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Vol. 1, No. 1


Amble seems like a reasonable pace with which to pre this first issue of the New Fillmore, although it was not, unfortunately, the pace at which it was created. “Preface” seemed a bit stuffy for what I wanted to convey here, and besides that’s my face you see up there and not my preface. Nobody sees my preface this early in the morning. So amble it is.

I got the idea for the New Fillmore in a way so many good ideas happen for so many people — over a drink in a bar. I was in the Pacific Heights Bar & Grill, talking to Ronald Hobbs, owner of Spectrum Exotic Birds and the only one of my advertisers to qualify for my authentic poet’s discount off the rate card.

The talk got around to alienation, as talk frequently does when it involves poets, and there leapt forward this notion of a neighborhood newspaper — probably not a cure for profound alienation, but at least a palliative for local alienation, if not fun besides.

It got very clear in that conversation, despite the fact that it occurred somewhere between the third and fourth glass of wine, that a neighborhood paper could increase and heighten the sense of community that is beginning to emerge here, or reemerge here, depending on your sense of historical perspective.

I have lived in this neighborhood for more than seven years and I think it is currently evolving as the best neighborhood in the city, with particular thanks to the merchants who have helped to make it that way. And yet, as long as I’ve lived here, I realize that I’ve known only a very few people well enough to feel comfortable saying hello when I run into them on the street.

A neighborhood newspaper can develop our awareness of each other and increase our sense of belonging to this neighborhood. I hope the New Fillmore will provide us with a way to get to know each other a little better, both as individuals and as the larger community which we all belong to.

What about what’s happening right here, right now, right where we live? This is the only game in town — or, more accurately, in the neighborhood. Let’s keep playing it because it’s fun and we enjoy living here. It may also give us the opportunity to become better acquainted with each other.

From Volume 1, Number 1, of The New Fillmore, published in May 1986.