The problem: I’m writing a book about California. Not just a story set in a place, but a story of the place itself. A rooted story, one that will sweat California out of its paper pores. One that, with its California pheromones, will ensnare you from the shelf, radiating heat and salt air.
The problem is I no longer live there, haven’t for 14 years. I’m trying to conjure a geography that haunts my dreams, one I inhabited when I was still a girl, then a young woman, a college student, a young newspaper reporter, unencumbered except for my own insecurities, alone, finding myself. But the memories are vaporous–they dissipate like blue bay fog. I’ve compensated with several strategies involving the internet, photos, scraps of ephemera. Devouring songs and California literature like vitamins. But there’s a gap, something essential missing. I have less than three months to finish a draft of this book. I fear I’ve forgotten what California is really like. How do we conjure the spaces we’ve left?
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