I never in a millions years thought that I would ever be in this place. Yes, I had known about it for years – mostly from Merton’s writing and correspondence with Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Jack Karouac. It never crossed my mind to make a special trip to come here. Something about fate or destiny brought me here.
On our first (and only) full day in San Francisco John was not feeling great. From our tour the night before, Janine had pointed out City Lights and I knew it was not too far away from our hotel. Well, why not just walk there? John was ok with it. We found it without too much trouble, even though the “Maps” on our phones had us walking circles around it for awhile.
It was here, in this bookstore, that I realized that if there is an American city for me, San Francisco is it. If I were 25 years old I could come here and spend a number of years of my life here, I would thrive. There is still a certain “beatnik” (not hippie) feel to San Francisco for me. Just look at the architecture (in the next upcoming post). Or the way the fog rolls into the bay. A certain casualness of the universities without the houty-toutiness of Boston. San Francisco is a city in all aspects, but I don’t feel overwhelmed (like I sometimes do in NYC). As a small town country girl, I could easily adapt to San Francisco, find my place and call it home. I didn’t know San Francisco was like this until I got here. It surprised me. And now I love it and claim it as my own. San Francisco is one of those few places on earth where my soul found real resonance.
There is a story about this view from the window of the 2nd story of the City Lights bookstore. I’ll get to it in an upcoming post.
I made a card out of this and sent it to my 94 year old friend, Tom Burroughs, for his birthday …
And this is City Lights.