I'm so happy that the common ground space exists, and I'm thankful that I've had the good fortune of being invited to read there a few times since it began in 2010.
common ground is organized by progressive Vietnamese American community members, artists, and activists committed to cultivating a positive and safe healing space for artistic growth and community empowerment. The common ground collective builds collaborations across communities and supports the work of social justice spaces.
I remember how happy I felt at Tuesday Night Cafe when the first organizers made the announcement about starting the space, how exciting it was that something like this was starting in Orange County, a place that is as inundated with a reputation of stodgy conservativism as Los Angeles is with a reputation of glitz, glamor, and shallowness. More proof that it's always possible to find what you need wherever you may be.
I'd been planning on attending the March 7 show since I was in Cambodia, long before I was invited to read and before I knew that the theme would be "Food for the Soul" in honor of National Nutrition Month. That theme feels good. When asked what "Food for the Soul" means to me:
“Food for the Soul” is: plain rice porridge with artfully spoiled fish; a tiny, sweet tomato plucked from a scrappy, well-loved garden; a long conversation over tea or coffee about all that is serious and/or silly; setting foot on the land your grandparents raised your parents on; sharing a favorite poet with a new or old friend; lengthy email correspondence; receiving letters by post. In short— all that nourishes, whether through vitamin content or sentiment.My body and soul got a lot of nourishment from the three months I spent in Cambodia. I look forward to sharing some of the writing that came from it.
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