"We do get to meet a lot of interesting people."
Zielinski was a community college professor in the Imperial Valley who wrote for the Reader in the early 1990s.
Editor's picks of stories Zielinski wrote for the Reader:
Steve Esmedina didn’t soft-focus his lens when trained on himself either. So he invited everyone to call him Blubbo.
Steve Esmedina had the biggest head I had ever seen on a human being. He also had the biggest heart — one that became more corroded over time, leaking pain and despair. (September 20, 2001)
Once upon a time, I was a non-hippie proto-post-punk semi-amniotic undergraduate at UCSD, floundering in the concrete-and-topsoil wastes of an almost brand-new Muir College—searching for a major, a mentor, or something magic. (December 20, 1990)
Gerlach: "I am writing a poem that Ben Jonson or Keats or one of the great Chinese poets might admire. Is this an elitist view? No, it isn’t."
"I worked for the city engineering department for years, writing manuals and things — and when I got the first inkling of a poem, I’d come home and write down some ideas or the first few lines." (October 18, 1990)
It’s an empty middle-of-the-week hump night, Wednesday, two-thirty a.m. The moon is full; the uncommonly illuminated sky is azure and clear, bright as it most often is a half-hour before sunup. University Avenue looks broader. (July 5, 1990)
It’s Sunday, 2 a.m. A dark balmy night. Imperial Avenue is quiet, almost deserted, but there’s action up ahead, across from the old welfare office on 25th Street — now fenced in and vacant. (July 5, 1990)
“This town’s not getting any smaller," Gordon sighs. “We’ve got too much urban sprawl.” Dorothy cuts in. “The main problem is too many foreigners coming here. We’re just too close to the border.” (May 10, 1990)
"If I step in too often and say 'stop this' and 'don't do that,' my valuable users will go elsewhere."
Mank Larson, a San Diego writer, claims he'd be useless without a computer. "I bought this thing two years ago just for word processing. Now it's taken over my life.” (March 1, 1990)
A book on a nightstand
What books lie on teachers’ nightstands? This innocent question about reading habits and tastes has the power to befuddle, embarrass, or provoke impressive lists. Some teachers lament not having enough time or energy. (April 26, 1990)
The novel remained in a storage locker in Mission Valley, in the shadow of the Jack Schrade Bridge and mountains of gravel. My Cardiff saviors encouraged me to unearth the book, to find an agent. (October 19, 1989)