Monday, February 23, 2009

Literary Oscars

Now, that the Oscars have come and gone, I want to point out that a novel makes a good picture, even the Best Picture. The Reader, Slumdog Millionaire were novels. The other two were also based on other literary forms--Benjamin Button (short story) and Frost/Nixon (play). I find it interesting that Hollywood is turning to already developed stories to make a movie.
Now, I've never written a screenplay (yet) or adapted a story for the screen, but I assume it's much easier that starting from scratch. Hollywood comes to a story with well-developed characters, plot, and a beginnning, middle, and end. What a dream!

I was thrilled when Slumdog won for best picture. I loved it! But I have to say the movie that hit my literary bone was The Reader. (Spoiler alert!) A major reason why Winslet's character Hannah makes such disasterous choices is because she is illerate. Hence, that's why she wants people to read to her.
A friend of mine was doing her dissertation on HIV in Thailand. She looked at sex workers and their behaviors. She found out that if a girl has four years of formal education, her chances of turning to prostitution greatly diminishes.

The imortance of education, particularly literacy, touches my very core.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Literary Return

Remember this post? It was about leaving the Asian Pacific AIDS Intervention Team, an organization that I'd been with for 15 years. I went to the UCLA Art Global Health Center doing great work (like the marriage project in my last post).

Well, I went back to APAIT. They made me a wonderful offer to return. And I accepted. I'm still involved with Art Global Health, remaining on their advisory board.

It's odd being back. It's the same and different, comfortable and new. I love the 15 minute drive to work (45 min-1 hr to UCLA) and being back in downtown. I spend almost two hours of my day driving. Having to drive more really made my writing suffer. I noticed that I even blogged less in 2008 (82 posts as opposed to over 100 in previous years.)

Here's to old and new things, which includes a better writing schedule.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Literary Hearts

During this Heart season, I hope you take a moment to watch these videos. I worked on them. They are living breathing love stories. I was so moved by the couples and what they had to go through. You can't write some of this stuff. No one would believe it. See here.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Literary Kundiman

CALL for APPLICATION 2009 Kundiman Asian American Poets' RetreatJuly 8 - 12, 2009University of Virginia, Charlottesville.

In order to help mentor the next generation of Asian American poets, Kundiman, a non-profit organization dedicated to serving AsianAmerican poets, is sponsoring its 6th annual poetry retreat wherenationally renowned Asian American poets will conduct workshops andprovide one-on-one mentorship sessions with participants.

Kundiman hopes to provide a safe and instructive environment that identifies and addresses the unique challenges faced by emerging Asian American poets.

Faculty* Myung Mi Kim (author of Commons, DURA and Under Flag)*
Rick Barot (author of The Darker Fall and Want)*
Staceyann Chin (author of The Other Side of Paradise and pioneeringspoken word artist)

To keep the cost of the retreat low, participants are not charged fees for workshops. Room and Board for the retreat is $325. Application ProcessSend five to seven (5-7) paginated, stapled pages of poetry, with your name included on each page. Include a cover letter with your name, address, phone number, e-mail address and a brief paragraph describing what you would like to accomplish at the Kundiman Asian AmericanPoets' Retreat.

Include a SAS postcard if you want an application receipt. Manuscripts will not be returned. No electronic submissions,please. Mail application to:Kundiman245 Eighth Avenue #151New York, NY 10011Submissions must be postmarked by March 2, 2009For more information, log onto our website at

E-mail queries at Mission Statement: Kundiman is dedicated to the creation, cultivation and promotion of AsianAmerican poetry.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Literary Sexuality

There was a time when discussing sexuality was taboo. It seemed to me when people began to talk about it, it came from every group you can imagine: men, women, gay, straight, people from all races--except Asian America!

Believe me, working in AIDS for as long as I did, it was hard getting Asian Americans to talk about sex and sexuality. Things are certainly a lot better now. But, Boy!, was it hard.

I'm proud to say that I recently had work anthologized in a new book edited by Gina Masequesmay and Sean Metzger. It's called Embodying Asian American Sexualties. It's a bit pricey at $60.00. However, maybe you can get your local library to keep it in stock.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Literary LaQuesta

Calling all Chicagoans! Go and see this play right now! I am thrilled that my one act Mr. and Mrs. LaQuesta Go Dancing is being produced in Chicago. I'm fond of this play. Imaging being a young writer, wondering if you have the chops at this literary thing. You pen a little play about how parents mistreat their child and regret it for the rest of their lives. Through this story, I wanted to explore how our actions can tragically affect other people, particularly young people.

In the mid-90's, I enterd the play in a contest in San Francisco. The prize? The play would get produced in the City by the Bay. Well, I won. It was the dose of self-confidence that I needed.

I'm just giddy that the play is playing Chicago, particulary because that's where Obama got his political footing. From previous posts, you may have gotten wind of how cranky I got about the choice of homophobe Rick Warren at the Inauguration and the pass over of Kay Ryan at the delivering of the Inaugural poem.

I like to think this play asking for tolerance, understanding and forgiveness will contribute to the cultural life of the Windy City.

I like to think that this play, which addresses is somehow contributing to discussions of sexuality