This Saturday was the reading I organized—Literary Geographies: A Celebration of Queens Writers! Thank you to all those who came, from my sister and brother-in-law who drove all the way from Long Island to a high school friend I hadn’t seen in years to JPB who introduced the writers and came down from Boston to friends who made the trek out to Queens from other boroughs. And thanks to the QCA and to the folks at the Socrates Sculpture Park, as well! Although it was incredibly sunny and hot, it was truly wonderful to meet the other writers who read with me—Joanne, Jennifer, and Concetta—as well as other members of the Queens arts community—Joan, Anjali, Johanne. Here are some photos from the event!
Afterwards, to Break Bar for jenga+pool then Sripraphai for some tasty thai food—crispy chinese watercress salad, drunken noodles, fried taro+peanuts, penang curry, jungle curry, pad thai, crispy taro in warm coconut milk and water chestnuts+jackfruit (indistinguishable!) in bright colors and floating in a thin sugary broth that reminded ijl of cereal milk.
Today, after a morning of doughnuts and badminton, tea and a quick 2ish mile run, I cracked open Ottolenghi’s Plenty and proceeded to make his “Very full tart.” It’s a beautiful tart (although the vegetable/cheese proportions may be off since it would have been overflowing if I’d added every single thing he said to!) and I can’t wait to eat it.
I probably learned that wonderful piece of “mathematics” first at Omi International Arts Center but hey, I’m reprising it here in New York City! Come join me and three other Queens-based writers at a free public reading at Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City on July 11th at 4pm. It’s a bit early to announce it (I seem to like to tell people things last minute, I suppose) but I know people plan their summers way ahead of time.
This will be the culmination of my QCA grant and so, disclaimer: This event is made possible by the Queens Council on the Arts with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. The readings will focus on place and I’ve finally finalized my list of readers! They are Joanne Chin, Jennifer Baker, and Concetta A. Ceriello. Yay to discovering new (to me) local writers!
Okay, here’s the official Facebook events page but in case you’re not on Facebook, here are the important details:
July 11, 2015, 4:00pm
Socrates Sculpture Park
32-01 Vernon Boulevard
Long Island City, NY
Here’s a map with directions, courtesy of the park.
Come out and support the Queens literary community and say hello! (Maybe I will make cookies…? No promises.)
I suppose I’ve been rather lax about updating this blog lately but I’ve been busy, I swear! I went to a meet and greet last week for a grant I received through the Queens Council on the Arts for this collection and a reading that I’ll be holding at Socrates Sculpture Park this summer (so excited!) and met many of the other grantees who were working on projects from faux-fur paintings to novels set in Jackson Heights to jazz festivals in Flushing. It was really fun hearing about all these great, diverse projects that are being funded and I’m looking forward to going to my fellow grantees’ events this year.
I’ve also been busily writing since my editor and I agreed on a schedule in which I’d send him a new short story every 2.5 weeks. It’s pretty intense but I’m glad I have someone to hold me accountable and push me. I did manage to write a story in about a week—I’d been toying with the idea for months and been trying out different ways of telling the story but finally figured out what would work. It’s still a bit unfocused so it’ll be great when I get his feedback.
I managed to catch a few shows recently. Parsons Dance at the Joyce Theater which was amazing. Admittedly, I don’t know much about dance but you have to admire what these dancers can do. And the crazy strobe light effects for “Caught”! It makes me feel lazier than ever and wonder how much contemporary dance classes would cost…
I also saw Classic Stage Company’s A Month in the Country. I hadn’t read or seen the play before, a classic of Turgenev’s, but was rather surprised at the modern tone of the play. The translation CSC had commissioned had quite a bit of modern phrasing and didn’t feel Russian at all to me; I think I would’ve liked it to have been a bit less contemporary and more Russian, but that’s a personal preference. I thought the acting was quite good though, especially from the main actress, Taylor Schilling.
The “historic” blizzard wasn’t quite so historic in New York city although the other day, the tree branches were encased with ice so that they sparkled. From where I work, there’s a beautiful view of Central Park although the corners of streets are slushy with deep puddles of dirty water. The doormen have to wear thick waterproof dark jackets that go down to their knees and sometimes, hats that make them almost unrecognizable. Sometimes, the radiators will burn you if you touch them. And it can be very cozy to be snowed in, to drink hot chocolate and read a book with the snow falling outside. But there’s something about winter in New York that makes you ready for summer, a combination of city fatigue and winter fatigue. Maybe some real greenery would help. Maybe a trip to South America…