Latin teacher by day and tattoo artist by night, Phuc Tran shares how he went from TEDx stage to writing his now released memoir, “Sigh, Gone”: a coming of age story interweaving his Vietnamese-American adolescence with his love of punk rock and classic literary references. (Intro: The 2020 Census)
“I was born in Sài Gòn Việt Nam, my family fled to America in 1975, and I grew up in Carlisle PA. Reared on a steady diet of Saturday morning cartoons, John Hughes, Star Wars, Bones Brigade videos, and bootlegged cassettes of Minor Threat and TSOL, I graduated high school in 1991. I majored in Classical Languages and Literature at Bard College—how did no one talk me out of that?—got my Master’s Degree at University of Massachusetts Amherst, and then moved to New York City in 1997. There I apprenticed to be a tattooer while teaching Latin during the day, and I’ve been teaching and tattooing ever since. I’ve never been good at staying in one lane—ask my wife about my driving.
Following in the footsteps of E.B. White (who was neither a tattooer nor Latin teacher), my wife and I left the city and moved to Maine in 2003 (she’s an honest-to-goodness Mainer) where we opened our shop, Tsunami Tattoo.
In 2012, I delivered a TEDx talk which was highlighted by NPR’s TED Radio Hour. The TEDx talk and its reception planted a seed in me for sharing more of my story as a refugee (of which I’d shared very little). I embarked on writing my memoir in 2016, and in April 2020 SIGH, GONE was published by Flatiron Books. You can read the memoir to get all the gory details of my childhood and adolescence, but spoiler alert: I do somehow survive.
And here I am at present, deeply grateful to be following this brambly path to its unknown destination.
As Joe Strummer said, the future is unwritten.”
To learn more and attend the AAPI Christians for Biden Mental Health Town Hall on 09/17/2020 as mentioned in the introduction, please visit https://www.mobilize.us/joebiden/event/320284/.