A Guam author details his experiences of loss and resilience in his new memoir, which is out now.
Julian Aguon is most known for his work as an indigenous human rights lawyer. Now, in his most recent memoir, Aguon steps into his light as an author through, “The Properties of Perpetual Light,” which delves into the complexities of grief and joy and how the two are often interconnected.
According to Aguon, he initially began writing to work through his feelings, and through this process, the memoir revealed itself to him.
Throughout the book, Julian bears some of his most vulnerable life experiences, including losing his father to cancer, working as a human rights lawyer, and overcoming adversities in life.
In an interview with K57’s Patti Arroyo, Julian detailed grief as an isolating experience that often cuts people off from one another. However, Aguon hopes to bring others together by sharing his tribulations with loss.
“I think that grief could be used to bring us together. In some ways, I’m opening up my wounds, but I’m also inviting other people to do the same. And to interrogate the language that we use, really take a harder look at ourselves, our families, our loved ones, and try to do what we can to make the world a better place than what we inherited,” Aguon said.
According to Julian, this memoir is a personal triumph and full-circle moment in his life.
Julian received acclaim from notable authors, including one of his longest literary influences, Alice Walker— who is the Pulitzer-prize winning author of The Color Purple. When asked about what these accolades meant to him, Julian said: “She effortlessly understood the essays of the pieces, and I’m very happy that she loved the pieces and loved the book enough to offer the blurb for the cover. We’ve had multiple conversations about it. She really gets the book. She really understands that life is a lovely mess in some ways, and she gets it. I think even drawing out the culture, I think she loved those pieces the most probably.”
Apart from Aguon’s perspective as an adult throughout the book, he writes to reclaim his voice as a child, seamlessly connecting the beauty of growth throughout one’s lifetime. Through his writing, Aguon hopes to show others the importance of respecting each other and our life experiences. It is in this way that we can connect genuinely.
The UOG Press will be hosting a socially distanced book signing on April 3rd, from 1 to 3 pm at the University of Guam’s Humanities and Social Sciences building, followed by a rebroadcasted showing of the televised book launch on PBS Guam’s Youtube Channel, at 7 pm on April 4th. The Properties of Perpetual Light is now available for purchase at the University of Guam Press and local and international bookstores.