Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Hills of San Francisco


"In San Francisco, you learn to expect that anything will happen. It's out of the ordinary for something unusual not to happen."

Theresa Smith

San Francisco itself is art, above all literary art. Every block is a short story, every hill a novel. Every home a poem, every dweller within immortal. That is the whole truth.

William Saroyan

Earlier tonight I tried to write and I wasn’t doing well.  I was tired and I fell asleep.  When I woke up I looked at what I had written and I didn’t like it.  So now I’m starting again and hoping for something better this time.  It’s been a long day, though not a bad one.  I’m in San Francisco, visiting a friend, and I’ve done a lot of walking today.  That might be why I was so tired tonight.  After I woke up we walked some more and now I’m ready to give the blog another try.
San Francisco is an amazing city.  Over 800,000 people inhabit about 47 square miles.  There is so much to do and see here.  I like cities.  They fascinate me.  All the people and all the stories.  I like the dynamics of a big city.  I like walking around at night and seeing so many people.    It’s pretty amazing.  And I’ve definitely put in my walking time for this trip.  I was thinking of walking some more after I finish this blog, but I think going to bed would be a better choice.  I’ve seen a lot of the city today and I like it, for the most part.
Here are some things I like about San Francisco:
·      The diversity
·      The different neighborhoods
·      The lights
·      The ability to walk anywhere and get whatever you need
·      The efficient public transportation
·      The weather
·      The beauty of the city

There are two things I don’t like about the city:
·      The aggressiveness of the beggars
·      The hills, especially if I’m driving on them
Writing sometimes feels like the negative aspects of this city.  There are a lot of steep hills.  Steep hills represent three literal difficulties for me:
1.     When I’m driving and I’m stuck at the top of a hill with my car rear end facing downward.  When that happens, I’m terrified that my car will roll backwards and crash.
2.     Going down is just as scary because I’m sure that I will start going too fast and the car will crash.
3.     Walking up and down steep hills gets pretty tiring if I’m not used to it.

Sometimes writing feels like being stuck at the top of a hill and unable to move forward.  I’m stuck and I’m sure I’m not saying anything new or interesting.  That’s not as scary as being literally stuck on a hill in San Francisco waiting on a light or a pedestrian, but it’s still scary.  What if my writing crashes?
Other times it feels like I’m facing a steep decline, especially when I can’t focus on my writing.  I feel like I’m quickly going downhill with my time, energy and attention.  I’m getting nothing done.  What if my writing crashes?
Finally there are times when I’m walking forward, up and down the hills, exploring my mind and my thoughts and it’s fun, up to a point, and then it’s tiring.  I want to stop, but I can’t because I haven’t arrived.  Well, I can, but it makes the journey longer.
The hills are hard for me, but this is really a beautiful city and writing is a beautiful use of my time.  In addition, I’ve learned that drivers get used to the hills.  I don’t think there are any more accidents here than anywhere else.  In fact, the practice might make drivers better here, just as practice makes me a better writer.  I’m glad I’ve been able to spend some time here.  It’s a great place to Get Started and to Keep Going…even with all the hills.