My mom and dad met on a Key System bus in Oakland in 1950 (he was driving it), and married two weeks later for reasons I still cannot fathom. I came along a little over two years later. I talked early and read early, and started writing sometime between birth and graduating from high school. For most of my working life, I earned a living by writing words and editing them, too. I seem to be doing that in retirement as well but not getting paid as much for it. Some people never learn.
Thanks to my mother’s father (whom I never knew) being born in California, I’m a third-generation native of the Golden State. Native Californians love to point out that they’re natives, because so many people who live here come from somewhere else. People in California actually seem to come from every-damn-where-else, which makes the place maddeningly crowded but always interesting. Despite threatening to leave about once an hour, I probably never will.
Another thing about Californians is that there’s a friendly (sometimes) rivalry between northern and southern California. A couple of stereotypes: 1) Northern California has mostly rocky, wild coastline, redwood trees, and people who hike and bike, and who are hipster intellectuals or pretentious intellectuals and often political activists. We have UC Berkeley and Stanford, and many graduates from each who stayed here. 2) Southern California has nice big flat warm beaches with good surf, palm trees, and it never rains, which gave the film industry a reason to locate there (good weather for outdoor shooting), and which led to the place being populated by people who are beautiful (naturally or store-bought) and shallow. It has UCLA and USC, and a lot of graduates of both who stuck around.
Some of those things are true although there is much, much more to both. I’m a northern California native but I find southern California a lot of fun to visit. And when I do I’m always excited in a weird, childlike way to think that I might see a celebrity or two. The funny thing about this is 1) most of the celebrities I would want to see are from the era I write about, and they’re mostly all dead, not to mention I wouldn’t recognize many of today’s celebrities who come from reality TV (ugh) and 2) we have plenty of them roaming around up here (for example, a few months ago I spotted Carrie Brownstein from Portlandia walking her dog past Ratto’s Deli in Oakland).
I wrote Stardusted, and plan to write two or three more in the series, as something I might have fun reading, myself. I love old movies and glamour, cats and dogs and horses, singing cowboys and musicians. I love to read Hollywood memoirs and try to make Frankie’s stories somewhat like those — but with more murder and mystery.
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