Almost a year ago to the tee, following a recommendation from a friend, I got my hands on a little book called City of Quartz by Mike Davis.
It felt like a brilliant discovery, since as early as the book’s first pages, one thing was clear: whether in discussing the international interests of downtown L.A.’s skyscrapers, or in recounting “township rebellion” through the streets of South Central, author Mike Davis was someone who cared about Los Angeles.
In turn, I went through a few of Quartz’s chapters on the site, and had a blast analyzing the roots of The City in response to the author’s perspectives on it.
But then, something happened.
It was a great but unpredictable time for me. On the one hand, I was having a lot of fun earning a little bit of money from freelance writing and photography, not to mention time with The Plus Me Project and The Beautiful Gate, but on the other hand, it wasn’t enough.
It’d been just a year since I graduated from college, and though JIMBO TIMES had taken me to Miami, when I got back from the trip I could see that if I wanted to keep going places, I’d have to make some sacrifices.
I then did what so many of my peers did before me, as our families did before us: I found myself a job, earned a little bit of pay, and called it a day.
It was good: I could finally help mom out at home on a more sustainable level, and I could also just help myself with anything from gas money to a new memory card for my camera.
But it was also tough: while I could see my time in the service industry with Starbucks as something honorable and even brilliant, I also felt that it was a real digression from my interests in work for youth, education, and of course, writing!
Work with the company was also exhausting; standing on my feet for so many hours of the day made it so that when I got home I found myself too worn out to keep my eyes up through a book as dense as Mike Davis’s Quartz.
I had to let it go. And let it go I did.
I told myself I’d get back to the book and the rest of J.T. soon enough, but then the days passed, and then some other projects came up, and then:
From one week to the next, I got wrapped up in the cha-ching noise, numbers, and the framework of it all; even if I wasn’t earning much, there was this rhythm to it– and, who am I kidding–it was a matter of getting some milk and bread.
But even if it was all well and fine to work and work hard at that, it also took critical time from The L.A. Storyteller, and that I wouldn’t just let go.
In response, in January of this year I made some changes to my schedule to regain some time I’d lost with J.T. Moreover, I was chosen for a special project with the Inside Out Writers, and just like that: my framework expanded.
Contrary to a silent skepticism, then, J.T. was still growing after all; new seeds were being planted, and earlier seeds were blooming, at last.
But there was still more: more I needed to give to JIMBO TIMES, and more which I needed to get back to for the pages…like City of Quartz, L.A. Stories, and other extensions of the site not just for me personally, but for the kids.
On seeing this, I realized that I had to make some sacrifices again, but this time in the other direction;
I had to get back to myself.
And so I do.
Tonight it’s a bittersweet pleasure to announce that I’m finished with Starbucks at the end of July, and that my project with the Inside Out Writers has grown into a precious part-time position with the organization.
It’s also a pleasure to announce that I’ll be picking up where I left off with City of Quartz over the next few weeks. The thing is, these pages are dedicated to The People of The City, and critical literature by those before us plays an integral part in just how the pages continue to form. I can’t just let this go, even when I do let it go.
As such, it’s about to get literary again, and so I hope The People are ready.
There’s too much going on in the world for us to neglect our voice in it. Plus, studies show that many of the kids from the neighborhood start to slump or fall behind on their education during summertime. But nah’, we choose to make the opposite true: this summer is now officially dedicated to reading, writing, and more work to uplift The People of L.A.
With more soon,