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Welcome to Issue #2 of Citric Acid, our springtime celebration of the creative life, joyful struggle, vividly provocative and heartfelt art, committed literary friendship, revisionist history and more. Because why not? 

This issue spotlights a singular visual artist whose work, briefly hung at a Laguna Beach bank, was removed from display after “complaints” from customers, only to receive overwhelming community support, media attention and a more welcoming and supportive venue elsewhere. In a gesture of exhilarating political solidarity, Neighborhood Congregational Church in Laguna Beach hosts quilt artist, teacher, and cultural worker extraordinaire Allyson Allen’s “Piece-Ful Protest” through April 24.  This bespoke “gallery” presentation of her quilts is a must-see show.  For a comprehensive consideration and review by reporter Marrie Stone of Stu News Laguna go to:


The issue also features poetry from writer, teacher, literary journal faculty editor (Irvine Valley College’s annual The Ear) and local velomobile (recumbent bicycle) rider Virginia Shank.  There’s heartbreakingly funny and sincere creative nonfiction from volunteer literacy tutor and writer Jonathan Cohen and a funny and sincere short story from OC librarian Bethia Sheean-Wallace.  In each piece, the Orange County public library features as a place of civic communion, responsibility, and engagement.


Poet and novelist Kareem Tayyar shares a meditation on dream, reality, and childhood by way of Fountain Valley, also the subject of his award-winning 2018 novel The Prince of Orange County.  

Peter Gerrard offers a whimsical if wistful recollection of displacement in a new place (Irvine!) juxtaposed with the challenges of young adulthood, marriage, parenthood, and community. 

Naturalist for You founder Joel Robinson shares a redemptive eco-autobiographical essay interrogating his necessary commitment to both resistance and outdoor education. Together, they bring this interpreter and booster of nature to an activist-educator’s variety of peace of mind. With flora, fauna, and lyrics by Joni Mitchell! To schedule a docent-led tour, visit his outfit’s website:


Award-winning journalist Nick Schou (Orange Sunshine: The Brotherhood of Eternal Love and Its Quest to Spread Peace, Love, and Acid to the World) does a number on January 6 insurrectionist John Eastman, a both completely unsurprising if still revelatory take-apart contextualizing the long history of reliably reactionary politics from our Hellmouth. Schou’s most recent reporting on the so-called “San Clemente Six” appears lately at Red Canary, a terrific online journal run by longtime friend of Citric Acid, the writer and editor Joe Donnelly, whose collected recent essays, Dispatches from the End of the World: So Cal, is out now from Punk Hostage Press.


Finally, two essays which wear their hearts on their sleeves, one a personal recollection of a remarkable literary friendship, and the other a book review and appreciation, both esteeming the life and work of the late novelist and friend Brian Rogers, of Ladera Ranch. Author of a quietly astonishing novel, The Whole of the Moon, our brave pal also wrote a remarkable memoir, begun after a terminal diagnosis and completed only weeks before his death in 2021. Novelist Jimin Han (A Small Revolution) and editor Andrew Tonkovich encourage readers to purchase and read Rogers’ novel, a connected stories with an enviably premise built around the promise and democratic premise of the public library (perhaps this issue’s through-line), the life of the mind, and with a teacher’s ambitions to promote civic literacy. And we further invite you to join our campaign to find a publisher for the memoir which Brian composed, a manuscript written by a dying man but with the enviable title, What a Wonderful World: My Life in Words and Art.

And, yes, of course, our reliably instigative in-house cartoonist Grant Hoskins wryly captures a familiar everyday moment lately lived against the weary if tragic backdrop of our latest war over petrostate hegemony as choreographed by its partisan enablers and apologists.

Spring has sprung. We trust this issue invigorates and encourages. Onward.  Onword!

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