Behind the Card: “Golden State of Mind”

IMG_20150116_191820The original text of this particular card was meant to be written on the back of a postcard I bought in Huntington Beach. It’s a lovely little vintage piece with deep blue and all the sunniness that nostalgic California should sing about!CA Post2

With my writing, California is definitely a big part of my identity. All the ideals of this “21st Century Land,” as I like to think of the West Coast, really sings to me; there is just such a widespread misconception that California is a Neverland, an Eden or the crack in the glass ceiling. Heading out West means starting new and making your dreams come true. It’s a calming effect to being out here as well, as San Franciscan transplants I’ve heard talk of their relocation as refreshing. But is this place really as refreshing as outsiders make it to be?

Of course not. I live here– born and raised and more than aware of the downsides to being in this state. First off, it’s expensive being out here. And there is a sense of snobbish entitlement borne from the awes and resentment that living in California creates for people outside of here. But California is for the most part no separate place from the global and political issues that claim the rest of the nation– and living in the center of a changing urban scene as San Francisco’s makes all too familiar with issues like the homeless and marginalized ethnic groups with deep roots to the city. But I’m an idealist. Just because reality kicks in doesn’t mean change can happen, that luck may find its way around.

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Orange blossoms notebookAnd that’s where “Golden State of Mind” comes from. The disillusionment of the American Dream as set in place by the idealistic offerings of California is always fixated on my mind and makes for a stark contrast of inspiration from such a postcard. But taking down the California image is not my agenda with writing. In fact, it’s my motivation to seek change or discover the hope in whatever struggles I face while living out here. People do get that about California. That being that there is wonder, there is beauty, and there is the dream– dreams live on if you keep thinking about them, simple as that.

RockridgeStationBARTThis card always recalls a brief conversation I had with a friend who lived in California for two years after graduating from the University of Oregon and has since moved back to Portland. They left Oregon in the first place because it was necessary to get outside their norm to truly see who they are. In coming to California, they discovered that being back in Oregon made sense as the way of living in California was unbecoming. People weren’t nice. And maybe I don’t know better because I’ve pretty much been here my whole life. But in the traveling I did this past year, I could really see what they meant. People have no expectations elsewhere in America. They’re humble and genuinely warm and always in awe when I said I came from California. It’s a bit disappointing to see that the hospitality that does arise from here is out of a sense of distorted duty to the tired illusion, to keep on proving to outsiders that inside here the grass is really greener. In stepping out from the state I saw how insane it is to be living here. The perfect, cool life is in fact a hot mess.

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But in my case, it is home.

Complete with the hand drawn and watercolored orange fruit and blossoms, I hope these words open the door to some sort of actualization about this place. California isn’t any of those things the books and movies make it out to be– and then again it is. You can’t just arrive here and expect the troubles to go away. Like any person working for a goal, making dreams come true, such fancies aren’t without putting in your own share of hardships and muscle. Let the fruit of your labors bloom golden and full because in coming to the Golden State, you’ve earned it. You’ve earned yourself this imperfect paradise.

See the printed card now at my shop here, and have yourself a little bit of California!

SanGregorioBeach

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The Birthday Card

Written March 16, 2015

So I haven’t written inside yet but here I’ve practiced your name on the manila-tinted envelope where it is printed in the best hand I could ever try.

And far in its corner you will see a new place; a change of address in the city I’ve always loved. You’ll see that things are different now for us — just as they are the same.

A Progress Report

I have some things to tell you.

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At the Divisadeo Microhood and Art Walk this past Thursday

It’s a blend of the good and bad, but mostly the incredible fate that makes everything feel just as it should be. That being said, my move into San Francisco has proven to be the best past weeks of my life, writing lot (okay, not lately!) and staying out late most nights. But now I’m home, and it’s quiet here. Life again is calm and quiet.

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Balmy brunch dates at Baker Beach

But for the bad, could it be said that perhaps my recent breakup has proven good, in fact? I only amuse myself with this thought because I’ve felt like some of my recent works have greatly reflected my mood since it happened. And for the better. Really, the last thing I wrote about the situation was the following:

It’s come to to when you realize that you want to write more than the aches and held breaths and sentimental songs from LA. There are words I have not yet spoken, and in finding them they’ll prove that I am still me– that I am more than just me with you.

I’m getting by, and remarkably well. Perhaps it was all in the hands of fate, that the breakup should happen right as I find myself immersed in the delights of city living– because really, no better place to get you up on your feet and forward than roller discos, launch parties, neighborhood art walks, and Walk the Moon concerts that inadvertently lead to greater– and noteworthy relationship-relevant– music. I may not be writing much lately but I sure am not without my muses. It’s just finding those right words.

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Walk the Moon at the Masonic

I’m back home this weekend for the third time in a row and I frankly dreaded being back in the bore of flat-land Diablo Valley. But the calm is doing just what I need, some peace of mind. The weekend is just to sit around and reevaluate perspectives.  And how could it be so easy to do so with great, warm weather, a good book in your bag, and a newly discovered band you’re obsessed with?

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Charming neighbors.

These little things are doing just what I wrote to myself to do– to remember that despite everything that’s happening, it’s all for me, to show that I am still me without anyone else. And that I keep moving forward to see what else I am capable of.

 

Last Sunday

I AM ALONE.

And that seems to be the theme nowadays.

Sitting here in the sun on this cool afternoon and surrounded by Ray Banned couples in all their happiness is reaffirming this truth at the highest. But I ignore the facts. I’m too concerned with the flat rooftops and dull rolling hills I see beyond the shaggy palms at the edge of Lafayette Square. Cool and hazy. And everyone is smiling. Everyone including me– we sit and get high and enwrap ourselves in the sun and wind mixing with the smoke to create a haze that further obscures our awareness of East Coast vortexes, big men visiting from tempestuous lands, stranded manatees, and that in the chaos out there beyond here– is him.

So maybe here, we’re in the clouds.