The SoCal Exile Journal Day 3: NorCal?

Did you know that San Francisco has hills? I mean, I’ve watched a significant portion of the fifth season of Full House so I thought I knew what I was getting myself into, but apparently I had not. The hills of SF, not unlike the hit MTV television series of the same name, are sudden, difficult to traverse and filled with beautiful people that want to hook up. But we’re not here to discuss the topography of major NorCal cities (Are we?). We’re here to talk about my writing progress. And progress it was, friends. To the tune of a major shake up in the middle of the book. After having sorted out something yesterday that made my book readable, I had only to connect the other literary dots in order to put the middle to sleep and get my end on.

I also was able to utilize something (name drop!!) Tom Perrotta said to me when I interviewed him last year as we both ate Cuban sandwiches: “Just skip the boring parts.” This is sound advice for me because I have a hard time not keeping everything in these very linear blocks that go from one scene to what would be the next logical place. So say my main character was in the mall shopping at Forever 21 for a coral sequined halter top (for his lady friend!). The next logical scene (in my mind) would be him driving back from the mall with said halter top and possibly a new vanilla Frosty from Wendy’s. But that’s pointless. No one needs to see him driving. It doesn’t push the plot forward, it doesn’t develop his character, and even though he probably would’ve had clever things to say about his vanilla Frosty, you can’t build a book relying solely on cleverness, well timed bon mots and boring parts. This is something I’ve only recently learned.

The Father-Son Relationship Quote of the Day: “I’m not driving you to the airport.”

I’m currently sitting at a Starbucks on Stanford’s campus waiting for my friend to get out of his business school class so he can buy me some Stanford Men’s Distressed Print Sweatpants (Size Large) and I need to get some writing done so I’m going to disengage myself from the Internets. But I feel really good about where we are in our relationship. Good talk.

Doo Wop,
(That Thing)

Lauryn Hill

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5 thoughts on “The SoCal Exile Journal Day 3: NorCal?

  1. Kevin Alexander

    We’ve sort of passed the critical mass of replying, but i just wanted to say–in case anyone checks up on these–that these were some of my favorite comments of the entire week. Helpful tips about San Fran from Kristan, hilarity from Jessica, an invitation to guest speak at SFSU + knowledge of Full House from Sierra, looking positive at comments from my father from Genevieve, and a well placed levee comment. So many wins.
    Thanks all.

  2. Genevieve

    I just read your fans’ posts over the last few days and they’re all so warm and fuzzy that hopefully they have thawed the chill of your dad’s comments. I mean, one of them even wants you to talk to her university. That’s huge, man! Do you think there’s a chance that your dad could be jealous of your success? Being successful, even moderately so, in a creative field is a huge accomplishment. I think some people are threatened by it because, you know, English majors are either supposed to become teachers or burger flippers. Not real writers. All the real writers are dead, right? God forbid there be any new material.

    On another note, enjoy the hilly terrain. As a New Orleanian the closest I can come to being above sea level is to stand on a levee. And my people have developed some angst towards those over the last couple of years.

  3. Sierra

    I can only remember one episode of Full House that they actually film in the city (the one where Comet runs away and the family has to go look for him), which is probably why you were unprepared for the hills.
    Some suggestions from a Bay Area native: 1.) definitely do the touristy stuff – Pier 39, Alcatraz (before they tear it down), Haight-Ashbury, Union Square, China Town, The Palace of Fine Arts, Golden Gate Park 2.) Take the Cable Car to the top of Nob Hill, and visit Grace Cathedral. They are filming the movie “Milk” there right now and maybe you’ll bump into some celebs. 3.) Don’t rent one of those tiny yellow cars… they just look dangerous to me.

    Okay- forget all that. What you should really do is come to my school, San Francisco State University, and be a guest speaker in one of my creative writing classes. You would definitely be a step up from our last guest speaker (a poet who flew all the way from Maine just to stand there and read from her book in monotone for 2 hours… snore).
    Come on, it will be a blast! You might even be able to catch one of the killer breakdancing contests in the quad while you’re there. How can you resist?

  4. Kristan C.

    Welcome to the Left Coast! If you want serious inspiration, go to Fisherman’s Wharf, to (about) the corner of Taylor Street, and walk… up. And then down. And then up. At some point, you’ll hit Lombard Street. Then go down. Also recommended are the 2,018 (well, probably less) Filbert Stairs up to Coit Tower. [sisterbetty.org/stairways]

    The inspiration will come not just from the scenery, but from how you won’t be able to walk properly for two days afterward and, really, have nothing to do but recover and actually write.

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