Thursday, November 11, 2010

My Chapbook, "Tracing Steps" is at Skylight Books!

In addition to Bejeweled Blitz, Tuesday Night Project, That's What She Said Web Series, and a variety of part-time jobs and gigs, I also write.

Mostly I write with The Undeniables, a small press and online writers workshop that is dually-based in Los Angeles & Chicago with writing participants from all over the world. I've been participating since May 2008. In late 2009, a friend and I challenged each other to put together chapbooks by November as our payment for a series of workshops we attended called A Piece of Art for Peace of Mind.

She finished hers according to the deadline. I did not. It took me until last March to finally finish it. Four months late is better than never, yes? Yes.

During one of the writers workshop's two-month sessions, I chose to write creative nonfiction about family and my experience as a Khmer-American both here and in Cambodia. I found that I had enough pieces to tell a sort of story, and I put together Tracing Steps. After fumbling with the printing process on an inkjet printer and monopolizing the extended stapler at the local Office Depot, I put together a run of the chapbooks. I debuted it at One Imagination's Break The Silence Open Mic (and had a great time).

Then, was kind enough to allow me to post my chapbook as a Daily Deal and to carry some of the books.

Last week, Skylight Books agreed to carry (on consignment) copies of my chapbook. It was exciting to go to the store and see it barcoded and everything:

Please forgive the poor quality of this very very very old camera-phone.

So if you happen to wander over to Skylight Books, you can find Tracing Steps over in the corner on the chapbook cart and take a look. And, if you feel like it, buy a copy. :n)

Next up: Downtown's The Last Bookstore. They hold a monthly chapbook-sharing event called "The Last Chapbook Project" on 3rd Sundays. Lots of books for $5 and under and a little table in the back where, during an Artwalk, I met someone in the middle of rolling cigarettes (regular ones). I like it.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Earthbound Cachet from Raw Materials

I get excited when I see new, interesting stores come to Downtown Los Angeles. Granted, I don't live there any more, but I look forward to returning to the neighborhood as a resident some day. For now, I work as a part-time marketing assistant for "the oldest professional theater of color in the nation" (mandatory disclaimer: I have no authority to speak on behalf of East West Players and anything I write is my personal opinion and in no way reflects the beliefs of EWP. Was this necessary? I don't know, but I thought I'd cover my bases) and thus commute from an undisclosed location far south of Downtown to Little Tokyo daily. On one of my meanderings around the "Nickel" (5th and main, after which the dear, delicious Nickel Diner is named), I picked up these:

I don't think you have to be a writer to appreciate a well-made notebook that feels good in your hand and under your pen. Above are my notebooks of choice lately for writing out the mad or mundane thoughts that have accumulated through the night. I got the "Earthbound" line of recycled sketchbooks from Cachet from Raw Materials, Downtown LA's art supply store. They opened sometime in 2008 and I'm happy to see that they're still going. Support them! They're good people. Check their website often for sales and drop by-- I happened to walk in on a day when these notebooks were 1/2 off.

The recycled paper in these notebooks has a wonderful weight to them, which is important since I am a bit heavy-handed when I write and I use Pilot "Ultra Fine" G-2 pens. The cardboard color is soothing in the morning, more inviting than threatening the way blank white pages can be.

Since I found these lovely notebooks, I won't be frequenting the Bargain section of Borders or Barnes & Noble any more. I look forward to a time when I have a long row of these in my bookshelf, all filled with a mass of morning scribbles.