Words can fly.
(I design websites
+ I write novels.)
I've started this web page out of necessity. The number of requests from students writing papers on my work has made a web page the natural answer. I hope you find this helpful.
Dwight Holden Okita, was born in 1958 in Chicago. I continue to live here. I remember I started writing poems in first grade because I had difficulty writing stories. My writing didn't move in such straight lines then. Teachers always encouraged me throughout my education to try to publish my things. And my first publication came in 1st grade in the Luella Log. I got a BA in English Literature from University of Illinois at Chicago. My first book of poems was published: CROSSING WITH THE LIGHT (TIA CHUCHA PRESS, 1992).
I am Japanese American, gay, and Buddhist (SGI) and these things are reflected in my work. I come from a small family that has grown smaller with time. My father Fred Yoshio Okita was a school teacher and armchair philosopher. During WWII, he served in the highly decorated 442nd Battalion, which was made up of Japanese Americans citizens. He passed away many years ago. My mother Patsy Takeyo Okita passed away in 2009 after a stroke. She was interned in a relocation camp for 4 years when she was a teenager. She has been -- and continues to be -- an inspiration for different characters and poems in my writing. She worked as a bookkeeper in a bank, salesperson extraordinaire, and homemaker. I have one older brother Clyde Okita with a gift for photography. I have a diverse circle of friends and colleagues.
SOME OF MY FAVORITE WRITERS
Haruki Murakami is a trippy, provocative Japanese writer with a vivid imagination. His book 1Q84 is very popular right now.
Loved Erik Larson's DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY, a deliciously thrilling piece of nonfiction that read like the best fiction. Larson made history riveting as he focused on dual storylines of an urban planner vs. a serial killer. Also enjoyed Chicagoan Joe Meno's THE BOY DETECTIVE FAILS. Currently reading Banana Yoshimoto's THE LAKE.
DWIGHT OKITA, Writer
AMAZON BREAKTHROUGH NOVEL AWARD. In 2008, I entered this contest sponsored by Amazon.com and Penguin Publishers. 5,000 novels came in from around the world. I made it to the Top 1000. Then the Top 100. I was thrilled to make it to the Top 10. And I was blown away by making to the Top 3 books in the contest with THE PROSPECT OF MY ARRIVAL, my first novel. Though I didn't win the book deal, a talent manager in LA pursued me and now represents me. I am currently at work on my second novel THE HOPE STORE which made it to the Top 250 of 5,000 novels in the 2011 Amazon contest.
HBO NEW WRITERS PROJECT. My stage plays were selected from a pool of 2,700 entries. I was 1 of 25 writers whose work was showcased by the HBO New Writers Project through a series of staged readings for film and TV industry professionals in Los Angeles. (1994)
SUNDANCE SCREENWRITERS LAB. My screenplay MY LAST WEEK ON EARTH made it past the first cut of the Sundance selection process. (1998) And the screenplay was a quarterfinalist in the 2001 FADE IN AWARDS.
JOSEPH JEFFERSON CITATION. I received a Jefferson Citation for outstanding new work in Chicago theater for my collaboration on the play THE RADIANCE OF A THOUSAND SUNS. (1996)
ILLINOIS ARTS COUNCIL FELLOWSHIP. I was awarded a fellowship for achievement in poetry. (1988)
THE PROSPECT OF MY ARRIVAL is the title of my first novel. It centers on a young fellow named Prospect who has yet to be born. Scientist Trish Mesmer will arrange for him to meet a range of people representing the best and worst the human race has to offer. It will give Prospect a taste of the world before deciding if he wants to stay. Antagonists include Trevor Grueling who is a religious zealot and opponent of bio-experimentation, and Karl Bangor who is VP with Big Farm Technologies.
THE HOPE STORE is the title of my second novel. It's about the first store in the world to sell hope over the counter. The main character is Jada Upshaw, a suicidal woman and the store's first customer. She meets store creator Luke Nagano and begins hope treatment. Initially Jada appears to be a "super responder." But when she begins to have a potentially dangerous reaction, public TV reporter Andrew Khalib vows to get to the bottom of things.
My produced stage plays include:
THE RAINY SEASON (Zebra Crossing Theater), a multicultural love story between an Asian man and a Latino man, both of whom have strong memories of rain but conflicting interpretations of its meaning.
THE SALAD BOWL DANCE (commissioned by the Chicago Historical Society), which looks at the aftermath of the Japanese American relocation camps as internees resettled in great numbers in Chicago after the war.
RICHARD SPECK (American Blues Theater), a black-comic look at the Richard Speck murders and the dangers of sleeping on a futon.
My poetry book CROSSING WITH THE LIGHT was published by Tia Chucha Press. My poems have been widely reprinted in anthologies and textbooks ranging from Braided Lives: An Anthology of Multicultural American Writing -- to the Norton Introduction to Literature. I wrote and storyboarded the poetry video, also titled "Crossing with the Light." The video aired on public television's show "Image Union."
Dear Web Design Customers,
This includes those of you who have design needs for cool, affordable, fetching websites. Or blogs. Or videos. I have been developing websites for about 15 years on my own. I'm a self taught designer who loves beauty and poetry and clarity in design. I've done creative work for small nonprofits and businesses, for writers and artists. And I can do work for you. I live in Chicago, but you don't have to. Initial consultations can be done by Skype, phone or email.
My clients include:
* RICHARD HINE (author or Russell Wiley is Out to Lunch published by AmazonEncore, he needed two book trailer videos)
* ANNE V. MCGRAVIE (award-winning Scottish American playwright & novelist, she needed a website, monthly maintenance + basic computer training)
* MICHELLE MONTGOMERY (memoirist who wrote Alzheimer Diary, she needed a website & blog)
* CAT MORITA (she needed a video of her mother's life for a memorial service)
* GEORGE NELSON aka 2loose (buzzgoth musician, he needed a website)
* DANNY POSTEL (International Journalist of Ideas, he needed a website + tech support)
* OSCAR VELASQUEZ (he needed a memorial video to honor his mother + tech support)
* AVEC PLEASURE (an Australian-based agency providing international arts tours & arts services, they needed a website)
* OPTIBALANCEPET FORMULAS (a company that provides flower essences to improve pet behaviors, they needed three videos edited for their website)
* PC DESIGN STUDIO (a dental laboratory specializing in perfect crowns, they needed a website with a custom-made video)
* INVISIBLE TO INVINCIBLE (i2i needed a website which caters to LGBT asian pacific islanders & south asians, as well as monthly maintenance services)
* IRENE'S HOME (a nonprofit which makes it possible for single mothers with substance abuse issues to live with their children while being treated, they needed a website)