June 13, 2016
This was at the Mixed Remixed Festival, which took place over this past Friday and Saturday at the Japanese American National Museum in downtown L.A. (Read a great recap here.) I was a volunteer on Saturday, mostly working at the registration table, but I also got a chance to chat with folks and attend a fantastic reading by featured writers F. Douglas Brown (a poet), Willy Wilkinson (Lambda Award winner), Natashia Deon (who KILLED it with her reading from just-released Grace), Jamie Ford, and Sunil Yapa. It was a great opportunity to buy one of Jamie Ford's books, which I've been meaning to read for a while, and I was really blown away by all five speakers. I feel privileged to have gotten to chat with and/or congratulate all of them afterward. Lovely people one and all. And of course the wonderful Heidi Durrow, author of The Girl Who Fell from the Sky and director of the festival. We had some great phone chats over the past few months as I worked on laying out the program.
I had some kidlit-specific encounters, too! I got to say hi again to Katrina Goldsaito, author of the upcoming kids' book The Sound of Silence and fellow client at Andrea Brown. (I also had a great chat with her agent Jamie Weiss Chilton! All those Andrea Brown peeps are fantastic.) And I met Eleanor Glewwe, author of DIVERSE FANTASY MG title Sparkers, which I'm looking forward to reading. Last but not least, it was nice to talk again to Jamie Moore of Mixed Reader, who was the one who initially invited me to read at Mixed Remixed a few years back--she's a fellow Central Valley resident, so we resolved to try to meet up at some point.
There is something unique and magical about meeting other writers in a context that is not just related to one's writing, in an environment that is all about acceptance and celebration of all our mixed and mixed-up stories. In that context you know you have something immediately in common, that you have experiences in common and those experiences have inextricably informed your writing and formed you as a person.
It's always hard to put those things into words, though, and do it justice. If you want to know more, check out the Twitter hashtag!