I am back from the Pasadena Litfest! I am happy to report that it was a success. If I told you how long I spent preparing and how much time I actually spent saying anything on the panel you’d think I was crazy. Regardless, I read from my upcoming short story collection, Dysfunction. I chose “The Cottonwood Borer,” which is a story about a mother who is dying and tells her daughter she will be reborn as a beetle. It was a fitting story for the day before Mother’s Day, though that wasn’t intentional. I shared the panel with Jervey Tervalon (moderator and author himself), Caroline Allen, Colin Dickey, Bernard Ng, Pat Alderete, and Susan Straight. For people who all haven’t met each other beforehand, we did have a certain chemistry and our stories went well together. Caroline read a bawdy tale complete with sex and humor, Colin read a really intriguing, dense nonfiction piece about a cult figure, Bernard read a personal story about his experiences in China, Pat read emotion-rich poetry about the difficulties and rewards of motherhood, and Susan read about a prostitute who had been murdered. It was a real honor (and high) to read alongside these fabulous writers. The readings ran over so we only had time for one question from the audience.
Afterward I got to spend some time with my friends who came out to hear me read. I loved being back in LA. I have missed my friends and the literary scene there, which is quite different (not better or worse, just different) from the scene here in New Mexico. Later that night I went to a party for the Litfest presenters and organizers. I got to meet Sandra Tsing Loh (I am a huge fan of hers), Jeanne Kelley (author of Salad for Dinner) as well as other hard-working, devoted writers. It was a wonderful, inspirational weekend.
Sadly, I received a rejection from Calyx. They had been holding onto my story since October, but they ultimately rejected it. Waah! I will try again in October.