I attended the AWP (Associated Writing Programs) conference and spoke on two panels. But the real highlight for me was seeing Renee Simms and attending the launch of her book Meet Behind Mars (Wayne State University Press, 2018).
I posted this on FB several weeks ago, so the words below are a repeat for some. I wrote: “Renee Simms and me and our books! We met at PEN Emerging Voices in Los Angeles in 1999. We were writing short stories. We got through MFA programs and lots of rejection. When I was an AWP Grace Paley finalist she was the first person I called. We kept writing. My book was distributed in February 2017. Her book will be formally released May 2018. I’m proud of us. We did not give up. We kept going! We’re not done. We are just getting started! ❤ So watch out! Yeah!”
I would not have written Swimming in Hong Kong (Willow Springs, 2016) without the encouragement of Renee and others out there who offered belief, advice, and humor. The writing life is difficult. Remember that you never do anything on your own. There’s always someone out there, maybe someone you don’t even know, supporting you on your journey. You may feel like you’re alone, but hold fast to the kindness that you receive. It can go a long way. Do not give up. Have a little faith. Be true. Believe in your voice. To create, one must be.