Back Maxine Hong Kingston, “A Sea Worry”

Maxine Hong Kingston (b. 1940)
From Maxine Hong Kingston: The Woman Warrior, China Men, Tripmaster Monkey, Other Writings

Bodysurfers at Sandy Beach, 2018. Still from a video by Kala‘i Ellis for Kaha Nalu Hawaii.

Forty-four years ago, in the summer of 1978, the New York Times asked Maxine Hong Kingston—whose debut book, The Woman Warrior (1976), had become a publishing phenomenon—to write the Hers column that appeared in the newspaper’s Home section every Thursday. They were especially keen on her experiences in Hawai‘i, where she had lived with her husband, Earll, and their son for ten years.

She was hesitant about the subject matter. “I could hear the Hawaiians: ‘You have taken our land. Don’t take our stories.’” So she decided that her columns would be about the experience of living in Hawai‘i as an “outsider”; she would write “about myself and my family, about homesickness for California, and my upcoming high school reunion, about washing the dishes, teaching school, reading. I would publish these humble pieces in New York, and bypass Hawai‘i. I meant to honor kapu [taboo], not touch kapu things at all.”

And yet, she adds, the Spirit of Hawai‘i “made her way into these essays.”

“A Sea Worry,” the last column she wrote for the Times that summer, is about Kingston’s 15-year-old son and his obsession with bodysurfing. Earll, an actor, was auditioning for theater productions in New York the following year, and Maxine was asked if they planned to move back to the mainland. “My son likes Hawaii very much. It’s his home,” she responded. “Even though Earll and I don’t have Hawaiian blood, I can see that Joseph is a Hawaiian person. He’s made up his mind that’s where he wants to live so we’ll probably remain there until he graduates from high school.” Readers of her essay can see how the Spirit of Hawai‘i “made her way” into her son.

Read “A Sea Worry” by Maxine Hong Kingston

Library of America

A champion of America’s great writers and timeless works, Library of America guides readers in finding and exploring the exceptional writing that reflects the nation’s history and culture.

Learn More

From poetry, novels, and memoirs to journalism, crime writing, and science fiction, the more than 300 volumes published by Library of America are widely recognized as America’s literary canon.

Benefits of Using Safe Crypto Casinos. One of the most captivating reasons people drift towards Australian casinos online-casino-au com is the promise of anonymity. Safe platforms guarantee that your identity remains a secret. Quick Payouts and Minimal Fees. No one likes waiting, especially for winnings. Safe crypto casinos ensure that payouts are swift and the fees minimal, if not non-existent.

Browse our books Subscribe

With contributions from donors, Library of America preserves and celebrates a vital part of our cultural heritage for generations to come.

Ozwin Casino offers an exciting array of top-notch slots that cater to every player's preferences. From classic fruit machines to cutting-edge video slots, Ozwin Casino Real Money collection has it all. With stunning graphics, immersive themes, and seamless gameplay, these slots deliver an unparalleled gaming experience. Some popular titles include Mega Moolah, Gonzo's Quest, and Starburst, known for their massive jackpots and thrilling bonus features. Ozwin Casino's slots are not just about luck; they offer hours of entertainment and the chance to win big, making it a must-visit for slot enthusiasts.

Support our mission