Monday, August 2, 2010

What Inspires Me? (Places)

Of all the writers I grew up admiring, they had something in common: They were inspired by the times and the cities around them. Hawthorne had New England, Baldwin had Harlem and France, Dickens had London and Raymond Chandler had my city.

I used to hate traveling. Then in like 2003, I started going to Seattle almost every summer for a weekend. Then I took more trips around the country visiting family and now I wish I could afford to do it more. I made a mental list of four or five cities I want to visit by next year, it's just too bad my bank account didn't go along with my plan. The downside of working part-time now (although I might have some news to tell y'all about some recent developments).

These are the places that inspire me. Something about them makes me want to be there just to feel revitalized or they encourage me. The first and 3rd shots are from my last extended trip to San Diego.

San Diego

My 2nd home. My college town. I've already written about how much I love this city before. Something hits me when I see the city limits on the freeway. When I went down there in January, I was reminded why.

The city revolves around the beach so everything is laid-back. It's a perfect place to get away, relax and just reflect - a calmer pace from Los Angeles and I've written some great poetry there. When I feel like life is getting too insane, I drive down there and just let Saint Daygo do his work.

New York

I went here five years ago for a conference on race and ethnicity as part of a group of student leaders from my school. The trip had its share of highs and lows but I'll remember walking around the city and just soaking in the vibes.

Nothing beats walking through Central Park and taking a nap. Or taking in the different vibes of Spanish Harlem/Harlem/SoHo/Manhattan. Eating Italian food in Little Italy or embracing jaywalking along with the subways.

It was a fast-paced city but it had plenty of culture that was distinct yet shared. Like San Diego, it inspired me to find something similar in L.A. - you can feel the sense of what being a New Yorker is about. That sense of identity spurs me on today.

The Beach

I love sitting by the water and just listen or watch. See what comes next. Hear the waves play with the sand. Standing at the edge of the world and seeing life as it was meant to be. I've written quite a few poems and journal entries here.

This is my place of peace. My sanctuary. My escape from reality where I can just admire God's beauty and reflect.

Los Angeles

Gotta admit, I have a love/hate relationship with my city. It's something I've been meaning to explain on here but for the last 4 years I realized I had no idea what it meant to be an Angeleno. I tried to come back inspired from San Diego and yet carving my life out here has been harder than it looked.

I love my city because there's pride in being from here. I hate it because it's hard to find its soul and a common identity. Hollywood gets all the love and the Valley gets attention too what about the Westside (Santa Monica, Culver City), South Central or South Bay. Maybe that's why I love Quentin Tarantino's movies so much since they usually have L.A. tied in to them but I digress.

Despite all that, I'm still inspired to find a life here. I'm inspired to fully understand what makes my city tick and find the soul of it. Raymond Chandler might be my city's official scribe with his detective noir tales but I still believe in finding my own stories about here. Love/hate, she's mine.

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