When I first skimmed a galley of Natalie Singer’s California Calling, I felt–there’s no other word for it—spooked. I glimpsed words and phrases about California as a mythic place, about aching for it before you really know what it is, about how being there and being gone from there and longing for there are all one state of mind. These are thoughts I’ve had, too, as I negotiate and deepen my own love affair with California. It was like dreaming of a word and then having that word appear everywhere the following day. Had I written this book? No, of course not, it’s Singer’s book and Singer’s love affair. But I felt a kinship forming.
Reading the book overwhelmed me. Its subtitle, “A Self-Interrogation,” is the first indication that it’s constructed as a series of answers to questions, and is sectioned out through the well-established stages of interrogation (as well as some stages of Singer’s own invention). But within these strategies and structures, California Calling presents itself without artifice, without hand-holding. It is unquestionably, unforgettably Singer’s story, as well as an expert chronicle of California’s ineffabilities.
The opportunity to connect with her, to pick her brain about the story behind the stories she tells so fearlessly in this memoir, was an honor.
To read the interview go to Proximity Magazine.