My mother is a veteran of the Japanese-Chinese war and she was there at the bombing of Canton and she was a medic. She would say that during battle and during bombs and loud noises your soul jumps out of your body and the veterans (I worked with) said yes….You hear that about people who are dying, they will say that they seem themselves down here. She would say that that happens, and she had rituals on how to bring the soul back. My idea was that it’s art that can help you bring it back. The writing of the story, the painting of what you have seen. Some of the veterans are painters and movie makers, but I think it’s the writing, the word by word, that brings people home.
Maxine Hong Kingston on Los Angeles Book Review Podcast