What a thrill for me to be going back to The Word on the Street Festival this weekend, the place where four years ago, I first pitched #Unpacked to a panel of publishers. I was terrified, but it worked! (For more about that or to pitch your own books, read the Atlantic Books Today feature).
Tomorrow night, I will celebrate the launch of “Unpacked: from PEI to Palawan” with a literary inspired reading at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery in my hometown of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, followed by a book launch party at Upstreet Craft Brewing.
I have asked musicians, other writers and my nearest and dearest to be part of the celebration. There will be fiddlers, cupcakes, stickers, buttons, and in the middle, I will read a chapter from Unpacked.
In the afternoons we heard vivid and poignant lectures by Puerto Rican writers,activists, self-published, well travelled teachers and candles in their small but important circles there, fighting for justice, for identity, for freedom.
The story is mixed in shades of darkness and stormy seas of confusion and grief, following a path of color and culture as the main character, Mo, finds the freedom to liberate the heavies in a sort of reality check taking stock of what she really has left in this world.
Every time the world loses one more beautiful baby, I lose Tya again. And this is the third beautiful baby this year I’ve said goodbye to, before i got to say hello.
As Prince Edward Island welcomed its first rays of warm summer, ripe red strawberries, and car loads of families and travelers waiting for a glimpse of our famous Anne of Green Gables, I trotted off expectantly to Montpelier Vermont, and to my first Master’s writing residency at Vermont College of Fine Arts.
I teach ESL at a local university. This time of year in our program, the teachers are in a flurry reading, correcting and marking exams. This time of year, we worry for our students. We worry that they won’t beat our English proficiency test, a rigorous four hour examination which has made its way into the lifeblood of our program. It is our entrance exam; it is our exit exam.