This is what’s exciting about people taking notice of the “underground,” of the poets and artists who are part of “a living, historically rooted literary scene” – it’s happening in a world where technology seems to be leading toward the end of books. And instead of giving up on the written word, letting independent bookstores fall and burying poetry in its grave, folks like Charles Kruger are finding new life in an artistic life. Recently I’ve gone to events like Quiet Lightning’s Neighborhood Heroes v.2, featuring local heroes, people you can run across in the Mission, for example, like Charlie Getter, who you’ll find on Thursday nights running the Corner on 16th and Mission, and Alia Volz, who hosts Literary Death Match at the Elbo Room.
Events like these can be opportunities for a range of artists. Folks like me – I’ve been writing creatively since I was six years old, all the while trying to find a sensible career to focus on (yes, even at six years old. I chose veterinarian. This was before I learned that I faint at the sight of blood). Still, writing was my focus during college, and now that I’ve accepted that this writing bug won’t ever leave me and committed to sharing my work with others, I find the Bay Area brimming with warm, welcoming spaces to do so. But that’s just my story. There are many others.
I’m always intrigued by the influence of history, so I’m drawn to this idea from the NYT article of living history. Okay, so the exact phrasing was “living, historically rooted literary scene,” not quite living history, but what does it mean for us to be living and creating today within the space and under the influence of those who are a part of history? We’re using the same letters as those who came before us. Are we using the same words?
Are they still speaking?