5/30/2007

The Power of Yes

My ol' (not really /old/ so much as from 'long ago') grad advisor Carol Guess sent me a note the other day telling me about The Running Poets of Greenlake. Intrigued by Allin's poetic enthusiasm and inspired by Eileen's ever-present idea that poetry and life are intertwined, I submitted a haynaku for her consideration.

Allin replied:

fantastic
thank you for your poem!!


I admit to blinking a bit, then emailing her again, asking for her to let me know if my poem was going to be on a runner's chest in a few days, to which she replied:

the idea is not to selectively send our poets to the public
but to enthusiastically send our poets to the public
i'm getting wonderful poems
& i'm taking them all
i need 100
each by a different local living author
i'll print your poem exctly as you sent it
thanks for participating
event starts just after 9am on sunday 10 june
in my meadow near the shell gas station
details and pictures will appear when the time is right at:
Poetess at Greenlake
best


I swear, it was like Galatea herself was being channeled... I'm really not used to this, but I have to admit, I'm enjoying the Power of Yes very much.

So, if there are any NW Washington poets reading this, I hope you'll give the Amanda's project a whirl.

In the meantime, I'm trying to not think too hard on the fact that my poem will likely get more exercise than I that day.

***

Addendum: Greenlake was one of my favorite summer places-to-go. My aunt and uncle still live near the lake and as a kid, my family and extended family would celebrate 4th of July at their house, take our bikes to the lake and pedal around, dream about renting a paddle boat and finally set foot on the island near the center of the lake, then park our blankets out on the lawn to wait for the fireworks. After the show, we'd tumble back, sleepy-eyed and wrapped in said blankets, back to Auntie's house for a quick bathroom run before piling back into the car for a late night drive back home. I think once or twice we cousins got to sleep over at their house - it's hard to remember, since, once the fireworks were over, I was pretty much unconscious until morning.

I'm hoping to make the installation next week since we'll be down there for Pagdiriwang but it will mean coordinating my folks, Mass, and time with my best friend from High School.

*chuckle* Basically, The Usual(tm)

5/28/2007

QOTD

(Salman) Rushdie on the social responsibilities of the artist: S/he has none. To answer to society's demands is to concede that your art can be owned, and nobody owns art. It is the unique vision of the individual artist, and the point about being an artist is that nobody owns you. Art wants to rebel, and to be irreverent. Art opens the universe up, drives all the way to the very edges of our cultural frontiers, and it pushes the boundaries outward, in order to expand the sum total of all we think and feel and comprehend. Art broadens the frames of reference in which we live and operate. It cannot do these things while abiding by societally defined sets of rules, restrictions, and expectations, that is, while consenting to these impositions. --from Barbara Jane

To which DH responded: Ah, that’s wonderful. Remember when, no matter the weather, we’d just get in the truck and drive? Pick a direction and go see what was there or see what had changed since our list foray that way?

It sounds to me as if Rushdie is describing the same impetus and the same…conciousness without external restrictions.

***

Wil Wheaton expressed something similar recently.

To borrow a phrase from Joel Hodgeson, the creator of MST3K: don't ask yourself, "Will anyone get this?" Instead, tell yourself, "The right people will get this."

***

Which is also to acknowledge that some people /won't/ get what I write, and I acknowledge that I often don't get what other's write either.

***

Finally, represenatation and authenticity:

"...We younger Negro artists who create now intend to express our individual dark-skinned selves without fear or shame. If white people are pleased we are glad. If they are not, it doesn't matter. We know we are beautiful. And ugly too. The tom-tom cries and the tom-tom laughs. If colored people are pleased we are glad. If they are not, their displeasure doesn't matter either. We build our temples for tomorrow, strong as we know how, and we stand on top of the mountain, free within ourselves. " – Langston Hughes

He Who Eats At Taco Trucks

Francisco was my Town Car driver when I was in SF last month, the trip a gift from my hubby and co-workers to celebrate my first official poetic excursion. It still amazes me that so many threw in to make sure I got to the California College of Arts from the airport with such ease.

The simplicity of it felt so decadent, took me into a space of more well-heeled artists, that I both felt humbled by the privilege as well as self-conscious about the automatic hierarchy created by the act of generosity. I met Francisco in the baggage claim area, my last name scrawled in black pen on a stiff card. He was taller and a bit older than I, and although he knew my name, never offered his own, not until the very end of the trip when I asked him directly. He wore a dark blue polyester suit and white shirt, classically dressed as a luxury car driver. As we waited for Horizon to disgorge my luggage, we chatted lightly.

He asked if I did this sort of thing much and I laughed and shook my head. His presence was a gift and this trip the end of a long chain of events, a general willingness to say Yes at the right times. There was that distinctiveness about him, that echo I pick up every once in awhile from people I am certain are not only Filipino in ancestry but also US born like myself. My friends speak of gaydar where they can spot someone GLBT from across the room and it's much like that. Fil-dar? *shakes head* I'll have to think about an appropriate compressed term for it... pinoydar?

I've been picked up by other Filipinos the same way, but Firsts seem to have a broader sense of it, startled usually by the first words that come from my mouth, betraying that I am not altogether like them. Instead someone 'diluted' by my 'foreign' birth. Then comes either the drawing back or the pity for being someone without the language or physical memory of the Philippines. An object of longing one moment, then objectionable the next.

It's different, though, finding US-borns. There's that Filipinoness, but also that untetheredness, that singular sense of loss of something that was never really possessed in the first place. Francisco had that feel, familiar in a dual toned way that comes of having genetic ties one place and cultural ties another.

He was hapa, EuroFilipino, with the added experience of having been fostered to a family far from his birth state of California. When he grew to majority he headed back to SF to be closer to his mother, and at least learn something about his European side. Somehow, though, he also learned about his father's side, and traveled to the barrio where he met his father's family, I think in the Visayas. They were concerned about him at first, guarded around him, and he wondered if it was because he was a bit of their past intruding into their present. In a sense, this was the case, because it turned out they were afraid he would lay claim to his father's share of the plantation lands.

His father had been something of the black sheep of the family, leaving them perhaps in anger, perhaps in frustration. The leaving of Pinoys pre-1965 I've found are different than post-1965 with it's more political coloring...there is this sense of leaving a backward place to begin again in the West where opportunity outstrips family obligation.

Once he'd made clear that he didn't want the land, Francisco was welcomed fully and he was asked to visit again soon.

Stateside, he's a towncar driver and photographer and as we wandered the backstreets of the fashion district searching for the college, he gave me tips on taking pictures. He seemed flustered that he was unable to find the college, the streets abruptly dead-ending or merging into other streets unexpectedly. As we backtracked along one street, I spied a taco truck and asked him if taco trucks in SF sold pupusas. A pang of homesickness, really, another manifestation of my unease of being driven around in a sleek, black town car by a person hired to do so.

He answered my query absently, saying that some of the trucks had Salvadoran food and there were some good pupusas to be had along his more regular routes. Then he stalled slightly, backtracking in his mind.

"You know about taco trucks?" he said, disbelief mixed with admiration. I guessed that in his mind, poets who ride town cars to colleges don't usually know what taco trucks are, let alone eat at them.

I admitted it had been a while, but that seeing one there parked on a side street made me a bit hungry for them. He hesitated, turned a corner, and we spotted the college.

"I eat at them when I can," he replied. "There are great ones in the Market district. If we had time, I'd take you to my favorite one."

And if we were in a movie, I would have said Sure, let's go! And we would have had one of those Pretty Woman moments, chatting over pupusas, sour cream and rice dripping from our burdened plates.

Instead, we pulled up at the college and he obligingly took my picture to let my friends know that I'd ridden the car they'd ordered for me and arrived at my destination safely. We slid past so many social conventions, expected roles, levels of social propriety and back again, it was a bit dizzying to consider. In the end, though, with my two rolling cases in tow (I gave a whole new definition to Bag Lady that trip), I finally asked...

"What was your first name again? I've such a bad memory..."

"I didn't tell you my first name," he replied, and I recalled that he'd only given his family name. "It's Francisco."

And I smiled and shook his hand in thanks. Usually, between Filipinos, there is an intimacy that happens over a shared meal. We didn't have pupusas together, but we know each other's first names and perhaps for us, it was good enough to be the same thing.

Later this week, I hope to find time to swing by Super Marios with one of my coworkers and we'll toast pupusas to Francisco and the ties that connect us.

5/22/2007

When Writers Write

The sixth issue of Galatea Resurrects is now online. The Golden Keeper of the Keys lists the bounty of this issue's harvest.

For this issue, I had the opportunity to review the book and DVD set Kool Logic/La logical Kool by Urayoan Noel. Noel is a New Beat poet with a keen eye for cultural criticism and a sharp wit.

Patrick Rosal's Uprock Headscramble and Dive and American Kundiman are both reviewed as are Ivy Alvarez's Mortal not once but twice in addition to A Slice of Cherry Pie.

So many good books and book reviews to read!

* * * *

I keep meaning to write more about my SF trip, but I'm in the throes of completing a paper on Storytelling as an act of decolonization. Late into the process I realized that the coolest thing would be to not just draw on my own limited experience, but to interview other Tellers of Filipino heritage. So then it was a matter of scheduling interviews and doing them... which is where I'm at. *whew* Good stuff. Even the short pre-interview I did with Robert Kikuchi-Yngojo showed that Telling is a very conscious art seeking to reconnect and renarrate with lost heritage. I'll be chatting with him tonight via my New Nifty Technology and then it will be a matter of pulling nice, juicy quotes from the recorded transcript.

* * * *

Last weekend was incredible, though - what started as a simple day trip to celebrate a nephew's birthday turned into an opportunity to meet the commander of the 26th Cavalry, Philippine Scouts whom my grandfather served during WWII (yep, he's still alive and kicking, even at age 90) as well as an elder vet who served in Company E, yet knew my grandfather during war time (Lolo was in Company A). He asked me to /email/ him and he'd tell me all about my grandfather! All this wonderfulness happened because my best friend from high school sent me an email saying "Are you going to this event?" which turned out to be the National conference for the society.

So much to share about that event too... but also for later.

* * * *

Just this last thing - I realized recently that poetry is about the tension between the effable and the ineffable, the conjunction of form and un-formed.

Thank you Eileen and kari edwards for this gift of insight.

5/16/2007

Balikbayan/Pagbabalik

A few upcoming events...

Pagbabalik(Return)
Bindlestiff Studio: work in progress with q&a May 24-26.
La Pena Cultural Center: full production Jun 14-16

Bayanihan Dancers at the Lincoln Theater, Skagit County, Wa, May 23

Pagdiriwang: Annual Seattle Filipino Festival Seattle, Wa, Jun. 9-10

* * * *

Last night, I read the last chapter of Vincente Rafael's White Love and Other Events in Filipino History for the paper I'm writing...and today I'm thinking about Balikbayans and OCWs, about cultural narratives and political shifts, about hero-making and hero-breaking, and of course, bringing it all around to personal identity.

Sometimes when a person goes out looking for answers, the answers are affirming of a deep, instinctive sense of something and that affirmation is positive and uplifting. Other times, the answers point to unsettled spaces, unaddresed hurts, and old emotions. The answers are important, just like the questions, since the answers often lead to more questions which hopefully leads to more answers and so on. But sometimes, even important answers are not easy to digest, to bring in, to incorporate.

* * * *

Balikbayan - it's about boxes of a certain dimension and a certain weight, filled with certain products and sent to a certain family or friend from a certain FilAm stateside. (Or should I say Filipino? Or should I say Pinoy? Definitely though, not someone US born). It's about packing up bag after luggage after carry-on with everything from Halloween candy to Body Shop lotions to nicknacks bought 75% off after Christmas, lugging them across the airport, through security (sorry, TSA-here's your orange alert), convincing the baggage clerk stateside the luggage is only a little overweight, convincing the baggage security Philippine-side the luggage is only household goods and nothing to be tariffed. It's about speeches and late night discussions in a sweetly old fashioned form of The Dialect from those adventurers who survived hardship and returned bearing gifts. It's about buying nicknacks specially crafted for tourists in order to help the economy. It's about having to say No so many times to requests for money or plane tickets or a job stateside, of having to swallow the reality that the US is not the easy road the Thomasites proclaimed, that the visitor is asked to confirm, so what little hope remains of Someplace Better can be kept alive.

It's cliche to ask "can you ever really go home" but there's no denying that question buzzing over and over like so many mosquitos at your ankles, pricking your skin, draining your blood, slowly and persistently.

But then comes the kick in the teeth - balikbayans were made, not grown, to create tourism and reinforce the power structures created by a dictator. And their association with The Dictator makes the balikbayan suspect while at the same time envied for their apparent priviledge. They become 'foreign' no longer 'bayan' townsmates, compadres, manongs/manangs. Instead they are merely vestiges of a long severed tie to corruption and greed. It's hard to be knocked off a pedestal. Or worse, being left with the grit and grime of the pedestal. Sort of like trying to find a vibrant city you thought existed, shining and beautiful just over the next hill, and finding instead, crumbled ruins infested with archaelogists looking for that last bit of Lost Treasure.

* * * *

But I over generalize here, what then of the personal?

* * * *

Here's what I've seen - my folks came in '56, both through military ties, married stateside, had two kids stateside, finished college stateside, worked in white collar jobs stateside, lived a relatively normal suburban, upper middle class life stateside, and are now retired comfortably stateside. They built a couple of houses in the Philippines, one to use when visiting and the other for an aunt who up until her 70s lived in a nipa hut. My oldest niece-cousin is in her second year of college, is looking into a career in education or medicine, is planning a mission-type trip to Ghana this summer, and doesn't really think either 9/11 or being part Filipino has anything to do with her or her life as it is now. My cousins for the most part have a passing interest in their heritage, but mostly just want to know about how to cook the food and remember how their parents remebered growing up in the Philippines during WWII.

Disconnection or assimilation? And why should it matter? Why does it seem to matter so much to me? Why do I want so much more?

* * * *

And I think about Old Coyote's story of the first indipinoy who didn't know whether to go this way or that way, Old Blood or New Blood. I think about the indipinoy who came to tell the Bainbridge Pinoys that he and his family suffered rejection from full blood pinoys and full blood native americans (nevermind the whole rejection from whites). I think about that Inbetween Space, how to write from that space. And I think about Barbara Jane and readership, and whether anyone could relate to being Inbetween, enough to drop envy, drop indolence, drop greed, drop pride, and just say, yes, this belongs with all the other discussions, all the resistence efforts, all the reclamation movements.

And I think about Ver's post on spineless blogging and I think how easy it would be to simply delete this once I'm finished so as not to cause discomfort/unease/defensiveness.

But sometimes things aren't as easy as one would think.

5/08/2007

Old Coyote

I met an Old Coyote this last weekend. He was taller than I had expected, broader in the chest, and gentler. None of the usual tricks at first glance. Perhaps he was feeling the need to be polite in new company. But like all Coyotes, at least the ones I've come across so far, he had a story to tell and it went something like this (I wish I'd had my recorder at hand when he started, but it was in the car and I only caught the very tail end of it in my iPod).

So this Filipino man comes over from across the sea, and the voyage was difficult, but he made it to the island somehow. And on that island was a native woman who'd had a vision of a field filled with row upon row upon row of strawberries and raspberries. And in her vision, there was a man who planted all those rows and she didn't know what the vision meant - afterall her people planted according to the way the land moved, and those rows looked very straight. And after awhile, the vision came true, and on that island there came up row upon row of strawberries and raspberries, more than any had seen before, all planted by this one man from across the sea. And one night, they say, the man met the woman, maybe under the stars, maybe near the creek, maybe near the sea, but how ever it happened, not soon after, there came the first Indopino.

Now this first indopino had part of himself that went this way and part that went that way, and for awhile there was no trouble - that is, until he went to school, and the two parts began to fight, to struggle, and he couldn't understand if he was to go that way or this way. And the going was hard for this First One. But like his father who had survived the passage across the sea and his mother who saw visions, this First One was determined, never gave in, never gave up, and after awhile became himself, both Indian and Pinoy. And a new people were made, a new way of looking at things, a new medicine. A new strength came into the world.

All that, just from one man from across the sea, and one woman who saw straight rows of strawberries, getting together (with that old rack of Rainier).

* * *

The Junior Elders told a slightly different version later on... seems that just before WW2, Filipino men came to the Seattle area looking for work. Some came for school, but it was tough times for most since many arrived during the worst of the Depression, so many found odd jobs at the local canneries or up in Alaska on fishing boats or working as domestics in town.

The Filipinos that found themselves on Bainbridge were hired by farmers of Japanese descent to work the berry fields. Once a Filipino had found good work, he would contact his compadres locally and at home, so most of the Filipinos on Bainbridge were from the same area of La Union, Philippines (Pangasinan?) The Filipinos and Japanese formed strong friendships within a short period of time.

Soon after Pearl Harbor when Japanese Americans were sent to internment camps, the local farmers asked their Filipino workers to take care of their farms, which they did gladly. During WW2, the demand for berries increased to the point that the Filipinos were hard pressed to keep the fields tended and picked, so they put a call out for anyone available to help. Many Native American's responded from as far away as BC, Salish tribes mostly, such as the Nooksack. Men and women both. In 1942 there were 12 recorded marriages between Filipino men and native women.

When the farmers returned from the internment camps, they gave parcels of land to the Filipinos in thanks. Some Filipinos and their families stayed on as farmers and harvesters, while others went to work at the Bremerton shipyards. Some indipinoy children are registered as tribally affiliated, but a few of the women I talked to mentioned that they never registered. Growing up indopinoy was difficult, especially during grade school since they were usually rejected by whites, pinoys, and natives alike.

* * *

The picture is far from complete, but I hope to fill in the gaps over time. There are three books on local Filipino history I need to find interlibrary:

They Cast a Long Shadow by Brian Roberts

American Workers, Colonial Power by Dorothy B. Fujita-Rony

"You got to move like hell" : trans-Pacific colonialism and Filipina/o Seattle, 1919-1941" by Dorothy B. Fujita-Rony

Two others I need to purchase since they're likely still in print:

White Grizzly Bear's Legacy and Bernie Whitebear: An Urban Indian's Quest for Justice both by Lawney L. Reyes

Indipinoy Fest

Touchdown home last week was brief as I headed to the Bainbridge Island Indipinoy fest on Saturday. I'd heard of the Festival from Gene Tagaban over a year ago, and it took nearly the interim to track down the dates. I'd found old 'net notices for the events in 2000 and 2004, and thankfully the contact numbers were still good. (I lurv the 'net).

Bainbridge is about a half hour ferry ride west of Seattle, just long enough to munch on a hot dog (with glow in the dark relish) and down some bottled water, but historically, the two Filipino Communities really didn't interact much. It's never much of a surprise to me when I don't know about FilAm communities, especially in the Seattle area. I lived a pretty sheltered suburban life back in the day.

But on Bainbridge there's a vibrant community, complete with their own gathering hall. This is a cool thing for me, having been in many groups where the Great Dream was to have a space of ones own, to not have to pay fees for space and juggle schedules, competing with other groups with not quite enough cash to build their own space. The story goes that back in the 50's, a group of Pinoy farmers pooled their money together to build the place, that they had rockin' parties there every year, complete with Strawberry queens, lumpia by the panful, and buckets and buckets of pancit served with grilled salmon. (okay, I'll admit it, the /food/ promised at the event was definitely the tipping point for me to make the 2+ hour trip down).

As kids grew and moved away, though, and elders became more elderly, the center went into disrepair in the 70s until an enterprising group set out to remake the place into somewhere to be as a community in the '90s. They've been having the Indipinoy Fest there ever since, and this year was complete with Native drummers, Hawaiian dancers, Elvis-Returned, delicious food, and a raffle. Basically all the stuff that makes a Gather special.

I felt like the interloper though, the anthropologist come to see the natives do their thing. I had camera in hand and a recorder, plus my trusty moleskin and pen...I was there not only to meet new NW pinoys but to get the story - the story of how Pinoys and Natives got together, the whens and hows and whys, to fill in that missing part of history at least for myself.

Thankfully, the community in Bainbridge had done quite a bit of work already to preserve their history, not only by refurbishing the community center, but also by conducting an oral history project where student interviewed elders and noted their stories. The study was done in 1993, and there was a book published about it, but it has since gone out of print.

FilAm history seems to have these sorts of cycles of remembering and forgetting, of taking for granted history-in-the making, then being startled out of complacency because of death and departure, then rediscovering that the history, the people, and the art have been there for much longer than personal memory.

This is why it saddened me to read the recent article in the Philippine News which seemed to imply that the FilAm artistic community was not doing enough to create a presence in Literature, not enough to break down the perceived barriers created by Big Box Bookstores, not enough to address and protest the inequities Filipinos and FilAms have experienced over the decades of colonization and postcolonization. The columnist and the featured commenter both appear to have the same viewpoint - Filipinos are lazy because they are oppressed, are oppressed because they are complacent while at the same time demanding that literary artists pay for the creation, production, publication, and distribution of their work NOW in order to create the comfortable readership necessary to appear on the Bestseller list of *fill in the blank hot awards list*.

The implication that the "community" (which apparently does not include the commentor) must birth, fully formed, agented, awarded, and booked on the Oprah show, an artist (preferably fiction, apparently) who can bring about the Filipino Literary Revolution disrespects decades of writing published by Filipinos and Filipino Americans in the US and abroad. The Call to Pens is a wonderful rallying cry, good for newspaper copy, but really, if the organizers of the event (who, if they were paying attention to the FilAm lit scene at all the last 30 years, would know their event is /not/ the first of it's kind by a long shot) really want to affect the course of Fil and FilAm publishing, then they've got to shake off their isolationist tendencies and show their students that there exist now viable markets for their work, that there are artists, now, publishing and receiving awards, that there are Fil and FilAm publishers already in existence who need their fresh eyes, fresh words, and fresh energy to keep their publications on the shelves, that there are independent bookstores more than willing to put their work on their shelves to keep the Big Box Stores at bay and maintain their uniqueness in a sea of sameness that is US publishing of the Twenty First Century.

Near the end of the Bainbridge Indipinoy event, a latecoming indipino related his sad story of exclusion, of how his family was nearly denied the ability to use the Filipino community center on Bainbridge because, although his father, a pinoy farmer had been featured in the 1993 oral history project and although his picture hung prominently in the hall, his wife and children were not full blood Pinoy, and so they could not celebrate his life in the hall he had helped build. The speaker wore his scars on his eyes and tears, speaking in broken words full of emotion. He spoke of a great and long standing injustice, and we, all gathered, agreed.

We do not live in isolation. If we did, there would be no talk of oppression, no talk of diaspora, no drive to connect with each other. There are too many stories as yet untold, too many stories as yet uncreated, to many moments uncelebrated to stand around wringing our hands about 'what is not.'

To the artists I have met and had the pleasure of reading, to the publishers who have taken on non-mainstream work, and to the readers constantly hungry for more, thank you.

You all make working at this mostly solitary art worthwhile.

5/02/2007

Re-entry

SF was da BOMB, I tell ya! *grin*

Okee... So I'm still processing the awesomeness that was my weekend in Cali, but I wanted to post a few pix for those awaiting juicier details than I've shared so far.

Soo.... Courtesy of my wonderful friends and co-workers, I arrived at the California College of the Arts in this snazzy towncar:


driven by photographer Francisco, He-Who-Feasts-At-Taco-Trucks. At CCA I played Bag Lady with my two rolling carry-ons, but managed dinner and downtime before the memorial tribute to kari edwards, where I was scheduled to meet the illustrious Galatea. Unfortunately, the lighting at the venue was poor, and I wasn't able to get any good pix. The reading was terrific though - before reading about kari on Eileen's blog, I had not read any of hir work. Several of keri's friends and colleagues read from her various collections, and I was glad to add keri's work to my collection. Eileen did a stunning job with translating one of keri's number poems in to Ilocano. I hope Eileen gets a chance to record her translation complete with kulintang accompaniment. Her interpretation/chant was haunting and visceral, and I wish I'd had the wherewithall to record her that night.

Being an Artist-on-a-Budget, I was very grateful that Eileen invited me to stay at her city flat for the weekend.


With a nice place to call homebase for the weekend, I decided to play tourist on Saturday, first walking the Labyrinth at Grace Cathedral



then catching the bus to Chinatown for some walkies and lunch


While searching for various goodies, I heard gongs and drums, so I followed the sounds to a martial arts demo in an alley



I admit I got a bit lost trying to find the Fortune Cookie Factory, but happily stumbled upon City Light's Books where I found several books I'd been searching for.


Is that Kerouac Alley, Bec? Why yes it is! And Yes, I also picked up my very own copy of HOWL.

Refreshed from my stop at the local literary hot spot, I resumed my search for the elusive Fortune Cookie Factory. Who knew there could be so many alleys in Chinatown? Finally, success!



Whew! So, my tired feet craved a rest, so it was time to be really touristy and find a cable car to ride.


I hopped on the first one I could find and ended up at Fisherman's Wharf.


where I munched on chocolate raisin sourdough bread from Boudins


and snapped pix of Alcatraz


After catching the cable car back up the hill, I stopped off at the Cable Car museum to check out How Things Work



Then ended my Saturday with Mango Tuna sushi at Sushi Rock.


On Sunday I brunched with the fabulous Bermeo Duo


then hung out again at City Lights Books before the Achiote Press launch of Achiote Seeds.


The reading at Canessa Gallery was an incredible experience, with readings from Barbara Jane Reyes, Oscar Bermeo, Todd Melicker, and Alfred Arteaga. I read from my review/response published in Achiote Seeds and with the exception of dropping the last page of my manuscript on the floor, I think the reading went well. I hope to have footage of the event online soon.

The bonus was meeting the legendary Ver Montes and her stellar wit.

I wanted to hold time still in my hand, to keep hanging with all these wonderful people, but alas, all too soon, it was time to return home.

Thanks again to the Gang at the Office, BJ, Oscar, Eileen and Tom, Craig and Jennifer, Hubby and Gals, and especially SF for creating such a wonderful adventure.