Clean Air Day brings spotlight to air quality in Barrio Logan
S1: Advocates are using California Clean Air Day to fight noxious odors in Barrio Logan.
S2: They're horrible. They're putrid. It makes it hard for residents to open their windows. They are getting sick.
S1: I'm Andrew Bowen with Jade Hindman. This is KPBS midday edition. A new museum tells the radical story of how activists created Chicano Park.
S2: I think it's a place where they can now think about where their history is being told.
S1: An update on the suspension of passenger rail service between San Diego and Orange Counties and the campaign to decriminalize jaywalking in California. Not just a win. Yeah , kind of. That's ahead on KPBS Midday Edition. Today is the fifth annual Clean Air Day in California. It's a project that asks everyone in the state to do their part to improve air quality and protect public health. Clean air is central to the mission of the San Diego nonprofit Environmental Health Coalition year round. Today , the organization is launching a petition asking the San Diego Air Pollution Control District to stop the company New Leaf biofuel from producing hazardous odours that it says are making nearby residents sick. The company , based in Barrio Logan , turns recycled cooking oil into biodiesel. Joining me now to talk more about this is Environmental Health Coalition executive director Diane Ptak of Oregon. Diane , welcome.
S2: Thank you , Andrew. Happy to be with you this morning.
S1: Tell me more about this petition.
S2: But also because Barrio Logan has mixed use zoning , which allows residents and homes to be right next to industrial facilities , and in this case , new leaf biofuel , as you describe. Produces biodiesel fuel right across the street from homes. And there are single family homes. There are apartments. There's a senior apartment complex. And all of them have been suffering because the odors that emanate from the biofuel manufacturing process are really awful. They're horrible , they're putrid. It makes it hard for residents to open their windows. They are getting sick , nauseous as a result of smelling the odor. And so they've been complaining for a long time. And the Air pollution control district has gone out and investigated. They've done multiple inspections and investigations , and they have issued multiple violations to them. And because the company has not complied , they've now announced that they will seek an abatement order for them to stop producing that odor and to mitigate , to do whatever they have to do to stop producing that order odor that's going to go before the San Diego Air Pollution Control District Hearing Board on October 27th.
S1: One of the things that this petition says is that this type of thing would never happen on Coronado or Del Mar. Explain what you mean by that and why you think it's happening in Barrio Logan.
S2: There's only a couple of places in the county where the cities or the municipal government allow what we call mixed use zoning , which allows homes and schools to be right next to industrial facilities. And Barrio Logan is one of those places. There is none of that kind of zoning in Del Mar and Coronado and La Hoya , even in Hillcrest or North Park. We have it only in places like Barrio Logan and Western National City , which is really discriminatory. We are in a low income communities of color and we find that this kind of zoning occurs in many of those kinds of communities across the state. And what that means is there is a clear disrespect for the community members that are living there , raising their families there , for the children that are playing in outside , walking to school because they're having to navigate heavy duty trucks driving on their streets. They're having to breathe in polluted air that's right next door to their home. And this has created an asthma rate that is up to five times more than that of La Hoya. And so we're trying to stop that kind of discrimination and that kind of public health assault from continuing to occur.
S2: And then in the same block as new leaf biofuel are to warehouses that bring in a variety of products. There are heavy duty trucks that are parked and idling on the street again , right next to all of these senior apartments and single family homes. They're parked there all day long waiting to pick up product or to drop off product. So we have the same thing happening on the on the exact same street. And the community of Barrio Logan is right next to the port of San Diego's 10th Avenue terminal. There's about 6000 trucks per month that come in and out of the 10th Avenue terminal right through the community , carrying all kinds of products that come from the 10th Avenue terminal , from cement to bananas to pineapples to military equipment. And these trucks are spewing diesel pollution , particulate matter , which is really harmful for our lungs and particularly for children. They have developing bodies , developing respiratory systems. And these particles are very , very small. They're called PM 2.5 and they can lodge in your lungs and be very difficult to extract. So they they can cause lung disease from asthma to other dangerous respiratory diseases.
S1: It's been almost a year since San Diego updated the Barrio Logan Community Plan. And wasn't that supposed to address these issues of industrial and residential areas mixing and causing all these problems for the environment and for public health ? Yes.
S2: So last year , last December , the Barrio Logan Community Plan Update , which is the oldest in the city of San Diego , over 40 years old , was approved by the San Diego City Council. The plan calls for no more mixed use zoning. It would not allow industries like new leaf biofuel or these warehouses to be located next to homes and schools. However , any of those kinds of industries that are existing are grandfathered in , so they will continue to be there and will need to do these kinds of mitigations to make them as safe and clean as possible. While this mixed use zoning continues to exist.
S1: I've been speaking with Environmental Health Coalition executive director Diane Ptak for again. And Diane , thank you so much for joining us.
S2: Thank you for covering this. And I hope everyone participates in the Clean Air Day activities today. Thank you.
S3: And staying in Barrio Logan. After years of planning and anticipation from the community , the Chicano Park Museum and Cultural Center will host its grand opening this weekend. The new center represents the completion of a year long vision after the San Diego City Council granted a 20 year lease for the property in 2018. Joining me now with more on the museum's opening is Jose Tallman , Taz , historian , co-founder of Chicano Park and member of the Chicano Park Steering Committee. Jose , welcome back to the program.
S2: Oh , it's great to be back , Jay. Thank you for inviting me.
S2: I just happened to be the surrogate.
S3: I mean , when you last spoke on the show , the lease for this property had just been granted.
S2: We're still working through a lot of details. And yes , it is a grand opening , but in many ways , it's somewhat it's somewhat of a soft opening , if you will. We still have much to go. We're still working on the facade of the building. So we think by next year we'll look even more beautiful than we currently look. But we're very , very excited. The board is just tickled pink , ready to open , ready to bring in the community and welcome them.
S3: Mm hmm. Going back to 2018 , the city council vote to grant the lease for this museum was unanimously in favor.
S2: Do you feel.
S2: We've been working very closely with our city councilwoman , Vivian Moreno. She's been very supportive. I'm on the advisory board to Mayor Todd Gloria. He's been very supportive and Rivera has been very supportive. Raul Campanella. All of them have been very , very supportive of this effort. And we're looking forward to the opening.
S2: They can look to it for learning perhaps new opportunities in the science fields as we develop that component more. I would say that the exhibition space will give them opportunities to learn about our communities throughout the Southwest , along the border lines. I think that for the most part , we're also expanding our footprint in a sense that we will be going electric within the next year and a half. We were granted an award to create a shuttle through Barrio Logan Shell Town , and so some parts of southeast Logan Heights with a shuttle and electric shuttle that will work for the elders and for the youth. So we're very excited.
S3: And , you know , the area is rich with history.
S2: So the history is rich. We were demonized to a certain extent by the entrance of Interstate five and the California 75 San Diego Coronado Bay Bridge because it destroyed more than three fourths of our community. We lost at least 15,000 residents or more through eminent domain , and we've been spread throughout the area. And prior to that , due to redlining , we were in many ways we were segregated to Logan Heights. So we were very close when the disbursement happened. Many community members went to the surrounding areas but have come back because this was this was home base and they're very excited. We hosted a recent pre Melrose dinner for those people that really stood up and supported us before we actually even had the facility. And it was just filled with love and interaction and historical stories that they were sharing with one another. So I think everybody's very , very eager to open this facility.
S2: So there are stories of the Chicano Park Steering Committee , the Central Cultural de La Raza , the Brown Berets Dance Stick Dance of Folkloric Stories of Our Lady of Guadalupe , Stories of the Lowrider Council of San Diego. Stories of the Next Generation. The Aslan Youth Brigade. Stories of Music in our Community. Stories of Union. Little Barrio with the political organization standing up for issues that pertain to our communities. So it's going to be an exciting opening.
S3: And as you mentioned , the new museum will primarily focus on the history of Chicano Park and its importance to the Barrio Logan community. But the neighborhood still faces a number of challenges today , such as some of the most polluted air in the state and the health consequences that go along with that.
S2: We were successful in obtaining support from Supervisor Vargas's office to begin partnerships in the community to bring in an electric shuttle that will help elders go to their medical appointments or to catch the trolley or the youth to come to the museum or to travel throughout the local area of Logan Heights , Barrio Logan Town in this area , so that it mitigates the air pollution that we face living in this community. The focus of the museum is art history and science of Chicano , Mexicano , Latino and indigenous communities along the Borderland. So it's broader than just Barrio Logan and of course , our partnership with the Environmental Health Coalition. We will , in the next couple of months be hosting an environmental social exhibition on our partnership with the Turning Wheel as part of Ucsd's ethnic studies and really focus on a lot of the pollution and issues that this community faces on a daily basis.
S3: All right. Well , Josie , congratulations to you on getting the museum off the ground.
S2: Thank you. Look forward to talking to you more as we evolve.
S3: I've been speaking with Josie Taylor Montez , a co-founder of Chicano Park and member of the Chicano Park Steering Committee. And , Josie , thank you again.
S2: Have a good day , too.
S3: You're listening to KPBS midday edition. I'm Jade Hindman with Andrew Bone. Maureen CAVANAUGH is off. Rock and soil are shifting underneath sliding train tracks that run along the coast. So much so that portions are now shut down for emergency repairs. On Monday , the California Transportation Commission approved an emergency plan to fix the tracks connecting San Diego and Orange counties that have been closed since Friday. The closure in San Clemente is the latest setback for San Diego's only train line connecting the rest of the country. I'm joined now by KPBS North County reporter Tanya Thorn , who's been covering this story. And Tanya , welcome back to Midday Edition.
S4: Thanks for having me , Jane.
S3: So the main closure is in San Clemente , but the impact is far reaching.
S4: Well , like you said , the train tracks that are impacted are the lines that connect north San Diego County with Orange County , and that's mainly from Oceanside up to Irvine. But the problem specifically is in San Clemente , near the San Clemente Pier station. So that has caused the Metrolink and Amtrak trains from operating at the moment. So if anyone has tickets or plan to take those trains up north , I would definitely set aside some extra time for travel.
S3: So can you tell us about the plan to repair the tracks ? Yeah.
S4: So repairs did get approved. Service got suspended on Friday. And on Monday , the California Transportation Commission held a meeting that deemed the situation an emergency and allocated funds right away to repair the problem. They're estimating the work at $12 million and it's going to start right away and continue until next year. But phase one should be complete by next month. So officials are expecting hoping that the train service will reopen by early to mid-November. But , you know , those days may change.
S4: He said that it is the second busiest passenger rail corridor in the country , that there's more than 70 freight trains per day and some areas , more than 150 passenger trains in that area. So , you know , it is a it is a busy rail line. And he also noted that something people aren't really aware of are that this is a designated national defense rail corridor. So it's definitely relied upon a lot here in our area.
S4: It won't be the fastest , but officials are offering bus alternatives. So a shuttle that pretty much connects travelers onto the next available train or mode of transportation. So I know I went to the oceanside train station yesterday and some of the travelers are waiting for their bus to take them and shuttle them over to Irvine. So some people weren't very happy because they said , you know , the the timing for these buses isn't always the most convenient. So I know one traveler had been waiting there for 4 hours. She was expecting to be back home in Santa Barbara around lunchtime. And because of this delay , wasn't going to be home until 6:00. So it's a big delay. So definitely plan ahead.
S3: And the closure was at least part blamed on the recent storms in the area.
S4: You know , we've heard about the bluffs there collapsing. There's been incidents. There's been deaths even from people that are sunbathing below those cliffs. So , you know , this whole area right where it's on the coast , it's near the beach , it's crumbling and the weather is something that we can't control. So I think this has been something that has been making headlines for years now. And alternatives are definitely being examined and looked at. But it is something that is definitely urging officials to make some change on.
S3: These repairs that were announced on Monday are meant to get the train lines up and running quickly , really within the next month or two. But are there more long term fixes that transportation officials are considering ? Yeah.
S4: So the anchors that are going into the cliff sites restore the immediate integrity of the court or. But like I said , we we have no control over the weather or the ocean that is constantly intruding into their rail lines. So long term alternatives and protections are needed and need to be developed. I know one alternative that we've heard so much about is relocating the coastal rail lines inland , possibly underground. But I think this situation specifically brings up the question of when and how far up north are we going to be moving the rail lines and the money. Right. Throwing more money at a temporary solution when a more permanent one is needed.
S3: All right. I've been speaking with KPBS North County reporter Tanya Thorne. Tanya , thank you very much for joining us.
S4: Thank you , Dave.
S1: Starting next year , jaywalking is less likely to get you a ticket. And California Governor Gavin Newsom last week signed the Freedom to Walk Act , which limits the enforcement of jaywalking laws to situations where crossing the street poses an immediate danger. Newsom vetoed an earlier version of this bill last year. So what changed his mind ? Joining me to help explain is Ryan Fonseka , transportation and mobility editor for KPCC. And last. Ryan , welcome. Yeah.
S2: Yeah. Hi , Andrew. Thanks for having me.
S1: So there were several news stories in recent days that claimed California had legalized jaywalking.
S2: So this doesn't actually change anything about the vehicle code or pedestrian code as far as , you know , entering a street outside of a crosswalk or against the light is still illegal. All this really does this bill is changed the way that police officers are supposed to react to that basically and direct them to only stop and people if , as you said , there's an immediate danger of a collision. So that's the really only the clarity that we get doesn't actually change anything about the law.
S1: When Governor Gavin Newsom vetoed an earlier version of this bill last year , he said he worried that making jaywalking legal would encourage unsafe pedestrian behavior.
S2: I didn't see if he made any specific remarks as far as finding out that this was a sign. It was kind of one of the very last bills that he signed through the session on September 30th. So just sort of part of a wider press release that kind of just mentioned all the bills he had signed. So I know in last year's veto letter that he wrote , he basically voiced concerns that decriminalizing it straight up would make streets less safe. So that was sort of his rationale last year. And I think the thing that really changed was leaving the discretion to police officers and not actually changing anything that legally takes any protections away from pedestrians and still keeps so-called jaywalking and the legal action.
S1: Jaywalking has been criminalized for about a century.
S2: People were walking , biking , riding horses , children were playing in the streets. It was really a public space. But when the personal automobile arrived on the scene and became something that was attainable by the masses , you know , streets became really dangerous. People in cars didn't quite have , you know , regulations and rules in place. And so early drivers in those in the early 1900s were killing a lot of pedestrians and a lot of children specifically. So one thing that the automakers kind of decided to do as a way to limit the bad press , because at this time , you know , a lot of the newspapers and media at that time were really , you know , blaming the drivers , blaming the car companies for basically allowing these dangerous vehicles into the streets that were killing so many people. So one thing that the automakers did was really try to shift the blame. So jaywalking became the term they used just sort of a slang term for like kind of a country bumpkin , sort of like an out-of-towner that , you know , isn't familiar with the city and , you know , doesn't know how to act. So it became sort of a way to disparage and shame people for walking in the streets. And that sort of is sort of the origin of that term that kind of morphed into taking that shame and actually making , you know , the behavior itself illegal. So early. Automakers and their interest groups funded research and traffic studies and experts that would sort of push for those those sort of changes in the vehicle code in cities. L.A. was sort of the template for this , actually , the way that it changed its sort of vehicle code and pedestrian rules. And then that became sort of the template that other cities use and it sort of spread from there. And now we have sort of the idea of of jaywalking that we have today.
S1: A major motivation behind this law were racial disparities in jaywalking enforcement. And in pretty much every city in California , blacks are overrepresented in jaywalking citations. You spoke with some racial justice activists about this bill that was just signed.
S2: I'm sure your own reporting in San Diego could point to this to that that police are disproportionately citing black pedestrians for jaywalking compared to other racial groups. And so , yeah , the people I talked to really are concerned that this really doesn't go far enough. The Freedom to Walk Act that Newsom signed because it still leaves that discretion of who and when to stop people for jaywalking up to police officers. And so when one person I spoke to was basically saying that. Discretion has never been a strong point and has never sort of been something that works well for black and brown communities.
S1: There's another equity issue beneath the surface here , and that's related to pedestrian infrastructure. So how do things like crosswalks or traffic calming measures impact the prevalence of jaywalking in a given neighborhood ? Right.
S2: Yeah. And we've seen that basically in in Los Angeles where I report is that more of these tickets are being written in communities that have kind of fewer resources for protected crossings , lighting , mid-block crosswalks , sort of if you sort of overlay those two data points , you can see that the places that need sort of the most investment and improvements in streets and more crosswalks for people are the places where police are citing more people for jaywalking. So , you know , a lot of the advocates I talked to say really the underlying issue is that we need more investment in , you know , safer streets , protected crossings , left turn arrows and anything that sort of will help pedestrians get around the streets safer and feel more , I guess , security in that. Of course , you know , a crosswalk on an intersection isn't necessarily always going to be a safe place to cross. You know , I've written plenty about , you know , the way that drivers operate at intersections and , you know , kind of make a quick right turn into crosswalks or make a left turn across the intersection into a crosswalk and how that can be dangerous and very deadly for pedestrians. So I think that's sort of the main issue , is that none of this really guarantees any safety for pedestrians. So what safety advocates argue cities should be doing more of is putting more crosswalks in place where they're seeing more people , you know , jaywalk or walk outside of a crosswalk , you know , high visibility , pedestrian beacons , things like that that actually will sort of signal to drivers that there are other people in the road and they should share it. That's sort of the thing that , you know , a lot of cities and advocates are pushing for to sort of make streets more walkable.
S1: I've been speaking with Ryan Fonseca , who covers transportation and mobility for KPCC and LAist. Ryan , thanks for joining us.
S2: Thank you.
S3: San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance researchers are celebrating their first successful breeding of an endangered Indian narrow headed softshell turtle. The hatchlings are the product of an effort that began more than 20 years ago. KPBS environment reporter Eric Anderson has details.
S5: So this is the turtle habitat. You have a number of different turtles here. Correct.
S4: Correct. So this is basically it's a replica of what you might encounter in Asia , in the Indian subcontinent in particular. A lot of these turtles.
S5: Jim Gray is a longtime herpetologist at the San Diego Zoo , and she's standing next to the habitat that's home to three Indian softshell turtles , two females and a male.
S4: The mother of some of the offspring we have is actually in the sandy pool area there. She's hidden underneath all of that sand. She's using the camouflage to help hide her.
S5: And she's. Big.
S4: She's very big. So you can see when you're actually down there next to them , you get it's quite impressive. But she's about two and a half feet by about three and a half feet.
S5: The Softshell turtles can top £400 when fully grown. She's hiding in sand , waiting for prey to swim by. When that happens , she shoots out her long neck , snatching and swallowing her meal.
S4: This habitat area was designed actually with this species in mind. So we had just acquired them at the time. We were doing some construction and we actually designed it with the sandy beaches and everything with the species we selected for this habitat , with them thinking in the future , we didn't know when , but our goal was that they would breed one day and we didn't know it would take so long.
S5: But we're happy a long time indeed. She's waited more than 20 years for the turtles to breed time enough to raise two teenage daughters.
S4: Just waiting and hoping you can anticipate it and you hope for the best , but you're always pleasantly surprised for sure.
S5: The magic finally happened this summer. Keepers found a clutch of eggs in a crude nest on their habitats beach. Eventually , they isolated 11 eggs to incubate. And then the surprise 30 more hatched from a hidden nest in the habitat. 41 turtles eventually wriggled out of their shells. More than two decades after Gray first hoped the soft shell turtles would start breeding.
S2: Oh , yeah. I got a text and we were celebrating and except.
S4: More was like six in the morning or something. And we were all texting each other. We were all excited. Yeah.
S6: This was a a hatchling , narrow headed softshell turtle.
S5: Davis Provan is a senior wildlife care specialist charged with raising the hatchlings in an off exhibit area. The turtles are about two inches long and eager to find high ground. Yeah.
S6: Yeah. So for the first month or so , they seem pretty determined to come up on land and possibly vast and not entirely sure. And then after that point , they'll stay in the water and they'll stay buried under the sand as ambush predators and wait for small invertebrates to come by for them to pick off. So we have these little I think they're black worms in the water for them , for them to learn how to eat , learn how to catch.
S5: Part of the challenge now is finding homes for the hatchlings. While they are just a few inches long now , they will get much bigger and much hungrier.
S4: Jokingly , it does have a turtle neck. It's a turtle with the turtle neck. But it certainly looks like a almost like a fabric.
S2: Like a sweater.
S4: Or turtleneck there. And again , it's deceiving. That head looks quite small , but the.
S2: Skull on.
S4: These animals is quite impressive. They have a lot of muscular attachments for that powerful shoot out of the neck.
S5: Gray says the turtles are a marker species for their river habitats where they live in Nepal and India. If the turtles are thriving , their habitats are likely healthy. She hopes the hatchlings will teach conservationists how to help that species in the wild.
S4: Last time , scientists really took all the wild data and determined what its status was was 22 years ago. And if it was endangered , then our concern is it's even worse now. So all of this information we can help share with the plan that should we need to intervene more and maybe start these head start or assurance colonies that this can help contribute to that.
S5: San Diego researchers are recording everything weight activity , diet. They hope to learn as much as they can about the hatchlings because this is the first time these turtles have bred in captivity at an accredited facility in North America. Erik Anderson , KPBS News.
S1: This is KPBS midday edition in for Maureen CAVANAUGH. I'm Andrew Bowen with Jed Hindman , local. Amy Walden is a writing instructor and the author of three books. Her latest comes out later this month. And it's a hybrid memoir , craft book and cookbook called How to Write a Novel in 20 Pies. It's about her journey to write a novel as well as a how to guide , to find the perseverance to write one yourself. And yes , there is pie. This Saturday , Walden will discuss the book at the San Diego Writers Festival at the Coronado Public Library. She spoke to KPBS arts producer and editor Julia Dixon. Evans.
S2: So is this.
S4: Know that it would also be a pie cookbook ? Yeah.
S2: No , I never thought I would write a book about how to write a book. I also never thought I would write a memoir , and I also never thought I would write a novel. So maybe the books aside for me , which I'm going to write. But now this book came to me when I was teaching actually at UCSD , and I just saw all of these students that I have been teaching for years and years and knew that they were so anxious to get a book written and wanted to know how to write it and wanted to know all the secrets. And I had been telling so many of my own stories over the years repeatedly. And it just occurred to me when I was standing up there that I could share those stories in a book. And the cookbook part came because a friend of mine asked me to do a cookbook with her , but I didn't consider myself a professional cook. And but I just had the idea of combining the two when I started thinking about , you know , what if I did write a cookbook ? And one of my great loves is , is pie. And I did also feel like it's how I survived getting through it , because the book isn't so much a how to as it is a more of an encouragement to persevere , to get all the way to the end , to get to through publishing , because it's such a long , hard road to write any book. It doesn't have to be a novel. It can be a memoir or any kind of book or anything , any big project that you're trying to get through. So it's more about the survival part , I guess. I think one of.
S4: My favorite three lines in the book is your early relationship with making pie crust or sometimes even faking a pie crust. And to me , making progress is probably as intimidating as writing a book. Can you walk us through what happened in that moment ? I believe there was a trashcan involved.
S2: Yeah , sure. My in-laws were visiting and they were very , very Americana family kind of people. And so I thought I would make chicken pot pie. And I had been trying to make pie crust. I could never get it. It always just ended up being a gloppy mess. So I gave up and I used to always tell people , Oh , you know , you know , easy as pie , that's a lie. So I always tell people that my pie crust for bad. I bought Pillsbury to the point that even when I shared recipes with people , Google would send me Pillsbury recipes because I would put Pillsbury as the recommended pie crust use. But then when these particular in-laws were visiting my ex-husband's family , I actually my sister in law asked me , How did you make your pie crust from scratch ? And I just automatically , for whatever reason , out of my mouth came. I sure did. And right as I said , that she was helping me clean the dishes from the dinner. And I heard the lid of the trash can go up. And I know she saw that red Pillsbury box sitting on the top of the trash can , but she didn't say anything because she's lighter than I am. And and I didn't say anything , but I went right out after that and bought a pleasing aunt so that I could start doing pie crust from scratch. I don't believe I have ever bought another Pillsbury pie crust since that incident , so I can always now say all my pie crust are from scratch.
S4: So there's a vulnerability in writing a book like this and laying out your mistakes and U-turns for everybody to see. And I'm wondering if this is all a part of teaching also.
S2: Oh , definitely. Like I said , that very first question you asked about about , you know , coming up with this idea was looking out at my students and realizing they want me. You know , every teacher knows that feeling of seeing this classroom of everybody just thinks you're going to give them the answers to everything. And and we're really we're just sharing what what we do now , the corner of whatever knowledge we have and mine , I really believe in , you know , learning from mistakes. And I made so many mistakes along the way and in publishing my first book and also my memoir. And I just wanted to share those. And I think some of those stories and realizing that , you know , getting up and scraping off or wiping off our , you know , scraped knees , all of that is part of the process. And so the book is really more about perseverance. You know , this you know , I always kind of impact , even with this book that's out now , that's not out yet , but almost we've had some little snafu like the shipping with covered shipping and things like that. And I keep thinking this is the glamorous life of publishing because it's you know , there's always something that you have to just keep believing and keep moving forward and not give up along the way. You know , it even took me two agents to get this book published. And people are always like , Oh , it takes so long to get an agent , why bother ? And , you know , it's about finding the right one and believing and continuing to believe , but it's hard. So I wanted the book to be something that made people have a good time. And that's my , you know , the biggest lesson of all I think I would like to teach is try to have fun along the way. This book is illustrated.
S4: Emma Wilson's art is endearing. It's funny , and it does so much more than enhance the text. There are entire pages of comic strips.
S2: We had been friends originally. We were both in the same writing group together with Janet Fitch , and he was also an art director in advertising , and he's also a pie baker. So after writing group , we often had pie together. He's also I just , you know , when I had the idea for this book and I'd written about five chapters , I had a proposal already , but I didn't have the illustrations. I sent it to him. Our senses of humor are both very sardonic. He got it. He sent me illustrations that to go with it. Said , What do you think ? Do you think this would work ? I was like , Yes , I think totally hit what I wanted in the idea. And it just kind of flowed from there. He just it was really great working with him. I learned later that actually when you have a book , usually the publisher picks the illustrator for you. So it's kind of rare that two people come together like this. But I think we just had we clicked already as friends and knew each other and came into this with the same feelings about this work. And that , I think , is what really makes a big difference. He did over 200 illustrations , which is huge. So I think perseverance , which is the whole goal of this book , is to promote perseverance. I think he definitely had to apply that as well. So yeah , it was great. It's a great relationship and a lot of work and I was just so elated to see what he came up with. It's it's kind of , you know , I always wondered what it's like to see your words is like a movie or coming to life. And I feel like it's kind of what he did with his illustrations.
S4: On Saturday , you will appear at the San Diego Writers Festival , and I imagine that book events for this book will feel a little different.
S2: What can we expect and.
S4: Will there.
S2: Be pay ? I don't think there's going to be pie as much as I would love to bring it. I'm just trying to figure out the logistics and it just didn't seem like I was going to be able to make that happen. I also think there's health department issues on that. But I yeah , this it's funny because I I've been thinking too , about how this is going to be I've been done so many book festivals over the years and this is more of a writers festival. And this book is about , you know , how to survive the writing life. And so I'm actually going to do a PowerPoint , not so much how to on specific craft issues , but more how to survive the writing life. I'm going to talk about what's inside the book and give some little snippets on how you two can make it all the way to that big celebration pie when your books arrive from the publisher and your first book event happens and hopefully make you go out and either make your own pie or there's all kinds of great pie places around San Diego or wherever you are. I can't let you go without giving as a pie recommendation.
S2: Do you guys want sweet or savory ? Let's go. Sweet , sweet pie. You know , I'm going to say the coconut cream pie. And maybe just because I'm so old fashioned that I still think when you say the word journalist , I think black and white newspaper. So I think of my coconut cream pie with the Oreo crust. And so there you get a black and white pie. And it is really , really good. And I use whipped cream for the topping and lots of coconut milk and coconut cream. And so it's actually might even be dairy free. I think it might be. I have to look at the recipe again. But I created this recipe for this book. So it's got very it's kind of like an almond joy.
S4: Amy , thank you so much.
S2: Oh , thank you , Julia. This was fun.
S1: That was Amy Warren speaking with KPBS , arts producer and editor Julia Dixon Evans. Warren is the author of the forthcoming book How to Write a Novel in 20 Pies. And she'll appear at the San Diego Writers Festival this Saturday at 3 p.m. at the Coronado Public Library. Her book launch will be October 18th at the book Catapult.