Exploring the art of prose


Author: Rosa Kwon Easton

Author’s Note

In “For Rent,” I relive a memory of my mother that is so visceral—even now—I had to capture the pulsating feelings and actions in flash form. I am the narrator so I’m writing in first person, but in present tense because I am still reckoning with what it means to be an outsider looking in, like the little girl in the window. I am addressing my mother as “you,” as if I’m on my younger self’s shoulder seeing my mother at the time with a child’s fear and embarrassment, but now reflecting back what I understand as an adult—admiration and love. Referring to my mother in second person allows me to convey the intimacy, comedy, and poignancy in our relationship that I couldn’t in third person.

By the end of the flash piece, I find connection with my mother through smell—what makes us different from others is what bonds us too. It was hard growing up as one of a few Asian families in our neighborhood in Los Angeles in the 1970s, but as an adult writing about her past, I understand and accept myself and my mother more. I am better able to reconcile the conflicts between my past and current self, between myself and my mother, and the vastly different cultures I straddle. I performed a version of “For Rent” on stage for three nights at the Expressing Motherhood show in LA in 2019, which my mom watched and applauded. I think more stories of cultural identity should be translated to the stage and celebrated.


ROSA KWON EASTON is a Korean-American writer, lawyer, and president of the publicly elected Board of Library Trustees of the Palos Verdes Library District in Los Angeles. She blogs on family and parenting on her author website to bridge cultures and elevate overlooked stories. Easton’s debut novel, White Mulberry, and the sequel, Red Seal, will be published by Lake Union Publishing, in fall 2024 and fall 2026. She is an Anaphora Writing Residency Fellow and has attended retreats and workshops at Ragdale, VONA, StoryStudio Chicago, and Sackett Street Writers. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @rosakwoneaston.