Literary Goodness

Self is returning to San Francisco with a bag full of books by her fellow writers.

There’s David Henry Hwang’s play “Yellowface” (When one is as famous as David, and still so unaffectedly affable and approachable, that’s a decision, OK? He made that decision long ago. Self is so inspired)

Self did a book exchange with a wonderfully statuesque writer, Anna Kazumi Stahl, who lives in Argentina.  Anna said her novel wasn’t available here (yet), but was a bestseller in Argentina.  Self was completely spellbound by this woman: her calmness, her voice, her stance, her haircut, her clothes, her leanness, her shoes, her — (Self! Cut it out! This is getting embarrassing!)

She also got a copy of Garrett Hongo’s latest poetry collection, Coral Road, because she loved the two poems he read from it.

And self also bought a copy of Kazim Ali’s Orange Alert: Essays on Poetry, Art, and the Architecture of Silence.  She started reading the book almost right away, and found Ali’s essays both delicious and revelatory.

To top it all off, she bought the cutest ring, which Kazim called her attention to, as self stood in line to pay for the books. Self thought: HE picked it out! OK, must purchase! Can’t post any pictures until she gets home, unfortunately. But take self’s word for it: the ring is funky/cute.

So what if her wallet is woefully depleted, at this stage. The husband was able to spend quality time at the museums, self discovered the work of Kazim Ali, Marie Myung-Ok Lee, and Bao Phi.  And the weather in DC over the past few days was splendid, the kind of weather that makes you want to walk and walk and walk, and look at the sky, and look at the buildings, and say, WOW!

So, big big thanks to:

– The National Portrait Gallery
– Terry Hong, for moderating and shepherding and conducting raffles and welcoming and for being her effervescent self
– Hye Yeon Nam, the video artist whose work, “Eating/Walking/Drinking/Sitting” inspired self’s words today
– Gerald Maa and Lawrence-Minh Bui Davis, editors of The Asian American Literary Review, who worked so hard, and who made it all look so effortless
– Lawrence’s parents, the cool-est parents self has ever met
– Betsy Yuen, for keeping self on track in the weeks leading up to the symposium
– Krista Aniel, Molly Higgins and Sandra Luong (who was everywhere today with a camera almost as big as herself) — bright, bright angels, who were excellent guides to the city and who introduced self to the unforgettable wonders of Pitango gelato
— For the woman who came up to self and said, “I’ve been teaching you in my Women’s Studies class in Bates”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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