Tuesday, December 6, 2016

California Mindset

The beauty of this great state lies in its diversity of people and places.

I was on the East Coast a while back to savor the salty brine of the Chesapeake Bay and the cloister phobic cacophony that is New York City. While both were replete with their own virtues and charms I once again found myself dreaming cross country to the land of wild dreams, mythical goddesses and eternal sunshine.

Perhaps it started back in the mid-50’s when well-to-do families started to fly off to Hawaii for vacation. Maybe it was 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 the California sun, sand and beach bunnies. We were hooked. California has been doing that to out-of-staters ever since.

The migration to California has been going on since before 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 environment for a writer trying to observe and capture a fifty-year class reunion as an unobtrusive speck on the wall.  ‘Riot’ was born here as well as ‘Debris’ and some tales of the wild west. There always seems to be more plays and novels to write here.

California is the perfect natural setting for such ventures. Its manicured golf courses and clear blue skies belie an undercurrent of mystery and intrigue and confusing lives. What more perfect setting for the creative mind. The warm sun beckons. The mountains are calling. The ocean is just over the horizon and I get to ruminate all those stories swirling about in my head. It’s all good.

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