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Out in the Bay

In 'Spell Heaven,' find solace by the sea

Pacifica Municipal Pier at sunset
Toni Mirosevich
Pacifica Municipal Pier at sunset

How do we find human connection and meaning? An author and poet finds peers on the Pacifica Pier.

On this week’s Out in the Bay, Toni Mirosevich reads from her new book, Spell Heaven and other stories. In Spell Heaven, a lesbian couple moves to a coastal town and unexpectedly finds a sense of belonging with a group of outsiders. The collection, set in “Seaview,” reflects on finding meaning and connection in an increasingly isolated world.

Seaview is a name Mirosevich dreamt up for the real town of Pacifica, where she lives, just down the coast from San Francisco, and Spell Heaven mirrors her actual life. The book’s narrator, like her, is a retired creative writing professor looking for meaning.

“I saw a sign on a post down by the sea one day. It said ‘I’ve lost something. I don’t know what it is. Can you help me find it?’

“And I thought, that’s very true to who this narrator is,” Mirosevich says. Like many of us, especially in this COVID era, “she’s lost some kind of meaning, some kind of connection.” Her stories show how dropping presumptions about others, and making friends out of strangers - getting “in with the out crowd” - can rebuild connection.

Pacifica held its first-ever Pride Parade June 4. “It was so joyous,” says Mirosevich, and a big change from when she moved there three decades ago. “All along Palmetto, one of the main streets, someone had chalked at every crosswalk in the sidewalk ‘Love Wins.’”

Out in the Bay Queer Radio+Podcast is a beneficiary of Give OUT Day, a Pride Month fundraiser for LGBTQ non-profits. Giving via Give OUT Day by June 30 helps Out in the Bay earn bonuses based on the number of donors. Even $10 can help us keep airing and podcasting LGBTQ voices. More info at OutintheBay.org.

This episode was edited by Christopher J Beale.

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Eric Jansen is a long-time broadcaster and print journalist. A former news anchor, producer and reporter at KQED FM, San Francisco; KLIV AM, San Jose; and Minnesota Public Radio, Eric's award-winning reports have been heard on many NPR programs and PRI's Marketplace. His print work has been in The Mercury News, The Business Journal, and LGBTQ magazines Genre and The Advocate, among other publications. He co-produced the June 2007 PBS documentary Why We Sing!, about LGBTQ choruses and their role in the civil rights fight.