Posts Tagged ‘West Marin Review’

Happy MLK, Jr. Day; travel to Antigua; and the Mamalita book tour goes East.

Monday, January 17th, 2011

This morning Mateo said that if he lived “in the olden days,” he would have to go to a “little school with no playground.”

“Why is that?” I asked.

“Because my skin is dark,” Mateo said.

My son then wished me a Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. I hugged him and wished him the same. Thank heavens for people like Dr. King and Rosa Parks, and the hundreds of heroes in our country’s history–known and unknown–who have stood up for what is right.

On an unrelated note, I found this article, “Top 10 Things to Do in Antigua, Guatemala” by Nancy Schretter – a list of “greatest hits” known to all who have visited there. But for anyone who hasn’t, the article presents a good overview of what to do in that beautifully restored colonial town, naming activities such as “See the Volcanoes,” “Explore the History,” “Drink the Coffee,” and “Shop for Handicrafts.” The article is geared toward cruise ship passengers disembarking in Guatemala, but presents info helpful to any first-time tourist. Read the article here.

We spent much of this past weekend in our garden, thatching the raspberry bushes and cleaning out the the tomato and strawberry beds. Getting muddy in the garden is one of my favorite activities–the kids run around while Tim and I work, and everyone is tired enough at the end of the day to eat a good dinner and sleep well.

Tomorrow, I leave for the East coast for three Mamalita readings. One in Durham, North Carolina; one at a friend’s home, with her book club; and finally, at the Borders Bookstore in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. I’ll miss my family here, of course, but am looking forward to visiting with old friends and making new ones, all while discussing my favorite subject, adoption. On Sunday, I’ll be back in California to read with other contributors to the West Marin Review, at the Red Barn in Point Reyes National Park.

Here are the dates and times:

Wednesday, January 19, 2011 at 7 p.m.
The Regulator Bookshop
720 Ninth St.
Durham, NC 27705

Friday, January 21, 2011 at 7 p.m.
Borders Books-Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania
Rosemont Shopping Center
1149 Lancaster Avenue
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010

Sunday, January 23, 2011; 1:00-4:00 pm
West Marin Review Book Release Party
Red Barn, Point Reyes National Seashore
I will be reading an excerpt from Mamalita with other contributors to Volume III of the West Marin Review. (The Red Barn is at the entrance to the Point Reyes National Seashore Headquarters on Bear Valley Road. Look for the sign to parking for the Red Barn Classroom.)


Mamalita in Marin and a movie on FOX

Saturday, January 8th, 2011

It’s an accident of fate that I fell in love with a man who happens to live in one the most active literary communities in the United States. Marin County is home to countless book clubs, writing groups, and bookstores, as well as innumerable workshops and classes in the art and craft of writing. Every night of the week, you could attend a reading or book launch somewhere in Marin, if only you had more time.  

This week, my local independent newspaper, the Pacific Sun, published a round-up of books by Marin authors, and, I’m proud to report, included Mamalita. Read the article here, or if you’re local, pick up your free copy at newsstands now. Here’s a short excerpt, written by Dani Burlson:

Revealing the often corrupt and nerve-racking challenges of international adoption, O’Dwyer carries readers through wild goose chases, misdirections and endless ups and downs—at times Mamalita reads more like an action-adventure travel memoir, making it difficult to put down.

Despite the prevalent theme of adoption and the subsequent nightmare that O’Dwyer and her husband lived through for nearly two years, Mamalita is, more than anything else, the story of a personal and transformative journey. O’Dwyer is introduced to her own strength, the power and importance of community and the bottomless reservoir of love that parents hold for their children. Witnessing her vigor unfolding with the turn of each page keeps the reader cheering her on from the sidelines. Her love, courage and dedication is heroic, but not all that surprising. After all, she’s a mother.

The same article also features the third volume of the West Marin Review, published through a collaboration among the Tomales Bay Library Association, Point Reyes Books, and volunteers. The final chapter of Mamalita, “Meeting Ana,” is included in the issue. The West Marin Review will host a launch party on Sunday, January 23 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Red Barn in Point Reyes. Check the WMR website for details.

A few weeks ago, author, speaker, and radio host Patricia V. Davis interviewed Cathy Edgett and me for her Harlots’ Sauce Radio. Cathy spoke about her memoir, Breast Strokes: Two Friends Journal through the Unexpected Gift of Cancer, while I discussed adoption from Guatemala in Mamalita. Patricia asked excellent and probing questions. Hope you will give the podcast a listen.

Recently I received this announcement from an organization called Moms4FamilyTV, whose stated goal is to “promote high-quality family friendly entertainment that the entire family can watch together.” The initiative is sponsored by Walmart and P&G. The next film, Change of Plans, airs tonight,  January 8th 8/7c on FOX. I haven’t had a chance to preview it, but here’s the description:

This heart-warming, funny film surrounds a married couple with no kids, who–through unfortunate events –ends up adopting four kids from Africa, Asia, and South America. The film reveals how fulfilling life can be when you look beyond your own plans and invest in the lives of others. The film is also very pro-adoption!

Airs tonight, January 8th at 8/7c on FOX. Watch the trailer here.

Today, I’m en route to New Mexico for two readings in the Mamalita Book Tour. My friend Bethany is there, and I’ll get to meet in person Kim Lopez, who performed the necessary and laborious task of correcting my Spanish in the final edit of Mamalita. (Thank you, Kim!) My plan is also to connect with some adoptive families who live in Santa Fe and Albuquerque.

Here are the venues–Looking forward to it!

Sunday, January 9, 2011 at 2 p.m
Collected Works Bookstore
202 Galisteo Street
Santa Fe, NM 87501

Tuesday, January 11, 2011, at 7 p.m.
4022 Rio Grande Boulevard NW
Albuquerque, NM 87107


Magazine issue dedicated to Guatemala; readings in Santa Fe, Albuquerque, and elsewhere

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

The current issue of Harvard University’s ReVista magazine is dedicated to Guatemala. Thanks to Harvard’s David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, the magazine is available online and free of charge, although donations are welcome. Here is the mission statement:

ReVista: Harvard Review of Latin America, published three times yearly, focuses on different themes related to Latin America, Latinos/as, and the Iberian peninsula. The magazine-length publication brings together different voices on each theme, highlighting the work of Harvard faculty, students, alumni and Visting Scholars.

In her introductory Editor’s Note, titled “Legacies of Violence,” June Carolyn Erlick talks about reading the contributors’ manuscripts, and the complex portrait they paint of Guatemala. She concludes with this observation:

“…as I read the incoming articles, I wondered, is the glass half full or half empty? Guatemala is exploding with projects and ideas and filled with brave men and women intent on transforming society. It is also filled with sadness and corruption and underdevelopment and inequalities and all the legacies of violence that it has inherited over the centuries. I don’t know. Dear reader, I leave it to you and these pages to decide about Guatemala and the proverbial glass.”

For anyone interested in Guatemala, each article is profound in a different way, whether it speaks to the country’s present or past, textiles or languages. The author of a fascinating article on Peten is Mary Jo McConahay, co-producer of the documentary Discovering Dominga. Do yourself a favor and take a look at the issue. Better yet, order yourself a copy. It’s sure to come in handy when your child asks questions about Guatemala or announces she has a social studies project on her ethnic heritage, due tomorrow.

A quick note: Next week, I’ll be reading in New Mexico, and the week after that, in Durham, North Carolina; and Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. Washington, DC is also on my itinerary this month, but that event is at a private home. If you live in the D.C. area, and are really, really interested in coming, please send me an email and I’ll ask the host if she can fit one more. The date is Thursday, January 20.

Meanwhile, here are my dates in Santa Fe, Albuquerque, and elsewhere. For my full schedule, including summer readings in Iowa and at the Squaw Valley Writers’ Conference, click on the EVENTS tab. Hope to see you somewhere soon! (more…)