“East is East, and West is San Francisco.” -O. Henry
The other night I dreamt that San Francisco was on fire, and as I watched a jumbled version of the city’s skyline burn to the ground, the Transamerica Building, that iconic white pyramid, fell like a tree with one swift motion, destroying everything in its path. I woke up tense and confused, and I had trouble sorting out reality from what was one of the most terrifying dreams that I can remember. Half of Northern California is on fire right now; this map shows the dozens of major blazes that currently ring San Francisco, Sacramento, and work their way up to the Oregon border. A state spokeswoman said that there are more than 1,000 individual fires burning, and Bush declared a federal state of emergency at the request of the governor. It’s been hazy here for the past week, and local health officials are urging people to limit their time outdoors.
“An old racetrack joke reminds you that your program contains all the winners’ names. I stare at my typewriter keys with the same thought.” -Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic’s Notebook
Here in San Francisco, fog doesn’t cover or linger; it sweeps across the entire city in a matter of minutes. I never knew fog could move so quickly, and it’s put me in a weird mood: muddled, chilled, and slightly queasy. I’ve been wrestling with a few big life questions this past week, like what I’m doing out here, how long I’m going to stay, how to fix my increasingly dire financial situation. My boss sent me a link to the wikipedia entry on quarter life crises; apparently my constant worries are as natural as they are distressing. The role of writing – what to do with it, where to put it, how to someday (hopefully) sell it – underscores my overall concerns. It’s been hard to ignore this past week, when a post about my summer job sparked more interest than all the others combined.
“That is the stupidest story I ever heard, and I read the entire Sweet Valley High series.” -Moe, “Homer the Moe,” The Simpsons
I read a lot when I was younger. Standard kids stuff, Narnia and Little House on the Prairie and all that. Then in sixth grade, I read Julius Caesar for a book report. It was a big leap, but I managed to trudge through it, relying heavily on the footnotes. It should have been the start of my literary life: next Macbeth, then Dickens, then, I don’t know, Proust? But something happened that year, something complicated and indescribable, and pretty soon, I was on my way to owning and/or reading every book in the entire Sweet Valley franchise.