Sometime over the summer I used Craigslist to catch an inexpensive ride down to Los Angeles. I had blogged about this and meeting Kelly Eom from the Asian Professional Exchange.

Over the following weeks we set up an event with their group that they called “Pages and Plates.” They chose a restaurant for us all to meet at and I would speak before or during the meal. I was expecting about ten people, so it was a pleasant surprise that both men and women kept strolling in till they had to add chairs to the table. Twenty five people ended up in the private room at Ching. The restaurant was delightfully upscale, complete with valet service for the crawling pink bramobile. Most noticeable was their modern decor. No double happiness signs here (or none that I saw). Instead we were admiring their lighting choice. Alternative chandeliers with wings on the lightbulbs, and an enormous giant inverted red bowl light in the foyer.

There was a wide range of professionals from doctors to advertising copywriters. One of which came up from Orange County because he was seriously interested in learning how to get into travel writing. One woman was leaving for Italy the next day. It was a great group, and I began by reading them “When Ad Men Cry.” Then I talked about Travelers’ Tales and how I got started in this field. I followed it up with a few selections from Sand in My Bra, answered some of their questions, and then returned to the table to chat informally.

Here’s a picture of us towards the end of the evening.

They had laughed at the readings, but I still wasn’t expecting to sell so many books. I sold ten books, and one member contacted chapters in the other cities that I’m going to and was able to connect me with the D.C. chapter.

APEX seems like a rewarding membership to get involved with and I’m going to suggest it to my cousins who are living in Los Angeles. The more organizations and networking groups I attend, the more I want to get inolved with. Since this was my first Asian one, it was interesting to feel an inner push towards learning more about that side of me. One woman was telling me about Chinese weddings (I swear I didn’t bring it up for those of you who think it’s impossible for me to have a conversation without marriage stuff coming up), and I didn’t know anything about them. They were surprised I had never been to one and I told them that my immediate family hasn’t had a wedding in thirty years. But the point is that it would be nice if I did more with the Chinese community than just go to dim sum.

One comment

  1. Hi Jen:
    Just wanted to thank you again for dropping in on us in LA for the APEX event. It was the largest turn out we have had for one of book clubs and everyone enjoyed meeting you and listening to the stories. Thanks also for the advice and counsel to our aspiring writers (including me) during your talk. Good luck in your travels and next time your in LA, give us a shout, maybe we can get your dim sum next time.


    PS. Both my mom and sister have read portions of the book and found it very funny.

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