HITCHED featuring Tommy Moore, Ben Loory, Micah Tasaka, and Rachelle Cruz

Yesterday I hosted the second installment of HITCHED for the year at Holy Grounds Coffee and Tea. I love the new venue for the reading because Holy Grounds has a beautiful courtyard full of green plants, stained glass windows, and caged birds chirping. It is also a wonderful location committed to community outreach and hosts all kinds of arts and community events throughout the week.

The June HITCHED happened to land on Father’s Day, so I opened the event by reading excerpt from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House in the Big Woods where she talks about her “Pa” coming in from a day of setting traps to play games with his daughters and tell them a story. I had never read the Little House series, and with the news of Wilder’s memoir being released, I wanted to see what I had missed. I thought the excerpt was a good fit for the event, not just because it was Father’s Day, but also because I thought it fit well with Ben Loory’s Stories for the Nighttime and Some for the Day, as well as Rachelle Cruz’s poems about Philippine mythology.

Stories was the through line of today’s reading. All four readers shared stories about love and salvation, love and loss, love and discovery. They were funny, dangerous, and heartbreaking. I dare it was everything you want in a reading.

Rachelle Cruz also shared the anthology she co-edited, Kuwento: lost things, an anthology of new philippine myths. It took five years of work to put together, and when she brought it up to the mike to share she said before she could catch herself, “It’s awesome!” After the reading she blushed at her own praise, but Marissa Johnson-Valenzuela, editor of the VONA Dismantled anthology and a member of the audience, assured her that there was no shame in being proud of such great work.

It’s moments like those that keep this reading going. HITCHED is meant to celebrate the relationships writers build with one another that help us to continue writing and working. It’s about two writers/editors, Rachelle and Marissa, being proud of the work they have done for their communities and encouraging each other to unabashedly say, “It’s awesome!”

The next HITCHED is scheduled for Sunday, September 20, 2015 at 4pm at Holy Grounds Coffee and Tea. Features include Jerry Garcia with Fernando Albert Salinas and Margaret Rhee with a reader TBD.

Photos from HITCHED

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Me reading an excerpt from Little House in the Big Woods in honor of Father’s Day.

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Tommy Moore, a 2013 PEN Emerging Voices fellow, reading a work in progress.

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Ben Loory reading a heartbreaking story about a dodo bird with an identity crisis.

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Micah Tasaka reading poetry mixing Catholic imagery and erotica from beautifully bound journals.

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Rachelle Cruz reading poetry about the Aswang and the selflessness of Groot.

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