My Summer of Bamboo Ridge

When my virtual semester ended in the middle of May, I breathed a sigh of relief before remembering that I had no idea what I’d be doing this summer. With 4 A.M. classes daily (and the on-going global health crisis), I didn’t think of much else. I knew that I wanted to pursue a publishing internship and was familiar with Bamboo Ridge Press through the work of some of my teachers including Joe Tsujimoto, Lois-Ann Yamanaka, and Michelle Cruz Skinner. So, after looking around the old Bamboo Ridge website and social media pages, I started drafting a cover letter. With no formal internship program, I was fortunate enough that Bamboo Ridge created this opportunity for me to work as the press’s digital marketing intern.

Throughout this summer, Misty Sanico—Bamboo Ridge web mistress, marketing manager, wonderful human, and so much more—was my supervisor and helped guide me through Bamboo Ridge’s history and plans for the summer. The three primary focuses for this season were: Promoting Scott Kikkawa’s debut novel Kona Winds; promoting Cathy Song’s latest book All the Love in the World; and assisting with the on-going archive and preservation project worked on in large part by librarian and Bamboo Ridge volunteer Gail Kuroda.

Celebrating 41 years of publishing, Bamboo Ridge is a little over twice my age—that’s a lot of books and a lot of history. To help me get started, managing editor Joy Kobayashi-Cintron sent me a media mail box filled with the most recent titles from Bamboo Ridge. I started reading the two latest releases, Kona Winds and All the Love in the World, right away so I could get started on promotional material. Within a week, I finished both books, excited and eager for more.

After those two books, I dove into Saturday Night at the Pahala Theatre and The Nanjing Massacre: Poems. I followed this with: Beyond Green Tea and Grapefruit, Folks You Meet at Longs and Other Stories, What We Must Remember, The Seven Orchids, and Still Out of Place. In each book, I found myself in stories and places familiar, yet new. The Nanjing Massacre: Poems and What We Must Remember offered sobering glimpses into history I knew little or nothing about, while Folks You Meet at Longs made me laugh at moments and lives captured so wonderfully. 

My enjoyment of these texts helped spur many of my social media marketing ideas like Bamboo Bites, Bamboo Ridge Lineage, and book quotes. What better way to celebrate these works than to showcase these authors and their words? I’ve been extremely fortunate that Misty has allowed me to try out so many new ideas, providing feedback and being overwhelmingly supportive. 

During our weekly meetings, Misty was always open to hear my pitches for new projects, some for the immediate future and some for next year; among those ideas is an event this fall. After fleshing out ideas for the event, Misty helped me coordinate a call with some members of the board to hear the proposal. After incorporating feedback from that initial meeting, we reconvened with more board members. Excitingly, the idea was well-received, so keep an eye out for an announcement in the next few weeks.

With summer coming to an end and a new semester beginning, I know that I will still have all these relationships that Misty helped me build at Bamboo Ridge along with all the Bamboo Ridge books that I have yet to read. I’m so grateful for my summer at Bamboo Ridge working with Misty, Joy, Gail, and the rest of the Bamboo Ridge ‘Ohana. Being able to experiment with so many different ideas has been such an educational and fulfilling experience. Interning at Bamboo Ridge has provided me with so many incredible opportunities that I wouldn’t have had anywhere else.

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  1. Darrell Lum says:

    I don’t think BR has had anyone with your combination of passion, enthusiasm, creativity, and technical knowledge. Thanks for your contribution and being patient wit all da old futs (not Misty, Joy or Gail). Ha, ha.

  2. Misty Sanico says:

    Alyssa, you have been invaluable to Bamboo Ridge. Your enthusiasm and love of books, as well as your creativity and resourcefulness, have been a tremendous help when we needed it most. Your organization skills put mine to shame! 🙂 I know that you will be successful in your future endeavors and I look forward to hearing about all the interesting and fabulous things you do and accomplish. BUT… not pau yet! We’ve still got to bring more of your great ideas for BR into fruition. Though we’ll see less of you during the school semester, you’re pretty much stuck with us now. 😉

  3. scottkikkawa says:

    Mahalo, Alyssa, for everything. I don’t think that there would be quite as many people who now know about my book if not for you. I look forward to reading your own work soon in an upcoming issue. And you’d better hang around–I need you for Red Dirt!

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