Better a Witty Fool than a Foolish Wit

Inner Workings of My Twisted Mind.

San Francisco Intelligensia

So I’m sorry I’ve been incommunicado for a while.  I’ve decided to work less and oddly enough am not working any less.  Hmmm, thank you parents for instilling me with ridiculous work ethic.  Anyway, I believe when we left our heroine (that would be me) she was all hot and bothered about two lovely lady writers that she looked up to.  Yes, as I predicted Diablo Cody was nominated for that Oscar.  But more importantly I got to hang out with Beth Lisick after her event. 

Beth’s totally the kind of lady you want to go to a super divey bar with, and that’s just what we booksoupers did.  We went to a place called Little Joy in Echo Park, which you wouldn’t know by the sign since it’s been shot out (literally there was a shoot out and a stray bullet hit the sign).  But it was awesome and I got to hang out with a bunch of Bay Area homies who made me miss San Francisco even more. 

This outing and the conversations that ensued got me thinking about intelligensia for some reason.  I remember being in college and having to read about the Russian Intelligensia or the Algonquin Round Table or the Lost Generation of writers and I always thought, why don’t we have those around any more?  You know, even the Beat Generation hung out at divey bars and got drunk together and discussed literature.  What’s up with this generation of writers? 

So after doing a minute bit of research I realized that (as usual) I had simply come to a wrong assumption.  As it turns out a modern intelligensia was sitting right under my nose.  I just had yet to discover it. 

This actually dates back to my culture email a few weeks ago where I promised to start reading ‘The New Yorker’ and ‘Playboy’ to help culture myself further.  In an extension of that I decided that maybe McSweeney’s was the way to high culture.  For those of you who aren’t ridiculously pretentious, McSweeney’s is a publication of Dave Eggers.  It’s a quarterly pretentious lit mag thing and they dress it up all nice and sell it for $25 a pop.  I’m not a huge McSweeneys fan, but they do publish a monthly magazine that I love.  It’s called the Believer and it’s my pretentious lit mag that isn’t quite so high-brow because, let’s face it, I’m a low brow kind of girl.  Anyway, all these publications are located (conveniently enough) on Valencia St. in San Francisco. 

I realized that Dave Eggers, Beth Lisick and, as I soon remembered, Michael Chabon (author of my favorite book ‘The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay’ all live in or around San Francisco.  And, after looking on the Believer credits, I realized that authors I love like Vendela Vida and David Foster Wallace (don’t think he lives in the Bay Area) are also associated with what I’m going to term the Golden Gate Circle (I know it’s not original, I made it up right now).  
I have to say, growing up on the West Coast, I’ve always looked Eastward for the intelligensia.  New York, London, Paris, and Vienna always seemed to hold the greatest minds for art and literature, but it seems that smart people are cropping up in California too.  Go us!  For the very first time we have a circle of intellectuals who have congregated here on the ‘Left Coast.’  And I’m extending a message of gratitude to Eggers, Vida, Chabon, Lisick and everyone else for taking us out of the image of the hippie movement to an image of intellectual maturity and excellence.  The Golden Gate Circle is proving that California is more than just a place where wine and plastic surgery come from.  It’s a place where we have culture.  Culture beyond the San Fernando Valley, beyond Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian.  We finally done good.
Peace, Love, and Pretentious Literary Circles,

Julia 

January 29, 2008 Posted by | Books, Culture, Literature, San Francisco | Leave a comment

Beth and Diablo Sitting in a Tree

So Diablo Cody just left Booksoup, and I have to admit, I’m a little shaky.   There’s nothing quite like meeting the people you respect and admire.  I guess it comes from having an ultra-feminist mother.  I have all these females that I look up to.  Next one on my list it Beth Lisick.  I’m totally freaking out about her.  She’s a Sunnydale native who went to UCSC and lives in Berkeley, but has lived in the city too.

For those of you who are unaware, I miss San Francisco like crazy.  I love Los Angeles and it is totally my home (in fact, when I went to Santa Cruz for Christmas this year it was the first time it really didn’t feel like home), but I have a major piece of my heart set firmly somewhere in City Lights Bookstore and Vesuvio Bar.  Yeah, that chunk of my heart is some sort of Neal Cassady, Jack Kerouac, drunken slob who splits it’s time between the coolest bar in the city and the coolest bookstore in the city.  It pretty much sticks to north beach, though sometimes it strays to fisherman’s wharf or Golden Gate Park or Clement St.  I know that someday I’ll move to San Francisco and become one of those pretentious writers who never leaves the city and spends every minute reading McSweeneys and talking about how much cooler the city used to be back in some unknown time when walking at sixth and mission was something you couldn’t even do during the day.

So I’ve been doing what any normal girl would do to cure that ache that inevitably comes from leaving one’s heart in San Francisco.  I read stories that take place there.  Now, I have seen Beth Lisick’s book ‘Everybody into the Pool’ in multiple bookstores and it’s always intrigued me.  The Golden Gate Bridge features prominently on the cover and thus it has piqued my interest multiple times.  But, I don’t want to be that girl who reads a book just because she likes the cover, though that’s usually what attracts me to books in the first place…oh well, I guess I am that girl.  Anyway, about two weeks ago I found out that Beth Lisick was going to be coming into Booksoup so I thought, what a great excuse to read that book I’ve been eyeing for months now.

And now it’s happened, I have yet another female writer who I’m totally freaking out about.  That’s right Beth has joined the ranks of Diablo in becoming a writer I really admire.  Forget the fact that she’s a Banana Slug, which automatically makes her awesome, but she’s a total San Francisco lady and I freaking love it.  She’s everything you could want from a Bay Area writer.  She sometimes works as a Banana passing out fruit on Embarcadero for her friends ‘The Fruit Guys.’   She has no money (something that makes me feel a little panicky as someone who wants to make a living writing), she has a house that’s messy and falling apart, and she’s pretty darn happy.  Basically, she’s me in 15 years.  And perhaps it’s my narcissistic tendencies that make me love her because I relate to her so well, but the thing is that I do relate.  It’s the first time since the Golden Girls that I’ve really related to a woman who is significantly older than me (Beth’s almost 40, not that that’s old, just significantly older than I am).  Basically, it’s the first time I’ve really really related to a character/figure that is not a 16 year old girl, which is actually kind of scary now that I stop and think about it.

Anyway, this random bit of drabble is all leading up to the fact that this week I got to meet Diablo Cody and I will be able to meet Beth Lisick on Thursday when she comes in.  It’s women like this that make it plausible that a woman like me can become a writer.  So thanks ladies for giving a little girl some hope.

Peace, Love, and Lady Writers,
Julia

January 13, 2008 Posted by | Literature, San Francisco | Leave a comment