Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Wearing flowers in my hair, NATWA, and back to NY

Well, I tried to post while on vacation, but except for my two brief Blue Rose Girls posts, I wasn't successful. Although I did write the following while still in SF but never posted it, so I'll just go ahead and post now:

Ah, San Francisco. I'm having an incredible time. The weather has been phenomenal--I guess I chose the perfect week to be away from the Nor'easter-ridden East coast. Here it's been blue skies and sun (with just a few hours of rain Saturday morning)--although it's overcast today and rain is expected tonight. I've seen pretty much all of my friends I know in the area--friends from college, friends from Taiwan, my brother and cousins, have met up with Sean Beaudoin (author of Going Nowhere Faster) and illustrator LeUyen Pham (Whose Toes Are Those and Whose Knees Are These?), and agent Nathan Bransford. Am meeting up with Laura Rennert and Caryn Wiseman from the Andrea Brown Literary Agency tomorrow for tea and Samovar, and have also met up with Rita who happened to be in town at the same time (my friend through coincidences). Have gone to many a cafe, read and enjoyed one whole adult book A Perfect Mess (I hope to blog more about this later), and two and a half manuscripts. Braved the hills and have gone jogging twice. Hung out in Dolores Park. Looked at apartments with my friends who just moved back from Hong Kong. Have had Thai food, Vietnamese food, Taiwanese dim sum, Chinese dim sum, comfort food, burritos, crepes.

It's been so luxurious spending a whole week here getting to know the city, having my cousin Jeanne's place in the Castro as my home base. I've never lived in SF, just the East Bay, so I've really been getting to know neighborhoods I'd only ever been to once or twice before. As always, when I come back to visit, I wonder what my life would be like if I lived here. I think it would be pretty darn great. I'm loving the weather and the city and seeing all of my old friends. Of course, I love living in New York, but who knows what the future will bring.

Tomorrow night I'm celebrating my last night in SF with whoever can come out, and then am heading up to Seattle Friday morning.

As always happens when I go on vacation, work explodes. I've had three manuscripts with offers on the table either right before I left or while I've been here. Connie has been great holding down the fort. I have a lot waiting for me when I get back.

And what I haven't had much time to do is blog, unfortunately. But I had a brief window of time just now and thought I'd check in.

And now I must check back out. More later. Here's hoping
that Spring returns to the Northeast by the time I get back on Monday.


In Seattle I attended the North American Taiwanese Women's Association (NATWA) Annual meeting. Last year I attended for the first time as a panelist, invited to speak about Taiwanese American Women in Publishing along with two authors I work with, Grace Lin and Justina Chen Headley. This year I attended as, well, an attendee. My mother is a former president of NATWA, and last year asked me to attend. I greatly admire the organization's mission statement, and also appreciated their attempt to reach out to the second generation, or as they say, the 1.5 and 2.0 generation, because they've rightly realized that if they don't do this, the organization is doomed to die with the membership, mostly in their 50s and up. So they formed NATWA II. Last year was the first year, and they had about 15 of the younger generation attend. This year they had about twice as many, and it was great to reconnect with old friends and meet new ones. To be honest, I wouldn't have attended if my parents didn't both come. In a way, I was "guilt-tripped" to come, or as we say in Chinese, it was my instinct to be "guai," or obedient (although it's interesting to note that I always thought that this word meant "good"). But now, after attending two years in a row and meeting the amazing women who attend, I think I'm hooked. Next year the conference is in Los Angeles, so no doubt I'll go and make it a trip "home" at the same time.

After the conference I had lunch with my aunt and my parents (my father attends the conference in support of my mother as well--apparently, every year more and more spouses attend, which I find wonderful), and then spent the afternoon with Justina. She brought me to the Greenlake area; the weather was perfect for a jaunt around the lake, and then an iced tea afterwards. Then incredible sushi at one of her favorite restaurants, and then back to her beautiful home for a glass of wine by the fire and great conversation.


And now I'm back from Seattle to an almost uncomfortably warm NY. When I left, I was still wearing a winter jacket, hat, and gloves; today I wore a summer skirt, no leggings, no coat. I came back to an office full of bright yellow plastic crates and everything in chaos. I came back to almost 200 emails, some last-minute acquisition duties, another celebrity proposal, meetings, and panic. Stayed at work till about 9 pm packing and preparing meeting materials. Trying to purge almost 8 years of work accumulation, and cram the remaining into 4 crates (I think I'll need at least 6). Lugging books I don't want to part with home on the bus. Looking at my submission pile, wishing I could have responded to all of them before the move, instead of having to pack them into boxes.

We have to be packed by 1 pm on Thursday. Then they disconnect our phone and our computers, and then we show up for work on Monday morning in the new office. This is my second office move (the first being from Boston to New York), and my seventh time moving my office/cube. I'm a moving pro, but I'm also a bit of a pack rat, and as this is the first time I'm moving from a larger space to a smaller space, I'm having some trouble. But I'm trying to be ruthless (although not too ruthless, as I've learned from the book A Perfect Mess!).

I'll try to post before and after pics soon. Goodbye Rockefeller Center, Time and Life Building, the cafeteria on the 2nd floor, Radio Music City Hall, my office, the walk through Central Park to and from work. Hello Grand Central! I'm not sure what the new office will bring for me yet (except for a cubicle--groan), but I'll have more to report after Monday.

Friday, April 06, 2007

What Poetry Form Are You?

I've never participated in Poetry Fridays, so in honor of the day:

I am the sonnet, never quickly thrilled;
Not prone to overstated gushing praise
Nor yet to seething rants and anger, filled
With overstretched opinions to rephrase;
But on the other hand, not fond of fools,
And thus, not fond of people, on the whole;
And holding to the sound and useful rules,
Not those that seek unjustified control.
I'm balanced, measured, sensible (at least,
I think I am, and usually I'm right);
And when more ostentatious types have ceased,
I'm still around, and doing, still, alright.
In short, I'm calm and rational and stable -
Or, well, I am, as much as I am able.
What Poetry Form Are You?

Thanks to Fuse#8 for the link!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

How to get into publishing/editorial?

Check out my colleague T.S.'s new blogger blog, Must Love Books. He has a great post about getting into publishing, so check it out. Welcome to blogger, T.S.!

Editor Cheryl Klein also had a great post a while back about how to be an editor here.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Just One More Book interview

The fine folks over at Just One More Book interviewed me a while ago, and I just found out that the interview is now up and posted on their site. Even though I did some radio in college, it's weird for me to hear my own voice in a podcast (and I feel like I was mumbling throughout!). The interview is mainly about Sound of Colors by Jimmy Liao which they gave such a wonderful, glowing review for, but it also dips into the role of an editor, how many risks publishers take, and my path to publishing.

The interview is about 25 minutes long, so don't worry, I won't be offended if you don't listen to the whole thing. Heck, I won't be offended if you don't listen to it at all. But check out their website, it's filled with countless treasures, great interviews and reviews.

The interview is here.

Thank you, Mark and Andrea! Hope to see you in Toronto next month.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Don't try this. But watch it.

Another video I love. So soothing, somehow, although ridiculously dangerous and inconsiderate. I rode on the back of my friend's Vespa last night from Chelsea to Williamsburg, and it reminded me of this video, and also of riding my little scooter in Taiwan, weaving in and out of traffic, the fierce wind blowing, feeling like I'm flying. I need to get on my bike again soon!