Friday, July 21, 2006

I received my contributor's copy of Get On the Bus: An Anthology of Short and True Tales of Bus Travel today. The anthology is part of a larger exhibition that included art, film, and panel discussions, sponsored by City/Space, which seems to be a very cool organization. They conceived the exhibition as
a reconsideration of the experience, culture, and meaning of our nation's least-loved transit mode. Stigmatized as the transit of last resort-the realm of the poor, elderly, and infirm-the bus nonetheless moves millions of people every day. On the cutting edge in some cities, marginalized in others, the bus evokes a surprising range of emotions for people, planners, cities and artists. Get on the Bus will begin to illuminate the world of the bus as a ubiquitous but neglected arena of city life.

I wrote the poem that appears in the anthology--"on buses, and off"--many years ago, when bus travel was more a part of my life. I wish we had better pubic transportation in Riverside; on the rare occasion when I do take the bus now, I always seem to end up with some sort of disturbing story to tell.


Rachel said...

Gayle, this sounds like a great anthology to read. I'm definitely interested.

I love cities that have decent bus systems (or mass transit in general). Mass transit forces people of different backgrounds to face/observe each other, if only for a few moments, and that is more than enough to break down the barriers that may exist between them. Cities that have good mass transit tend to be more progressive as a result, whereas car-dependent cities (like the entire Southern California) tend to be Balkanized into isolated demographics that only have misconceptions about each other.

Isn't it sad that in SoCal, the only bus riders are pretty much the ones too poor to afford cars? And that for the Los Angeles basin, usable bus service (not great, just usable) does not extend east of El Monte?

Thanks, and I'll see if I can get my hands on a copy myself.

gayle said...

Thanks, Rachel! I agree that public transit in Southern California is very sad indeed--it definitely exposes a lot of class injustices.

I hope you'll be able to get your hands on a copy of the anthology; I'd be happy to lend it to you next time our paths cross...