One should be prompted to create a title after writing, not before. So I suddenly remembered that old Moody Blues song, you know, the one on the record with the London Symphony, which, because I was nine, I thought was pretty cool.
This blog has about one and a half readers and they’ve been wondering if I went to Juplaya. I did not. I’ve been there before. It’s in a vast extinct lake bed that works well for Burning Man but outside of that timeframe is more of a pain in the ass camping-wise than up with which I am willing to put. Instead I did some writing and bought some solar panels and removed some shrubbery from a garden bed I’m going to cover with a deck. This was a great improvement over driving deep into Nevada. I am evidently becoming less adventurous.
Did you know that writing is a lot of hard work? Betcha didn’t. At the three-hour shut-up-and-write meetup on Saturday I diligently edited a chapter and expanded on a couple character sketches. But I did not enter a creative space from which to spin more of my story’s universe. That’s hard to do. Requires a lot more peace and quiet and solitude than I– *SMACK*
I helped my mom buy her first flatscreen TV, a little thing for her sewing room on which she can watch Endeavor or Giants games. We had dinner too. She likes my company more and more. I don’t think this is only because everyone else she knows has died.
Then I was called down to a street party in Midtown. This is what we call the part of the city built on a mid-19th Century grid, letters B to Y one way, numbers 2 to 30 the other. There used to be a Z, but it was renamed Broadway. There used to be an X, but it was torn out in favor of Interstate 80. There used to be a 31st but it was renamed Alhambra — the numbers continue upwards from there but that part of town (East Sac) isn’t quite as interesting. And I imagine there used to be a 1st Street, but the river meanders down that way and where it would be is instead called Front, while 2nd only exists as little bits and pieces that didn’t get swallowed by I-5.
This travelogue was brought to you by the letter A, which doesn’t have a street because they put the Transcontinental Railroad on top of it. There’s only a few blocks of B, same reason.
In the street and the park next to it (on 21st between the railroad and C, now that you’re wondering), under the nighttime shadow of the railroad berm, I found three or four dozen twenty- and thirty-somethings and their young children playing soccer in the twilight, hooping, spinning fire, drinking, and listening to DJ sets emanating from the organizer’s driveway. He had all his neighbors on board and despite all the noise, blocked traffic, and public drinking, nary a cop was called. It was a warm gathering of mostly strangers to me, but there were a few artist types whom I knew, and the poi spinning and fire roping and all that were fun, and the music was not completely awful. I’m a big fan of atmosphere, and just the fact that the neighborhood houses looked to have been built in the 1880s with some fill-in during the 1910s, and that the trees, as in most of Midtown, were fully grown and arched over the streets to meet in the middle above, this made me happy. So did a drink or two (no more — I don’t drink much, I just enjoy what little I do). So did a nice dog to pet.
Yesterday, the Fourth, I knocked about a bit and wound up at Sutter’s Landing with a different set of twenty- and thirty-somethings, most of whom I knew. This park by the river was named for the first European round these parts, who established a settlement in the 1830s. In all my decades living in this area I’d never been there. There was insufficient parking and no cultured pathways to the riverbank, so I just crashed through the sycamores to find people lounging about under their easy-ups, drinking and smoking and dousing their children. It too was very sweet.
When I was young, social gatherings were awkward for me, but while I have changed, so have the times. Back then, people seemed more hostile and competitive, especially the males, and I never found a place to fit in. Nowadays they’re all so loving, very quick to get intimate (I don’t mean sexually, but there’s no reason to exclude that), fully accepting, and generally, from my perspective, a happy crew. One of these days I’ll figure out what I have to say about that, why it’s happened, where it hasn’t, etc.
I do not regret not going to the desert. This statement may be axiomatic.