Tuesday, November 4, 2014

California State of Mind

Perhaps it started in the mid-50’s when well-to-do families started to fly off to Hawaii for vacation. Or in the mid-sixties when the Beach Boys and their surfing music introduced us mid-westerners to the California beach scene. By the time ‘Beach Blanket Bingo’ came along, we had all been inundated with beach party / surfing movies starring Annette Funichello and Frankie Avalon. Most of my friends and I totally bought into that fantasy image of California: hook, line and sinker. We were hooked. We’d bought their line and it was a stinker not to be there ourselves. California has been doing that to out-of-staters for years.

The migration to California has been going on since the great depression and continues to this day. For the snowbirds it’s like watching the seasonal migration of the wildebeest in a Disney nature film; clean, sanitized and kid-friendly. Despite its roller-coaster economics and left-leaning politics, California continues to attract old and young alike.

For some reason the state seems to hold fast to its long-held moniker that ‘whatever happens first on the coast will eventually move to the Midwest and then the other coast.’ Whether it is massive housing developments, movie magic, new computer technologies, solar initiatives, fashion trends or otherwise innovative, invasive or surprising new trends in all sectors of our lives, many of them seem to happen first there. Perhaps that’s why I like the place so much. As much as I like the Midwest, California speaks to me in a voice that is fresh, exciting and at times provocative.

It’s the perfect climate for someone who is trying to uncomplicate the lives of so many people around him. Upon my return, I’ll have a lot of catching up to do with my cast of characters from ‘Debris.’  Brett still can’t be trusted out of Payton’s sight and its ruining their relationship. Juliet is conflicted after her tete-a-tete with Natalie and her bosses’ true motives. Of course, Natalie’s EU isn’t helping matters at all. The on-again off-again relationship between Robert and Miranda is only getting more complicated.

By the end of book two, some of the folks will be leaving the scene but new ones are already waiting in the wings ready to take their own prominent place in this continuing drama. These new characters will be a challenge to understand and follow as they wind their way through an increasingly complicated storyline. And it’ll be my job to make sense of it all both for myself and eventually my readers.

California is a natural setting for such antics. Its manicured golf courses and clear blue skies belie an undercurrent of mystery and intrigue and confusing lives. And I get to swim right up the middle of it.

To prepare for my return to the land of milk and honey I’ll indoctrinate myself with song.
‘California Sun’ is a silly little surfing song that somehow seems encapsulate the aura that California still has over me. Sun, sand and surf. Only now I need extra sun-screen. The sand gets between my toes when I walk the beach. And now the surf is for looking not challenging.

And as for all those California girls; let’s just say…I can still look, can’t I? Oh, and be happy my granddaughters aren’t out there dressed like that.

Take a listen and try NOT tapping your toes when you do.

No comments:

Post a Comment