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Da Family Writer

Lee A. Tonouchi discusses inspiration for his stories.


Being da Family Writer
by Lee A. Tonouchi

Wheneva somebody in my family proudly announces to me, “Here Lee, I have a story that maybe you can use in your next book,” I try not for roll my eyes, cuz from my experience most likely those stories going be junk.

To me, da bestest family stories is da kine you gotta recover, uncover, discover, whatevahs. . . da kine you gotta ask nosey niele-kine questions for find out about. If you ovahear somebody in your family whispering, “K, now. No tell Lee, bumbye he going put dat in da book,” den das da story you bettah go investigate. Cuz das da da kine story das going be winnahs.

“Da Pidgin Guerrilla” Lee A. Tonouchi is da writer of da award-winning book of Pidgin short stories Da Word (Bamboo Ridge, 2001); author of da Pidgin essay collection Living Pidgin: Contemplations on Pidgin Culture (Tinfish, 2002), compiler of Da Kine Dictionary: Da Hawai‘i Community Pidgin Dictionary Projeck (Bess, 2005), and editor of Buss Laugh: Stand Up Poetry from Hawai‘i (Bess, 2009). His latest book is Significant Moments in da Life of Oriental Faddah and Son: One Hawai‘i Okinawa Journal (Bess, 2011).

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