I arrived in LA on Tuesday with orange dust carried seven hundred miles in the wheel wells of my car. The dirt’s from Monument Valley, an area of Chuck-Jones-esque rock mesas on Navajo land on the border of Utah and Arizona. One thing about having moved to Detroit is people keep asking me if I’m going to stay in Detroit. They ask me if I ever think about going back to New York, or going somewhere else, and I tell them that, right now, I don’t feel a strong calling to move elsewhere. Something about these rock formations came pretty close, though. They gave me funny feelings in my chest. Very literally took my breath away. If this were a more open-ended trip I would have camped out for days.
But it’s not, and I say that with little remorse. I’m staying at my friend John’s on the beach in Venice; he’s hosting writers and artists for creative residencies while he’s out of the country. I have my same routine as back home: I write in the mornings, explore and see friends in the afternoons and evenings. I biked along the water on Thursday and on Friday went to the Griffith Observatory, then met my friend at his office in the Arts District downtown. My geographic map of LA is slowly growing beyond the west side, and my phenomenological one is growing to include minor earthquakes, seas of washed cars unspoiled by weather, and the manic excitement of a diverse and crowded place after being alone in your car for an hour. The best spots for people-watching are supermarkets and In-N-Out.
I’ve hit the halfway mark for my trip, and this week I’ll hit that same mark for the new draft of my novel.