My Other City

WELL, it’s certainly not a secret how much I adore San Francisco even though so many San Franciscans still feel it necessary to run L.A. through the mud — but still…. Anyway, I just finished tinkering with the kicker of a piece I’m writing about Rebecca Solnit’s beautifully, transporting new book, Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas which peels back those passions we have about the cities we adopt as our own — we don’t just inhabit some quadrant on the grid, but how that place becomes part of us.

I lived in San Francisco twenty years ago — no, more than that — but it is a dynamic, living part of me. I feel as if I know it like my own city, particularly after many years of many visits annually. Learning it like a native would — its secret spots and its secret roads, its quiet spaces.

Solnit writes in her introduction:

“San Francisco contains many more than eight hundred thousand living maps, because each of these citizens contains multiple maps: areas of knowledge, rumors, fears, friendships, remembered histories and facts, alternate versions, desires, the map of everyday activity versus the map of occasional discovery, the past versus the present, the map of this place in relations to others that could be confined to a few neighborhoods or could include multiple continents of ancestral immigration routes and lost homelands . . . . .

A city is marked by us as much as we are marked by it.

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