If there’s one actually good quote to take away from the STAR WARS prequel trilogy, it’s this one from Yoda: “Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” To portray that kind of hate as effective as possible was a challenge I struggled to overcome when writing my recently released short story, 46.
A spin-off to my debut novel, A MOMENT’S WORTH, this story was a promise I made to myself a few years ago. The promise was once the new Warm Springs BART station was officially open, I would revisit characters from the novel and set a story there.
The only issue was I didn’t know just what specifically it would be about. It took attending the BART station’s press conference, learning an interesting fact about the station, and the undying weight of the current political climate, where I figured out just what direction I wanted to take the story in. I also quickly realized just how dark of a path it will be.
Maybe other creative people can relate, where if you’re writing or drawing a scene with intense emotion present, your facial expression may be in line with what you are portraying. Naturally, it may come as no surprise that I cringed and clenched my fist as I wrote about the following tense moments from 46 (spoilers ahead):
• Hate (more specifically, Islamophobia) in the forms of flyers left on the front windows of cars and later in the form of hate speech.
• The racism the protagonists, Yvonne and Justin, would experience; so much as to where they were called “chinks” at one point.
• How they could have become seriously hurt had it not been for a police officer stepping in at the right time.
In that regard, it was incredibly difficult to write 46. It was sickening to create a character who spoke such hateful things about a community I have had the pleasure of growing up around. It was really hard to have Yvonne and Justin – the two most personally resonating characters to me from A MOMENT’S WORTH – be put in such a position where it had the potential to escalate even higher than it did. It was overall emotionally painful to incorporate the realities many people of color have had to go through, to some extremity or another. The fact that this short story was set in the city of Fremont, California – where it has prominent Asian American and Muslim communities – shows that even the more diverse spots in the country aren’t spared of such hate.
In the end, as a writer, I don’t regret writing this story as it is, despite having to push myself to go to that dark place. In the long run, with 46, it’s important to show why this nonsense behavior needs to end, and how in the long run, history will not be kind to those who remain blind.
46 is a story about resistance, and it’s now available on Amazon and other outlets as well.