Cover Photo: Photograph courtesy of Jenny Tinghui Zhang; photo illustration by Matt Ortile
Photograph courtesy of Jenny Tinghui Zhang; photo illustration by Matt Ortile

Alone in Wyoming, I Found My Place Through Karaoke

As a woman of color moving to Laramie, Wyoming, I was afraid that I wouldn’t fit in, that I would be unsafe. But at karaoke night at The Ruffed Up Duck, I found my place among the the defiant.

lack

The Simpsons

UnforgivenThe Hateful EightWind RiverBrokeback MountainThe Laramie ProjectThe Matthew Shepard Story

’s only 10 p.m. when we walked into The Duck, but the place was already reaching maximum capacity (seventy-eight people, max). There was a small raised stage near the entrance. To its right, a karaoke jockey was taking song requests from a line of four people. A pool table occupied the space in front of the stage, shrinking as more and more people crowded around it.

that

not the same

Jenny Tinghui Zhang is a Chinese-American writer and educator. She is currently an MFA candidate at the University of Wyoming and a 2016 VONA/Voices fellow. Her work has appeared in/is forthcoming from Apogee, CALYX, and The Rumpus, with essays in Huffington Post, Bustle, and HelloGiggles, among others. Her story “Curiosities” was shortlisted in Cosmonauts Avenue’s 2018 Nonfiction Contest judged by Ocean Vuong. She serves on the editorial staff of Adroit Journal and is finishing a collection of linked stories about a Chinese-American family. Find her at jennytinghui.com / @pantaloonies