Sunday, July 11, 2004

a couple of months ago I had dinner with the poet Douglas Blazek, his companion Rachel, and two other couples. it was a lovely, pastoral setting, in the garden, of a warm late California spring evening. and one thing I noticed about all the guests, and our hosts, was that most, if not all, were not native Californians. that alone ain't all that significant, who cares where a person is from, but I'm always fascinated to hear persons explain how they got from here to there to here and so on again.

because I live in my natal city. in fact I bought a house about a mile and half from my birth place: Mercy Hospital. you can see my neighborhood, if you are so inclined, in the opening shots of the movie American Beauty. I've ranged a bit in my 20s, but always came home. I've said in an earlier post that I consider myself a citizen of the world, that I have for as long as I can recall. and so what does it mean to be *local*?

right now the Olympic Track and Field Trials are being held at my old school. which is a good thing for Sacramento, though I find watching Track and Field events pretty boring. I live about three miles from the campus, which makes driving through it, which Anna and I do quite often, a pain in the butt. what the hell. Sacramento wants to be a world-class city, even renamed the airport Sacramento International, though the last I checked you can't get international flights. oh sure, you can fly to SF or Chicago, then get on another plane to your destination, but not a direct flight from Sac to wherever it is you want to go in the world. with that logic, by extension, I have an international drive-way: I can drive to SF, then get on a plane to take me to Stockholm, or wherever.

but I'm being unnecessarily harsh. Sac is my town, for better or worse. why do I live here, and not moved to my favorite city, San Francisco? complicated questions, indeed. Esquire, back in the '70s and '80s, did a little interview with writers titled, "Why I Live Where I Live." we all must live, work, write and read someplace, but why do you live in your city? what makes the "local" for you? do you consider yourself a "local" writer, what is/are its meaning(s) to you as a poet? Why do you live where you live?


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