Taking in my aging mother revives a past and projects a future.

In the middle of watching Wheel of Fortune, my 93-year-old mother casually mentioned her accident. She fell down earlier closing her bedroom blinds.

Second guessing my ability to care of her, I asked, why didn’t she call me for help?

“My door closed. You upstairs,” Ma Ma explained. She hadn’t bothered to use her phone either. “Too much trouble look up your name!” Instead, she pulled herself up by grabbing the bedspread. Grinning, she extended a clenched fist to demonstrate, her gnarled thumb cocked after decades of use…


The contemporary Chinese artist, Yue Minjun, includes his laughing self-portrait in his art.

Shopping these days while wearing a face mask, I brace for the instant my visible slanty eyes betray me as Chinese. Reading the news about Asian-Americans getting harassed by people blaming them for the coronavirus, I am wary each time I leave my home in Westhampton, New York. So far, the burly contractors in Carhartt boots I pass in True Value smile at me politely. Still, I can’t help but tense, waiting for some bigot to unleash a torrent of invective my way.

I’ve heard slurs yelled at me before, like, “Ching Chong!” when I grew up in Brooklyn, New…


My mother, Yoke Won Hom, my father, Tun Funn Hom, and I at the September 2009 opening of Museum of Chinese in America. A video describing how he immigrated to the U.S. as a Paper Son is featured in MOCA’s permanent exhibit.

My mother collected photographs. Some were brought along on her journey from China when she immigrated to the U.S. after marrying my father in 1948. Others were mailed from Chinese relatives to her Bay Ridge, Brooklyn address where we lived. …


Yesterday I felt nauseous. The news of a death from the clash between White Nationalists and counter-protesters in Charlottesville, VA rocked me to my core. Since last November’s 2016 Presidential election, I’ve tried to bridge the gap between my own liberal views and the conservative opinions of fellow Americans with whom I disagree.

I do this by engaging them in conversation.

Last fall, I worked on a renovation at a SUNY campus in New York City with Joe, a construction supervisor. I asked Joe why he voted for Trump.

“Because I live near Brentwood, on Long Island. …


Eyes closed, body at rest, I inhaled thinking, “here” and exhaled thinking, “now”, following writer Dani Shapiro’s instructions to empty my head. Enrolled at my first ever writing workshop at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Lenox, MA — a retreat that a friend described as, “Oh, I did detox there from cocaine addiction,” — I couldn’t help but notice who was attending this class: over fifty women and only one man.

As we continued our breathing, in and out, during a mediation referred to as metta, Dani (pronounced Danny, as in the boy’s name) recited the blessings…


After months of avoiding the astonishing, unimaginable train-wreck that is the Republican primary campaign, I finally turned on the TV to see The Donald take questions after his Super Tuesday wins. What I saw­­ — his charm, his undeniable charisma, and his unshakable conviction in everything he said— made me realize, this was how it had happened.

For all of us born after the Second World War who imagine it only through movies, history books, newsreels, or photos from Life Magazine, we have not experienced worldwide cataclysm firsthand. What it was really like to survive a bombing, evacuate one’s home…


Drawn by a squalling loudspeaker, scurrying children, and the colorful array of suspended lights parading down the alleyway, we peered into the narrow Yangon street.

“Does that mean he’s giving a speech?” Michael pointed to the life-size poster plastered on a metal stand featuring a bespectacled, robed monk. Our tour guide had explained this to us earlier in the day.

“Maybe it’s happening tonight,” I said, intrigued. “Let’s go check it out.”

When my husband suggested we travel to Myanmar, I had asked him, “Why?” Intrigued by their embrace of Buddhist beliefs, the plentitude of stunning pagodas, and a society…


Roused by the 5am hotel wake-up call, readying to fly home to New York, my husband calls out from the bathroom to tell me, “James Salter is dead.”

The conclusion of any vacation is a mixture of fond memories, stressing out over the return, and a selfish regret––it all has to end. As my family and I leave Capri, dragging our luggage up the cobblestoned streets, bumping them down the funicular steps, descending the hill on a century old trolley and boarding the ferry to Napoli, I am swamped by a different, private kind of sadness. Chugging across the bay…


For someone who clipped coupons and considered Ra-men noodles a main course, spending $3,000 on dinner for two seemed irrational. Yet, the opportunity to dine with the most influential chef of our time coincided with my husband’s 60th birthday. Michael and I never boarded the Concorde. We never watched the Beatles perform live. If once-in-a-lifetime experiences could be bought, as the MasterCard commercial says, “Priceless,” then reserving two seats for one (or two) month’s rent to spend an evening with Ferran Adrià was a steal.

For those who are not gastronomes, the July 2011 announcement of the closing of elBulli…


Labor Day divides our feel-good, mental getaway from the sobering return of ‘back-to-school.’ Summer provides a respite from obligation. We rent weekend homes, take Fridays off, and bask in the languor of a yearly siesta. For three months, every Saturday is a visit to the corner of Haight and Ashbury. As my girls say, Chillax. Soon, Tumbleweed Tuesday will arrive. I decide to visit our local beach for a last gasp at reverie.

Toting my folding chair and a towel, I wave at sleepy high-schoolers checking IDs and parade down the woven runway. Crocs, sequined thongs, children’s flip-flops and sandals…

Dorothy Hom

Dorothy is featured in The Southampton Review, Edible East End, Hippocampus, Eastlit, Lumen, and has an MFA in Creative Writing from Stony Brook University.

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