Something’s happened this year and I’m back to getting 2-3 books from the library every week and blowing through them, a pace I kept up through my early twenties. Granted, most of them have been detective novels that are pretty easy to blow through, but it’s been really nice to be reading again.
At the library I saw that there was a third book out from Sara Gran in the Claire De Witt detective series, which is kind of like Raymond Chandler but with a punk lady and a lot more drugs. This quote about the LA hills hit me, because I had just driven through there a few weeks before reading it and thought, “What the hell, why is this city so mountainous?”
Why were the Los Angeles hills so arcane, so occulted to the world outside? People talked about Los Angeles as it it were New York, spread out and deformed, melted like hot cookie dough on a pan. I didn’t know until I got there that the city was a web of mountains and valleys and canyons, starting out wet and cool and drying itself out into desert as it headed east, unlike anyplace else on earth; a maze of dead-end streets that were never parallel and curved in and across themselves like snakes. There was an energy to Los Angeles that was sharp and would cut you if you didn’t recognize it. Every grain of sand in the beaches and the desert buried under the city was a little razor, ready and willing to wound.
But if you saw it for what it was, I was learning, you could maneuver in between the knives and glide through the city, like a needle in a record. You just had to keep your eyes open for synchronicity, and never expect kindness. Just shut up and be grateful when it appeared.