10 Legendary Writers on San Francisco
The evolution of San Francisco is a curious one, an LSD-laced trip towards that ever-elusive thing named Progress. Innovation. Utopia.
Here are 10 writers on San Francisco over the decades, volunteering both gripe and glorification.
“San Francisco has only one drawback: ‘Tis hard to leave.”
all the bullets in ten precincts know where to go
there’s no heaven (nor any other good ideas in the sky)
politics means: people did it and people do it.
understand that when in San Francisco
and other places that were never really there…
-Excerpt from “The Course of Meal,” Heaven Is All Goodbyes
“I have always been rather better treated in San Francisco than I actually deserved.”
The changing light at San Francisco is none of your East Coast light none of your pearly light of Paris The light of San Francisco is a sea light an island light And the light of fog blanketing the hills drifting in at night through the Golden Gate to lie on the city at dawn... -Excerpt from “The Changing Light”
“San Francisco was where the social hemorrhaging was showing up. San Francisco was where the missing children were gathering and calling themselves ‘hippies.’ When I first went to San Francisco in that cold late spring of 1967 I did not even know what I wanted to find out, and so I just stayed around awhile, and made a few friends.”
“Everybody looks everywhere, it’s a jazz-joint and beat generation madtrick, you see someone, “Hi,” then you look away elsewhere, for something someone else, it’s all insane, then you look back, you look away, around, everything is coming in from everywhere in the sound of the jazz.”
“It’s an odd thing, but anyone who disappears is said to be seen in San Francisco. It must be a delightful city and possess all the attractions of the next world.”
“One of the curious aspects of the Twenty-First Century was the great delusion amongst many people, particularly in the San Francisco Bay Area, that freedom of speech and freedom of expression were best exercised on technological platforms owned by corporations dedicated to making as much money as possible.”
“In San Francisco – life goes on. Hope rises and dreams flicker and die. Love plans for tomorrow and loneliness thinks of yesterday. Life is beautiful and living is pain. The sound of music floats down a dark street. A young girl looks out a window and wishes she were married. A drunk sleeps under a bridge. It is tomorrow.”
“When I arrived back in San Francisco, with a fresh haircut and two fraying duffel bags, I felt intrepid and pioneering. I did not know that thousands of people had already headed west for a crack at the new American dream, that they had been doing so for years. I was, by many standards, late.”