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Thanks for reading --- and sharing, please! --- the summer 2022 issue of Citric Acid. A “subscription” is free but do stay tuned for ways to support the work of the journal. Our third issue, produced with the help of two terrific UC Irvine Citric Acid student interns --- thanks, Iris Kim and Emma McCandless! --- presents original writing, art, and photography from new friends as well as longtime literary comrades. 

Los Angeles Times columnist Gustavo Arellano shares his recent commencement address to the graduating class of the UC Irvine School of Social Ecology, a call to acknowledge our precarious moment of difficult change, and to act. Gustavo is ubiquitous --- lucky us --- in print, on the radio (KCRW’s Left, Right and Center), on a daily podcast (The Times), and via his weekly Instagram live-stream.  And, once again, at Citric Acid.

Photographer William Camargo aka “Billy the Camera” shares beautiful and helpfully provocative images from his impressive and much-shown work. Camargo is currently Anaheim’s Commissioner of Heritage and Culture, among many available plaudits. For more of his work, and writing, see a terrific recent essay with photos at SF Camerawork.

This issue is big on poetry, with stylistically diverse and engaging representation. Two poets no doubt familiar to many contribute work from and about our region. Fans of Orange County: A Literary Field Guide (co-edited by Tonkovich and Alvarez) will know the work of Lorene Delany-Ullman and Linda Thomas. I am so pleased they’ve shared recent work, featuring engagement with the natural world. Jax NTP and Erik Rangno offer formally exciting and innovative poems. Jax’s introductory poem, with the defining line, “…how do you achieve a full body completion when the sky is crying spring…” serves as credo and guide to their innovative work. Erik’s darkly beautiful prose poem is, he tells me, “set at the In-N-Out/Vagabond Inn parking lot in Costa Mesa.”  

Writer and illustrator Nathan Cayanan offers an affirming and artful take on struggle and resilience from the AAPI community, lately subject to increased racist and xenophobic attack. We’d love to see a big poster of this piece.

Short story writer (and our managing editor) Jaime Campbell constructs a gorgeous piece with political and cultural resonances in which she explores a young woman’s decisions about her own desires, choice, and responsibility. Set in Mexico and rural Modjeska Canyon, the story’s conclusion is vivid, ironic and redemptive. 

Los Angeles Times “Orange County” section writer Gabriel San Román considers the enduring legacy of Palestinian activist Alex Odeh, assassinated in Santa Ana in 1985. For over a decade San Román has followed the unsolved case, here connecting Odeh’s human rights work to his scholarship via Odeh’s Cal State Fullerton master’s thesis and a mysterious addendum.

Award-winning nonfiction writer and Chapman University professor Tom Zoellner considers the challenges of democratic --- and patriotic --- engagement in academia using the bizarre case study of Trump legal guru and Chapman Law professor John Eastman. Zoellner, an acclaimed journalist and politics editor at the Los Angeles Review of Books, was instrumental in founding a Chapman University chapter of the American Association of University Professors in response to l’affaire Eastman.


Tustin writer Eugene Ipavec shares portions of his unlikely Ukraine travel diary by way of his own emigree experience and reading Joseph Conrad. He reported on his journey to Citric Acid just hours after an attack on the city of Vinnytsia, through which he’d travelled via train only the day before, on his way to Kyiv. 

Your favorite editor and self-taught virtual docent guides readers through an appreciation of one particular artwork produced by this journal’s patron saint, with further elaboration on the life of activist, writer, artist, and teacher Peter Carr. I invite your interest (or only test your patience) with asides, biographical details, and plenty of speculation, all toward soliciting support for my campaign to find a permanent home for the collected works of one of Orange County’s best if today largely forgotten cultural workers.


And, once again, our in-house political cartoonist Grant Hoskins offers confirmation of the perverse ironies we are forced to acknowledge, challenge, and laugh at so that we do not only stew, weep, or scream. Thanks for reading. All for now. And now for all!

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