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POINT OF VIEW: Back on the Ranch

Sac Pride QSAC Booth

This was supposed to be Pride Weekend here in Sacramento.

A year ago we had our first two-day pride, set against the backdrop of Black Lives Matter protests that roiled the local community, both mainstream and the LGBTQ one. Like many cities around the US, we had a senseless killing of a black man by police, and relations between the police and the community were strained.

For our local writer’s group, the Queer Sacramento Authors’ Collective, Pride was a good weekend. It started off with a crazy windstorm – we had to leave our canopy down the whole first day – but we sold more books than ever before. I was so looking forward to building on that success in 2020.

Now here we are in 2020. There is no Pride, at least not in RL. Covid-19 means we have to stay socially distant. And the Black Lives Matter protests are back with a vengeance, only this time it feels like everyone is marching in the streets together, not just the black community.

My friend Angel asked how QSAC is doing this year. Truth is, we’ve been basically dormant since the virus crashed over our lives like a tsunami. We did do a reading night on FB Live a month and a half ago, which was awesome. But other than that, we’ve let it lay fallow for a couple months.

Part of this is out of sheer disappointment. June was also supposed to be our first local queer book festival, but that event, like so many others, was cancelled – a victim to this plague.

Some of our members have moved away too, to far Northern California or the Midwest, and their loss is keenly felt.

And yet we can’t let this virus take away all the great things we’ve built. As a society, we have entered a new age. The digital realm has become more central to our lives than ever – I have skype coffee with a friend in the morning, an Italian group meeting before lunch, a virtual get together to plan our upcoming Rainbow Space Magic con in the afternoon, and zoom cocktails with friends at dinner time. I attend a sci fi conference last weekend entirely online, and it was amazing.

In the face of necessity, we are learning to create a whole new world of connections in the virtual space.

So maybe it’s time – time to reach out to my local group and start to fashion something new, something more far reaching, something to pull us back together out of our individual hidey holes.

Time to free ourselves from this collective darkness and make a little light together online.

So I’ll be reaching out to my local author peeps this week, and we’ll see what kind of magic we can put together, together. Then I can answer Angel’s question more completely. 🙂

To my writer friends – how has Covid-19 and the Great Pause caused you to rethink your writing groups?

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