I grew up in a 99% white neighbourhood in a 99% white city, yet I became fast friends with the one boy on my street who had cerebral palsy and brown skin. My other best friend was a nerdy mathematical genius and half Mohawk. One of my first girlfriends in high school was Japanese.
I have always been drawn to difference. What makes you different? My burial ground makes me different. Sometimes I don’t remember where I have buried myself over the years and when this happens I am forced to go to the edge and work my way back toward the center, looking for bones that have broken the surface like snakes in search of the sun.
We shed our skins. We taste with our tongues.
As a kid I used to get teased about my last name. But this never bothered me too much because it could have been far worse. I could have been called Harry, Jack or Philip.
Sometimes people think I’m Jewish, and when this happens I usually say that I am not circumcised and that I can show them if they need proof. Some great nights and even some great relationships have started out this way. I like Jewish people.
Shakespeare and Samuel Beckett helped me acclimatize to the absurdity of life. There are many more writers that I could have mentioned, but those are the two names that came to mind. Once acclimatized, Aaron Louis Asselstine became apropos. Especially after my last trip to the burial ground, where I laid to rest the most recent version of myself, said a few poignant words and walked away, a writer.