Back in the Closet

Where do I begin?

The last week+ has been busy, grueling, amazing, brilliant… and more. And I’m tired. The people I met on a Greyhound bus were tragic and beautiful.

  • The 72 year old woman who has been a truck driver for the last 25 years. Her last shipment was hit but a careless driver. Her trucking company refused to pay her. She was on her way to live with her daughter with nothing but her Greyhound ticket and a phone that would lose service at midnight.
  • The homeless woman that was trying to make a new start. A church bought her a bus ticket so she could get back on her feet at her brother’s house. She was afraid everyone was out to get her. Sadly, in Philly something went wrong with her ticket and she wound up getting put on another bus, I hope.
  • The tall Russian immigrant who became my best buddy for about 200 miles. He had just quit his trucking job because of an accident due to how his shipment was packed. The company tried to charge him for damages. He left in search of new horizons. We were split when our driver got ill and the riders were split up with minutes to find the next bus. I could barely understand his English. He was happy to have someone to talk to anyway.
  • The girl who just got out of jail for getting caught with an ounce of pot six months ago. She wore oversize men’s clothing the jail gave her, men’s tube socks and shower shoes. All her possessions were in a recycled box that had once held a travel size television. She was leaving the area to make fresh friends. Her cellmate was in for lighting her own baby on fire. The girl on the bus hoped she could make the nightmares go away if she went far enough.

I’m doing a lot of processing mentally. Putting together my scraps of notes, recreating the people I’ve met so I can bring them back to life and preserve them. Ragged faces staring out the window at landscapes swallowed by night…

I’m also doing a lot of processing physically. I came back with many back issues of Space and Time from the the 70s and 80s. We are processing those up now so we can make these historic publications available as digital back issues. We are wrapping up production of the audio version of the magazine. We are setting up a regular open mic event to provide a space for local talent to shine and share. I’m going back to work on the third and last part of Bitter Suites and getting ready to release Altars and Oubliettes. Normal life returns for me.

Finally, I’m processing my blessings. It was a physically taxing trip, but I was on my way to happy things. I got to spend a lot of time with my oldest daughter and her family.

I navigated New York’s busiest streets at rush hour, met up with my publishing predecessors Gordon and Hildy and had a brilliant time on Hour of the Wolf, despite a deep exhaustion that had set in by that point.

Too much partying with the grand-babies, maybe? In case you don’t live in NYC and listen to WBAI 99.5 fm, Free Speech Radio,  you can listen/download that show here. You can also watch the Facebook Live video here.

So now I’m home, buried in notes, tasks and things to do. Emails to catch up, writing assignments piled on high and a sleep debt to pay back… memories to record. I expect to be sealed in my work closet for the next full month.

About Angela Yuriko Smith

Angela Yuriko Smith is an American poet, publisher and author. Her first collection of poetry, In Favor of Pain, was nominated for an 2017 Elgin Award. Her latest novella, Bitter Suites, is a 2018 Bram Stoker Awards® Finalist. Currently, she publishes Space and Time magazine, a 53 year old publication dedicated to fantasy, horror and science fiction. For more information visit SpaceandTimeMagazine.com or AngelaYSmith.com.
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2 Responses to Back in the Closet

  1. Marge Simon says:

    Welcome home! Truckers sure get the raw end of the deal sometimes. So sorry for those two. And sad about that ounce of pot poor gal’s punishment. Obviously she was in the wrong state.

    I bet you do put these folks in stories. You plan to stay in touch with the trucker?

    REST UP and don’t get sick!

    • Too late on the don’t get sick, but I promise I heeded your advice. There was a poor boy on one of the first trips that needed to be in the hospital. His father was taking him cross country on the bus to stay with his parents because they could afford to take him to the doctor. Poor kid coughed so much, I’m sure the air was swimming with bacteria. Compared to that poor little guy, I’m fine. I wish I could stay in touch with the Russian but I don’t think we even exchanged names. Anonymous friendships…

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