All posts tagged: Berkeley

Play-writing in Berkeley: a new life perspective

I find myself repeatedly in the City Lights book store during my time in San Francisco, stumbling upon it in my walking, sometimes consciously, sometimes not. I stop to run my fingers over the spines of the many works of my admiration, of Frank O’Hara, of Bukowski, of Jack Kerouac. I while away hours between those shelves, losing myself to its history, its words, its poetry. And every minute I spend there cements an ambition which has been forming itself in my mind ever since I began travelling: to become a nomadic writer. The inspiration for this idea and the person who woke me up to the real possibility of this kind of lifestyle, happens to be who I’m staying with in Berkeley. We first met in Junax in San Cristobal, the wonderful volunteering mecca I have frequently exulted about, and as he made his way back up to Canada and home, our paths happened to cross again in California. His life for the past decade has been split between working and saving back home …

Tsunami: a dream extract

Something about the texture of the plastic under sheet on the mattress beneath me, a barrier to the persistent bed bugs of the household and the strongest deterrent our eccentric anti-chemical host is willing to impose against the infestation, keeps me from true sleep. Instead I catch it in fretful bursts, waking to the exultant shouts of freshers starting their university lives in and around the UC Berkely campus just minutes from my hostel. I wake again, late enough now for the sounds to have receded. Peace settles again on the neighbourhood. It washes over me, and though I’m awake I feel luxuriously content nestled in my blankets watching the early sun. As I lie there, it feels strangely natural that for thirty seconds or so the bed shakes minutely beneath me and I think back to an early physics lesson and a small textbook illustration demonstrating the lower end of the Richter scale. A man sits up in bed looking mildly surprised, captioned ‘1-2: very faint tremors felt only during rest or sleep’. An …

San Francisco sunsets: falling for a new city

Despite an uncomfortable first few days, the rest of my stay in San Francisco – another blissful week – was a dream of sun and sightseeing and endless walks along the steep city streets. It was a love affair, each day bringing its new and irresistible seductions. Slowly but surely, as I had anticipated, I was falling in love with the city. Haight Ashbury, with its second-hand vintage clothes and co-operative book stores, its quaint photogenic houses, its cafes stocked full of gluten-free cakes where soya milk is the default. The sea front with its piers and bars and chocolate shops, its inexplicable sea lion population and the view of Alcatraz spectacular on the horizon. The Golden Gate Bridge itself, an all-too familiar sight but no less awe-inspiring, seen from the city stretched out in the distance, when not obscured by the thick blankets of sudden fog, or from up close to be walked along, its construction and sheer size to be gazed upon and wondered at. This is where I found myself that morning after …