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Entries in Mixed-Roots (3)


Hey, let's all talk about race. Wait, where are you going?

With Mat Johnson and Marie Mutsuki Mockett. Amazing how many halves can make us whole.I was at Mixed Remixed in LA this past weekend, a festival celebrating the mixed race experience in film, literature, music, and art. While at the same time the general public was reacting to the whole Rachel Dolezal thing. Yowza. What a cultural confluence. 

I'm going to err on the side of positivity here and say that Mixed Remixed was, and I believe I'm using the scientific term here: UTTERLY AMAZEBALLS. 

As a kid who grew up never feeling Chinese enough (because I didn't speak Cantonese like my dad) and never feeling white enough (because I ate stuff like chicken feet and dried cuttlefish that freaked out my Caucasian friends), Mixed Remixed was like Camelot. It was magical. Everyone had gone through their own weird, bi-racial journey. It was a giant, collective, beautiful validation. When author Mat Johnson said, "I am a racial optical illusion," we all said YES. When Fresno's Poet Laureate, James Tyner said, "I would walk with my people if I could find them," many of us shed tears.

I won the 2015 Storytellers Prize for Literature. The Daily Show's Al Madrigal won for Film & Television.But then circling the whole thing like a fanboy at a Star Trek convention was the spectre of Rachel Dolezal. The white/black elephant in the room.

I just feel sorry for her. I don't sense malice in her actions. Just a desperate (albeit deceptive) clawing for a comfortable place in the world. I understand that.

And I get the outrage. But Internet outrage is all pitchforks and pumped shotguns. It's like locking someone in an old stockade and letting villagers pelt them with rotten fruit. The act itself is ugly and tragic and is the opposite of healing.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had a big-hearted take on the matter. And attendees at Mixed Remixed definitely weighed in. Meanwhile I'm still looking at this spray-tanned train-wreck and looking for the love. What do you think?


Today was a deliriously good writing day. Take that, blank page.

After fumbling around with research and plot points for weeks, I finally cannonballed into the deep end of the literary pool and wrote my way into a new tale. Which will hopefully become a new book. I know, I probably should be finishing a collection of short stories, but this particular story keeps haunting me.

And of course, this is not to be confused with Book #2—Whispers of Songs of I’ll Figure Out The Title Soon, I Promise, which is through copy edits and back with the fine folks at Random House, which is neither random nor a house…

Where was I? Ah, yes…writing.

That’s the strange, non-narcotic trip of a great writing day—I find myself lost and highly distractible afterward, with one foot in the present and the rest of me with my thumb out, hitch-hiking around Storyland. How my fabulous wife puts up with a husband in a fugue-state for several months each year is truly an act of Sisyphean strength. (Thanks L!)

And what exactly is this new story about? Well, the genre is akin to Gaslamp Fantasy, with the drama set in San Francisco’s Chinatown around 1910.

I’d tell you more but Storyland calls…


Today's bleary-eyed, bullet-point news:

  • Speaking of LA, I'll be in town late next week meeting with new film agents. I'm looking forward to spending a weekend in Hollywood. Hopefully there will be valet parking for my unicorn.
  • Rights to the new book have been sold in Italy, Norway and ANZ (Australia/New Zealand). The 2nd book will actually come out before the 1st book in ANZ. Curious, that.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled bloggy stuff.


The sun is shining, break out the lawn darts

It’s amazing what the sun can do to people in Montana. My son woke up, saw that glowing orb in the sky and decided to wear shorts to school. And I let him, despite it being 38° outside. I know—I’m a terrible parent. (Don’t worry. I made him put pants in his backpack for recess).

If my judgment is lacking, it’s due to that euphoric feeling I get having just sent the copy edited manuscript of WHISPERS/SONGS back to my editor. That, and as Taylor pointed out, it’s National Pot Smoking Day, which also happens to be National Eat a Bag of Doritos and an Entire Box of Twinkies Day.

And lest I get a contact high and forget:

Here’s a recent interview at Seattle Wrote (in which I actually talk about the new book).

HOTEL, which hits the UK on May 9, made the short-list of Amazon’s Rising Stars—where reviews count as votes.

My friend and fellow literary bootcamper, Jose Mojica, has a (free) young adult book available (for free). Kassie inhaled this book and loved it. Did I mention it’s free?

And if you’re near Eugene, Oregon (where Haley will probably end up going to school), the DisOrient Film Fest is at the Bijou this month. Here's an endearing and thought-provoking trailer for One Big Hapa Family by filmmaker Jeff Chiba Stearns.

I’m off to write a new short story. Wish me luck.