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Pickle Me This

May 10, 2011

California, on the page

I am currently reading Wallace Stegner’s All the Little Live Things, which was given to me by the singular Julia. I’d previously only heard of Wallace Stegner House in Eastend Saskatchewan, and only because I know Eastend through Sharon Butala. Anyway, through the book I’m discovering that Stegner was a magificent writer, so masculine but in the most unlimiting, wonderful way. And how he writes of place, here California in particular, which I only know through literature, save for our one week to San Francisco in 2008 (and I’ve learned that San Francisco is not so much California anyway).

California, whose geography I know through the poetry of Brian Wilson, and Jan and Dean. And through the prose of Joan Didion, a land of dams and aquafiers, a desert by the ocean with a mountain range. And the stucco houses in Los Angeles, which I know from Weetzie Bat, and The Peculiar Sadness of the Lemon Cake, and Meghan Daum’s latest book. Not to mention 90210 and Melrose Place.  Such a literary land– Cannery Row, and that sign that said Robert Louis Stevenson had lived there for six months some year in the 19th century. And yes, Jack Kerouac Way.

One thought on “California, on the page”

  1. Panic says:

    I bought this amazing anthology years ago called Writing Los Angeles. (I sure hope the comments section will take that HTML!) It’s a really amazing collection of L.A. stories, from a huge range of authors, time periods, styles… I bought it because L.A. is my favourite place ever, and I was missing it, but if you’re in a California headspace you should take a look! 🙂

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