Me and Paul Park have reached the middle of our joint stint, teaching at Clarion in San DIego — actually, in La Jolla, as I learned once I got here. (I also learned how to pronounce 'La Jolla.') The students are great, with some wonderful stories, and as always it's incredibly exhilarating to be with new or aspiring writers who have yet to be crushed by the iron fist of publishing. It's also been great to check out the beaches nearby — about a half hour walk, through the haut-Dune architecture of the UCSD campus and then down streets lined with multi-million-dollar homes and glossy black SUV's —yo, shout-out to Climate Change! — and then to the bluffs overlooking the Pacific and empty, vast cliff-top mansions so huge they defy logic: who would build something so fucking huge on a bluff that's being eroded every day, and then not live in it? Hang-gliders soar above the mansions and the beach below, and occasional fly directly over our heads and smile and nod — shout out to Icarus!
And there's surfers in the water, the first real live surfers I've ever seen. Last weekend some monster waves were breaking; on Saturday a guy was killed not far away, which I assume drew more people into the water, the way dangerously pure heroin kills some unlucky shmo, and then everyone wants a taste. Walked down to the nude beach, which was filled with naked guys who all resembled the Dude in The Big Lebowski. The only woman I saw sans culottes was a beautiful Venus of Willendorf on a boogie board, which was pretty cool and far more mythically resonant than the middle-aged penguin parade.
I just watched a trailer for Spike Jonze's Where the Wild Things Are, which sucked the magic from Sendak's book. Not sure I'd take my kids if they were still little (and not because it was scary). Jonze gets point, though, for nice manipulative use of Arcade Fire's "Wake Up."
Finally — Nick, one of the students here, shared this metaphysical bit of video with everyone. It's been watched 48,679 times since it went up on youtube. I suspect Nick is responsible for 70 of those viewings. The other 9 were me ...