Woman, Native, Other: Writing Postcoloniality and Feminism

By Trinh T. Minh-Ha | Go to book overview

IV.
Grandma’s Story

See all things howsoever they flourish
Return to the root from which they grew
This return to the root is called Quietness

—Lao Tzu, Tao-te-ching, 16 (tr. A. Waley)


Truth and fact: story and history

Let me tell you a story. For all I have is a story. Story passed on from generation to generation, named Joy. Told for the joy it gives the storyteller and the listener. Joy inherent in the process of storytelling. Whoever understands it also understands that a story, as distressing as it can be in its joy, never takes anything away from anybody. Its name, remember, is Joy. Its double, Woe Morrow Show.

Let the one who is diseuse, one who is mother who waits nine days and nine
nights be found. Restore memory. Let the one who is diseuse, one who is
daughter restore spring with her each appearance from beneath the earth.
The ink spills thickest before it runs dry before it stops writing at all.
(Theresa Hak Kyung Cha)1

Something must be said. Must be said that has not been and has been said before. “It will take a long time, but the story must be told. There must not be any lies” (Leslie Marmon Silko). It will take a long time for living cannot be told, not merely told: living is not livable. Understanding, however, is creating, and living, such an immense gift that thousands of people benefit from each past or present life being lived. The story depends upon every one of us to come into being. It needs us all, needs our remembering, understanding, and creating what we have heard together to keep on coming into being. The story of a people. Of us, peoples. Story, history, literature (or religion, philosophy, natural science, ethics)—all in one. They call it the tool of primitive man, the simplest vehicle of truth. When history separated itself from story, it started indulging in accumulation and facts. Or it thought it could. It thought it could build up to History because the

-119-

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Woman, Native, Other: Writing Postcoloniality and Feminism
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • The Story Began Long Ago … 1
  • I - Commitment from the Mirror-Writing Box 5
  • II - The Language of Nativism- Anthropology as a Scientific Conversation of Man with Man 47
  • III - Difference- "A Special Third World Women Issue" 79
  • IV - Grandma’s Story 119
  • Notes 153
  • Selected Bibliography 161
  • Index 169
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