A helicopter making the rounds above East Hollywood, Los Angeles

Summer has arrived in Los Angeles, and J.T. is going to Publishing School with LARB

(Pandemic in Los Angeles: Day 96)

Our blog is officially kicking the season off with a fundraiser for yet another special program with yours truly this summer 2020. The Los Angeles Review of Books Fellowship (LARB) for entrepreneurial projects is a special opportunity rightfully fitting for Los Cuentos. Starting in July, along with a group of fellow burgeoning writers and storytellers, I’ll be work-shopping for five weeks under the guidance of the editor-in-chief at LARB to grow J.T. The L.A. Storyteller into a premier platform for working class voices in our communities as I know it needs to be.

Because if you think up to 100 blogs in a row for Pandemic in Los Angeles makes for a lot of reading, you haven’t seen anything yet, Los Angeles.

I believe in the power of words because they were once only a few words that endangered my life. Just as they were once only a few words that saved it.

Today, there are septuagenarians–or readers in their seventies–who follow Jimbo Times, and who I’m proud to count among the ranks. But there are also 13 and 14 year olds who follow the blog, who I’m inspired to think gain some perspective from its words. Most of all, there’s an array of readers in between these ranges who’ve come to count on Jimbo Times for thoughts and analysis of the always interesting times we find ourselves in.

One such friend and supporter told me to “tell those stories” from my eyes at the LARB workshops. I thought then of all the young people whose eyes have seen the depths of hardship in Los Angeles in ways that no one would wish for others. I am fortunate to be here, and fortunate to be able to make this call to the community in honor of our collective ‘eyes’, once again towards a brighter future for all in this sacred pueblo we call Los Angeles.

J.T.

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Pandemic in Los Angeles: Day 39

The week ahead will once again move quickly. Just this Monday morning I’ve got two more masks to deliver to another buyer, bringing my total to 30 masks sold for the first week with the accessories.

I’ll head out to the San Gabriel Valley for the delivery, where maybe I can pick up some dumplings afterwards, if not some milk-tea with boba, it feeling like ages since I enjoyed either. Afterwards, I’ll make my way back across to downtown Los Angeles, where I’ll pick up more plain masks from Zenon, the Oaxacan fellow whose work has supplied this whole journey with the goods.

The day from there should transpire, as it usually does, like salt in the palm of my hands. After downtown, I’ll have to decide whether or not to traverse out to Compton, to see Aaron, the brilliant screen-printer whose expertise has given our masks their rightful names; we have also discussed stickers, which it’d be wonderful to get started on.

It’s just that apart from more for Los Cuentos, I’ve also got the 16th episode of J.T. The L.A. Storyteller Podcast to edit for. The good news is that the episode has already been recorded via phone, but the other news is that for some odd reason my voice sounds completely muffled throughout, meaning I’ve got to re-record my parts so I don’t sound like I’m in a bubble.

If all goes according to schedule
, I should have the 16th episode by mid-week, keeping consistent with my two-week intervals between publication.

I’m working on making all of it more stabilized, Los Angeles, but I’ve learned that consistency is the work of miracles coming together. I’ve also learned that if I’m really going to improve on such things as schedules, it helps tremendously to learn from and collaborate with others.

To that end, it’s my pleasure to announce that I’ve been accepted to a publishing workshop this summer with none other than the Los Angeles Review of Books.

It’s been ages since I attended a summer workshop, nearly five years, to be precise, but I’ve realized that if all of my work is not just going to continue, but blossom all over the city like the Spring sunflowers, tulips and daisies prevailing over it now, then I’m going to need to learn from other professionals in the field. I’d say connecting with a group of professional publishers at LARB is an ample step in that direction then, wouldn’t you?

But now we’ve got to hit the road once again Los Angeles; the cuento continues.

J.T.

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Our Community is Getting Stronger, Este Hollywood

From the words of Dr. Mary Gallagher, President of Los Angeles City College:

“On Saturday, August 24th from 4 to 8 PM, staff from the non-credit department of LACC participated in a great local community event called Back 2 School 2, marking the second year of this event. I was able to attend and hear all of the things going on at the ‘grass roots’ level of our community. LACC was included because of the GED preparation and testing we do. We also provided information from some of our students currently attending non-credit classes. It was a fabulous event. I look forward to next year.”

Dr. Gallagher’s recognition of BTS 2 is a milestone achievement for the work to uplift more vecindades in East Hollywood and throughout Los Angeles. In the days ahead, the work to keep strengthening our community will remain challenging, but I also believe that as our special event showed this past Saturday–and last year–the promise of the work will remain bright and full of encouragement. There will be more following up on the success of BTS 2, but for now, I’d like to express my deepest thanks to each supporter, close and afar, who took a moment to contribute to this critical day for our neighborhood and families all throughout this great city.

J.T.