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.