My Father and the Dragon King
Myths were—are—created to explain the unknown, like natural disasters, like death, like the unknowable bodies of water.
uses mythical and legendary monsters from East Asian traditions as a lens to interrogate our fears.
If you behave, nothing bad will happen. If you are good, then—
For my father, Charlie Ching-Guo Lin (1961-2018)
Jami Nakamura Lin is the author of THE NIGHT PARADE (Custom House/HarperCollins 2023), a memoir in essays that uses yokai & other Japanese + Taiwanese folklore to investigate her bipolar disorder, her father's death, and other things that haunt us. A Catapult columnist, she's written for the New York Times, Electric Literature, and other publications.
She was the recipient of a 2016 Creative Artists Fellowship from the Japan-US Friendship Commission and the National Endowment of the Arts and a 2015 Walter Dean Myers Award from We Need Diverse Books.
Twitter: @jaminlin / jaminakamuralin.com
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Perhaps the certainty that you are not the monster—that no matter what you do, you will never become the monster—is what gives rise to monstrous behavior.
Are these the only two stories? The one, where you defeat your monster, and the other, where you succumb to it?