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San Clemente

I drove down to my mother’s today to help her with some computer stuff and some errands. It’s a hundred mile trip, so I stopped about three quarters of the way in San Clemente.

I lived in this little coastal community — the southernmost town of Orange County, California — for a non-consecutive total of perhaps five years in the late eighties and very early nineties. I had a few tumultuous relationships, started or played in a few bands, and generally had my early twenties there. A novel or two, some short stories, maybe a play or screenplay… any or all could come from the material and life experience from those days. It’s on the list.

Enough time has passed that I can visit San Clemente without feeling any strong emotion about my time there… time really does heal all wounds, or wounds all heels, or something like that. In any event, in the late Spring, it’s really nice there. The ocean air permeates everything with moisture and energy; it’s warm with a nice cool breeze… very peaceful. There’s life in the atmosphere, which is something I just don’t feel in the dry air of my current desert mountain digs.

I browsed through a used bookstore (don’t have one of those in my town, either, somehow) and picked up a hardcover of Death Is A Lonely Business and old mass market editions of Stand on Zanzibar, an old Phillip Jose Farmer Tarzan pastiche, and a Hugo Awards anthology edited by Asimov. I took the Bradbury book into the Sunrise Cafe, where I had a late breakfast and listened to one of the waitresses discuss tattoos, entrepreneurial ambitions, and parenting with a couple of young guys.

Twenty years ago, I ate countless breakfasts at that place. The food, atmosphere, and clientele are utterly unchanged. I found comfort in that.

I took Del Mar Boulevard down to the pier, and took that road along its winding path south to the last freeway on ramp. It occurred to me that if I had a crapload of money, I’d rent a beach hotel room with a kitchenette for the month of May and write my San Clemente novel. (You can help with that here if you really want to.)

I like my memories, even though they challenge me and sometimes shame me. I like the fact that I’m at the point where I can benefit from their lessons at last. San Clemente holds a whole hell of a lot of lessons for me. Spending an hour or so down there was very grounding, very comforting, very energizing.

I’ve lived in San Clemente, Costa Mesa, Long Beach, Huntington Beach, San Pedro… In San Clemente and Long Beach, I lived in places where the Pacific Ocean was a short walk from my front yard. In those other places, it was a five minute drive.

What the heck am I doing in this desert town, where the ocean and its life force is a hundred miles away?

Oh yeah… the property values.

I need to make an effort to drive down there more often… recharge. It’s good for me to see a horizon that’s infinite.

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Comments

  • Hehe! I detect that you are a lurker at your own blog. Who would have ‘thunk it?! 😀 Yep, I know. I am a lazy chicky. Until I have the new programs placed upon the new laptop (a pressie for my birthday)I won’t be making any headway on my novels. I am somewhat bored at present because I want to type something. I did however add a new topic to the forums that I believe will spur some good conversation amongst members but I am not quite sure if I am ready to step into the blog thing at present.
    Perhaps I am being too tentative but I received some creepy messages last time I had one running. And don’t forget the massive amount of folks who had developed chatspeak to the point where I couldn’t understand what they were saying. 😛 I consider the feedback given amongst these blogsites to be one of the important parts of a blog. Without them you are typing to a non-existent audience. It is sharing those internal thoughts to folks who you’d normally have no access to because of distance or ethnicity. On a blog people won’t care about anything other than what you say.

    Perhaps-I-am-Rambling Keiko 😀

  • See, Keiko, this is what I mean… you’ve just written a blog entry disguised as a comment! 🙂 In fact, I think it might be longer than my actual post.

    You should get yourself a Blogger account, or a Live Journal, or something. Or, if you want to spend (a tiny tiny amount of) money, you could sign up for your very own web site at MWS Media!

  • This is a documentation of some of the places that I have been to over the years…

    New Hope, Somewhere between Orlando and Pensacola?
    I remember going through New Hope a few years back. At the time my hubby and I were driving back to Pensacola from Orlando (or was that the trip to Texas :)) during a six month vacation at my father-in-law’s place in the USA. The place was gorgeous and I must admit that I was stunned at the beauty of the place. Then I heard somebody sat that the whole place was the product of a movie company trying to create the model town as a movie set and it all made sense.

    Maryborough, Qld. Australia.
    Some places are the way that they are for good reason whilst others are the product of stupid traditions. In my case the small town of Maryborough, Queensland in Australia (my residence for most of my life) used to be stuck in a time loop. Some of the old folks refused to allow any new developments into the town because they feared change. These folks were so scared that their antique businesses would fail and their own little world would come crashing down about them that they ignored the needs of the town’s unhappy youth who were acting out in frustration.
    Then came d-day when the Premier of the state (like a watered down version of the american governor) finally chanced his arm and pushed to have a MacDonalds in the ‘heritage city’. This started to tear down the walls that stupidity had created as people in the town started excitedly talking about the possibility of having other businesses in the town. The situation reminds me of just before the USSR collapsed. This coincided with a MacDonalds as well, strangely enough. It goes to show that a little bit of change can be the sonic wave that is precursor to the avalance. In spite of having all of the Mary Poppins stuff about the city, having these reminders of our past seems a warming contradiction to all of the new businesses that are now in the city.

    Glenwood…
    I now live 45 minutes away from Maryborough in the small ‘thorpe’ of Glenwood which lies in between the township and Brisbane. Although we are out bush there are so many sights and sounds here that I am addicted to whenever I awake every morning. The kangaroos and the potaroos are simply gorgeous. The sounds of nearby kookaburras greeting you as you exit the house is awe-inspiring. Of a night time we can hear a few species of owl making themselves known. A few different subspecies of wild gecko race across the walls and the roof in a blur whilst during the warmer months we are blasted by the calls of the small miracle that is our local frog community that includes a few endangered species.

    Conclusion?
    There is a lot of other stuff that I could add but I am sure that I have typed your eyes out by now. I have pushed the darker images and memories away because they don’t really hold as much influence upon my life as those places that I have mentioned in this reply. When you find a place that you love, it is easy to ignore the value of your other experiences. Perhaps that is what most peeps do – then again, maybe not. And who cares?! In the end we are all striving for that piece of personal happiness that nobody can take away.
    I have lived in lots of places throughout my childhood and have been the subject of bullying (like a lot of kids), the financial destitution of my parents, have seen my parents’ marriage fall apart and yet been happy. It is the strange, almost-mystical, semi-buddhist contentment that has befallen me. I’d be dishonest if I said that my life hasn’t been full of pleasant memories amongst the vaguist of shadows. Life has been pretty damned good for me!

    Keiko
    (aka. The bespectacled gnome)

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