Rebecca has some sweet thoughts about being published for the first time in an actual hold-it-in-your-hands book with a front cover and a back cover and some 250 pages in between: Growing Up Filipino II. Bec and I have something in common when it comes to Cecilia Brainard. Though I had been published in a handful of small journals before, Cecilia was the first editor to accept one of my stories for publication in a book. This meant so very much to me. I still remember when I received my contributor's copies for Contemporary Fiction by Filipinos in America, with its gorgeous cover art. It's so gorgeous I'm going to show it to you:
And it was Cecilia who invited me to do my first-ever reading with her and some other contributors at the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena, which is in a mansion and which had an extraordinarily large stage that terrified me. "How long should we read?" she whispered before we walked onstage. This increased my panic because if Cecilia wasn't sure, I CLEARLY wasn't sure. "Just read 5 minutes from the beginning of your story, and 5 minutes from the end," she advised. And that's what I did.
Since then, Cecilia has been so supportive of my writing. Not blindly supportive, mind you. She has no qualms telling me when she thinks I've missed the mark. I'm only one among dozens who have benefitted from her attentions (though I hope I'm the only one she has ever likened to a ripening mango! Please, oh, please, oh please...), and now Bec joins our happy number.
In her post, Bec mentions that's it's time to promote Growing Up Filipino II. To that end, PAWA and Arkipelago Books are hosting a book launch at the Bayanihan Community Center on Saturday, January 16th. Rashaan Alexis Meneses, Tony Robles, Marianne Villanueva, and I—me, your Nesting Ground Mistress!—will all be reading from our stories. Click on the photo to read the fine print:
Come join us! You know you want to.