It’s Sunday, August 15th. I’m listening to the late Nanci Griffith’s One Fair Summer Evening. I’m sitting at my new desk/office space at Feather Publishing. I’ve worked for them for six years in September but I always had my own office in Indian Valley and just a small desk here in Quincy. But thanks to publisher Cobey Brown and editor Debra Moore, I have a miniature version of my ‘room of my own’ back.
I don’t know what to work on first. I’m hoping Nanci will help me know, singing and playing songs that I first heard in my 20s when I wanted to write everything down and thought it would be some sort of profession against the darkness.
The Taliban are taking Kabul.
The National Guard is keeping the former residents of Greenville out of Greenville. Some of us are bothered by that, especially when the TV news trucks do their obligatory trauma porn reports. Next week I hear Caitlin Jenner and Sean Hannity are going to exploit us. Grand stand on our rubble.
I am reminded that my Riverside Shakespeare burned. All the plays I read and collected. All the poetry. Gut punch. Art books. Sigh.
COVID is alive and well in Plumas County. Choose your own adventure. Choose your own obstacle. Your own tragedy.
I’m exhausted. Last week was news. So much news. We’re wondering if we can speak with you about your town…I talk so that some right wings don’t swipe the narrative. They always forget the 105 degree heat and no substantial rain. Surreal. I listen to Ari Shapiro on All Things Considered all the time. I try and report on small town news. And then I am the small town news. I only did radio and print. And had to explain to more than one Spanish news channel that this pocha wouldn’t be good in Spanish. It’s a blur. Last week. Except for fire. Fire is never a blur.
I wish that our county knew we could handle the information. I wish the fucking feds would declare a state of emergency already. We were always the little town that almost could and now I fear we’ve been abandoned. We’ve got right wingers up here convinced the feds and some agenda 21 from the UN is trying to burn them into city living and since no Democratic officials are here to give another narrative it is eating up their hearts and minds. It’s ridiculous and as unbelievable as your small town burning to the ground. Someone step the fuck in. A Senator? A VP from California? Anyone? Is this mic on?
There was some confusion in my mother’s neighborhood. Our zip code says Greenville. Our electrical grid says Crescent Mills. My phone blew up this morning. Calls to the sheriff. Now we can come back if we have ID to get in.
Blessed press pass–all other ID that ties me to Greenville burnt up with it.
Will our history be erased?
Nanci’s singing Julie Gold’s From a Distance and I’m thinking of how you can see our fire from space.
I wrote this last night for the plumasnews site:
My neighbors fought to come home today and I was there for an hour and my eyes are bloodshot and I’m sitting here in my little trauma, in my little cube, eating Skinny Pop white cheddar and drinking as much water as possible trying to remember what I was supposed to be doing this week before the Dixie Fire blew up August.
I was supposed to be getting one kid installed and ready for school in southern California, and another ready for her senior year up here in Quincy.
I was supposed to be getting the newest draft of the novel ready for someone in New York to read. I was supposed to be getting the latest round of edits in on the book coming out next year.
But I need more cry time. More stare at the wall time. More prayers for water time.
I sought refuge in a sideways covid-safe hug from a biologist friend. Spring –if we can make it to spring–should be beautiful provided there’s snow and rain. Gamble and risk. You are what you risk. (Jeanette Winterson in The Passion).
Will our love for a town bring it back? Is that a risk any of us can take? Do we gamble what little we have left?
I don’t know where to place my sorrow. I sit it here on this bench. An acre up on the property the bench, 20 years old, my little bit of serenity while we were trying to build something for us and our friends and kids. Some place to go. Some place to be.