September 27, 2018
September has been a social, eventful, and pretty cool month. My memoir piece about my miscarriage, “Blighted” has been nominated for Best of the Net by Mud Season Review. “Blighted” is also set to appear in an anthology about miscarriage and infant loss for and by women of color, What God Is Honored Here, forthcoming from University of Minnesota Press in Fall 2019. As a note, “Blighted” was rejected 9 times before it found its home with Mud Season Review, and just a little tip: when your valuable story needs to be told, a rejection will not stop it from being ultimately shared with the world.
Another memoir piece, “Tbilisi” has been shortlisted for the Cosmonauts Prize in Nonfiction currently being judged by Ocean Vuong. No final results have been posted yet but it’s an honor being recognized. I think of Jenny Zhang who was my Summer Literary Seminars instructor in Tbilisi this past summer (which explains the choice for the aforementioned title) and who provided the valuable prompt from which this piece was born during a khinkali lunch with my husband where I furiously wrote “Tbilisi” in 30 minutes and submitted it that same evening. Brilliance can take decades, three dozen rejections, or just a lunch poem to happen. Always trust a lunch break.
Last, I’ve been having these epic girl dates with some epic multimedia Pinay artists lately who have provided valuable insight on, well, pretty much everything. Shout out to Jean Véngua in Monterey, Lyn Pacificar in East Hollywood, and Fides Enriquez in Napa. Besides the long road trips to their abode/art studios, they have been well worth the trek to be showered with love, enlightenment, hours-long damn good conversation, and a little bit of magic. I joke about hanging out for 8 hours after the first hour has passed, until the 8th hour suddenly creeps up and arrives all too soon. Even after 8 hours, we’re still just getting started. While one may be wondering what value is there in sharing this gone-gallivanting news, it’s definitely worth sharing, especially when writing tends to lean toward hermitage at times. Another little tip: Don’t forget to hang out with your sisters.
August 27, 2018, Monday
“Every Possible Scenario” was recently named a Runner-Up in the 2018 #GUNS AND PEOPLE Essay Contest sponsored by Memoir Magazine. In creating this contest, Memoir Magazine Founder and Editor-in-Chief Mary McBeth shares these words:
Stories power movements. We hope these stories will inspire readers to act on behalf of all those who have fallen to the gun. That they will contribute to the evolution of a new sober more loving nation and strike the crucial balance between protecting the rights of citizens to own firearms where appropriate, while also protecting the rights of children, depressed individuals, and all citizens to be free from random violence.
“Every Possible Scenario” is now up. Please read here and share.
October 9, 2017, Monday
What is it about her artist smile
who uses her hand to paint
sashes of dark blue
celestial bodies when
the world is going to shit
– from “Oakland Muralist”
You can read the rest of the poem at Yes, Poetry.
“Guava Picking” was inspired by walks spent with my folks during weekend visits back in my LA neighborhood in the quaint city of Carson.
Images: Oakland Peace Center Mural (photos courtesy of Yunnie Tsao Snyder, 2016)
“Oakland Muralist” was inspired by the amazing visionary work of Trinidad Escobar and Yunnie Tsao Snyder, who together form a two witch-warrior-woman team of muralists in Oakland called 3 Realms Collective. In and around the time they were working on the Oakland Peace Center Mural, Black Lives Matter protests were taking place all over Berkeley and Oakland as well as the rest of the country, and then the tragic event of the Ghost Ship fire in Fruitvale had rocked Oakland shortly thereafter. The spiritual/physical/emotional energy it took for Trinidad and Yunnie to finish the Oakland Peace Center Mural in the midst of the events surrounding them had been beyond measure, and so “Oakland Muralist” is dedicated to them. You can learn more about their work at 3 Realms Collective here.
Please enjoy and share. xoxo