Heading for San Francisco today to have a Writer's Weekend.
It's still a bit boggling to me how it all came together... it started with Barbara Jane asking me if I'd be willing to give a review of her work for a new press called Achiote last winter. Engaging with BJ's work is often challenging and thought-provoking, and I appreciated her thinking of me for the project.
Achiote Press is the brainchild of Craig Perez who has the vision of creating a journal where poets and reviewers engage each other in the same volume of work, instead of the usual post-publication model. When I asked Craig what he was looking for in a review, he surprised me by saying that it was totally up to me. Even beyond writing what I wanted about BJ's work, he encouraged me to respond to her poetry in any form I wished, from poetry to essay to combo-genre. I relished the assignment and felt an incredible freedom to really dig into BJ's poetry and poetics and ping my own ideas of aesthetics and poetics off of her words.
Early on, Craig wondered if I could make it down for a reading when the journal, Achiote Seeds launched, and I half jokingly said yes, although I figured that I really didn't have the budget for it. When Craig finally set a launch date, he asked again, and I found myself saying yes. Just a few days prior Alaska Air had announced cheap ticket prices and I'd received a small bonus at work.
That little Yes, set into motion a whole bunch of plans and I found myself in a whirlwind of preparation... and nervousness. The event will be my first poetry reading of sorts - I'd read my work before, but in the form of essay and fiction, and of course as a Teller of Filipino Tales. Poetry is a whole new thing for me... sort of... most of my publications are in poetry, but before all this came down, I figured it was mostly a fluke. *shakes head*
I guess if I'm going to travel some 2000 miles round trip to do a reading, doing poetry is a bit more than a fluke *chuckle*
Anyway, tonight I catch up with Eileen at the kari edwards memorial at the California College of the Arts. She's been kind enough to offer me housing for the weekend. Tomorrow I'll be doing the Tourist Thing, then Sunday's the reading.
It's strange to be doing this gig solo, but I'm also looking forward to the time to think just about my writing and where I want to take things next.
Author's Note: I had meant to post prior to leaving for San Francisco to set up the blog properly, but between packing and intermittent WiFi access, it didn't happen. But for the sake of continuity, I've gone back to insert what I would have said before I left...true date stamp: 5/2/07, 9:30 PM