You suspend your face in the middleland. It is not right to say ‘in’ because the middleland is not a place—more like a state of being. I don’t remember ever feeling like a singular individual. “Singular” here meaning cohesive or unitary. I have never felt like I can fully discern the parameters of myself—where I begin and where I end. In the middleland I am a demi-body and I spend most of my life in that state. Have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror and felt that brief, uncanny sensation that you have no idea who or what you are looking at? This is the in-betweenness I inhabit. This is a project dedicated to in-betweenness. I keep the topic broad because that is the only way I have ever been able to commit to any project. Restricted and defined subjects do not suit me and I have only recently been able to come to terms with this.
I don’t know who prompted me or how I was lead to this place of being but I have some ideas. To start, defining my country of origin has always been a difficult, if not impossible, task. Although I was born in the southwestern corner of the United States, in San Diego, California. I was raised in Tijuana, the northernmost city of Baja California, Mexico. My upbringing was undoubtedly Mexican. In that respect, one could say that, despite my American citizenship, my country of origin is Mexico. Yet there is one factor that complicates this scenario: I crossed the international border every day for sixteen years to go to school in the United States.
When people talk about having a double identity, they don’t usually mean that their experience can be cleanly split in half. In my particular case, the situation was exactly that: I would spend 8.5 hours of my waking day in one country—breathing the air and speaking the language. The other 8.5 hours, I would spend on the opposite side of the border, in a place with a completely different social structure and a vastly different ideological foundation.
To this day I wrestle with the concept of belonging. The ‘state’ of the middleland is one that I learned to inhabit much later in my life. And it constitutes the only place of origin to which I could ever devote myself. I am a child of the middleland, the either/or’s and neither/nor's, the in-between places of the world. And this fact will forever be my driving force. My decision to study comparative literature at the University of Chicago and then at Edinburgh University was not arbitrary. I am a comparatist at heart, and it is in finding intersections between worlds that I produce my best work. My devotion to art and poetry is not unrelated either. I believe that poetry and art in general present a means through which one can develop a voice that manipulates historical inheritances into a unique resonating exclamation of selfhood. Through this practice I have learned to see myself as a diasporic individual, constantly shifting, and in perpetual transformation. This perpetual transformation is what you will find here.