Tuesday, December 6, 2016

IWSG - Ghost Ship Fire - Oakland - R.I.P.


It's the first Wednesday of the month, time for Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group post! The Insecure Writer's Support Group is a safe place where we get together to share our insecurities. To join and/or learn more CLICK HERE!!!!

Inside the warehouse before the fire.


It has been a devastating weekend. An artist collective located in an Oakland warehouse was destroyed during a Golden Donna concert. It was the last 'first Friday celebration' of 2016. 

Every first Friday of the month at the warehouse most popularly known as Ghost Ship, artists got together to showcase their work and make merry. Last Friday the ship caught fire.

Ghost Ship post fire.


Like many of the 'affordable' artist work/lofts in the area, the place wasn't up to code. As a result a confirmed 36 artists and attendees lost their lives.

At first, news reporters were portraying Ghost Ship as a group of irresponsible "ravers" ruining neighborhoods, and endangering our youth. Mainstream media has since changed their tune. They are now mourning the lives of writers, musicians, visual artists, and scholars. 

As a writer soon to be out of grad school, I am devastated, not just for the artists and educators who died and for those who mourn them, but for the artists who are struggling to remain here in the Bay. This needless tragedy was in big part a result of the housing crisis. We are literally loosing our artists!

"Why can't you go live somewhere more affordable?" Residents who work in industries unrelated to the arts have asked me. 

This is where our community is! There are tech employees renting closets in my building. Pretty sure that's not legal either.

I'm insecure that because I'm a freelance writer, novelist, and academic my community doesn't see me as worthy enough to keep around.

What do you think? We've been pushed out San Francisco and into Oakland, now we're getting pushed out of the East Bay. What should we do? 

12 comments:

  1. This is truly heartbreaking and devastating. Thanks for shining light on this tragedy. It's horrible to think a community (anywhere) doesn't value artists and writers who only want to reach their dreams.

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    1. Right?! It's not what I would expect from the Bay. I'm happy to say that the community has been working hard together, and the majority of the shit throwing has been from outsiders.

      Thank you for your thoughts Chrys!

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  2. Tragic, but what a wonderful dedication post for the cause and so full of emotion. You broke and touched my heart. This song has the right idea. Put A Little Love In Your Heart.

    Give A Little Love
    Sending prayers and positive thoughts
    JunetaKey.com @ Writer's Gambit

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    1. Thank you, Juneta! So far our community has been rallying together. Thank you for your positivity.

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  3. So sad to hear this! Praying for all in involved. Hope you find a new place to display and for people to love.

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    1. Thank you Jennifer, but I fear the taking down of artist co-ops such as these is already under way. While our the Bay Area community is supporting the victims involved in this horrible tragedy, authorities will be faster to evict and displace artists living in similar conditions. Unfortunately, there is no win.
      Thank you for your positivity!

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  4. Wow, this brought tears to my eyes when I read about the lives lost. I am so sorry, Adrienne.

    I can't imagine the Bay without its vibrant community of artists. What a huge loss that would be.

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    1. Thanks, J.H! The number of artists lost in the fire is staggering. R.I.P.

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  5. I'm so sorry. There definitely is a lack of value on the arts--unless you "make it big." I don't think it's a bad thing for authorities to be evicting people from unsafe situations like this--it could save lives. But instead the focus seems like it should be on making more affordable, up to code housing for low-income families. Of course, that's more difficult done than said. It's a sad situation.

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    1. Thanks, Kelsie. Fortunately, there are some flush artists in the Bay Area who have made it big, and are doing there best to give back.

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  6. It's a disturbing story. I have to agree with Kelsie that artists aren't seen as very important in society. Hopefully something positive could come out of this, as in safety procedures being improved.

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