Storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it.

– Hannah Arendt

Writing Prompt: Origins

I’ve moved around a lot over the years.  The cities I’ve lived in have helped form my impression of life, given me new friends and allowed me to see the world from different points of view.  However, as much as I rave about my favourite places, like San Francisco and London, I never talk about the place where I grew up.  Maybe it’s because I’ve spent most of my life trying to get away from it.

It doesn’t necessarily follow that I had a bad childhood, quite the contrary. It was just a claustrophobic place. The city itself is part of the largest county in the US, but everything from the shops, to the restaurants, malls and parks seemed so enclosed, as though there was everything and nothing beyond the city limits.  It was that desperate feeling of  drowning and living and dying in a place like that which prompted me to do everything I could to get away.

When I look back now, I suppose it wasn’t so bad. It was just like living in a sheep’s pen. The people in it where contented enough, living from day to day and very few of the people I knew then ever left. The sad thing is that I can remember small independently owned shops on the main street and big brightly painted schools with giant football pitches, but last time I drove through, my old school was fenced off and looked like a prison, complete with metal detectors. The little bakery, flower shop and furniture store I passed on my way to school each day are boarded up. The mall is a gang haven… Looks like I left just in time. When I drive through southern California, each town resembles the next, all blending into each other.

It’s important to look back on where we came from to try to understand who we are, why we think the way we do and to figure out where we’re going.

Describe where you grew up, for better or for worse. above all, be honest about how you feel about where you hail from and see where it takes you.

Writing Prompt: Origins

Quote for the day

If you have other things in your life – family, friends, good productive day work – these can interact with your writing and the sum will be all the richer.

– David Brin

Closing off the book list 2008

Well, I gave it a go and here is how far I got in 2008:

1. A Certain Slant of Light – Laura Whitcomb

2. The Road to Avalon – Joan Wolf

3. Rope Burns – F.X. Toole

4. We Need to Talk about Kevin – Lionel Shriver

5. A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole

6. Battle Royale – Houshun Takami

7. I Haven’t Dreamt of Flying for a While – Taichi Yamada

8. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde – Robert Louis Stevenson

9. Rape – A Love Story – Joyce Carol Oates

10. How to Survive a Horror Movie – Seth Grahame-Smith

11. The Ice Queen – Alice Hoffman

12. Breakfast At Tiffany’s – Truman Capote

13. The Book with No Name – Anonymous

14. Winkie – Clifford Chase

15. Lost Girls and Love Hotels – Catherine Hanrahan

16. Nefertiti – Michelle Moran

17. Tan Lines – J.J. Salem

18. The Fifth Child – Doris Lessing

19. Candide – Voltaire

20. Real World – Natsuro Karino

21. The Choice – Nicolas Sparks

22. Almost Transparent Blue – Ryu Murakami

23. The Tartar Steppe – Dino Buzzati

24. Out – Natsuro Kirino

25. After Dark – Murakami

So, just short of half my target. 2009 will have to be better. So, here’s my first resolution of the year. My friends will understand how difficult this will be for me, but I won’t buy another book until I’ve read 52 books from  my exisiting library.  I have about 200 unread books to choose from, so I shoudn’t want for options… wish me luck in 2009.

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