Friday, December 13, 2019

Will the Real Melinda Palacio Please Stand?

Melinda Palacio


With the new year comes a new type of identity nightmare thanks to the DMV's new Real ID rules. I spent Tuesday morning getting a real ID or Real Drivers License at the suggestion of friends who said it would be best to jump on board before the big deadline crunch of October 2020. I think my friends caused me to panic unnecessarily. But as I give more and more of my privacy and rights away to social media, DNA testing, and convenient ways, such as a thumbprint, to access my phone and other online accounts, I wonder if this isn't the beginning of the end. Perhaps, it's time to reread George Orwell's 1984. If you do make it to your local DMV for a REAL ID or REAL Drivers License, be prepared to bring a stack of files. They will require your passport, your social security card or other proof of your social security number, your current license or ID, an extra proof of residency such as a medical form, and they take your picture and thumbprint. The only thing they do not need at this time is a retinal scan and some spit or your DNA.

Melinda Palacio

I can only hope that a change in administration will come with the new year. However, I don't think it will be possible to go back to the days of anonymity and privacy being a right and a choice. In the meantime, books continue to offer a way for us to tell our stories.

A new journal in town, Santa Barbara Literary Journal 

There's a new outlet for stories, poems, and songs in Santa Barbara. Silver Webb is the editor of the Santa Barbara Literary Journal. La Bloga promises an interview with her in the near future, most likely after the holidays. My poem in the journal is titled ICE DETENTION, Tornillo Texas. The song I wrote and shared on La Bloga on October 4, 2019, All at the Border, is a companion piece to the new poem. Lately, I've been adding more songs to my poetry repertoire. The poem is in the 4th volume of the SB Lit Journal, "Stardust" and features a special interview with T.C. Boyle. The issue's guest poetry editor was Chella Courington. Three Santa Barbara poets were available to read their contributions. You do not have to be from Santa Barbara to send a submission. Submissions for volume 5 of the Santa Barbara Literary Journal open in March.

Chella Courington, Melinda Palacio, Silver Webb, Sojourner K. Rolle, and  Luna Vallejo-Howard

The poetry reading for the Santa Barbara Literary Journal took place last Sunday. I was happy to join in as I missed the big launch for the issue in November at the Santa Barbara Library. Eric Kelley, owner of the Book Den hosted the reading. Eric has been a supporter of the arts for over 40 years. Over the past decade, I've had the pleasure of having a few book signings at the Book Den. Eric bought the bookstore 40 years ago and has survived and outlasted six book stores in downtown Santa Barbara including: Tecolote, Borders, Barnes & Noble, The Earthling, and Granada Books who have all closed with the the exception of Tecolote Books that remains in nearby Montecito. The flagship Borders in Goleta also closed several years ago. The Book Den is an establishment that began in 1902 in Oakland. Chaucer's still remains in Loretto Plaza, near Harry's, but the Book Den is the last holdout downtown Santa Barbara.

On this Friday the 13th, support your local, independent bookstores. Cheers and Merry Christmas.

Melinda Palacio and Eric Kelley

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