Tuesday, October 06, 2020

Reading My Stuff Aloud in Plague-Time

Watching the World Pass in Plague-Time: A Reading from When the Virus Came Calling. Covid-19 Strikes America. Poetry & Prose In Real Time From the Outset, Ed. Thelma T. Reyna, Golden Foothills Press, 2020. 
Michael Sedano 

An independent, regional publisher, like Pasadena's Golden Foothills Press (link) has flexibility and responds quickly to changing times and awful events like the growth of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Society and politics failed us, the virus runs rampant little understood, greatly feared. Publisher-Editor Thelma T. Reyna recognizing the need to document and share other human voices in plague-time, issued a call for poems and prose created in plague-time. 

Writers put a name to the times, seized rampant emotions and tied them down with words so others can look at the times and emotions and know they aren't going through it alone. 

Independent, regional publishers like Golden Foothills Press don't do what big industrial-strength publishers do, and that's distribute copies of the book so people can buy them in local booksellers, chains and indies. 

Ni modo, the favorite saying of the intrepid Chicanada. Order publisher-direct and in a few days, your copy arrives. 

When the Virus Came Calling. Covid-19 Strikes America (link) is so hot off the presses, Golden Foothill's publicity machine hasn't yet whipped up to speed. The book is in print, although the order page still lists a "future" date.

A local independent bookseller hosted a Zoom reading featuring a dozen or more of the 44 writers anthologized, and La Bloga-Tuesday will share links when the reading migrates to a public forum.

My personal essay, "Watching the World Pass In Plague-Time," sprang from isolation that antedated the March lockdown, so I was an old hand at watching from the window when I no longer enjoyed the option. I described the world as it found me watching.

Among the cool parts of computers is you can have your text and hear it too. If you own the text. 

Here in print are the opening lines of the recording below. If allowed five minutes I would do five minutes. If challenged to do my best one minute, I'd enjoy working it up. For today, here's a video reading of the text as the essay appears in When The Virus Came Calling. 

I am the patient waking from being etherized upon a table. I may as well be splayed out immobile on my back, seeing shadows only, of what world there is on the other side of the curtain. My curtain is a picture window looking out at a 3-way intersection where people come and go, passing into their “the way it used to be.” Moments like these repeat themselves, but none of them will happen again.

Walkers, runners, locals, adventurous one-time visitors, all converge out there on the sidewalk and pavement to people my view. Runners with slender legs in tight pants run past, then turn around and run across my view from the other direction. A dog appears, then a leash, then a woman in a clear vinyl coat against the chill. The woman raises her right arm, bends her nose into the sobaco, gives the armpit a sniff in full stride, raises the left arm, breathes in, keeps walking. Inside, my angelito negro shouts out, "How do they smell?" 

Watching the World Pass in Plague-time from michael sedano on Vimeo.

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