The reading tonight was quite successful, thanks to the very talented writers and organizers I was honored to share space with. It’s humbling to be a part of such talented company, and just five years ago, when I made a commitment to take my writing more seriously, I never imagined in my wildest dreams that I would be reading for PAWA. When I consider the long history deeply rooted in PAWA and the many successful writers and authors associated with it, it’s almost crippling to fathom that PAWA not only recognizes my work but also honors it with a special event. It truly is encouraging. I don’t take an opportunity like this lightly.
Because of this, I knew that what I selected to read had to reflect me. Full disclosure, I’ve had trouble defining my work recently, because I’m reconsidering the messages and themes I want to send to readers. Most of my stories are inspired by my life, and it’s a very colorful life where people make bad decisions. I don’t know how else to write other stories. My stories are not laden with political, racial language that disrupts systemic policies and radical change. I wish it did. I read a lot and read a lot of work that does this meaningful work. And my stories take up a small fraction of the literary space. I believe that representation matters and I have to write for myself. These stories matter to me and while they don’t reflect many peoples’ lives, they reflect my life, my thoughts and my creativity, and I’m lucky that organizations like PAWA embrace this.