Friday, May 20, 2011
Update: READING OF CHERISHED IN LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE BOOKSTORE
We had the reading at La Canada Flintridge Bookstore of the pet anthology, Cherished. Editor Barbara Abercrombie gave a great introduction of how the collection of personal essays came to be. She had blogged about the passing of her horse, and her vet/student/friend, Dr. Bob Goldman, talked about the need for a book on pet loss and pet grief, how there simply were no such books (at the time), and people who lost pets didn't know how to grieve since it's not totally accepted to grieve for pets. Barbara decided to collect a book of personal essays about pet loss; she contacted writers she knew and admired as well as writers she didn't know but admired (as in Jane Smiley) - and voila - the book, CHERISHED: 21 WRITERS ON ANIMALS THEY HAVE LOVED AND LOST, came to be.
The contributors of Cherished, which has made it to several bestseller lists including Amazon.com, are: Dr. Robert Goldman (Preface), Carolyn See, Michael Chitwood, Robin Romm, Jane Smiley, Joe Morgenstern, Judith Lewis Mernit, Melissa Cistaro, May-Lee Chai, Anne Lamott, Samantha Dunn, Billy Mernit, Barbara Abercrombie, Monica Holloway, Linzi Glass, Jacqueline Winspear, Cecilia Manguerra Brainard, Victoria Zackheim, Jenny Rough, Sonia Levitin, Thomas McGuane, and Mark Doty.
Present last night were: Barbara Abercrombie, Dr. Bob Goldman, Melissa Cistaro (who flew in from Northern California), Samantha Dunn, Linzi Glass, and me. The readers had 5-6 minutes each. Barbara and Samantha read about their horses; Melissa, Linzi and I read about our cats. Even though the essays focused on the pets, ultimately the writings were about the owners and families of these beloved pets. There are moments of pathos, as well as funny moments.
After the reading, someone in the audience asked Dr. Bob what he thought of people who didn't accompany their pets when they were being put to sleep. Dr. Bob explained that in some cases these people want to remember their pet in better times, that they don't want the memory of their pet dying. He talked about how some people change vets when their pet has been put to sleep by a particular vet in a particular pet hospital - it's simply too painful for them. There were more questions asked, and book signing followed.
I was delighted to finally share my work about my beloved cat, Kiki, with such lovely company. I was also happy to read in the La Canada Flintridge Bookstore and Coffee Shop - an absolutely delightful place. Earlier that evening, in the coffee shop I saw a group of seven huddled together in what looked like a writer's workshop to me. The bookstore also has some cute items for sale, aside from books. If you live in the area, you must stop by.
Thanks again, Barbara for including my story about Kiki in your beautiful book!
top: Standing, Barbara Abercrombie
second from top: Dr. Bob Goldman
third from top: Melissa Cistaro
fourth from top: that's me, Cecilia Brainard
fifth from top: Samantha Dunn
bottom: Linzi Glass
Cecilia Manguerra Brainard is the award-winning author of 9 books, including When the Rainbow Goddess Wept, Magdalena, Vigan and Other Stories, and Out of Cebu: Essays and Personal Prose. She edited four books, co-edited six books, and co-authored a novel, Angelica's Daughters. Her work has been translated into Finnish and Turkish; and many of her stories and articles have been widely anthologized. Cecilia has received many awards, including a California Arts Council Fellowship in Fiction, a Brody Arts Fund Award, a Special Recognition Award for her work dealing with Asian American youths, as well as a Certificate of Recognition from the California State Senate, 21st District, and the Outstanding Individual Award from her birth city, Cebu, Philippines. She has received several travel grants from the USIS. She has lectured and performed at UCLA, USC, University of Connecticut, University of the Philippines, PEN, Shakespeare & Company in Paris, and many others. She teaches creative writing at the Writers Program at UCLA-Extension.