Los Angeles Does Have Writers

It was a literary smorgasbord attending Lit Fest in Pasadena, California this past weekend. Above, pictures of a panel discussion between Olga García, Daniel A. Olivas, Michael Sedano, Melinda Palacio, and René Colato Lainez, all of La Bloga, or what Michael Sedano refers to as “the world’s longest-established Chicana Chicano Latina Latino literary blog.”

Sedano kicked things off with a discussion of La Bloga’s origins, telling of how the blog first came onto the scene in the early 2000s when the web was still a nebulous space for just a handful of “bloggers,” or literary enthusiasts with webpages.

Imagine that.

What followed were engaging reflections by each author about the extent of their writings on La Bloga, and how their work on the website has also branched out into several books, publishing titles, workshops, and more throughout Los Angeles, California, and around the world.

The writers also told of travails with the written word, the continual learning or ‘updating’ process of marketing their work, and even about how Facebook has actually banned La Bloga citing its security systems, which the whole world knows are obviously impenetrable.

In other words, the discussion was a home-run for the city of Pasadena, and by extension, for Los Angeles. The event was also certainly this Chicano literary geek’s homecoming wish come true, and after gaining the panel’s permission to snap a few photos of their lively conversation, I shivered just so slightly as I told them about JIMBO TIMES: a website dedicated to Los Angeles, the pueblo, by yours truly, where the photos would be featured.

The panelists nodded and smiled with their approval, and right then and there a part of me knew that Los Angeles had again just grown by leaps and bounds before the stars.

J.T.

California, el pueblo continua

Back in the City of Davis, and it’s an enriching experience to return to its commons with more power in my step than what was true the last time I visited.

I look up at the gentle sky, just over the bright warm trees, and down below at all the people around, through each of the places for them to go, and I don’t miss a heartbeat.

I’m one with the land that I know. When this is true once, this is true indefinitely.

It’s the truth that guided me as I proceeded to order my slice of pizza at marvelous Memorial Union.

And it’s the truth that guided me as I trekked once again through the campus’ whirlwinding bike lanes, past the glorious quad, and onto the sacred arboretum pathway.

It’s the truth that reminds me, time and time again, that these are

JIMBO TIMES.

And that as such life is permeating with force no matter where I am, who I’m with, or just how I fare.

Everything is within reach.

Even if pangs of fear were once instilled through my ankles here, I walk even more now with towering love.

This body is mine. This land is my body. I can only keep growing with it.

So let us uproot, Davis.

With the highest shout out to the youth and family of SAYS 2018!

J.T.

Thank You Once Again Los Angeles

I hope the new work-week finds you all well. This is ‘J.T.’ of Cahuenga Library’s Open Mic Saturday this past weekend, taking just one more moment to thank every one of our attendants for making it out to the first ever Open Mic hour as such at the branch.

After the momentous two-hour event with everyone, it dawned on me that each of us, from the Open Mic hour cast, to our Featured Languages trio, as well as from the Friends of Cahuenga team, to the team of volunteers the day of, and from the locals who came by just because, to myself, was not just a participant in the event, but a partner in it.

In seeing one another, we completed one another, and for this reason it’s my pleasure to share the pictures below with all. There is more memorabilia which I haven’t quite gathered yet, but which I’ll also be happy to pass along once ready. For now, the pictures include the ‘build-up’ photos to the event of Cahuenga’s surrounding area, as well as a few shots of the volunteers who helped organize the space, a couple of pictures of the Open Mic hours themselves, and the final group photo. Hashtags I’ve used for these pictures include:

#Multilingual, #Tongvalands, #RanchoCahuenga, #OpenMicCahuenga, #Immigrant, #Black, #Queer, #Resilience, and #LAPL #Stories. I’ve applied these terms in an effort to have more of the ‘identities’ implied by them reflected at our local libraries. If any of you are so inclined, it’d be great to have you all grow these and any additionally inclusive tags with me.

Also included in these photos are a few pictures of the beautiful mural painted in memory of Jesse, the ‘hijo, tio, and hermano‘ of the community who attendants learned about in what I’ll remember for a long time as one of the proudest and most important moments of our event: when a long-time member of la vecindad took the courageous step of making a stand for her loved one before everyone in attendance.

Thank you, M, once again. The strength of your heart, as well as the power of your voice are exactly what keep this vecindad and others like it going all across Los Angeles. Moving forward, please consider these and other events like them yours and that of all of our pueblo’s: mamaspapas, and abuelitas included, whose strength and courage we’ve been fortunate to learn from to carry on for our own health and well being, as well as for the generations that follow: the future of Los Angeles.

As a note: also included in this thread are those peers and friends who couldn’t make it to the event but who expressed interest at one point only to find themselves committed elsewhere the day of, as well as those peers and friends who I hope to see at the next one, which is in order; after so much unity in the community for our Open Mic this past weekend, a promising success, I’ve got a feeling we’ll be seeing more Open Mics and Open Mic-like events at the library. But one step at a time.

To be sure, following Saturday one thing that’s clear is that of course our communities need more events like these. It’s going to take some work though, which is to say more organizing, and that can only be accomplished with more unity in the community, which is to say, your voices. To that end, for those interested, I will be sure to follow up regarding the next Friends of Cahuenga board meeting.

In the meantime, please enjoy the rest of National Poetry month, and for anyone who needs me to send the pictures through another medium, just let me know and I’ll be happy to do so accordingly.

Thank you once again Los Angeles,

J.T.