Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Mixed Roots Reflections



The Mixed Roots Fest (see previous post) last weekend was every bit as lovely as I'd imagined. I met Lisa Marie Rollins, which was sweet! She's a biracial adoptee who was also raised in a white home, and she remains engaged in the conversation of adoption through her writing and other forms of activism. Basically, she's my double :) To top it off, she's super bubbly and beautiful, and--of course--she just gets it. (What I loved about the fest and what I'll love about VONA are the moments that I don't have to explain. I don't have to explain the racial experience, which can be difficult to do sometimes with people who have never experienced it.)

The fest was fairly small, which is to be expected with something so new, but there were big names and tons of interesting people there--Angela Nissel, Danzy Senna (author of Caucasia and Where Did You Sleep Last Night?), and even television people such as Karyn Parsons (remember Fresh Prince of Bel Air?) Besides that, there were many gorgeous multiracial people walking around, many of whom had hair just like mine. At one point a quite attractive guy--who I didn't realize at the time was comedian Ian Clark --turned to me and said, "Well, it's no use telling you you have great hair at this place--everybody does!"

Speaking of hair, my reading went well--there were lots of murmurs and mmmm-hmmms in the crowd as I read about my first experience getting a relaxer in an ethnic salon. I could even pause when describing that awful dred-thing that happens with ethnic hair when it's half-texturized and the roots are long and say "Y'all know what I'm talking about!"   

Didn't see much else of LA outside of the fest and Japan town, but it was good to hang out with Carolyn. Her place is a bit of an anomaly in Los Angeles, tucked away near one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city that has historical claim for the many beautiful Victorian homes lining the streets. Carolyn is someone I've added to my list of People I Want to Be Like When I Grow Up. She's accomplished and successful, handling two high-traffic blogs for the Los Angeles Times, working for David Foster Wallace's previous agent, teaching a college creative writing class, and freelance writing in her "spare" time. Oh to make a living from writing...

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