Thank you Thymos, AAJA-Portland, Friends of Portland Chinatown, and Murder By the Book for the awesome Ed Lin event yesterday. Special thanks to Amy Wang, Ruth Liao, Elizabeth Suh from AAJA; Joann Le, Fai Chong, and Ivy Lin from Friends of Portland Chinatown, and Barbara Tom from Murder By the Book. I had a blast. Not only did we get to learn writing from an awesome author, but we also had a chance to hear Ed speak from the heart on his thoughts about the publishing industry and Asian American issues. What is super cool about Ed’s career is that he started from an Asian American perspective, writing about Asian American issues and participating in the Asian American Writers Workshop.
I was impressed most of all by Ed’s generosity of spirit. Some writers are all about helping themselves. It’s about what they can write, how great they are, and how much they‘ve accomplished. Which is perfectly fine–we like writers because of what they write, and if they’re cocky and smug but still happen to be great writers, we still appreciate their writing. Ed, on the other hand, is a gifted storyteller who also believes in mutual support. He has a gift that he wants to share with others, and he actively seeks to share it with others. It was awesome to be a part of that.
Ed was accompanied by his wife, the awesome actress Cindy Cheung. They’re both incredibly nice people, and they shared their experiences in their respective professions–both of which are extremely important in both culture and activism. It’s funny because last week I was going to say something about the different opinions on this YOMYOMF piece and TMM’s response, but I bowed out because I had never ever met an Asian American actor in person and felt that I was unqualified to speak. Actually, I don’t think I had ever spoken to an AA actor until Ed Kahana and Tyler Wang came here from the Stunt People! Now I can say that I’ve actually met an AA actor in person.
I forgot to tell the story about how I first saw Cindy’s acting when I won a copy of Greg Pak’s Robot Stories in a drawing. It was the first and only thing I’ve ever won by chance. It was a Frank Chin screening in Seattle, and I had luck in my favor, but I was so fortunate to win a movie with such a great cross section of talented actors.
Ed Lin’s seminar was the first fiction writing seminar that Thymos has held. Our first two workshops–the first with Lawson Inada, and the second with Patti Duncan/Patti Sakurai–focused mostly on memoir. This one was cool because it focused on crafting fictional stories, and Ed led us through character development and relationships, along with the general structure of conflict and resolution. It was fun not only learning how Ed creates stories, but also to see how he drew them out of the students in the class.
Anyway, I was grateful and appreciative of everything I learned at the seminar. Hopefully we can do this again in the future.