Friends at UCSD!!

I was needing mental space, so I went to SD to write. I knew these folks had invited me to chill with them,. so I just asked–and Boom! Instant fun and connection. Thank you to  Oscar , Alex, Kailiokaōhialehua, and especially Shane and Sandra!

THANK YOU!!!10955330_1320357177981265_6251349987708307201_n

Thank you Wind-Up Books Chronicle!

I am stunned. Really just feel so happy and blessed that He Mele A Hilo continues to reach readers. It’s as if I put my best stories  (and my recipe book) into a bottle and sent it into the sea. Suddenly, it has come back–with new readers and new friends.  Thank you so much!

Here is this wonderful review from The Wind-Up Books Chronicle. 

MAHALO!!! <3 <3 <3


A really, really wonderful review… Mahalo…

So, Stephanie Barbé Hammer just wrote a beautiful review of He Mele A Hilo.  At first, I was speechless–reviews from readers are always cherished, but this was so enthusiastic and so dead on.  (Besides, how often does one get mentioned in the same article as Yowamushi Pedal?!?)

I feel, in this time of so much violence and ugliness, the painfully regular murders and suicides of trans women of color…that a work that is not dystopian is, its own way, subversive.

It is a mistake to assume that a writer’s desire to write about what is pretty, or even pastoral, implies that she is blind to the cruelty around her. It may be closer to the truth that the realities of day to day inhumanity can inspire a writer to imagine better, gentler worlds where one’s common humanity is recognized and implicitly honored. I have mourned too many friends. I have been to vigils. This is kind of how life is for a trans woman of color. I mean–it’s just how it is.  I teach students self defense, then hear about how they have actually had to use it because they have been attacked in so many dehumanizing ways.

For me, writing a novel where goodness actually might not be hokey, that might prevail, that might transform the world into something better–this is my way to say to a sometimes terrible world, “You’ve not destroyed me.” Not only that, you’ve not taken away my ability to believe in something better. You’ve not even taken away my ability to dance, to play music, to have a picnic, or to have fun.  You’ve not taken away my memories, not even the good ones. Now, watch me go. HIME!!!!!!





Just got this wonderful note. :D TY Syracuse!

Emails like this make me so grateful to speak with students. Thank you to Syracuse University, esp. Chase Catalano,  for inviting me to speak!

“Hi Ryka,

You may or may not remember, but you visited Syracuse upon launching Seasonal Velocities, and gave a talk/reading at the university. Afterwards, I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing you for Syracuse University’s Asian-American magazine, A-Line (

That was four years ago, and to this day, it was one of the most impactful Asian American/queer stories I have ever heard. I think at the time, I unfortunately didn’t really realize that.  From time to time, I look back at the interview and am simply amazed by the things that you articulated so well. It makes me want to say “YES” and send it out to everyone I know!

So, I just wanted to let you know that I have been thinking about you since that day. Thank you for giving so much insight, and for your continued dedication in empowering the queer and Asian American communities through sharing your life experience.

I hope you and your family are doing well. “

Travel and Sharing

I am currently waiting for my ride in my hotel lobby. I had no idea I was to be in a hotel lobby. It’s been that sort of a trip so far. Due to bad weather, scheduling difficulties, airline miscommunication, I was laid over in Chicago last night. Not the most pleasant layover. Because we were always waiting for this thing “to happen in a couple of hours” that never did, there was no extended block of time to relax. Some folks were about to lose their tempers–not too pleasant. But what can you do? I mean I am being flown out for a book tour–to meet folks, maybe people who would like to read my book… Kind of amazing, right?

Once we got here, of course, there were problems with my arranged accomodations, which lead to my hosts heroically finding this hotel. Hence the night of showering with Paul Mitchell hair products, and a spectacularly comfy bed–paradise after a cold night at Midway.

At Chicago, I was worried about the Swarthmore reading. I do not function well without sleep. And when my initial accommodations fell through, I did not want the reading to suffer. Luckily, the good folks at Swarthmore were so engaged and giving of their energy and attention–and they asked really thoughtful questions that not only was the reading enjoyable for me, I was able to talk with them into the night.

It’s been a great time getting to know the queer API students at Swarthmore. Thank you to Bryan especially, for their heroic work making everything just work out well. :D Now, off to Philadelphia!


KB and Celeste! The mighty TuffNStuff, Drag King of the Blues, and the luminous Celeste Chan are the power couple behind Queer Rebels Productions. But beyond that, they are just super amazing people. Whenever I am in San Francisco, they seem to find a way to visit, to say hi, and often take me out to an amazing breakfast, or trip to the beach, or an out-of-the-way Chinese food place. KB is my favorite guitar player in the world to work with (and they’ve push me to develop my blues harp sound). We’ve talked art, performed, shared deep conversations. Just loving, genuine souls. I thank them for their unending optimism and gosh they are just so cute together, too!

Forest Nui Cobalt created the beautiful talisman that encircles the barrel of my favorite pen. I use that pen every day to write my poetry and stories. Not just any pen. That pen. It is not an instrument I would readily let other people touch–let alone ensorcel. That should give an idea of why I am so grateful to Forest. She has been not just a great friend, but an honest and forthright one, sometimes giving tough love advice, sometimes giving sympathy, always brimming with compassion, intelligence, and honesty. She is also an amazing witch, and I swear by her uncrossing powder. Here’s her site!

Daphne Gottlieb is a writer and poet whom you all should read. Here’s here web site. Go buy her books, all of them. She is brilliant–and one of the best readers (both of her work and of others) that I have ever seen. If you run a poetry festival, or a writing conference, you should book her yesterday.  She is also one of my dearest friends, and is someone who has always been there to lend an ear, give support, and share a cup of coffee with on the porch. She’ll even wash my coffee cup. She has yelled at people who have harassed me and has given me shelter when I was having a panic attack. She has been there through all stages of me becoming Ryka, and I cannot imagine how my life would have been without her.