Yellow Sweater

United States

Zinnia | she/her | bi | agnostic | 18 | WA

2021-2022 Seattle Youth Poet Laureate

Elitist Atlantic Subscriber (jk, but I do think the Atlantic does some awsome journalism)

I don't necessarily agree with my own assertions

Message from Writer

I like spaceships, temples, and tea.

Some of my favorite poets and poet-adjacent-people: Federico Garcia Lorca, Ocean Vuong, Annie Dillard, Italo Calvino, Arundhati Roy, Michael Ondaatje, Becky Chambers, Pablo Neruda... The list goes on.

I am on here way too much.

My book is out next June! It feels wonderful to be able to say that with such certainty!

There are so many excellent writers on this site, but if you are new and looking for a place to start, check out: Paisley Blue, aosora, wishtree, aismic, Starlitskies, R.j.Elsewhere, amaryllis, .. ugh there are so many more....

White Trash (footnotes)

April 11, 2021

FREE WRITING

4
My grandma dated James Dean. He took her on a drive down State Route 46 in his motorcycle. The same road on which he crashed a couple of weeks, months, years later. We Americans have a strange hobby: mapping our heritage. It’s easy to feel lost in our land of swollen traffic lanes and busy highway intersections. It’s easy to lose yourself.  

I am a daughter of English debutants and the Danish Avant-Gard. I am a daughter of Balkan Nationalism and Balkan slums in Chicago. I am a daughter of the American Revolution and “The Revolution”. I am a daughter of Fish-Town and London-Town. I am a daughter of capitalists and socialists, fascists and communists, psychologists and preachers and poets, Puritan pilgrims all. 

While the English have become disenchanted with their long-rotten Victorian class system, Americans are secretly infatuated with the notion of class. After all, classicism is much more glamorous than racism. We grew up with Disney princesses and our however-many great-grandparent’s immigrant stories. But here class is a game. It’s impressing your friends by revealing that, however tenuously, you are somehow related to royalty. Sadly, racism is much more real. 

One of the most popular conversation topics at Amerian slumber parties was ethnic makeup. I’m Irish and Italian. I’m Dutch and Romanian. We are all English (my town is very white). It never occurred to us that we were all American. My friends always told me I was lucky to have such an interesting family history, to be able to say that my grandma dated James Dean. But the truth is I just have a well-recorded family history. 

Next year, I’m am most likely going to attend the University of Washington Honor’s College with a full-ride scholarship, but however irrationally, I can’t help but feel like I am destined for the Ivy League. There is a paragraph about my grandfather in a book chronicling the achievements of Yale graduates. We discussed literature around the dinner table. You are defined by how you place yourself within the cosmically convoluted cloud of American culture, by the constellations you form out of your family tree.  And when your family tree is as messy as twentieth-century European history, it takes some serious mental gymnastics to avoid the label “White Trash”.
So, I have avoided writing about my personal American identity, because, well, I am about as white as they come. And the world really doesn't need another exploration of white American identity. But goodness, it's just so easy to write about yourself (especially when you're writing satire:) 

Also, I make a lot of unfair generalizations to preserve the aesthetic of this piece. I really hope no one is offended. If I was writing a serious essay about American Identity this is not how I would go about it. 

I have just discovered a profound truth. It's terrifying to post satire because I am afraid that it will be taken seriously. 
 

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5 Comments
  • nolongeractive

    This is so amazing and I love the idea so much, it is really cool! I am obsessed with the word choice in this and I cannot get over your talent! I cannot wait to see what else you write!


    7 months ago
  • Stone of Jade

    I see you are watching durells in corfu! Loved that series. one that reminds me of it (and is equally good) is called All Creatures Great and Small. i think it is on amazon/masterpiece. it has one of the actors from durells in it and is such a sweet story. they only have one season so far but i already love it. figured id pass the suggestion along since you like durells lol


    7 months ago
  • bhumi

    I love the last paragraph!
    hi! I'm not sure if this is too much to ask but your message says just ask, can you please review my poem for the poetry competition, it will be great if you can!


    7 months ago
  • solarflair

    And originally I was going to congratulate you on the college--I'm still not sure if that is real or not but if so, hats off.

    If not I guess you'll just have to settle for NYT bestseller...


    7 months ago
  • solarflair

    The lines between satire and reality get blurrier every second. Personally, I get a good chuckle when someone gets duped by a good article or post. But yes, it's also scary that people take absurd things seriously. I'm sure I have (even though I can't recall a time.) And there are some articles where highly intelligent people can read between the lines and still fall victim. Plenty of myths and lies go around today and are accepted. To say I haven't believed a lie and let that change me is to say I haven't swallowed an insect in my sleep before (terrifying.)

    ;)

    And people do get offended over satire. It happens (probably because most satire involves making fun of something.) If people take it seriously at least you have the disclaimer lol.


    7 months ago