On January 16, 2016, I realized a lifelong dream. I held a book in my hands and stroked the velvety cover, filled with joy that between those pages, there was a story in there that I had written. Best of all, I had my 5-year-old son Preston by my side.
Okay, he might be too young to fully appreciate the awesomeness of being published in a format other than on the web, but he was there to hear “Mommy’s story,” as well as those fantastic other tales by the Taipei Writers Group.
The book launch was held in the new Red Room venue at Taipei Air Force Base. What a great place, where creativity and community are encouraged in equal measure! There was plenty of space to roam around. My son loved performing his version of kung fu dancing on the carpet before nestling into a pile of pillows. He was given the job of guarding Mommy’s Peak Heat poster.
With our bellies and hearts full of good food, drink, and conversation, we were swept into the blazing world of Peak Heat a world heartbreakingly similar to our own. We were in good hands with our Master of Ceremonies C.K. Hugo Chung to guide us through a group of stories from all over the world. Each story had its own view of what life would be like after a massive global warming event. We met collectors, surfers, queens, hunters, lovers, zealots, children, and survivors, from all walks of life. For me, I absolutely had no idea until the last moment which part of my story I was going to read, let alone how I was going to introduce it. But what struck me was that I had read several of these stories many times, taking a red ink pen to them without trying to slice away the writers’ voices. It wasn’t until I actually heard them out loud, read by Katannya Jantzen, Brian Quentin Webb, J.J. Green, Bradley Verdell, L.L. Phelps, Pat Woods and C.K. Hugo Chung (sadly, Erisa Apantaku couldn’t make it), that I finally heard the voices of the characters. I finally heard the flow of these stories. I realized the importance of these book launches and these book talks, where writers and audience can step beyond the printed page together, and into a world of voices and conversation.
To top it all off, I had no idea Ted Pigott was there sketching us as we read. How glorious!
Even though I couldn’t stay past the first act, I was so happy I was able to come to the launch. I was able to reconnect and touch my friends, make some new friends, and I was happy my son was there to experience this event.
Now, onward to the next group of tales! Where will they take us next?