Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Friday, August 20, 2010
The Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation posted video clips of the cultural performances during the July 31st 100th anniversary commemoration.
Monday, August 09, 2010
MY PAPER SON READING DURING THE 100TH ANNIVERSARY COMMEMORATION OF THE ANGEL ISLAND IMMIGRATION STATION
On July 31st, I had the pleasure of participating in the 100th Anniversary Commemoration of the Angel Island Immigration Station. As part of the festivities, I read excerpts from my novel manuscript, PAPER SON.
My special thanks goes to Eddie Wong and Grant Din of the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation (AIISF) for organizing a wonderful day of speakers and cultural events to honor our ancestors who travelled through Angel Island to come to America.As was the norm in San Francisco, the day started out grey with overcast skies, but that did not dampen the spirits of the people attending the event. According to AIISF, 1000 people boarded the ferry and hiked or took a tram to the Immigration Station. Once there, we were treated to passionate speeches, which included Assembly Member Mike Eng, author of ACR 76 declaring December 17 as “A Day of Inclusion,” and Eugenia Bailey, daughter of Russian immigrants.
My most favorite presentation was Masayuki Koga, who performed “Distant Cry of Deer,” a traditional Japanese shakuhachi piece. His melody was bittersweet, filled with grace, and set a perfect reverent tone. Listen to a short preview:
In PAPER SON, one of my secondary characters Wing played a Chinese flute, a xun, while detained on the island. While Koga played, I imagined Wing playing his flute to my main character Moon in one scene, when he believed all hope was lost.
My reading was scheduled for 2pm, and by that time, the fog had drifted away and the sun came out! Yay- warmth and brightness! I was so happy, especially since I was reading out doors in front of the barracks.
On my right, a lovely view of the bay stretched before me, the audience sat attentive in the middle, and the barracks towered to my left. I read a scene where Moon enters the barracks for the first time. Moon sees this covered staircase stick out of the barracks like a huge tongue, and there the staircase was- right in front of me! One older Chinese man simply smiled at me the whole time, as I read my story.
And my family and friends cheered me on.
Stay tuned for video of the New Interrogation Table Exhibit and the Words etched into the landscape.
Friday, March 12, 2010
I’d been feeling rather frustrated with my job hunt and a tad stuck with my WIP, PORTRAIT. So, a nice walk at Mori Point, a serene coastal trail, always cheers me up. I see people walking their dogs, and we say hi to one another all the time. There’s the woman on her cell phone, whose two dogs remind me of siblings playing with each other. She dresses them in little matching sweaters when it’s especially cold. There’s an older Asian man, most likely in his 70s, who walks his black dog. Sorry, I don’t know dogs, so I can’t specify what breed. Maybe I’ll learn.
They walk their dogs. I walk myself. We don’t know each other's names; we just know each other’s walking schedules. We do share a love and respect for this beautiful coastal trail.
The other day, the Asian man stops me. He asks about my car and if I parked on the corner near the trail head. He noticed recent break-ins, and that my car could be vulnerable. He suggested I park closer to the houses because it’d be nearer to people, and less likely a target. When I got back to my car, I noticed broken glass a few feet away from my car. The glass was not from my car, but from a previous break-in.
The next day, I parked my car closer to the houses. And when I saw the Asian man walking his dog, I thanked him for the good advice. He told me he had been worried.
He reminded me of my dad.
A total stranger had been worried about me. A little hope peaked its way into my mind and body.
Wednesday, March 03, 2010
Come Celebrate Our Wondrous Writing in the City by the Bay
Vermont College of Fine Arts Alumni Retreat in San Francisco, CA
REGISTRATION NOW OPEN!
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Fort Mason Center
Building C, 3rd Floor, Room 370
9am – 5pm
Led by VCFA Faculty:
Guest appearance by:
VCFA Chair Margaret Bechard
Join us as we reunite with fellow VCFA alumni and faculty members to discuss, explore, and re-ignite our passion for writing. With a tight and unpredictable children’s book marketplace, we alums must keep focused, keep our skills in shape, and most of all, keep writing. Let’s celebrate our sales and plow through our rejections. Unlike Montpelier, no snow boots needed… just a sweater or two in case the fog rolls in! Here’s what we’ll cover:
MAPS AND MEANDERING: ON THE USEFULNESS OF EACH
Lately, my fascination with maps has bumped up against my desire to lollygag and wander aimlessly. For a writer, are the two pleasures contradictory or complementary, and can they be applied in a practical way to that phenomena known dreamily as The Writer's Life? Let's have a conversation about two things: first, how the mindset of a flaneur helps us store up a treasure trove of converging images; second, how the practicality of mapmaking brings us back down to earth and insists we think about the true north, south, east and west of our stories.
REJECTION IS SUBJECTIVE! PRIME THE PUMP AND MOVE ON
Your "baby" has been born. You did everything you could to make it a healthy delivery. You send it out. It comes back. And you're thrown into the writer's postpartum blues. It hurts…and it can keep you from doing what needs to be done. Let's talk about how to move on, how to rekindle passion for that next project. We'll do some "stop the bleeding" exercises and rediscover why we write in the first place.
Panel & Group Discussion with Julie, David and Margaret
9am – 5pm Includes box lunch
Limited to 35 participants.
Fort Mason Center is located along the northern waterfront between Aquatic Park and the Golden Gate Bridge in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
Parking $10; also accessible by public transportation
Friday evening, April 23
No host cocktail social
Details & costs to be announced soon.
David Gifaldi is a Portland author and teacher. His books have been honored by American Booksellers' Pick of the Lists, ALA Books Recommended for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, the Mark Twain Award Master List, the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children's Book Award Master List, and the Junior Library Guild. His latest middle grade novel, Listening for Crickets (2008), has been named a 2009 Notable Book for a Global Society and is on the Kansas State children's reading list for 2009.
Julie Larios is the author of four books for children: On the Stairs (1995), Have You Ever Done That? (named one of Smithsonian Magazine’s Outstanding Children’s Books 2001), Yellow Elephant (a Book Sense Pick and Boston Globe–Horn Book Honor Book, 2006) and Imaginary Menagerie: A Book of Curious Creatures (shortlisted for the Cybil Award in Poetry, 2008). Recently, she was granted a fellowship by the Washington State Arts Commission/Artist Trust and had a poem sequence put to music and performed by the Five Words in a Line group in New York City.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
THE ANGEL ISLAND IMMIGRATION STATION
Part 2 of 2
Yesterday, I wrote about the surrounding areas outside the main barracks at the Angel Island Immigration Station. Today, we go inside the barracks, to the 1st floor.
The 1st floor is the main dormitory where the men and boys stayed. Most of the women and small children stayed on the 2nd floor. With the renovations, the 1st floor room is clean and clear, with many signs and photos re-telling the history. There are comfortable benches to sit on, so I planted myself down, and took in the room’s energy. I thought about all those men and boys who slept here, played cards, read newspapers, and worried about their fates. Between these metal poles, imagine triple bunk beds crowding the space:
There is a saying, “if walls could talk…” Well, these walls do talk. With much improved lighting, the main attraction here is the poetry on the wall. Detainees had carved poems into the walls which reflected their anger, homesickness, and disappointment in coming to America and being held captive here.
I have a scene in PAPER SON where Moon finds his friend, Old Man Fong carving poetry into the wall. When he realizes what Old Man Fong is doing and why, Moon then decides to carve something into the wall, something extremely dear to him. Something he misses. But I won’t spoil it; you'll have to read my book to find out what!
I learned that some detainees carved pictures, such as horses and trees. You may not be able to see it clearly in this video clip, but this is a horse!
I was disappointed that I couldn’t get into a tour which would take me upstairs to the women's and non-Chinese men's quarters, complete with new historical displays. The school groups had filled up the slots for the day. (Not a bad thing at all!) Oh, well... I'll have to return!
But this visit proved to be very enlightening. There was a self guided tour of the poems on the 1st floor. So, I walked around the room with the little laminated guide in hand, and read about one poem carved on the south wall. It was not an original poem by a detainee, but one written by Li Bo (701-762) from the Tang Dynasty called “Quiet Night Thoughts.”
Before my bed, the bright moonlight
I mistake it for frost on the ground
Raising my head, I stare at the bright moon
Lowering my head, I think of home
Instantly, I knew this poem could make it into my novel in a very significant way. There's a song which Moon’s mother sings to him, a song that I created. And that song takes on different roles during the course of the novel. What if she sang this poem to him? I had thought of looking for a Chinese poem or song to replace the song I currently have in the novel. And this poem may be the one.
I'm liking it the more I think about it.
It’s something I’ll discuss with an editor, when I connect with and find an editor for my novel!