I’m beginning a new chapter in my journey, and my setting has changed; my wife and I are now living in San Diego, California. When I was a kid living in Massachusetts, there were two places that I always dreamed about living: San Diego and anywhere in Florida. I’ve now accomplished both. It’s funny how the paths to what we want are circuitous, but there are signs along the way that make you understand you’re heading in the right direction. I’ll explain.
When I look at San Diego and compare it to Los Angeles, the cities are so different. Right now, I have my window open in my office, and the dead desert air is blowing into my window, and I don’t hear any sirens, no sounds of traffic, only an unsettling stillness. In the morning, I drive to work, and I’m not stuck in the tin-can confusion of morning rush hour. And the pace of life here is so much slower. In the morning, I drive to a neighborhood coffee shop and order a coffee. I’m in line with only about two other people, and I’m a bit impatient because I want to get to work, when I realize the owner and the barista are talking to the customers. They don’t give a shit if I’m in a rush. They want to talk to their customer and see how they’re doing. Continue reading “Seeing Signs in San Diego, California”
My new story, “A Crash in Boston,” went live today at Literary Orphans. I blogged a couple of weeks ago about the publication in a post called, “Published Three Years Later…” So, just to keep you up to date, I tried for three years to publish “A Crash in Boston.” In 2010, it won a contest at my graduate school, and all the rejections I received afterwards really humbled me in a lot of ways. Being a writer, well, it’s a tough battle, and the biggest confrontation is with the self, especially when you receive so many rejections. I just kept on fighting. I hope you’ll give it a read. Here’s the story: A Crash in Boston.
The story is about James Tully. He’s back in his hometown from college for his grandfather’s memorial. And the only thing he wants is to get the hell out of his town. Home, to James, feels like a prison, and he needs, more than anything, to avoid the reality of his mother’s worsening mental condition. He just needs to get away. Well, what he finds out on the snow covered highways that head into Boston is that sometimes, no matter how hard James tries, certain paths and outcomes are out of his control. But the story is based on my life. I used to know a man — someone who I admired very much — who drive me to the airport. My mother would never drive me to the airport. The roads into Boston freaked her out. It was a complicated journey for her. And while Mr. Kaminski, the driver in the story, is based on the man I knew; there are many fictional liberties. He was a great man. It’s been a long time coming for this story. And I’m very excited to have it published. It’s good to take a moment, really only a second, and appreciate my journey. There’s also a great interview with Joe Clifford on the site — a FIU MFA alum. I found myself taking a moment this weekend to reflect. Heron was out of town, so I went and saw her sister and her sister’s boyfriend in San Diego — a whale’s vagina. They live in Ocean Beach, and we went to Pacific Beach one night. That area is so interesting. Everyone seems like they’re clawing at life, demanding the world give them every inch of life and pleasure and adventure possible. It’s like a bunch of people with the same mentality from all over the country moved to one place, because they woke up one day and realized there was something better out there.
And San Diego is incredible. The ocean, the islands — it’s still so new to me — the weather. I swear, I could make a million dollars if I figured out how to bottle the air in San Diego. I would send the bottles back to New England in January and make a killing. People would be sitting there and opening up bottles, sniffing the San Diego air. What a trip. We all went out one night, and at one point, I snuck off from the group. We were at some bar that reminded me of a place I went to in college. So I went down to the ocean, and I watched the water, the waves, crawling along the beach. It just kept coming.
I just stared at the water for a few minutes. I thought about how far away I was from my hometown — Clinton, Mass. And I thought about what a different person I was, and how I will never be the same person again. But when I reread my story, “A Crash in Boston,” it’s almost like looking at myself from a parallel universe. While it’s fiction, that character, James Tully, is me. It’s like staring into a mirror through a kaleidoscope. And it’s just nice to look back sometimes. Even if it hurts.