News from Heidi
Here you can find news about the book, festival, and what's happening with Heidi.
This was the culminating event for my visit to Portland Community College Campus-Wide Read of The Girl Who Fell From the Sky. You will be impressed by the student's thoughtful questions and the amazing staged reading of excerpts from the book. This is Part 1. Tune in for Part 2 tomorrow.
You can also download it:
. Or download it from itunes. Better yet,
in itunes and never miss another audio podcast again.
Yesterday I posted the complete interview that was aired on PBS's Books & Co., but here is the extended behind-the-scenes interview! Check it out!
I mentioned before that this interview was upcoming. Well, now the complete interview is available on You Tube! You can see it here! Yay!
My dear friend Rayme Cornell and I had the great opportunity to visit a Santa Monica middle-grade school where we got to talk to kids about the upcoming Mixed Roots Film & Literary Festival, June 11-12, 2011 in Los Angeles. www.mxroots.org.
People often ask me whether I think things are changing for kids who are mixed. Unfortunately, the answer is no. In a big city like Los Angeles, you'd think that the kids would encounter a lot of diversity, that they wouldn't find themselves feeling so lonely because of their dual identities. Here are some excerpts from the kids' writing. We asked them to write a few sentences about themselves using this prompt: When I think about my roots, I think . . .
- "I am Swedish, Finnish, Native American. I have Viking blood and much more. I am Christian, and a pinch Catholic. I think of my roots when I'm bored, sad, or curious about me. I think about mixed roots when I'm walking on the street and when I'm at school. I feel curious about where people are from." --O.
- "I see the world as a blend making a nationality smoothie!" --O.
- "I think about my roots all the time because in second grade one kid said to me 'Why are you black?' so that scared me, so when I I with my friends I think 'Do I fit here?"-- B.
Some of the responses just broke my heart, but also helped me realize that we really have to carry forth with the Festival -- the young folks still need a place to be heard. If you're reading this post, you are someone, know someone or love someone in the Mixed experience. Won't you please consider donating to the Festival?
What a wonderful afternoon. Poets & Writers invited Mixed Roots Film & Literary Festival writers to join in on a dynamic line-up that included Jason Luckett, and Neil Aitken. Folks broke out clapping after each poem Neil read; and gasped and amened to the powerful work Luckett presented.Thank you both for representing the Festival so well. Don't miss these guys at this year's Festival June 11 and 12, 2011. More information at www.mxroots.org.
The last big reading on my never-ending tour was very appropriately the Danish Cultural Center in Yorba Linda, CA. And it was the very best send-off you could imagine. Folks enjoyed a real Danish breakfast with good coffee, rugbrod, cheese, and wienerbrod. Yummy! There was such a wonderful warm energy in the room. It was as we say in Danish very "hyggeligt." The added bonus was meeting another Afro-Viking. Emma who is 9-years-old and also speaks Danish declared: "I never thought I would find my twin." Don't you love that? I felt the same way? Tak til Vibeke and everyone at the center. I hope to visit with you again soon!
I really do think I hit the big time. I was on a panel called "Writing Between Races" moderated by the awesome Karen Grigsby Bates of NPR and featuring Danzy Senna, Susan Straight and Jessica Hagedorn. Karen Grigsby Bates (sorry I have to use her whole name that's how I think of her) threw down with the first question: "Is anatomy destiny?" Then we were off. We didn't always agree, but it was a lovely and lively conversation amongst the panelists as well as the audience. I understand that the audio will be up on Audible.com soon. I'll keep you posted! Oh, and can I say I peeped Grey's Anatomy's Sandra Oh in the audience? Was she there to see me? Hee hee! P.S. A special shout out to Jan Nixon and her dad--who I met at StoryCorps and found in her daughter a great blogger for the Festival! Yay Amelia! And another shout out to MsALWalker-a dear tweeple!
I've been really lucky to meet some great folks on this journey to publication--obviously lovely readers, but also incredibly warm and generous writers. I met the awesome writer Jim Ruland at Bread Loaf in 2009. I liked this dude right away! He's been a huge support and invited me to participate in his popular LA reading series, Vermin on the Mount, held at the Mountain Bar in Chinatown-- a very cool vibe. Jim put together a wonderful line-up--I wish I could have stayed all night. Thank you Jim this great opportunity.
It was my last East Coast reading on what my friends jokingly call my never-ending book tour that started in January 2010 with the hardcover release of The Girl Who Fell From the Sky and continued almost non-stop until, well, now. Rather than being excited, I was honestly just pooped.
But then wonder of wonders, just before the reading I met for the first time some fellow Afro-Vikings. (You should know that in my unofficial Census there are now 11 known Afro-Vikings living in the United States and at least three in Denmark.) Meeting them was so cool. It was like finding a mirror finally at age 41!
I was getting my energy up for the reading, but I didn't really need it, because there was a good and lively crowd there. I had the best time--I hope they did too. Thank you Jeff for the invitation and thank you all for coming out!
A couple of months ago, I got an invitation I couldn't resist. The folks at Booktowne had chosen my book for the mother-daughter book club and wanted me to visit with the readers. Wonderful don't you think? And kind of a dream--to have the book discussed among the generations--to talk through the difficult stuff--to share a story together about coming into womanhood and the joys and perils. Honestly, I was so thrilled, I didn't even think about how I was going to get there. There must be a train from NYC I assumed. I would figure it out.
About a week before the visit, I finally did my homework and realized that it was a three or three and a half hour train ride to what is not exactly Snooki territory, but it is pretty far from NYC Penn Station. "No worries," the good folks at Booktowne said. "We will pick you up from Metropark -- one simple train ride from Manhattan and we will drive you the rest of the way." So now it was not only easy, but necessary that I get there. I was so appreciative of how easy they made it for me to get there--and how incredibly welcoming.
The group that gathered that night in Booktowne was magical. Moms and daughters and some just excited to enjoy an author talk in their hometown. I couldn't have asked for more. You must see the lovely video of the evening that the extraordinary Maribeth Pelly put together to commemorate the evening.
Thank you Maribeth! Thank you Rita (the owner of Booktowne! Thank you to all of the folks who came out that night for a really special conversation. I met the real young women of the Jersey Shore that night and they are smart and lovely and have a special place in my heart!