The Arkansas Literary Festival in Little Rock was, for the most part, awesome. I loved my first panel (although I wished it took place an hour later) at the Central Library. The moderator brought up an excellent question about language. Part I of Bird of Paradise… is peppered here and there with Dominican Spanish. If you read the sentences carefully you’ll find clues to their definitions within but I chose not to translate them outright because I want the readers to feel as uncomfortable as I imagine Rocío and Eduardo must have been as spanking new immigrants to New York City in the 1970s. I want the readers to walk in their shoes, even if for just a few moments. The best thing about these talks for me is hearing fresh perspectives from folks who’ve read the book and those curious about the narrative. I missed seeing a new friend’s book reading and my other homegirl Rebecca Walker, who was in town giving a talk at a local high school because I had to jet back to the airport.
I fell asleep the moment I slipped onto my seat on the plane and awoke a couple hours later in Chicago, deliriously tired, only to be happily surprised by none other than Rebecca Walker grabbing her carry-on out of the luggage compartment right in front of me. It was a serendipitous moment, indeed. We took a self-y, proof below, when we went our separate ways to catch our respective connecting flights.