Less than forty-eight hours before I left home to ride my bike across California, I discovered that this site had been hacked. It’s not the first time I’ve encountered this problem — though it’s been a long, long time. Long enough that I didn’t really feel like dealing with the laborious task of reviewing all the files, purging, reinstalling, etc., etc. Plus, did I mention I was about to ride my bike across California? So I went ahead and paid some professionals to take care of it for me.
Since I had one foot out the door, I wasn’t really paying attention to what the professionals were doing. I got a random email saying “all done!” that I read while camping someplace in the Central Valley, to which I said, “super,” and went to sleep. When I came home, I made sure everything was in its right place but, let’s be honest. I don’t really remember where everything was in the first place, and I have the sinking suspicion that a post may have been lost. Oh well. My tens of readers probably won’t notice.
All of this is a prelude to my update on the AIDS/LifeCycle ride I completed at the beginning of the month. In short, it was amazing. It was exhausting. There were both metaphorical and literal highs and lows, both days I seriously questioned my sanity as to why I was doing this and days I was profoundly grateful for the opportunity. California is gorgeous. A fact I’ve known having lived here all my life, but brought into sharper focus seeing parts of it you never see while flying past in a car on the highway. Doing this pushed me rather far out of several comfort zones. And there was something about it that had the distinct feel of a silent retreat.
That said, not too keen on doing it again! Whew. That was a lot. And next summer I think I want a vacation. (Next summer, I think I’m going to need a vacation.)
Nevertheless, I raised over $6000 and together everyone raised over $11 million, all of which goes to life-saving care and health justice programs. It was a fantastic way to celebrate pride month. And I’d happily encourage others to do the ride.
Meanwhile, as I was hoofing it up the evil twins and feeling like I was getting hypothermia in one of the coldest summers I’ve ever seen, my book was published! Technically I guess it was published before I started the ride, but my sense is that folks started actually receiving it in their mailboxes this month. And almost immediately upon my return to the Bay Area I did a book talk at the Berkeley Buddhist Temple.
Now, if you haven’t read the book yet (no pressure), you might not know the significance of this. The book is literally about the Berkeley Temple, so this event felt something like a homecoming for the project. Moreover, my conversation partner was David Matsumoto. Nowadays, Rev. Matsumoto is my “boss,” being the IBS’s president and all; and in years past he was my teacher. Most importantly for this story, he’s also the main reason why I started doing the research for this book in the first place. The books exists in large part because of his encouragement. So that little kid inside me (the one that lives in most of us I suspect) who craves validation was overjoyed not only to have the opportunity to present my work at this community but to hear Rev. Matsumoto paise the book. (Insert Sally Field gif here.)
Not only that but in the audience was the wife of the late great Hiroshi Kashiwagi whose work figures prominently in my book. What a relief to see her smile and nod on occasion while I was speaking, and what an honor to give her a copy of my book.
Having returned home and having made sure this site is working properly, I’ve updated the book’s info page. And while I have your attention I’ll let y’all know that video from the book launch we did at IBS is now up on Vimeo this-a-way.
Looking ahead, I’ve got a couple of interviews in the works for next month, and rumor has it an excerpt from the book will be published in some fancy glossy Buddhist magazine. When all those things happen, I’ll be sure to let y’all know. And looking even further into the future, the AAR’s annual meeting program book has been published, which means you can schedule your time in San Antonio accordingly. I’ve also got a talk lined up for next February in Sacramento and, fingers crossed, San Diego before then.
All in all it’s been a joyous start to the summer (despite continuing bad political news, but this post is meant to bring joy in spite of all that). And I thought I’d end this post with the memory of taking my kiddo to the SF Pride Parade. Because of my participation in the AIDS ride, we actually got to walk in the parade. Watching them and the friend they brought along being showered by all the love and cheers and joy from the spectators was a beautiful reminder that even in the face of ongoing oppression, we’ve come so far. Let’s keep heading in the right direction.