation, and hierarchies of slave/not-slave, were already forming. Spanish, Portuguese, British, German, Dutch and French conquerors already set their tentacles into the Pacific and Asia. The making of the Australian continent through the genocide and subjugation of Black tribes was a reality that is ongoing today. The Pacific slave trade is relatively ignored in history books and its ghosts live in my work.
Women and mixed-race children were the targets, as much as were the ruling and benefitting from land and rule. Orphaned mixed-race children, from the earliest colonial contacts to the present day were/and are scorned, , shunned, killed, sent away, sequestered, hidden–not so different from my own era in Post-World War II Japan. Many of those children still hunt for their lost fathers in Europe or America, or their lost mothers in their homelands today. Many are street children and in order to survive, have resorted to the only roads and ways open to them–that benefit the forming of so-called ‘good’ people who are mainstream and lawful in the nations while oppressing their conditions through controls and regulations of abuse and/or openings in sports or in entertainment, and human trafficking.
In addition, the already-present subaltern (“minority”) peoples in the Pacific Rim and the Unites States, have formed various intimacies and distances and relations of power with each other and with the dominant cultural values and ways of thinking self, identity, and community.
Race-relations of the Jim Crow era of the United States where African-Americans were not considered equal, transnationalize across the Pacific, transcend national borders and further fomenting White-Black hierarchies across the Pacific, maintaining their stranglehold on politics, as well as individual lives and the formation of power-structures within and without.
I tell of my father’s legacy and the lives of his friends—Black-American servicemen in the Pacific theater, fighting for justice while occupying Asia, where empathy and dominance of women intertwine.
The forming of these particular transnational lives between the US and Asia–of which my own story, my mother’s story that began before me, and our friends we’ve left behind in memory–form legacies of trauma and citizenship between times, lands, and people. Intimacy and global consciousness meld.
Critiques interweave with dreams and ghosts and the haunted sociological imagination of the post-colonial present. My mother’s friends and relations tell their stories through me. Korean women and other women tell their stories through me. White teenagers who came to Japan to be heroes tell their stories through my story. Black men wanting justice tell their stories. Mixed and multi-racial persons of various places and memory, make a path in the darkness that hides their identities even today. For all of this, I tell a tiny particle in my own way, where intellect, emotion, academia, dreams, daydreams, hatreds, loves, and longing collide and collude.
This First Installment “Dream of the Water Children, dream of the water children” tells of the links between mother and son.
WATER CHILDREN BLOG:
The Japanese American National Museum began a Nikkei Legacy Project and excerpts from my book are posted regularly on their site: http://www.discovernikkei.org/en/journal/2011/06/10/dream-of-the-water-children/
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ADVANCED PRAISE for
Fredrick Douglas Kakinami Cloyd’s unpublished book:
Patricia Mushim Ikeda, Buddhist teacher / activist in Oakland, California, says:
This is a mature book that moves fluidly, as the mind moves, untroubled by traditional distinctions between writing considered to be academic vs. creative, memoir vs. personal essay, sure-footed in unexpected ways. This genre-bending book is not “experimental writing.” The author knows what he wants to say and he knows how he wants to say it, seeking, in his own words, “restoration and reclamation” for silenced voices and histories never erased because they have not yet been written. Dream of the Water Children, dream of the water children demands that its reader rigorously consider the constructed nature of memory, identities, and historical narrative. And it is also an enormously kind and passionate chronicle of a son’s long journey with his mother. To read it is to marvel, to learn, and to discover anew what surrealist poet Paul Éluard said: “There is another world, but it is in this one.”
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Leonard Rifas, PH.D
Communications, University of Washington, says:
Can be read as a ghost story, a meditation on how to disassemble the heartbreak machines; a catalog of copious tears and small comforts. This is a challenging example of personal bravery and filial love. It puts the ‘more’ in memory.”
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Heidi Andrea Rhodes, M.A., doctoral student & writer in San Francisco, California, says:
“Part memoir, part postcolonial scholarly examination, Fredrick Cloyd’s *Dream of the Water Children* beckons us to walk with him through encounters with ghosts while knitting historical memory out of dreams and roots and interrogations of what has come to be, through excavations of what has been. I laughed, and I cried, and I didn’t want to put it down. As Cloyd weaves in and
between time and place, through his own life and what came before him, we are called to mourn the brutal effects of colonization and empire’s global reach, and all its tiny, invisibilized and silenced violations with their vast and heavy implications —on society, family, identity, language, imagination, the body, belonging, resistance, and possibilities for life itself. This work is a song of sorrow, and a celebration of survival. It is heartbreak rendered into word. It is a weapon for memory with which we might fight the all-too American plague of forgetting.”
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Ryan Layne Whitney, classical musician and author in Seattle, Washington, says:
“Dream of the Water Children can be experienced from many angles by an open mind. To those who have grown up as a multi-racial person, the book will likely remind the reader of the bewildering alternation between emotions of pride and despair, confusion and hope. Persons, like myself, raised securely in the race and culture of current dominance, should see in the book the fallacious and dangerous consequences of many of the assumptions we were taught to believe. At the base of it all, though, lie the stories of broken families, lonesome and ill-treated children, wives, and mothers, conflicted fathers—people with needs and feelings we all share. Let us understand that circumstances of place, time, birth, and war—so changeable in this messy world—can cast any of us into the nightmarish struggle for acceptance and identity that we read about here. Some will not survive; others will emerge with insight and strength for all to encounter.”