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Old School 4th Estate

I’ll admit it. I’ve been down. It’s hard to write a book or even a short story and escape into another world when all around you you can’t turn off the daily voices of Trump’s America designed to make everyone go to bed fearful, depressed, and anxiety ridden. I remember not liking W and Rumsfeld and Cheney. I remember freaking out over Reagan and suspicious all the time over Bush 1, but I don’t remember feeling like the world was going apart. My apocalypse came with an eyeroll.

Now I go through the day feeling like I’m going to throw up all the time. I go to bed thinking of people ripping kids away from their parents–and apparently being perfectly okay with that. I go to bed thinking of WH people persecuting brown people then dining in Mexican restaurants. I’m going to bed thinking this is not the world I wanted my kids to come of age in.

I realize in times like these is when people either rise up and become real men or and women and heroic or they continue on the path to selfishness and self-righteousness.

When I first was drawn to working for newspapers it felt quaint. I often seem to run towards things that are almost over, things that have no place in the contemporary world, and newspapers fit in well with that.

When I was much younger I worked at the LA Times, then the SF Chronicle…and now Feather River Publishing. Working for the print newspaper can make you feel antiquated and a sucker. But I really am beginning to appreciate my choices. Especially now. Now when so much is consolidated. Now when an administration shrugs off facts and gives us lies by the minute. It feels good to be working the underdog life at a community paper. I only work for them part time (I can’t afford to work for a newspaper full time). But instead of seeking out less of this work, I’m doing more.

I also like the machinery. I love the machinery actually. The big print machine turned on on  Tuesdays and produces a beautiful back beat.  A hum like no other. I can drown out my sorrows in that sound.  The sound of our democracy falling is temporarily drowned out by big loud sounds of truths. However small. A community paper doesn’t really touch on national issues but sometimes the outside world intervenes.

Wolf sightings. Water rights. Meth addict crimes. Commercial cannabis growing. The stuff of northern California. What I love about both living here and about small town independent papers is just that. The live and let live independence of it all.

It’s with that small town. Small press sensibility that I find solace and strength these days. Analog when needed. And it is so very needed.

Last Tuesday we had an editorial staff meeting that ended with a tour of the wonderful monolith of a machine. Here’s some photos that help keep me happy. A reminder that our words are important–no matter how small and trivial. It’s all still part of the 4th Estate. We’re here to keep tabs on the powers that be. We’re here to inform. And sometimes to celebrate.  Truth is important. Even still.

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Santa Cruz Noir is Here

This is such an exquisitely fun (and dark) book to be in. My story “Monarchs and Maidens” is in here as well as many truly inspired stories taking place in Santa Cruz County.

We just did a reading at SkyLight Books for it in Los Angeles. I always wanted to read at SkyLight and now I have!

 I am a big Naomi Hirahara fan so I’m overly geeky fan girl excited about being in a book with her. But also? Susie Bright! I’ve been reading her for years. She picked some great stories to be included here. I got to hear those in the photo read 300 words each of their stories. I wanted more.

I heard Lou Matthews, John Bailiff, Thomas O. Moore, Seana Graham, and Liza Warehouse as well.

I’ve been in many anthologies before but this one really feels special to me.

There’s a reading this Thursday at the Santa Cruz Bookshop that I wish I could make but I can’t. 😦 Have to finish getting divorced instead–that has its own noirish, implications, doesn’t it?

Here’s a link. Check us out:

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Calling on all California State Politicians to Respond

“Nüremberg Principal IV states that “The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him”

We are in a moral crisis and none of us should be sleeping at night. California, I have given up on the other 49. I have always felt more allegiance to state than country. To the geography of the West–the open air beyond the great divide.

I heard about the border and I wanted to run down there despite the idiocy and spectacle and unwise planning a lone American latina on the border trying to rush facilities incarcerating babies and children would be. I didn’t know what I’d do when I got there. I’m a mother. I wanted to pull children on my lap and give them hugs and feed them and tell them it’ll be okay.

But it’s not going to be –childhood trauma runs deep. Whatever happens those kids will never forget. Best case scenario is children reunited with their parents will forever jump and panic the moment they are out of sight–to the bathroom, to another bed to sleep.

I can just manage feeding myself and my own kids. I feel helpless and as an article in Slate mentioned, slightly numb. Somewhere I’m convinced a meeting took place where Trump and his cabinet of evil decided to just inundate the good people of this land with stuff daily to break us down.

We will all go off social media for self-care and then they’ll sneak up on us and make life worse for everyone.

I digress but I used to think of Republicans as the nation’s grandfathers with a well-balanced if heartless check book.  We came up with ideas. They’d tell us no. Relent slightly. And sometimes one of those white supremacist roaches would crawl out of a crack in the foundation and we’d slap it with a newspaper and throw the whole thing away. Republicans had a roach problem but they weren’t themselves roaches.

I can’t even wrap my head anymore around dissecting this on a tray and finding out where it all went wrong. I only have a world where breastfeeding children are ripped from their mother’s bodies by the same people who want to force poor American women to have babies whether they want them or not. We live in a world now where the worst of everything is possible and no one acknowledges their own ironies.

Like a mass of evangelicals standing behind heartbreak and destruction with smiling happy wal mart faces.

I retreat to California. My state that stands in defiance to the Trump Administration. My  state’s politicians take this further. Each and every one of us needs to stand up. You need to stand up. Sign on. There is no sleeping for this state is a sanctuary for no one now.

Let’s go to the border of our great state together. Let’s demand to see the children. Let’s demand they are released to their parents immediately. Let’s verify they are safely together. Let’s welcome these families and feed them. Dear god, we owe them now at least that much.

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latina literary Uncategorized

Daughter Lands Borders

I’m from the land of no apologies

of no forgiveness

of something you did when you were seven being held against you

from set bed times and daily chores:

that one load of laundry, empty the trash, sweep the floor

nothing in the sink; nothing on the floor perfection

A family of Latinas who call each other deep die cut names

imprinted and wrong on our light and dark skin equally

white girl.  brown girl. both.

I’m from households without tv or  Spanish

with loud Mexican music on a Saturday morning

to accompany cleaning

playing on an exquisite stereo

I’m from you don’t retire

you work until you die

from you aren’t supposed to have bills; pay cash

i’m from trust no one

i’m from generosity doesn’t call attention to itself

pristine vehicles and manicured lawns

because no one is going to call us out

i’m letter writing

taking it to the streets

making sure the powers that be

change their minds

whether they want to or not

I am dark lipstick

and hoop earrings

of never going outside in sweatpants

I’m on the altar of Our Lady of Guadalupe

and she watches over us all

standing up to the darkness

blue robed; gold starred

a force field of prayers

both answered and still asking for more

(with apologies to George Ella Lyon’s I’m From)

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arts & crafts literary Uncategorized

Blue Sky Freedom–Rabble Lit

Blue Sky Freedom/ Margaret Elysia Garcia

is my newest personal essay up on Rabble Lit. I love this journal and the work they publish. It continually makes me feel like my perspective–my own working class background now has a voice and I appreciate that. I’m glad they wanted a piece on teaching in prison.