An L.A. Tragedy Success + An L.A. Tragedy Failure + another story

Plus: readtime is back!

Est. Read Time: 7 Minutes. Read Time brought to you once again by the Ashburton Energy + Hair Logistics Group, in association with the Bradley Hills Bureau of Corrections.

Howdy, Sternal Journalists!

L.A. Tragedy Vol. 1 was a success!

If you’re just tuning in, I designed these shirts that said this on the front:

And this on the back:

“To staff” is Hollywood speak for getting a coveted job as a television (staff) writer. Not being staffed and therefore “trying to staff forever” is something a lot of people complain or have complained about at parties, present company absolutely included. 

So it’s a fake L.A. Tragedy [not staffing] in the front. Real one [homelessness crisis] in the back. It’s like a mullet of snarky self-righteousness. 

And it raised over $200 for Shower of Hope!!!! I originally designed it as a joke, so the fact that the shirts actually got made and provided me with money to donate to a cause I love is pretty awesome. 

I hope to do other drops to support other non-profits in the future, but will likely take a couple weeks to regroup. I’m very open to suggestions of what piece of apparel you’d like to see next!

Speaking of LA’s homelessness and housing crisis!

This week, all of the members of the Echo Park Lake unhoused encampment were evicted by City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell and hundreds of LAPD officers. O’Farrell’s office claims that everyone was offered housing and only those who refused it were being evicted, but this is mostly misleading and in some cases outright false. 

Some people are being moved into shelter or housing, which is great, especially if that person wants it. But many of the people refusing the offer of a roof aren’t doing so out of indignation. They’re doing so because the room they’re being offered might be 15 miles away in a city where they have none of the support network they have here. And I spoke to at least two unhoused people living in the park who had had no prior knowledge of this sweep, had not been offered any options.

I’m sort of exhausted by talking about it this week, but if you’re an Angeleno, I highly, highly, highly recommend reading Jamie Loftus’ piece in KnockLA, “The Fight for Echo Park Lake.”

And if you have questions/doubts/thoughts, I’m happy to chat!

Mailbag from last week!

So last week, I wrote a bit of a screed about how I thought we all (30ish healthy types) needed to pump the brakes a bit on hustling for vaccines.

I then heard an episode of the Daily where a health reporter said that if you want to jump through hoops to get a vaccine, it probably wouldn’t hurt anyone. And at least one medical professional reached out saying they didn’t think supply was such a big issue anymore. 

So maybe with those pieces of information, I wouldn’t have come out the gate so hot with calls for shame and guilt and the like. Especially because, as another reader pointed out, shame and guilt are not interchangeable. But I do still think there’s something to be said for cooling our jets just a little bit so we can make sure everyone who wants to get vaccinated is vaccinated before we start pressuring everyone to attend our—I said it last week and I’ll say it again—

ROSÉ

BARBECUES.

“Imaginary” — some flash fiction

And finally, the main event! I just finished a writing class with a very cool organization called Graver Goods. Absolutely check them out if you’re looking to crack open some creativity in the late panny. The last homework assignment was, I kid you not, “Lock yourself in a bathroom for three hours and write.” I worked on a bunch of stuff in that weird bubble of time, but this little piece of (I think?) flash fiction is probably the most complete. So enjoy it! Or at least, let it have some effect on you if you want!


Imaginary

Do you ever wonder what was whispered to you as a baby? With what sounds people filled your just-developing brain? Nonsense to be unlocked at a later date. At some signal? Like a twelve-pound Jason Bourne, only he wasn’t sure why he knew pressure points and how to reconstruct a Sig Sauer while leaping between buildings and you aren’t sure why you know how to feel charming about objectively butting into a conversation. I can’t know my grandma whispered this to me, but it’s absolutely something she would have said. She could have. I wouldn’t put it past her.

“To be full of yourself… tch, tch, tch. Why did we choose those words for such an ugly thing? To be full of self? To fill your capsule all the way to the brim! It’s a rare joy. You should appreciate it when you have it, I do. It makes me more pleasant to be around, too. I am full! Of my self! I am full of my self. No part of me is empty; no part of me is searching to be replenished. I am full. The opposite, lexically, of being full of your self is… to be empty of yourself? Full of someone else? I guess the latter might argue that being full of yourself means you can’t bring anyone else in. I disagree. I think you must be full of your self to bring another in. Or else what are you bringing them into? An empty room. You aren’t even there. You bring them into a nothing. You use them to fill your emptiness. Nonono, even if you allowed everyone to split up the work. Even if the opposite of being “full of your self” is to be full of all others, you deprive them all of the only thing you have! This you. You destroy the matter of yourself! And you matter, so you mustn’t do that. You mustn’t empty yourself of you. No, you must be full of your self. Take it all. Give it all. Fill yourself til you are full. Now, shh, shh.”

She must have never said it. But I just feel like someone told me that once. I feel like I’m someone who knows all that, but can’t have decided it myself. Someone must have told me.


(If you liked “Imaginary,” you can read the last short story I shared, “Oh my slimy sacred gunky god,” here.)

And there you have it! Another Sternal Journal. Some politics, some fashion, some literature. We (I) really have it all here at the Sternal Journal and we (I) appreciate you for stopping by. So, as a big thank you, here are some recommendations of things I’ve consumed this week!

Recommendations

Beer. El Segundo Brewing Co.’s Hammerland. Listen, I don’t dislike hazy IPAs, I just don’t think they should really count as IPAs. It’s a new style and it has taken over the beer aisle and tap lists everywhere. So I found this excellently old-fashioned west coast double IPA to incredibly refreshing on the palate and the brain. If you’re in SoCal and share my disdain for the New England “IPA,” check it out!

Podcast. My Year in Mensa. This four-part series about Jamie Loftus’ foray into Mensa, and specifically the Mensa-sponsored 4chan-esque Facebook group “Firehouse” is hilarious, insane, and has like six or seven really important things to say about human nature. Huge rec for this one. And it’s only four parts! Most podcasts are like… a lifetime commitment! You think you won’t be suckin’ on an IV drip and filling your bedpan to the brim when you’re 117, but still fumbling through your Apple podcasts to find which episode of The Daily you haven’t listened to from this week? I know I sure will. So enjoy the fleetingness of it! Jamie also wrote that Knock LA article above, and wrote for Robot Chicken. I want to be like her when I grow up.

Movie. Minari. As brilliant as I’d hoped, with way more jokes about drinking piss than I expected.

Alright, friends! Much love to all of you and have a great week!

Julian