Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Kay Mouradian

I love writers of all kinds. I love journalists, novelists, humorists, essayists and anyone who works hard to make the words meaningful when they put pen to paper or fingers to keys.

And Kay Mouradian is particularly easy to like, because she's Kay.

This photo of her with a fan at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books is typical of her because it shows how intently she listens. Kay was signing her book, A Gift in the Sunlight, An Armenian Story, at the Abril Armenian Book Store booth. A Gift in the Sunlight is Kay's novel based on her mother's experiences in the Armenian Genocide.

I bought my copy, and after Kay signed it for me I stood back to watch as people approached. Some folks were tentative at first. They'd read the signs on the booth: "Remember the Armenian Genocide." Some weren't interested--it was a festival, after all, and controversy isn't festive. But some stopped to ask questions, share experiences or even disagree.

Kay listened. She heard. She answered. She's not interested in confrontation but in bringing the truth to light, and she's comfortable talking about the subject. A retired professor, she's created a presentation she gives (free) to libraries, schools and other organizations to teach them about this historical event that's finally being talked about after nearly a hundred years. If you contact her to speak to your group I know you'll like her. Not just because she's a writer, not just because she's a good listener, but because she's Kay.

21 comments:

Shell Sherree said...

I love the way you've captured this moment, Petrea ~ the intent look on Kay's face speaks volumes.

Sarah said...

I agree with Shell. The way Kay is listening to him so impressing!

Petrea said...

Thanks. She was paying such attention to him I don't think she was aware I was taking the picture.

Susan C said...

Kay looks so intent and intense.

And you are so right that there's just something about Kay.

mark said...

Im sure the book is very interesting. My father knew a man, he was a cobbler, who escaped the death march. The man was in his early 20's at the time. He spent a harrowing night in a church steeple waiting for a chance to escape. He said in that one night his hair turned white. He did escape and eventually came to the US and settled in Long Beach, CA.

Petrea said...

Intent is a good word, Susan. She's focused and energetic.

Mark, I haven't read the book yet (still finishing another). But she's got some great testimonials on her site so I look forward to it. Stories like that of your father's friend are too many.

Petrea said...

Or perhaps I should say, too few.

Virginia said...

Oh you captured the essence of Kay I believe, and I don't even know her, but I wish I did. Lovely portrait and text Petrea.
V

altadenahiker said...

She sounds like a lovely person, and best of luck with her book.

Margaret said...

Kay is so smart and articulate too.

Petrea said...

Thanks for your comments. I don't consider myself a portrait photographer--in fact I usually feel awkward photographing people. But I'm happy with the way this one turned out and I think it had a lot to do with the subject.

Kim said...

Love your photo of Kay and your portrayal of her inner workings to us. This is a wonderful post, Petrea. You've made me want to listen, to meet her, read what she has to say. I love when someone can truly attend when a fan approaches. Solitary artists like writers can sometimes not excel at the people interactions. Perhaps because she's a professor and has years of interacting with students and their questions. . . You can just see it in her eyes. She's 100 % there in that conversation.
-Kim

J+P said...

We've all known people who survive by lying. Kay feeds on the truth. Isn't it funny how everybody knows which is better? That's what I see in her face, here. It's like a lamp.

Petrea said...

I know Kay will read all your nice comments. Good! People like her should hear nice things about themselves.

Dina said...

It really is a great portrait and it makes me want to read Kay's book and get to know her through it.

Do you know of an Armenian museum now being built in LA? Here in the Old City I saw a great tile art piece destined for it.

Petrea said...

Hi Dina, I found this:
http://www.ararat-eskijian-museum.com/
I think that's it.

Nathalie said...

A wonderful tribute and portrait!
The Armenian genocide is a dreadful part of our European history, and the Turkish government and people are still in denial about it.

A very large number of Armenians took refuge in France and it's a cause we feel strongly associated with.

Petrea said...

Thank you, Nathalie. I hadn't known so many of the victims took refuge in France. I wonder if the Turkish people are coming around now. I often think a government's political stance doesn't truly represent what the individual people believe.

Dina said...

Thanks for the link, Petrea. The museum looks like a good place to visit.
But I understood from Vic that some new place is being built.

Petrea said...

I'll bet Kay would know. I'll be seeing her next week and I'll ask her about it.

Dina said...

OK, thanks!
And I'll try to get back to the Armenian Quarter and ask artist Vic more details. I keep wanting to do a post about him and his studio.