Willa and I have been invited to do readings at the Mokuleia Writers Retreat on April 11. Mokuleia is just down the road from Waialua, my hometown where we live. The retreat will be lead by Constance Hale, who was born and raised in Waialua, graduated from Princeton, teaches at Harvard, and is copy chief at Wired magazine. Willa will read from our Japanese Buddhist Temples in Hawaii, and I will read from my fiction piece, Miki's Mad, which is set in Waialua and has scenes about Mokuleia.
On Tuesday, April 9, Aaron Mahi, the bandmaster of the Royal Hawaiian Band, will give a talk about songs written about Mokuleia. When I was in the sixth grade at Waialua Elementary School, our class participated in the island-wide song contest sponsored by the Hawaiian Civic Club, and we sang a song titled "Mokuleia" as one of our numbers. I have never forgotten the song, and used to sing it when I got homesick during the many years I was on the mainland. I can still sing it entirely in Hawaiian, and I am looking forward to hearing Aaron Mahi so that I can learn, finally, what the lyrics mean. Like the several other Hawaiian songs I know, "Mokuleia" is embedded in the fabric of my sentiment, and has sustained my sense of place.