I am a shortstop, free safety, and point guard trapped in a puny writer’s body and further hindered by a scientist’s brain. Originally from Hawai‘i, which is paradise in many ways but lacks a professional sports scene, I have found a haven in Massachusetts. I moved here in 1997 and despite the climate’s best efforts to buffet me into submission, I consider New England my second home.
I earned my bachelor’s degree with majors in English and Political Science and minors in French and Women’s Studies from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Such an education was designed for no practical purpose but to bar me from high-paying jobs and grant me the inability to complacently accept conventional wisdom.
All my life I have had to explain my name, Joanna J. M. Hicks. My mother named me after an Audrey Hepburn character in Two for the Road and added an additional brandish of two pretentious middle names. I am ethnically half-Filipino, half-Japanese but was adopted by my stepfather when very young. In Hawai‘i, people very often reckon who you are by whom you are related to and where your family came from. I have a haole or white surname, but did not possess the distinctive look of a hapa (half) haole person. So, even as a child, I was questioned from the start: “What are you?”
The complete answer to that question is, thankfully, still in progress.
Boston Red Sox
Business of baseball
New England Patriots
Statistical analysis and probability
A. S. Byatt, Possession
Angela Carter, The Bloody Chamber
Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs, and Steel
David Halberstam, Summer of ’49
Frank Herbert, Dune
Ursula K. LeGuin, The Left Hand of Darkness
Joan D. Vinge, Snow Queen
La Belle et la bête
The Godfather II
The Princess Bride
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back