A Very Rice Weekend
Sometimes my Rice Papers writing group goes six months without gathering. But this weekend was a double header: on Friday night a bunch of us went to Tanjia for belly dancing and Moroccan food, and this afternoon another little group went to visit Kar, one of our Ricettes Emeritus. I met Kar when we were both reading (with Maxine Hong Kingston) from Growing Up Asian American. We were sitting at a table in front of a standing-room only crowd at A Clean Well Lighted Place for Books in San Francisco. I was a nervous wreck. But Kar was lovely and gracious and dignified, and very interested when I told her I belonged to a wonderful group of Asian American women writers, named Rice Papers. "I'd love to meet you all," she said, and for more than ten years Kar participated with us in writing together, cooking together, doing readings and providing mutual support. She has had an inspiring and amazing life as a writer, mother, and activist for Indian independence. I remember a weekend retreat we all took together in Tahoe. Kar made homemade chapatis and some amazingly delicious sauteed string beans. She is ninety years old now, and doesn't get out much. But she welcomed us into her home with a typical Rice Papers tableful of food, collapsing with hospitality and warmth. We all talked and laughed and had a wonderful afternoon together.