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Pachuca Productions Logo Is Finally Here!

We’ll be making t-shirts of course but in the meantime, here’s the new logo for Pachuca Productions — the new Latina owned microtheatre started by Tina Terrazas and I in Plumas County. We move around the county producing original plays, variety shows, and provocative works by other women. Message us if you’d like to get a hold of one of our shirts (designed by Portland based artist Tess Emily Rodriguez).

Also we are looking for original works by women–especially Latina  playwrights, for our company to perform.

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For the Record…

I read this essay last month on stage but I haven’t published it anywhere or sent it out. I decided it’s too personal for a publication so I’m posting it here. Inspired by all things #metoo

For the Record…

By Margaret Elysia Garcia

End of summer 1992. Two semesters of college left ahead of me starting in three weeks and I was flying off to the Ozark Mountains to visit the hillbilly side of my family for the first time.

I had one more day of work—a Friday with a paycheck and a paid vacation and then an early Monday morning flight. I’d be gone for 10 days.

I worked at an indie record store through most of college. A coveted job in my town and I lucked out as I knew a few people plus I aced the application. For the record, indie record and bookstores have obnoxiously smug applications. Questions like “name the last three books you read and why they resonated with you.” “Name three radio stations you listen to in LA, and why.” Name a painter whose work you identify with. And so on. A job tailor made for nerdy snobby gothy girls like me Later I heard I was also considered cute. Oh.

I walked into record store in Uptown Whittier for the noon to close shift and greeted my friend M. who didn’t look me in the eyes but smashed price stickers onto tapes relentlessly behind the work counter. The music was playing something sixties—always a signal that the owner was somewhere in the building.

“Mr. G is in the back with the checks. He wants to see you,” M. said still looking down as I put my purse in the box behind the counter.

“Why?” I asked. The owner never wanted to see me. We made it a point to ignore each other. I was his best worker after M. Unlike most of his employees, I showed up on time, neither stoned or drunk, and I didn’t steal. It was a low bar.

After the end of my last semester of Women’s Studies courses, I complained about the one employee restroom. It had a tiny a sink and mirror, a toilet, and about 60 photos of naked women the owner’s buddy who worked at a Photomat place had given him copies of. Women with unsure looks on their faces. Women clearly posing for their lovers and NOT the fotomat guy and certainly not for us. Certainly none of them thought they’d end up on the record store restroom wall.

I wanted to be respected. One of the guys – for the most part. The six guys and I hung out on weekends. Picnics. BBQs. We admired each other’s encyclopedic knowledge of bands in our respective expertise. A woman in a record store is no different than a woman in an automotive shop—customers come in and ask to speak to the man. When you answer their questions correctly they stand in the middle of the aisle dumbfounded that you have breasts and a vagina and can answer questions about obscure esoteric bands. How dear god? Is that possible?

All of the guys said the restroom was tasteless. It was one thing for there to be Playboys in there—those women consented and were paid. But the fotomat women gave no consent.

Back in May, I told the owner that he needed to take them down. That it was disgusting and had no place in the workplace. He told me if I didn’t like it I could leave. But I loved and needed my job. I loved listening to music loudly all night—and having a perfect fit for my college schedule. I loved hanging out with my friends too. I didn’t leave. The owner never forgot that I broke rank and called him on his shit.

So he fired me and handed me two checks. I did what I do when I’m angry. I started to cry. Clearly a bit unprepared he began to fumble.

“I don’t like to be around strong women. I can’t handle it. And I’m never going to make the mistake of hiring a woman again. Get your things and go.” There were six customers in the store. A regular said how’s it going? I said, “I just got fired for being a woman.”

Okay I screamed it at the top of my lungs. The owner handed me a box of what he thought were my CDs (I hadn’t paid for any of them—so he handed me about $500 worth of merchandise). I looked at M. and he pulled me in for a hug and whispered “meet me at my house in 15 minutes.”

M. quit his job mid-shift. He said he could no longer work somewhere that treated its female employees this way.

In the days and weeks after “THE DAY” the rest of our co-workers who’d heard about the firing decided to take sides. Most of them said I shouldn’t have complained about the restroom and that I was smarter than the owner so why did I have to pick on him? As for M., they decided, he must have been sleeping with me. Why else would a man be honorable? Do the right thing? One guy said it was because he was ‘pussy whipped.’ For the record, 26 years later, that still hasn’t happened.

Other fall out. Local college students staged a boycott protest. A famous lawyer’s office called me. Unemployment determined I was wrongfully terminated. For two semesters I received my highest grades ever and didn’t work at all. M. moved to New Mexico. None of our “friends” talked to us again. The owner offered our jobs back. We said no.

For the record, he took down the photos—later that year, we heard.

Twenty-six years ago, a good man did the right thing. He didn’t want to work for someone who would do that; he felt bad he hadn’t said something about the photos himself.

M. raised the bar for me that day. For my own behavior and what I should insist on from others. The answer to the question where are all the good men? Is right beside me.

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A Wrinkle in the New Wrinkle in Time

View at Medium.com

I posted my review of the new DISNEY movie on Medium this morning:

View at Medium.com

View at Medium.com

 

View at Medium.com

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The End of the Cock

The Year of the Rooster has come to an end—it was exhausting to keep up with my superstitious fears. For the first few months I wore a jade bracelet and ring and lots of red hoping to combat any and all bad luck coming my way.

But the year was less about bad luck and more about abrupt change. Change in heart. Change in mind. Change in body. I suppose that has yielded a change in spirit.

Good thing this happens only once in every 12 years.

I never got around to doing a Christmas post. I had that wretched flu. I was going to do one a Epiphany and didn’t get there either.

I’m happy to see the cock go. Welcome Year of the Dog instead.

I let this site kind of go to pasture for awhile. But I’m taking this week as a new beginning. There are so many things around here that need completion.  Like libraries. Like divorces. Like books one has been writing for too long. Also I’m teaching in prison now.

So here’s to new completions. These are the things I’m happy to report that the Cock year brought on:

  1. Divorce. (was technically started the year before).
  2. New love. (isn’t so close together to number 1 as it appears)
  3. 10 K words of the book that are useable (yay!).   Also new play! Also new chapbook of poems!
  4. Libraries moved and changed (now instead of one big library I’m feeding books and book related services to about six in the area–including one prison–but so much new organization needs to be done.
  5. Kids are full blown teens with full blown teen disease–it lasts much longer than the flu. We have beautiful moments and there are of course moments of exasperation. Why do they always want to know about sex?
  6. Pachuca Productions hit the ground running. We’ve produced two small shows so far and have two more theatrical items for February, one in March, one in July. Whew. Check posts soon for schedules.
  7. Financially independent and stable for the first time in years. It’s amazing how not sharing a checking account with someone else (psst husband) can do so much for your financial outlook no matter how little you have.
  8. Sad Girl Zine is back! With looks like 3-4 issues in the works. Thanks Marya Jones for the inspiration.   
  9. I was never really a drinker or a drug taker in the first place. But I met a man who flat out doesn’t drink, which made drinking less appealing. And now I don’t drink. It’s amazing to reach for a cup of tea after an exasperating day instead of a glass of wine. It’s fantastic to be with someone who doesn’t need this. Cue weight loss. Cue better health. Cue always being in one’s right mind and facing whatever needs to be faced head on.
  10. Moving makes you declutter. Simple is as that. Slowly packing up my life. Thriftstoring things. Donating my own books to students. Simplifying for the next stage. The next years. Marveling at how some things stay with us and some are discarded. Why do I have the stuffed animal I’ve had since I was 2?! Four place settings of good china? A key from my room in Germany from when I was 12?

That was my year of the Rooster. The Cock brought me tumultuous change I was not ready for and I’m barely catching up to it. Let’s hope the Dog gives me a chance to finish what I started. I hope so. I’m confident about this.

And above all I have love in my life–a wonderful man who I never thought I’d be lucky enough to meet. And my relationship with my mom is changing for the better. My kids and I are adjusting to our getting older and hopefully wiser. My relationship with myself is changing for the better too. Ah to figure one’s self out. Everything and love.

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Little Women Tonight through Saturday

Tonight through Saturday at the Taylorsville Historic Hall, Greenville Drama Class presents Little Women…this cast has been so great –their director Dawnette Dryer has been amazing with what she can get out of them. 7 pm.  Come support Indian Valley Academy’s drama program.

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Sad Girl, the ZINE is HERE

They’re finally here! Hot off the press the first issue of Sad Girl, Vol 2, issue 1 Writers versus Relationships! It’s been over two years since I started SG, Vol 1. Feels like I’m back in the saddle with this one. If you’d like to purchase one just message me here and I’ll get it out to you. I accept paypal. It’s $5.

And I’ve already started on issue 2—It’s a whole thing on archery….

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What the Wind Brought Me

 Come see the reading on the 25th in Quincy!

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My 4 Days in a Fire Look Out

Back in September I spent four days in a Mountain Look Out. I wrote about it here:

Black Mountain Look Out. I would do that trip again in a heart beat!

 

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All Our Fears

I was headed to Los Angeles with a friend (and business partner) from Quincy). She was driving. As I was waiting for pick up my editor said if I could, to take a photo. There was an accident on the way down the canyon. I said yes, though I’m squeamish.

We were talking in the car and then we wound round a bend and there it was. The emergency vehicles. The CalTrans guy stopping us. I explained I was from the paper. Could we stop so I could take the photo? I’m not that kind of reporter. I don’t chase ambulances. But it was just that I was there–transiently.

I took the photo. I didn’t know whose car it was.

Plumas News Report on accident

It was  only the next morning in Los Angeles as I was checking my phone that I learned that possibly two of the sweetest mother daughter duos in Indian Valley were in the car. The mother (nearly my mother’s age) died. The daughter, (nearly my age), survived. Harrowing. Vehicle upside down filling with ice cold water.

It’s what mountain road fears are made of.

When you move to a small tight-knit community, you can be an outsider forever.  Indeed, I’ve watched as kids and parent newcomers attend functions here and are ignored–not ridiculed, mind you–just ignored. It can make you feel invisible, small and alone–ready to move away.

Susan Orange and her daughter Josie Barr however never made anyone feel small, invisible or alone. Orange was perennially friendly, vivacious, alive.   She made all feel included. She made people feel special. Important.   If I was at a function feeling insecure, I always found her rolling up to me and saying hello. Welcomed. Her eyes lit up when she talked. A woman invested in her community. In her life. In her family. Likewise her beautiful daughter–cut nearly exact from the same cloth–is such a sweet woman. Full of life.

The canyon has yet again taken a sacrifice. And what a huge one it has taken.

I have no words really. Just my condolences and love. Rest in peace, Susan, sweet angel of the valley.

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Ravishly takes me on

First piece for Ravishly:

On a topic of my book…. Check it out!