Friday, August 3, 2018

A Tale of Many Californias

My current work in progress is about a lot of things - crime among them, but in my heart it’s a story about California. Being a California native, I’ve spent my entire life here with the exception of just under 6 years where I tested the waters in Virginia and Baltimore. There is a lot to love, and a lot to hate about Baltimore, and being broke in Baltimore definitely provided fodder for my crime stories - but California is where I belong, so it’s where I returned. I’m still figuring out which part of California I want to claim, but in fiction, I claim them all.

I want to capture the quiet, uber-private suburbs I live in now, and the glory and dirt of the up and coming neighborhoods in Los Angeles - those last few desperate blocks that haven’t been gentrified all to hell. I want to write a sentence that hammers home how lonely and desolate the I-5 is, no matter where you’re going or what you’re running from. I live in a California where I made memories playing in muddy ditches, hiking in the woods, driving up to Berkeley for the first time and going to killer places like Amoeba records. It’s the California of endless summer in San Diego, and fog so thick you can’t see your hand in front of your face.

When I make the drive up to visit my parents, I drive through the California that’s farmers desperate for enough water to keep their crops alive. I live in a California that’s hardcore right wing, but less than two hours drive from Hollywood - the liberal capital to hear any Republican tell it. It’s an insane state that shouldn’t be, but manages in it’s contradictions. And these days, it’s a state where you can legally order some pot to smoke and the burrito you’re going to want to eat after, and have both delivered to your door.

All these California’s exist - and more. And they’ve all got their own brand of crime, their own casts of characters, and their own way of doing things. Some areas worry about earthquakes and others have fire evacuation routes, but they’ve all got stories to tell. I hope mine does these places justice.

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