The process of self-publishing Emergence was an intimate one and my dream for the release was an intimate gathering with close family and friends with dim lights and fellow poets to share the stage with.
We found a local brewery with a private back room who graciously opened their doors to us for the night. Wanting to focus less on the setup in order to be more present with everyone there, I added a few personal touches to the tables. I repurposed old frames to display scrap paper poetry from over the years, including the first poem I ever wrote at my Nana’s funeral in 2003. I had custom wooden bookmarks made by my dear loves, Kaleb and Sarah at Treasured Trees Designs, which read, “Open your heart to the world and possibilities become infinite.”
It was extremely important for the night to feature other local poets and performers. I invited my friend David Zafra who I’ve shared many stages in various comedy shows and dive bars throughout San Diego since 2013. As shared in the Preface, David, Jimmy, and I sat hunched in the corner of a hip-hop variety show in Vista the night I told Jimmy I wanted to perform spoken word one day. Having David there to share his light was a full-circle moment unlike any other.
He introduced me to Margaux Paul, author of Unsent Letters and one of the most divine women I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. I asked my incredibly talented cousin, Jennifer, to read as well. I always said when I grew up I wanted to be a poet like her. Finally, my best friend, Sarah, my person for six rollercoaster years, surprised me with a poem of her own. There were a million tears and even more hugs. Almost two years later, and I can still feel the love, depth, vulnerability, and warmth that filled the space.
I honestly can’t dream of a more perfect evening. There’s not a single thing I would change. It was the tangible embodiment of what I envisioned Emergence to be—a journey through space and time, honoring all the ways people have shaped the woman I am today.
As for the man who sat across from me the night at the bar in Myanmar and called me a poet? He flew in from France and was there to celebrate the launch with me and my loved ones from so many walks of life.
Many, many thanks to Jordan for taking photos of the night. I will cherish them for the rest of my days.