Thursday, January 31, 2013

Prologue: Open Your Golden Gate

We Californians are a smug bunch, I won't try to deny it, we love our state and love the California Dream.  Nay, it is not love, it is entitlement.  We feel entitled to make our dreams come true and people come from all over the world to get a little piece of that for themselves.  The Texans generally make the most noise about their state, but we Californians can tell that they are just over-compensating. Our state history is more colorful, our terrain is more beautiful and we even have our own Alamo.

It was called the Bear Flag Rebellion and we actually managed to win ours, so there you go.

My family has been in the Golden State for generations, in fact I hear that my family is distantly related to Juan Cabrillo, who 'discovered' San Diego Bay, which almost makes me indigenous.  No disrespect to the tribes of California, I'm just being a little cheeky here.

Choosing to live in California is also choosing to be a daredevil; this is one of the most geologically active places in the world and our terrain depends violent natural forces in order to survive.  Wildfires are a biological necessity for many of our native plants and the unstable tectonics beneath our feet are constantly reshaping the land around us.  We are always at risk from earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides, floods, fires and the dreaded tourists; but those are risks we are willing to take every day.

All those unstable forces are a blessing though, they pull the magic from the ground itself and fill the air of California with possibilities.  You can feel it all around you, the energy and electricity is like a drug; once your heart has found California, no other place can compete.  Our history is filled with dreamers who dared to be different, from John Muir to Alice Waters to Cesar Chavez to Walt Disney, visionaries all.

I did not set out to write a story about California, Wanderer was inspired by the show America Unearthed and I originally intended it to be set in the Midwest with two male protagonists.  But my stories have lives of their own that I am fairly helpless at diverting, this one is no different.  Wanderer became a love story, a Valentine to my home and the people who make it so freaking weird.

I love the weird.  I love the compost king in Southern California and Scotty's Castle in Death Valley; I love the Taco Bell on the beach in the Bay Area and I love that there are towns named Kool and Weed.  This is my California and I hope you see as much beauty and magic as I do.

Wanderer starts tomorrow right here.  California, here we come!

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