Saturday was unusually cold. It was supposed to be in the low to mid ’80s as high in Riverside. Instead when my parents and I arrived at the release party for Riverside City College’s literary magazine Muse, the sky was a blanket of gray and looked of rain.
We had arrived at Back to the Grind on University Avenue in downtown Riverside a few minutes before 11 am. I was there to get my copy of Muse that had published my poem “Not Enough.” I was there to read that poem, talk to whoever was their (Faculty Adviser Jo Scott-Coe, Senior Contributing Editor Maribel Bañuelos) and stare at the publication I held in my hands that had my work between its covers. (My first three publications have all been in online publications) I expected the crowd to be small since the time of the event had been moved up from 2 pm to 11 am.
The reading took place in Back to the Grind’s basement room where a small wooden stage sat pushed up against one of the walls. And yes, the crowed was small, but I didn’t care. We, the readers, even had to fight a noisy fan that nearly drowned out some of the readers. And the most impressive part of the event is when Jo Scott-Coe read the short poem “The Historian’s Nightmare” from the youngest writer published in this year’s edition of Muse: Sophie Cassarino, 13. According to her bio Sophie “lives in Durham, CT, and visits her aunt and uncle in California. She gets her dark inspiration from the Music of the Night, and enjoys horror movies and the author Edgar Allen Poe. She has parents, a brother, two rotund cats, and a resident ghost who shows no signs of leaving or doing anything dramatic anytime soon.”
Two published fiction writers were shy about read their writing aloud, in front of people, one of which was a Junior English major at UC Riverside. She had her boyfriend read the first page of her story. The other young woman did read in front of the small crowed of 15(?) people, but another person’s poem from the same issue. The Spring 2016 issue of Muse is in fact called the Centennial Issue as Riverside City College is currently celebrating its 100th year.
It was good talking to Jo Scott-Coe who taught the first nonfiction class that I had ever taken, at UC Riverside, 11 years ago. Talking about the literary community of Southern California, how the literary community in the San Gabriel Valley is starting to really take off with the annual San Gabriel Valley Poetry Festival and Mount San Antonio College’s “Writer’s Day” and “Writer’s Weekend.”
If anyone wants a copy of Muse, you order it directly from Muse themselves. One can do that through their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/RCC-MUSE-Magazine-390332564394395/?fref=ts