Day, Night, Week, Month – a memoir from Hoangmai Pham and diaCRITICS

Hoangmai Pham

From diaCRITICS comes this memoir essay by Hoangmai Pham, who escaped from Saigon to the U.S. with her family in 1975, at age seven. Keeper of Stories is a work-in-progress that interweaves her family’s history in Vietnam and America, and her own psychological journey surviving and understanding that history. Only recently has Mai learned that her strategy for coping with her traumas was what is referred to as a dissociative disorder, in which she compartmentalized pieces of her personality to keep them safe. The memoir traces how she unearthed her family’s history, and explains how that helped her integrate her different parts. “Running Saigon” is the fourth “chapterlet” in the memoir. On her blog, you can find preceding chapters about her naming and how her self-exploration began. She posts drafts of chapterlets for readers to comment on. Go here for the chapterlet preceding this.


Blue told me that most people experience a singular life stream, a narrative that may skid forwards and backwards, but generally hews to one line with a beginning, a middle, and an end. The sections are connected and even if a few hours, days, or months get skipped or are faded, there at least aren’t skeins of film shaved off the top and bottom, coiling off on their own, discarded on the floor. It’s just one long story. That was in response to my request for him to give me a few bread crumbs, something to lead me back to normal…continue reading here.


diaCRITICS is the leading blog on Vietnamese diasporic arts and culture, published by the Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network. DVAN promotes the work of Vietnamese artists everywhere, and both DVAN and diaCRITICS are always looking for writers, contributors, and helpers.

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