Attacus Atlas & Other Inventions: Dreaming of Hawaii (and other bucket list items)

Once upon a time, I lived in Honolulu. Although I had a touch of island fever (who am I kidding? I had a terrible case of island fever because I was living on land which was surrounded on all sides by the vast ocean….), I generally loved living there for those two years, six weeks, and perhaps four days. I worked as a reporter for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin (which has now merged with its competition and is called the Honolulu Star-Advertiser), and on my days off, I wrote poems and short stories, and I hung out with my few good friends and family.

At that time I did not understand the meaning of the word, idyllic. But since I left O’ahu, first for graduate schools and then for jobs, family, etc. etc. I have begun to see my former life on the islands in new light. I, of course, am romanticizing it. But, I do remember how peaceful it was, and I miss that peace.

So, if I had to make a bucket list, living in Hawaii one more time would be among the top 3 wishes: to have a view of the Pacific from my window, and to be able to see my books (yes plural, as in having the great fortune of seeing more of my work published: novels, poetry and a memoir) (second of my top three wishes) on the bookstore shelves and in the library stacks. Heaven.

Almost nine years ago my husband was racially targeted by his former employer. When agents from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation raided my house at gunpoint in 2010, they confiscated my laptop and most of my work. Although a state judge dismissed all the bogus charges against my husband in late 2016, most of my belongings have yet to be returned. I won’t waste a wish on the return of my things, I realize that will not happen no matter how hard I wish. My bucket list wish, though, is for justice — not only for my family, but for all families. Every family goes through something hard, especially these days under the orange administration, and so much could be mitigated with compassion and kindness. My final bucket list wish is that we “see” each other, not as strangers, but as neighbors.

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Devi Laskar

Poet, photographer, soccer mom, VONA & TheOpEdProject alum, Columbia MFA, former reporter, debut novelist!