|Katie! And Rice. Courtesy Garcia-Spitz|
I had the pleasure of attending one of his readings last month as a part of UTPA's Festiba. Man-oh-man. Phew. It was awesome. Packed room. And he was so inspiring! You see, I used to teach Rice's books back when I was working with the Upward Bound program, and my students loved his work because they could relate to it. And I loved his work, too. His stories are the kind that stick with you.
Anyway, I stumbled into the reading a few minutes late, and was surprised at how packed the room was. Packed! I actually didn't know Rice was reading. I was there to support one of our department's T.As and another colleague Robert, who were also reading. I peeked my head in, then started out. A man stood up, beckoned me back, and gave up his seat to me. I reluctantly accepted and squished my way into the crowded room. I'm glad I did! :-)
Rice was the last reader on the list. When Robert introduced him, the seat-giver-uper took the podium. It turned out HE was David Rice. Aye. So not only is he smart/inspirational/creative, but he's also... kind! And gentlemanly. Phew.
The reading was fantastic. I mean, all of the writers were fantastic, but I'm glad they left Rice for last. It was the perfect note to finish on. He read this amazing story about a boy killing a hummingbird without a witness, the guilt. Powerful stuff. See, the stories have this surface simplicity, but this depth, too. That's what makes for a good poem. That's also what makes for a good story, apparently.
After the reading, I had some business to take care of. I was heading off to the library for the Dean's Author Reception. This year, I was in charge of organizing it (which was a wonderful headache!). I was so nervous about the reception...
Luckily, I had the help of Edward Vidaurre, Barrio Poet extraordinaire and now the Arts Coordinator of Edinburg. The reception turned out to be pretty delightful, but I was mega stressed the entire time. However, as things were winding down, I noticed that none other than David Rice had arrived! Squeeeeeeeee!
And you know what? He introduced himself to me. X-D I was a little bit giddy and excited. I think I probably sounded like an idiot. It kind of reminds me of how, when I was a stupid teenager, I was ridiculously excited and squealy to meet Mudvane's guitarist. Good lord. But now, I'm of course a more mature and professional human being (yeah, right.).
You know what REALLY made me squee? When Rice said that he read this blog :-X And that he was MY fan. Ok, so he was probably just flattering me on the fan thing... but it made my night. I went home a happy gal.
So there you have it. My writerly secret. Don't tell anyone, ok?