A good friend of mine, Gloria, did some amazing dancing and singing. She was raised in Mexico City, and her husband and father and many relatives are from a Mixtec village in rural Oaxaca. She sang a song in Mixteco called Yucu Ninu-- about a sacred mountain-- a hauntingly beautiful melody. Then she sang Paloma Negra, an old Mexican tune full of longing and passion. Then she did a lively, wild traditional Oaxacan dance, swirling her huge skirt all over the place. Her performances gave me goosebumps, they were so stunning.
Three of my brilliant writing group members-- Carrie and Sarah and Lauren-- pitched in to help with the food serving, along with Ian and his sister Stef and brother-in-law Brantley. It was a thrilling experience to have all my favorite people together in one place-- kid friends, grown-up (in theory) friends, students, neighbors, teachers, artists, writers, musicians, the odd computer scientist here and there...
On the big screen there was an ongoing loop of photos of my friends in Mexico who inspired characters in the book and who helped me with different stages of the writing process-- people I wish could have been here to celebrate with us.
I did the reading and managed not to trip over any cords or drop any papers or lose my place in the book... and people laughed at my jokes and asked questions afterward and everything-- what more could I ask for?