Posts Tagged ‘Writing Mamas’


Friday, March 18th, 2011

 The past few days have been hectic, beginning with the annual St. Patrick’s Day party at our church and ending with this moment now, as I stand at my kitchen counter writing a blog post, 40 minutes before I’m due to pick up Mateo from kindergarten. In between, I drove to Sacramento to meet with the book club of my great friend and fellow writer, Laura-Lynne Powell, whom I met through Writing Mamas, the writing group sponsored by Book Passage. (How’s that for back story?) Laura-Lynne’s book group has been meeting for 15 years, dating from when Laura-Lynne met one of the other moms on a playground. Last night, they were planning the wedding of one of their daughters, so you know they have a history.

Based on my recent experiences, I’ve decided the most fabulous women in the universe belong to book clubs. Really, I must join one immediately! And I love how the groups seem to meet forever—beginning with babies in diapers and continuing through middle school, weddings, and beyond.

Two of the women in the group are adoptive mothers–Laura-Lynne included, which may explain why we bonded quickly–so the conversation centered largely around our collective experiences. The other women asked great questions”– ”Why Guatemala?”, “How do your children react to having a relationship with birth family?” and “Were you ever afraid?” among them—and we adoptive mothers did our best to fill them in. The more I meet with people to talk about Mamalita, the more I realize that a big part of my mission in life is to “normalize” adoption. As one mother pointed out, adoption has been with us at least since biblical times. The story of Moses, anyone?  There is no reason why the subject should be shrouded in mystery and shame.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures, so I have none to post here. However, on my way home, I did stop by Davis, California, an absolutely charming university town, where I discovered the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame, and snapped a shot. I also stopped into the Yolo County Public Library to ask the librarian if she would consider adding Mamalita to the collection. I explained the book is circulating in the Marin and San Diego county systems, before giving the librarian copies of the book’s great reviews in Publishers Weekly and Kirkus. Fingers crossed that Mamalita will be added to the shelves. If you live in Yolo County or surrounding environs, please ask for Mamalita at your local branch. I hope you enjoy the read!

On to kindergarten pick-up!


Pix from readings in Santee and with the Writing Mamas at Book Passage

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

Cindy Bailey, Jessica O'Dwyer and Li Miao Lovett at Book Passage_Mamalita

This past Sunday night, I spoke at the monthly meeting of the Writing Mamas Salon at Book Passage in Corte Madera, California. Along with me were my friends, Cindy Bailey, author of The Fertile Kitchen Cookbook, and Li Miao Lovett, author of In the Lap of the Gods. The three of us met at a Writing Mamas meeting some years ago, each of us passionate about our stories and looking for support in our efforts to tell them. What a thrill it was to share the joy of publication with one another, with other group members, and with Writing Mamas founder, Dawn Yun.

In a previous blog post, I wrote about speaking (and crying) at the Santee Public Library in San Diego last Friday. Here’s a photo from that day, with two of my friends and former colleagues, Penny Taylor and Mary Johnson. The zippered bags we are holding are from Guatemala, as is my turquoise necklace. The photo was taken by another friend from the museum group, Tomoko Kuta.

Penny, Jessica, and Tomoko in Santee_mamalita

The photo with Tomoko turned out a little blurry, but I was very happy and grateful she–and everyone else–was there to share the day.

On Wednesday, December 8 at 7 p.m., I read at the Borders Bookstore in Fairfield, Connecticut. On Thursday, December 9 at 7:30 p.m., I’m at the Beverly Library. And on Sunday December 12, in Boston at the Borders on Boylston Street at 6 p.m.

If you’re in the area, please stop by to say hello. I’d love to chat with you about Guatemala, adoption, and Mamalita.


Mamalita Book Launch at Book Passage

Monday, November 15th, 2010

The Mamalita Book Tour got off to a great start on Saturday night at Book Passage in Corte Madera. The bookseller who hosted the evening estimated the crowd around 140 people. Friends from every part of our lives showed up: writing groups, classes, book clubs, school, work, even a few moms from Mateo’s kindergarten bus stop.

Linda Watanabe McFerrin set the evening’s tone with a warm and wonderful introduction. Linda is the founder of the Left Coast Writers, a Book Passage group to which I belong, and a friend and teacher to many in the Bay Area writing community. As Linda later said, “The room was filled with love.” The generous spirits of Linda and her husband, Lowry, added to that feeling.

In the “Acknowledgments” section of my book, I thank Joyce Maynard as “my teacher, mentor, and friend.” Joyce is all those things to me, and to the many other writers who have attended her workshops and classes. I was so happy Joyce and I could celebrate the book’s publication together.

My friend, Kallie, was there with her daughter Maya. As some of you who read my blog know, Kallie and I met while fostering in Antigua in 2003. She and Maya traveled to Guatemala this past summer with Olivia and me as we revisited sites important to our families. Kallie’s mother and two sisters came to the book launch too, as did her lovely niece, shown here with Maya and me.

I felt especially privileged when other adoptive parents came up to tell me how much they related to the emotions of our story, if not the actual details. One adoptive mom, Meredith, whom I know only through her blog, drove up from Central California so we could finally meet in person. (Meredith, thanks for coming; can’t believe we both forgot to take a picture!)

My book launch would not have been complete without representation by the Book Passage-sponsored Writing Mamas and my Friday night writing group, the Shrinks. By the time I remembered to take a photo, several members of each had slipped away. So sorry—next time!

The Mamalita Book Tour is off to a terrific start. Thank you, everyone.