Joan Didion. Even in her darkest moments, made Los Angeles seem cooler and more bearable.

I think of her when I swim in Sacramento’s American River; Didion’s childhood spot.

College girls everywhere, from the late 50’s and beyond, have tilted their heads in wonder of this owl. Languishing in privilege, but always looking. Looking out. And tangling with bad boys.

Her speaking voice conjures images of rambling wood houses, fruit trees, mockingbirds, heat-waves bouncing off ground, and urban glamour. A fascinating fusion that is nostalgic to a small-city, California wilderness girl who can drive a graveled serpentine cliff road just as easily as a bicycle in Greenwich Village.

My only gripe with Ms. Joan: if you had to name your kid after my favorite state in Mexico at least pronounce it f**king correctly. Rest in peace, Quintana.

Disorder, Impermanence, Chaos, Painful Honesty, Haunted by Reptilian Spirits, Restlessness.

ghost light

How I spent my birthday: in one of the oldest redwood forests in the world; with a magical light behind me.

The series of groves, flush with fern beds, is a night forest. The amphibians and bats come alive at dusk to feast on mosquitoes, then the owls to snatch the bats and the fox and wild cats to snatch the snakes and bats. Those that burrow and work with wood – come out right before dawn – feasting on ants, banana slugs, and reinforcing their fortresses. The early morning jays and turkey vultures come to pick up something they can carry or salvage. In the daytime it is completely still and quiet. You hear nothing but water running gently in the creek.

beautiful bat palace

RIP Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Thank you for providing us with life-changing paperbacks to carry in our pockets as we travel along. Thank you for trying to save Jack by letting him stay at your pad in Big Sur, and all the other people that you gave a platform to. How kind you were to me, just a youngster, when I used to make your double espressos on those bright afternoons. It was fun to listen to you and your cool friends talk shop all day. Thanks for keeping art alive. It kept you going for 101 years.


This is Huntington Lake, September, 2020. It’s where one of my maternal great grandmothers grew up and spent the most joyous times of her life. I had planned on going to the lake sometime in October to bury her precious diaries, after transcribing the important bits that help make up my family’s history in San Francisco and other parts of California.

She took this photo at Huntington Lake, CA. 1921
Her life in The Sierras
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