Tag: Lip Service West

Trip to San Francisco — Witnessing California (Pics)

DSCF0190Last weekend, I left Long Beach and drove up to San Francisco to hang out with Joe Clifford and read at Lip Service West.  On the way up, I drove on the 5, and I was blown away by the shifting almost fickle landscapes of California.  It didn’t take me too long to drive to the bay area, but once I was in San Francisco, the traffic was terrible.

Overall, this was an amazing trip, and I’m not going to share too much about it, because I’m going to write a piece about the trip for another publication.  But I had the chance to hang out with a great writer and fellow FIU alumni, Joe Clifford, and meet another great bay-area writer, Tom Pitts.  The cool thing about talking to these guys is that you realize they’re all about community, especially Clifford. He idolizes the community of the Beats and how they all helped each other out.  And he’s right; community is an incredibly important aspect in being a writer, and if our generation of writers learns anything from the past, we have strength in numbers.

Well, after consulting Facebook before I left, I decided to take the 1 home back to Long Beach.  I really didn’t know what I was in for. It turned out to be one of the most amazing drives of my life, and it felt like I had spent several hours driving through a dream.  Big Sur, well, I won’t say anymore…check out the pictures on the next page.  The drive took me 11 hours!

Oh, and if you’re in L.A. tonight, come see me read at Book Soup at 7 with a ton of other great Rattling wall writers!  Click “More” to see the pics.

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Heading out to San Francisco Tomorrow

So tomorrow, I’m taking to the road with nothing but my backpack and a prayer.  No, just kidding.  I’ll be driving up to San Francisco to meet with a fellow FIU alumni, Joe Clifford, and participate in the Lip Service West reading.  I hope to also meet with another writing buddy I know from a long time ago.  I can’t stress how important it is to know people in life who are successful at what you’re trying to do.  Mentors, people who have been through the shit.  Because honestly, writing is a tough journey; it’s filled with more ups and downs than motor cross races, and everyone’s path seems to be different, but it’s just amazing to hear the stories, to be encouraged to continue.

Well, it’s been a long time since I have had an adventure.  I used to think that everything had to been adventure or it wasn’t worth doing.  So, here I go, trying to rediscover that sense of wonder.  I’ll be giving updates throughout the weekend when I can.

Here’s a list of what I’m bringing:

  • Presents
  • Two pairs of boxers and some shirts.
  • A coat for the cold weather
  • A guitar?
  • A book on tape
  • My journal.
  • My laptop with the story I’ll be reading
  • A sense of adventure

Well, thanks to everyone for reading, and I hope you’ll check in on the story as it develops.  Oh yeah, exciting news coming out tomorrow in the literary world.

San Francisco or Bust — Reading at Lip Service West

Huntington Beach

This weekend, I’m leaving Long Beach and driving out of Southern California for the first time in months.  Honestly, the farthest I’ve been north of Los Angeles County was Woodland Hills.  Oh yeah, I went to Ventura once to visit a buddy.  So on Friday, I’m excited about driving north through California to San Francisco to read at Lip Service West.  Joe Clifford hosts the reading series, and he said there was a slot.  It’s a great event, and if you’re in San Francisco, then you should find out if it’s going on. So I jumped at the opportunity.  I read once at Lip Service in Miami, and I showed up as Sex Moses — a character I invented that was based on some of the guys I came to know in South Beach.

This won’t be my first time in San Francisco, however.  In November of 2008, Heron and I flew to San Francisco for Thanksgiving.  When I look back on that experience, I’m not sure why the hell we even did it — because I know our graduate school incomes couldn’t afford it — but I’m glad we did it anyway. Since I can remember, San Francisco has existed in my imagination as a place where the Renaissance is always happening; art is always being made; and Jack Kerouac’s ghost still wanders the streets.

I remember stopping at City Lights bookstores for the first time that trip.  I remember seeing the Golden Gate Bridge.  I remember getting lost in the woods with Heron on our bikes.

Then I remember something strange, and I’m not sure why it’s coming back to me now.  I was wandering around Nob Hill by myself.  It was cold, and it was raining.  I was staring at some of the Chagall prints in the windows of closed art galleries.  They were so beautiful — memories of a Russian small town.   And I was lost in the surrealism mixed with the sounds of the street behind me — trollies grinding, buses chugging, working man shoes clopping on sidewalks.

I turned around and a woman was staring at me.  She was older, and she was holding a bag in her hand.  In the bag, I could see an outline of an ukulele.

I smiled, not sure what else to do.  She smiled back.

“It’s cold out,” she said.  The woman was older.  Maybe around 55-years old.

“Probably around 40 degrees,” I said.

I looked back at the paintings in the window display, and I could see her image still there, in the glass, staring at me.  My breath was a cloud factory.

“Can I stay with you?” she asked, looking down at her bag.  “I can keep you warm.”

“I’m sorry.”

The rain was still coming down, and I went back to staring at the paintings.  I could see her walk away in the glass and then disappear into the crowd, and I wished that people could walk in and out of paintings, out of art and water colors, the way we walk in and out of each other’s lives.