Kristiana Kahakauwila Interview

Mistake House: You explain in a Writer’s Digest interview with Chuck Sambuchino that you found your voice and your vision when you were finally “fearless in [your] writing.” In your own words: “I let my stories access all my anger, my sadness, my confusion, my hopefulness. My characters, if they are raw, are so because I was raw.” How have you maintained your voice and vision since this breakthrough? Do you always feel fearless in your writing, or is this something you still need to fight for?

 

Kristiana Kahakauwila: I’m always fighting for and pushing myself to that fearlessness. Maybe it’s with craft, attempting new ways of storytelling. Or maybe it’s with subject matter. I’m trying historical fiction now, so I’m trying to be fearless in where I take leaps away from my research and dig deeper into my fictional world. And then, always, there’s a need for under-represented voices to be fearless because our voices upset power structures that have been in place for a long time, and there will be folks who don’t like that.

 

MH: Talking with Tyler McMahon in Fiction Writer’s Review, you discuss the notion of truthful storytelling, saying “the most truthful story doesn’t appear from a single objective point of view, as textbooks might have us believe.” You go on to say, “Truth comes from layering as many points of view together as possible and letting your reader experience them all.” Given this statement, it is clear that you value the complex process required to provide an honest, accurate picture of reality. How do you resist the temptation to manufacture false coherence—to sanitize your work by oversimplifying the variety of perspectives and voices? How do you embrace the messiness in your writing and writing process?

 

KK: I enjoy playing with perspective and point of view. In my collection, This is Paradise, I have one story written from serial 3rd person—so all third person but rotating which character’s perspective the reader gets. I have a serial first person plural, and first person plural is already an amalgam of voices trying to be heard, at times splintering and at times speaking in unison. Now I’m working with omniscience, which is another kind of layering—and a kind of pressing into fear for me, per the first question—so I’m invested in multiplicity and multiple voices on craft level. But, really, I think the idea of messiness in process is most exciting (and terrifying) for me. With my novel project I’ve been trying to write to discover, to excite myself. That’s meant skipping around, exploring scenes in order to unlock (or unleash?) characters, rather than writing in chronological order. I’ll follow my research, going down rabbit holes because some tiny fact—school girls, in 1899, rescuing an organ from one side of their dormitory as the other half burns—is impossible to leave. Who knows if that scene will make it into the final work, but how can I leave behind this incredible moment? So I’m hoping that the messiness allows me to find beautiful language, images that neither the reader nor I can shake. … Also, Scrivener really helps.

 

MH: Regarding your debut novel, To Weave with Water, in your talk at the Radcliffe Institute (2016), you introduce the Hawaiian word “mo’olelo,” a small word encompassing many meanings: “story, history, tradition, legend, yarn, chronicle, essay, myth, research, pubic record, private journal, succession of a talk.” Your readings reveal that the novel itself honors distinct voices yet weaves them together like yarn in an organic structure. What kind of processes do you go through in order to explore such disparate stories without leaving your reader feeling disoriented?

 

KK: A lot of stories are disorienting at the beginning, as the reader steps into them. But what’s impressive to me is how stories teach a reader how to understand them. A good story sets up a pattern of some kind, whether it’s with formatting, or voice, or even the terms of an unreliable narrator (just how and in what ways are they unreliable?). Readers are astute; as soon as they know the rules of the story, they’ll orient to them. And then, the author abides by that contract. No cheap tricks! Satisfying surprises must come from within the narrative, must abide by the terms of orientation.

For example, I’m playing within the omniscience point of view with a variety of voices and rhetorical modes. The reader feels these different rhetorical and narrative modes colliding and collapsing from the beginning, and so they learn to expect those shifts and changes. If these different voices and registers suddenly entered in the last chapter of the novel, it wouldn’t be fair to the reader and it wouldn’t make sense.

 

MH: You mention that the historical portion of This Is Paradise deals with corruption and scandal (Bellingham Review 2013). You note that in some cases, “…not every family member is on the same side of the dispute.” How does introducing characters with opposing viewpoints help you navigate your own opinion in light of varying perspectives? Does the process of building multiple perspectives help you develop empathy for experiences and viewpoints that are unfamiliar to you?

 

KK: I’m someone who can be moved by any good argument. I’ll agree with side one, only to immediately see all the merits of side two, if that side argues well and logically. So I like being in the middle of my characters and seeing the world through their viewpoints, their world-views. I want to believe them, to empathize with them. And by doing so—by honestly engaging the characters—I’ll come out the other side of a story and more deeply understand where I am on an issue.

 

MH: As previously mentioned, you’ve shown an interest in many different perspectives—of natives, tourists, and those in between—and emphasized the importance of layering these perspectives in order to reach “the truth.” Do you think each outlook is equally important? Or do you think one perspective may have more clout than others in defining the truth?

 

KK: After an initial sketch—where I’m just discovering setting, character, tension—I’ll then have an A-ha! moment where I realize why I started writing this draft. I’ll understand, suddenly, what I’m honestly wondering. Maybe the question is: can a bad husband be a good dad? Or, can a kanaka maoli who’s part of the diaspora ever fit in on island when they grew up off island? Once I know what’s at the heart of the story, I’ll re-write and revise in light of that question, and my characters will be acting to understand that same question. Then, naturally, the opinion that holds the most weight will come to the fore. A daughter’s reflection on her dad. The diasporic character will find a new way to understand indigenous community. At that point the understanding that’s needed for the story, and for the reader, organically rises to the top. I don’t press that perspective to have more clout, but it’s the one that offers some new or deeper understanding that wasn’t there before.

 

MH: Your interest in people appears to be a driving force behind your work. You discuss your fascination with the individuality of perception and experience, saying, “I love that people can have the same stimulus but respond with completely different emotions and thoughts. I am constantly amazed by that, and I want to understand it” (Bellingham Review 2013). In the process of developing dynamic characters, how do you expand your imaginative capacity for empathy?  In other words, how do you imaginatively escape your own experience to temporarily inhabit the space of another in your creative process?

 

KK: I grew up in Long Beach, CA. My mom’s side is of Norwegian-German descent, and like many immigrant groups they take their heritage very seriously. My maternal aunt recently bequeathed me my grandmother’s lefse turner, and I cried. (My aunt, who’s 90, took this in stride. This is the beauty of being 90—everything is a sweet nonevent.) When I was growing up, my parents and I spent a lot of time in Hawai`i, where my paternal side lives. When you live in and move through different cultures—whether as a child or an adult—you learn that so much of what we believe to be “so” about the world is heavily influenced by community and familial and cultural expectation. I learned early to see the same object or action from different perspectives. This is an act of empathy. It’s also an act of survival. Ask anyone who code-shifts when they move between school and family, or family and friends. Shifting like this is how folks who are mixed—and I mean this word in a lot of ways— learn to fly under the radar.

This skill serves me in story-writing in terms of shaping characters. So many of my characters know how to move between spaces, through contexts. Even if they have identity matrices different my own, my characters are aware of that code-shifting, that malleability. This makes them compelling characters on the page but also allows me a way into their selfhood and development.

If I’m still hitting a wall in the story, then I’ll switch up the terms. If a story is siding too much with one character, I’ll try to tell it from another’s perspective. Or I’ll place the same tale in a new setting, or era, or cultural context. Now what do these same actions mean? Now what new resonances does the dialogue take on?

 

MH: You’ve said in the past that research is an essential aspect of developing empathy and identified context as playing an important role in a character’s response to a given situation.  Do you think it is essential for a writer to feel compassion for her characters?  If a writer lacks compassion for a character—either because compassion is unavailable or the character is fundamentally unlikeable—does the writer risk writing a character that lacks complexity or lends itself to stereotype, or not? What would you do with a sociopathic character, for example?

 

KK: Compassion. Empathy. These are words that mean: I’m striving to see the humanity in someone else. Even a sociopath. The great sociopaths in fiction have something human in them. Or, the writer is asking, do they have something human in them? Or, even better, the writer is asking: do any of us in this place/era/society have something human in us? I’m thinking of American Psycho. How the satire in that makes the novel reflect so acutely on the moment of time, on the reader. So the ability to ask the question and chase an answer—that’s an act of empathy because it doesn’t dismiss the character. There are characters of mine I don’t like, or think are whiny, or think are making terrible decisions. But I always remember that they are human and thus deserving of my attempt to understand them.

 

MH: In speaking of place and travel, you have suggested that individuals who travel into a previously unknown context grows out of themselves and are therefore able to feel an association with to all humankind. This perspective seems connected to the ways in which people turn to books, art, and meaningful conversation in order to “see themselves” and the world with more depth and understanding. What relationship do you see between curiosity and gaining new perspectives? Is curiosity inherent or something that can be cultivated? Why is curiosity necessary?

 

KK: I think curiosity is essential for an artist, for probably all of us as humans. How freeing curiosity is—the opportunity to wonder. To be in a state of wonder. I also recognize that curiosity is a privilege. Curiosity takes time. Wonder takes freedom in your day, in your mental and emotional space. If you’re afraid, if you’re exhausted, if you’re hungry—it’s near impossible to be curious in those moments. I think of that a lot with students, especially young ones. How can you be curious, be in a state of wonder, be receptive to learning, when you’re just trying to have your basic needs met?

So, yes to books, to art, to meaningful conversation. But also, yes to pragmatic acts that make that possible—school lunches, smaller class sizes, support for nurses in public schools. And access for all students, especially those who are left out by structural inequality. Curiosity certainly can be cultivated but it takes providing for other needs before curiosity can really flower.

 

MH: Your writing tends to illuminate the darker side of tourism—the commercialization of the environment and the marginalization of the people who live there.  Backed by extensive research and Hawaiians’ authentic experiences, you address extremely complicated issues, yet invite readers into a compelling narrative.  How do you enter into these difficult problems creatively without becoming polemical in your writing?  What do you seek as a reader in writing that addresses such complex issues?

 

KK: I appreciate that this question comes right after I got polemic in the last question.

I put story first. I love great stories—sweeping, all encompassing, staying-up-all-night-and-forget-where-you-are stories. And I love that the best of those are teaching me, even if I’m unaware of that teaching. So I spend a lot of time getting my stories to sweep. But the stories I tell always have history nipping at their edges. They always have the question of indigeneity and colonialism and history and nationhood just off stage, and some readers will catch that and maybe others will just sense it, in an unnamed way, and that’s enough. The writers I admire do this, and I read and re-read them. Toni Morrison. Junot Diaz. Michael Ondaatje. Patricia Grace. Julie Otsuka. To name just a few.

 

MH: You’ve said that we don’t like to think about the darker, more complicated side of our vacation spots, arguing that this tendency toward avoidance stems from the fact that we forget that people live in the places we are vacationing. What steps do you feel people can take to break out of this ignorance, and to what extent do you believe it is the responsibility of the artist/writer to combat this issue?

 

KK: It’s amazing how far daily interactions go. I worked in food service for a long time. A “thank you” goes a long way, or patience when things go wrong. Or just following rules, like crossing the street when the light is green. Plus, learning the history of a place. I’m surprised how many folks come to Hawai`i and never tour Iolani Palace or visit the Bishop Museum. The Bishop Museum isn’t a perfect place, nor does the Estate’s trust have a perfect history, but for a visitor the opportunity to learn about the islands of Hawai`i, and to learn about Oceania as a whole, is unparalleled. I learn something every time I visit there.

I don’t think it’s the artist/writer’s job to go out and sit someone down and say, Learn now. Rather, it’s our job as citizens to get out there and say, There’s so much I don’t know. There’s so much school didn’t teach me. There’s so much I’m unaware of, and I want to be aware so that I can be a better citizen, a better community member, a better person. When you go looking you discover that there are a ton of artists ready to tell a story, share a history, offer a different perspective than the one usually presented. The artists are ready if we go seeking them.

 

MH: In the stories of This Is Paradise, the setting is just as much a character as the people. Could you speak to this character of “place” as a body that is, like the Hawaiian people, historically annexed, suppressed, and marginalized?  How does your writing address this body—the Hawaiian islands—in a way that gives voice to the Hawaiian people?

 

KK: I’m always nervous about being called a voice for any group of people. I will, however, happily claim to be one voice. But, as in many of my stories, it’s in the space where many voices meet that a deep sense of the community reveals itself.

In terms of landscape and oceanscape—in terms of setting—I’m very careful with how I describe the place. I want it to be fresh, real. The Hawai`i not of appropriative movies or TV shows but of my family, my friends. Of my own lived experience.

 

MH: In your interview with The Fiction Writer’s Review (date), you discuss how you turn typical depictions of Hawaiian gender roles on their head in your stories in order to create characters that are, in your words, “fully human.” Can you further discuss your perceptions of gender portrayals in culture? How do these perceptions impact your writing?

 

KK: A lot of scholarly work has been done around how Hawai`i is marketed, but Haunani Kay-Trasks’s essay “Lovely Hula Hands” is one of the first pieces to explain the imposition of this kind of sexualized tourism. Even today this happens. I was watching the latest Hawai`i Tourism Authority ad campaign, and some of those videos are embarrassing and deeply uncomfortable in how they depict Native people—or erase them altogether. So my stories work to undo these gross– there, I said it, really gross—ways of framing the islands to visitors.

 

MH: You have served as faculty at the Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing program at Oregon State University-Cascades, taught at Chaminade University in Honolulu, and you are currently an associate professor of creative writing at Western Washington University. In previous interviews, you’ve discussed how your writing practice is informed by your teaching/role as a professor. Can you speak more to how students and classroom discussions energize your own work? Or, is it a difficult juggling act to balance teaching and a creative practice?

 

KK: It’s always a difficult job to juggle time commitments. I’m not very good at that. I pour myself into my work because it’s so gratifying, but I need to learn better boundaries around that. Having said that, though, teaching forces me to re-see things I think I know. I didn’t really know commas until my first time teaching composition, and then I had to learn the rules of commas—and not just idly learn them but come up with a succinct and fun way of explaining them. So now I can rattle off eight rules complete with examples, rhymes, and sentence diagraming that looks like a gigantic math equation. Similarly, I didn’t really know omniscient point of view until I had to teach it to graduate students, debate it with them, give examples and practice it in writing exercises, and then exchange that work. So these days the second I’m struggling to understand some aspect of craft, I force myself to teach it. And my students, in return, offer new angles, new perspectives, new mathematical equations. So it’s always fun for me, and I think for them, too.

 

MH: In many of your interviews, you mention how the Pacific history course you took in college led to a realization of your own voice as a writer. Can you speak more about how experiences/courses in higher education (grad or undergrad) impacted your personal development as well as how your interests and passions developed during your time as a student?

 

KK: As a freshman in high school I tried out for the cross-country team because I thought cross-country meant cross-country skiing and I was excited that there was a school activity that was going to take me to the mountains and the snow. Which is how I ended up on the cross-country running team. I wasn’t terrific at the sport. I never ran at the Varsity level. Never scored a point for JV. But I loved the comradery of the team, and I really loved putting one foot in front of the other… for miles.

I think it’s important to do things you’re not that great at but that you lose yourself in. The more you do that, the more it gives you permission to try something out, to mess up, to try it again or in a new way. I wandered through a lot of college like that. I ended up doing well in Chemistry but never getting into the a cappella group I so longed to be a part of. When I was getting my MFA, I was told that there was this fantastic Pacific Studies program under the History Department’s umbrella, so I decided to enroll in a graduate course there. It changed everything. In that class, and subsequent others, I was taught—at last!— the history of the Pacific and of Hawai`i. In some ways, of my own self. I had gone into that first Pacific Studies course wanting to work hard but not expecting to be that great at it—you know, like running, I was ready to just put one foot in front of the other—and it ended up changing my life.

 

MH: While much of your work deals with identity, some of your work also grapples with domestic challenges. For instance, “Portrait of a Good Father” looks at a family’s turmoil surrounding the husband’s affair and his son’s death. To what extent does your work aim to be political versus personal/individual, especially as you navigate historical fiction as a genre in some of your recent work?

 

KK: I believe in the particular experience as a microcosm, so I’m always driving into the particular. My story “Thirty-Nine Rules for Making a Hawaiian Funeral into a Drinking Game” is exceptionally specific in detail and concern. Even the title is particular! But I’ve had people email me from all over the country to say the story spoke to them—they understood what it meant to be outside of family like that, or to come into the family like that, or to feel loss like that, or miss a grandparent like that, or… or… or… Beginning writers will sometimes talk about wanting to make their piece “universal,” and that seems the death of good writing to me. I’ll riff off Chekhov: Show me the glint of light on a single wave, and I’ll understand the whole ocean.

Historical fiction especially needs to focus on the particular so that the vintage artifacts and details don’t take over the stories of these characters. No one wants to read another history textbook—they want to understand what these huge moments meant to the humans who lived them.

 

MH: In a talk you gave at the Radcliffe Institute of Harvard in 2016, you state that we “carry our ancestors on our shoulders.”  What duty do you feel as a writer to acknowledge your familial history?  To what extent do you feel that this history is collective? What advice do you have for young writers who need to address their own familial and cultural context?

 

KK: I don’t feel that I need to write my familial history. In fact, I shy away from writing anything directly about my family, as that wouldn’t be fair to them. They didn’t sign up for me being a writer! But I do feel a responsibility to my community—to a larger indigenous community as well.

One of my favorite books is where we once belonged by Sia Figiel. Her dedication reads like this:

For the women
(who are always a step ahead)
and the girls
(who know everything there is to know)

The novel caught a lot of flack from certain corners in Samoa because it showed dark and difficult aspects of contemporary culture in Samoa, especially the powerlessness of young women in the face of abuse, patriarchy, missionization, and violence. However, Figiel spoke from a place of honesty, empathy, protectiveness of the “girls who know everything there is to know,” and in this way she offers a portrait that is beautiful, heart-breaking, decolonial, hopeful. One more thing: Figiel has spoken of how she sees herself not in the heroines of the novel but rather in one of the more complex adult figures. By placing herself there, she’s forced to honestly question her place in this community.

If I were going to give advice to young writers—especially those of color—I would tell them to write to the people in their community who most need a voice. Write a love letter. Question your own position, your own assumptions. Be honest. Turn the camera on the unlit corners but also on yourself. That’s where the best writing, and the most important work, probably lies.

 

MH: The relationship between the individual and the community is a definite theme in your writing. You explain this in your interview with Read Her Like an Open Book, in which you discuss “the tension between an individual and a group, between the individual who wants to belong and also must separate” and how it “strikes [you] as particularly true to the familial and communal experience of the islands.” Could you speak more to this tension and what it has meant for you as a writer? How do you think about your voice as an author in the context of what it means to be a part of, as well as witness to, a community?

 

KK: As someone who grew up off-island but who is kanaka maoli, I move between outside and inside. I identify with that movement—with being a part of but witness to—in works by other Oceanic writers. In addition to Figiel’s work, I’d note Patricia Grace’s Dogside or Potiki. I think of Brandy Nalani McDougall’s gorgeous collection of poetry The Salt Wind: Ka Makai Pa`akai, or of this image that haunts me from Donovon Kūhiō Collep’s chapbook Proposed Additions, where the narrator carries his grandfather’s filing cabinet on his shoulders as he walks to `Ewa beach. I think a lot of us are carrying around this filing cabinet of experiences that we’ve both lived and witnessed, and we want to explore and understand them, and so we do it the only way we know how: we write.

 

MH: Hawai’i has been in national news in the past month after Derrick Watson, judge of the United States District court for the District of Hawaii “issued a nationwide injunction blocking President Trump’s travel ban” on the grounds that the order was in possible violation of the Constitution.[1] There was significant backlash from the Trump administration manifest, for example, in Attorney General Jeff Session’s dismissal of Hawai’i as well as his misunderstanding of a judges’ authority when it comes to disagreement over what the Constitution says. Have you experienced increased questioning about your homeland in light of these events? If so, do you welcome these questions or do you feel tokenized by such inquiries?

 

KK: I often answer questions about Hawai`i or indigenous history with recommendations for must-read books. For me, Vine Deloria’s Custer Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto was life-changing. Deborah Miranda’s Bad Indians: A Tribal Memoir. Craig Santos Perez’s unincorporated territory, which is actually a series of beautiful books. You don’t have to agree with her politics but you’re going to learn a ton with Haunani Kay Trask’s seminal From a Native Daughter: Colonialism and Sovereignty in Hawai`i, and everyone should read Hawai`i’s Story by Hawai`i’s Queen by Queen Liliuokalani, the last reigning monarch of the Kingdom of Hawai`i.

We have to acknowledge that Sessions said what he said as a purposefully racist move intended to denigrate and dismiss a judge’s authority because of the color of the judge’s skin, and because of the color of the skin of the people he represents. One way to fight that kind of racism is to learn its history in this country, and how that history continues to operate. When I read a book such as Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz’s An Indigenous People’s History of the United States I have an opportunity to meditate deeply on how many of the decisions I make today (how I vote, how I shop, how I educate, how I understand my relationship to the environment) are a product of structures that were created a long time ago with the express intention of disenfranchising certain people. Within that meditation, that learning, I can decide to act differently—vote differently, buy differently, teach differently, move through space differently—so that I do less violence to the least protected people in our society.

So, ask away. I welcome questions. But then, do the work of receiving an answer, and learn from the words and works that are out there.

 

MH: Your forthcoming novel, To Weave with Water, tells the story of a young girl from the rural, east side of Maui.  After working as a domestic servant for an American plantation family, her childhood experiences feel “claustrophobic.”  The question arises, “How can [she] ever return to the ways of [her] parents?”  This character appears torn between two identities—the one of her rooted past and the one of an alluring future.  This dynamic speaks directly to our experiences in the 21st century.  In our fast-paced and constantly shifting world, how does one maintain respect for tradition while adjusting to corporate and nationalistic globalization, which can often be debilitating to tradition and culture?

 

KK: I’d rephrase this question. Culture and tradition is not at all at odds with globalization or modernization. Oceanic peoples are incredibly global and incredibly modern, and have been so for a long time. Culture and tradition is at odds with colonialism and neo-colonialism. Let’s take a recent example. A couple months ago there was a really splashy headline in the news that NASA had just discovered how to navigate by the stars! Of course, this was laughable in Pacific communities, where Oceanic peoples have been using celestial navigation for several millennia. (To be fair, NASA is launching a system that will treat pulsars as navigational beacons, so it’s a little more complex than how the headlines framed it. But even the framing says so much about how certain bastions of knowledge are revered and others not.)

We could take another angle with this: Let’s go back to the moment that written language is introduced in Hawai`i. That’s 1820. By 1834—a mere 14 years later—do you know what the most literate nation in the world is? It’s Hawai`i, with a literacy rate of 91-94%.[2] By contrast, the United States has approximately an 84% literacy rate today (per a 2016 study).[3] So when I ask how a character, who’s been thoroughly colonized in a missionary school, will ever return to the ways of her parents, what I’m really asking is: How will she decolonize herself? How will she come to understand that modernity and tradition are intertwined, and she can be and have both? That in fact the most modern woman is one deeply in touch with her traditions and ancestral roots? That the most global citizen is one who lives what Oceanic people live all the time—in spaces that are trans-national, trans-economic, and defiant of colonial borders. (Epeli Hau`ofa is foundational for an understanding of this trans-economic and trans-national identity. His essay “Our Sea of Islands” is a great place to start.)

 

MH: You have explained how a course you took on the history of the short story gave you a “great base for understanding where [your] work fits into a larger arc.” Where, would you say, does your work fit into that larger arc? How do you think your work communicates with the works that have come before it? Are there any particular works you think your work directly connects to or contrasts?

 

KK: When I was in graduate school one of my professors—the fantastic Peter Ho Davies—taught this history of the short story course. We had a series of emulations we were supposed to do, and one of mine was of Katherine Mansfield. I’ve always been fascinated by her breathy tone and how she’s digging into serious and deep issues of inequity but in ways you’d never suspect as a reader. Six years later This is Paradise is published, and one of the reviews notes that stylistically there are moments the stories reference this author, and that author, and Katherine Mansfield. I was so excited! I immediately sent the review to Peter. You take these things in as a student—these moments of style, of language, of voice, of hope, of advice, of attempts that don’t pan out and those that do—and then, amazingly, sometimes, someone who doesn’t know you identifies the thing that you learned. And you realize, hey, I’m part of this trajectory. For me the larger arc is always about being in conversation with writers I admire—from Mansfield, to Baudelaire and 19th Century French writers, to my wonderful wonderful mentors and teachers. I don’t know if my work is any kind of evolution, but it’s definitely in dialogue.

 

MH: Do you ever play hooky (we hope you do)? And, if you do, what is your favorite thing to do when you take off suddenly, as in a dérive?

 

KK: I am famous for playing hooky from email and texts. I just go off grid. My friends don’t take it personally anymore, but they also know that if they leave a voicemail I won’t listen to it for a month. It’s the only way I get writing done.… The other way I used to “take off” was to surf. In Hawai`i, my roommate, who was also a colleague at Chaminade and a dear friend, would wake me up at 5am and we’d get a dawn session in before work. We’d rinse at the beach and then head up to campus. I remember one morning walking into class and realizing I still had sand all over my ankles. I miss those days. But I just bought a cold-water wetsuit so I’m going to try and recreate them in Washington State. We’ll see how that goes.

 

 

 

[1] Savage, Charlie. “Jeff Sessions Dismisses Hawaii as ‘an Island in the Pacific’.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 20 Apr. 2017. Web. 25 Apr. 2017.

[2] Walk, Ka`ano`i. KSOnline. Kamehameha Schools. Feb. 2014. https://apps.ksbe.edu/kaiwakiloumoku/node/606

[3] US Department of Education, National Institute of Literacy. 22 Aug. 2016.