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Monday, March 2, 2015

California Dreaming!

"On the Malibu Coast" - Granville Redmond - 1929

It's been 10 years since our family took our first road trip to California. For me, California was a place that I was assuredly NOT interested in... I had images of 1980's LA in my mind (where I got those images and why I thought they were so awful, I fail to remember) and... it was HOT! Definitely not my speed. I was in transition - moving from the company that I'd worked for since the age of 15 - and the kids wanted to go to Disneyland. Coincidentally, I'd just discovered John Steinbeck and was enthralled in reading "Cannery Row". Little did I know that that trip would start a love affair with the great and golden State of California.

I've visited several times since then and one thing remains the same... as I am driving home, feeling more than a little disconsolate, I'm already planning my next trip! I've also had the chance to delve into things that I never really knew existed - the art and literature of California. There are countless wonderful books and short stories that chronicle life in its many aspects under those perpetually sunny skies. Authors as diverse as Steinbeck and Waugh, Twain and Hammett have set their stories in the state and reveal to us an ever-diverse and always fascinating place where reality and fantasy merge together as quickly as the separate. A whole school of art - California impressionism - captured my attention just a few years ago, illustrating how inspiring and even magical a place it can be.

So, why don't I move there and be done with it? First, if I were to live there, I'd miss the excitement and fun of visiting! Our whole family talks about and plans trips - some taken, some not - often. My wife and kids will tell you that I laugh harder and longer and am more relaxed on our trips south than at any other time. Also, viewing it from a distance, I can ignore some of the ugly realities of day to day life in one of the most heavily populated and expensive places in the country. In my mind, California is always seen as a place of escape and even a little frivolity.

So, here's a little toast to the Great State of California, one of my favorite places!

"Incoming Tide" - Guy Rose - 1917

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