by Andrew Tonkovich
Welcome to our first issue of the new(ish) year. We’ve at last answered the question of how a quarterly journal launched in January actually marks the publication calendar. So, March, June, September and late November or early December. For now, anyway. Don’t hold us to it.
In this issue, four more poems from Patty Seyburn, one from OC poet laureate Natalie Graham, and work from a new friend of Citric Acid, poet Danielle Hanson. Natalie Garth, a longtime Silverado resident, shares an amazing memoir piece on learning social justice early in life, through time spent with civil rights and entertainment icon Eartha Kitt.
Gabriel San Román , who you read frequently in the pages (often on the front pages!) of the Los Angeles Times, delivers three episodes from his OC racism memoir. Elaine Lewinnek, American Studies professor and co-editor of our favorite revisionist history tour guide of Orange County, explores civic life at the supermarket.
One of her CSU Fullerton grad students, Shannon Anderson curates some of the work she’s done work promoting the groundbreaking A People’s Guide to Orange County in posts composed by way of must-visit tour stops on a revisionist history journey.
We’re revisioning, and revisiting further, and celebrating in this issue, too. First, in a reprint of a defining piece from the singularly inspiring Fullerton Observer, in appreciation of and delight at the power of independent community-supported and community-run local media. Subscribe to this remarkable hometown newspaper and get it mailed to your home twice monthly. Thanks to editor Saskia Kennedy, who in this article from late last year took on for-profit reactionary charter school hucksters and, of course, won…the argument if not (yet) the battle. Do people read newspapers? They do, and sometimes attack them, often to be politely corrected with facts, reporting, and history.
By way of inviting you to the return, in person, of our favorite civic action gathering, I share a commentary I wrote for the Los Angeles Times in 2004, which might persuade you to come out on Saturday, May 6 for the revived 2023 Great American Write-In, sponsored by the coolest civics education and activism group ever, Women For: Orange County.
Back from COVID, it’s the 35th annual Write-In, held at the Delhi Center in Santa Ana, free, with coffee and breakfast treats, and the opportunity to visit tables staffed by dozens of community interest, advocacy, political and social services organizations, and read their materials and then sit down and write a few dozen targeted letters. By the end of the day Women For: Orange County will stamp and mail thousands directly to the city, county, state or federal elected official or
administrator who needs to hear from us, whether on reproductive rights, LGBTQ support, education reform, anti-racist legislation, ecological and environmental justice, labor or civil rights or land use or health care or…Read more from Felicity Figueroa, community organizer and Chair of the event.
Michelle Latiolais introduces, elegantly and thoughtfully, the collaborative poetry and photography collection Saved: Objects of the Dead from Lorene Delany-Ullman and Jody Servon, featured in our previous issue. And, yes, we’re especially proud to present fiction from local literary hero James Blaylock, a legendary writer, who shares a short story with Orange County roots.
There’s more fiction, of the darkly satirical variety (what else?), from an obscure writer who --- like everybody lately --- admires Ursula Le Guin.
We hope you like the images we’ve dropped in here, a worldview in photos taken lately in OC, including a canyon resident searching for the lost gold on Juan Flores Peak using the ice plate viewfinder formed in her bird feeder after freezing temps.
Also, our favorite recent God-promise, this one down the block from Arvida Books in Tustin, where local writer Lisa Cupolo (Have Mercy on Us) read to an enthusiastic crowd.
Oh, and look, there’s Santa Ana poet Gustavo Hernandez (Flower Grand First) at a recent reading at LibroMobile where he took the stage with homegrown Santa Ana poet Rachel McKibbens (blud) last month.
Best, and perhaps most heartening, photos of the self-enlisted crew of “Kelly’s Army,” volunteers who maintain the bespoke memorial at the Fullerton Transportation Hub dedicated to Kelly Thomas, murdered by Fullerton P.D. Each time it’s torn down or defaced, these good folks show up to reassemble, weatherize and rededicate.
Thanks for reading, subscribing, and donating, please. All for now. And now, for all!