Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Reading at common ground OC Tomorrow

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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