One Question with Mink Choi

Mink Choi, Thought Catalog’s Book Producer, became one of STET’s very first web-turned-IRL friends. The admiration we have for each other is mutual, and the common interests of writing and literature, of course, was more than a basis to begin a beautiful Internet relationship (very Myspace and 2004 of us, we know). As Book Producer, Mink single-handedly reviews, selects, edits, and releases all of Thought Catalog’s e-books. With over 50 published titles under Mink’s belt already, she is dedicated to scouting and introducing fresh young voices to the masses. And now, we’d like you to meet Mink Choi! —JL

What one piece of writing has changed the way you think about your own work?

I know it says “one piece of writing,” but I need to break the rules here. It’s become more and more apparent to me that my writing over the last few years has been shaped by two very different novels which have influenced 1) form and 2) purpose. I was attempting to somehow relate it to double consciousness as a Korean-American, but then this could potentially be a never ending response.

I wrote an essay for Thought Catalog about why I chose to write experimental fiction and it’s because of only one book: RE>LA>VIR by Jan Ramjerdi, my creative writing professor. She does something with prose and poetry and hyper-text-markup-language (HTML) that fits together perfectly—it resonates with you for days on end, and in my case, years. It was after reading her non-narrative that I realized the traditional novel form could never suit my writing needs. So I began playing around with fragmentation, short poems, streams of consciousness, etc. I don’t think I’ve found the right “form” yet but I’m looking forward to taking my time with it.

Without getting too much into my personal history, I’ll just say that I became passionate about exploring my Korean-American identity further after taking a few college classes on Asian-American history. This led to my search for Asian-American literature—where were these authors and what were they writing? What was important to them, and should those things also be important to me? I stumbled across Nami Mun’s Miles from Nowhere in a bookshop and I loved every aspect of it. The smallness of the blue hardcover book, the slightly yellow-tinted pages, the author’s physical features somewhat similar to my own. But most of all, Joon, the main character. While I’d never experienced living in a homeless shelter or working as an escort, Joon’s struggles and troubled family life struck a familiar chord with me. It became clear to me that if I didn’t continue writing about these experiences, I’d fall short of understanding them. And if Asian-Americans don’t continue writing and publishing their own narratives, we will erase ourselves from our own history.