Sunday, May 20, 2012

It's Time

For the past few days, I've been feeling it acutely: It's time to go. It's time to pack it up here after nine too-long years, taking only what we really need, and head on out to Las Vegas and start a new life that we've needed for all those nine years. I did some good here in Santa Clarita, writing a while for the Canyon Call at College of the Canyons, being the interim editor of the Escape section of The Signal for five weeks in early 2008, and I gained a few then-new favorite writers (now they're reliable favorites), but that's not enough. I've never felt close to any part of these lands, the people, the buildings. What I want, what Mom wants, what Meridith wants, what I hope Dad wants, is in Las Vegas.

I'm able-bodied. I can work. I want to be a full-time middle school campus supervisor. I've studied campuses closely since kindergarten, and known them intimately since 6th grade, when Dad resumed his teaching career first as a substitute teacher after 19 years at Southern Bell (which became BellSouth in the process). I followed him to Silver Trail Middle in 7th grade, in which the first half of that school year was spent at a cluster of portables near our condo in Grand Palms Golf & Country Club in Pembroke Pines (nothing fancy; we lived way in the back end), and then during that winter break, teachers and administration moved into the new school site that had just finished construction. I walked around that school many, many times, before any of my classmates and other students occupied it. I also spent 8th grade at Silver Trail, and then in 9th grade, at Flanagan High School, I went back to that former Silver Trail campus of portables, which became Flanagan's, because the main campus was so overcrowded that they had to place us 9th graders somewhere else. Mom was working on the main campus in their copy machine center, making copies for all the teachers, and then I joined her on that campus for 10th grade. In 11th grade, she moved to Hollywood Hills High School as a library assistant, and I went to school there for my final two years.

Attending College of the Canyons here, I loved late Friday afternoons when my cinema class let out (always an easy "A"), when the campus was empty and I walked around, looking at those hallways, feeling that utter peace that spread throughout those enormous three floors. And then being a substitute campus supervisor at Dad's school, La Mesa Junior High, I was very happy in that job. I love studying the architecture of these campuses, even if most of it is the same in this valley, as what's at La Mesa is the same at Valencia High. I didn't mind it. There was one building, across from the office, that felt like adobe architecture. I'd look at that and imagine that I was in New Mexico, where I want to be in the years to come, to travel throughout it.

I can be comfortable at any middle school campus in Las Vegas. I look forward to getting to know those kids, to making sure they behave while outside, to keep the school in good standing. I'm excited about this chance because I will finally be in an area whose history I can feel, whose history I want to explore. Not only is there one book I want to write about a certain aspect of Las Vegas history that has interested me for the few years I've known about Las Vegas, but I had an idea for a novel set in Las Vegas that I want to pursue. I won't be looking to prove anything about Las Vegas as other novels tend to do. It is a hedonistic paradise, and that's where I want to be. That's how I want to live. It'll be set in 1950s Las Vegas, because the historical figure involved lived during that time and visited Las Vegas during that time. There's a lot of research to do not only about 1950s Las Vegas, but about this figure himself, and the famous gambler who it's claimed escorted him around town, but apparently cannot be confirmed.

This will be my home. This is where I belong. This is where I can place roots and have a home base, and travel to the presidential libraries and smaller presidential museums I still want to visit, and travel throughout New Mexico, and know that I have a home to come back to. It's a comforting thought that I haven't had all that often because of how many times we moved throughout Florida and then here to Southern California, to Valencia, and then to Saugus a year after we arrived. It's there. It's all there. I told Meridith today that I'm going to be so relieved to have a library card, because more than that driver's license to come at the Nevada DMV, it means I have somewhere I belong. A home. A library. A home library. Home in all its forms. Streets and businesses and casinos and amusements to explore every single day. If you can't write in Las Vegas, you might as well give up writing. I can write there for sure. And I can live there for sure. I know it.


  1. It's good to know you have a home. You are fortunate.


    1. It's a relief. Plus with unemployment rates there being the lowest in years, there's great hope coming. I don't care what naysayers grumble about that; it's good.

      I'm just happy to have so much to explore, so much to read about, and actually visit the current sites of those places mentioned in those history books. They'll all be right there for me.

      The most interesting thing I've learned thus far is that Bally's used to be the old MGM Grand, the site of that famous deadly fire in 1980. There's more interesting things, but that just amazes me. There Bally's sits, and that's where that happened. I can be right there, looking at history, however changed.

  2. "It's there. It's all there."

    Man, your enthusiasm for Vegas makes me want to move there! Cut it out!

    Seriously, I hope you find everything you're looking for there, and then some. Although that's a bit ironic, in that I believe U2's video for the song 'Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For' was filmed in Vegas on the Strip, lol...

    1. Mom, Meridith, and I had a long conversation last night, in which we determined that we need to start over. These nine years in Southern California have burned us out so thoroughly that we need to reinvent ourselves, and find ourselves anew in Las Vegas, which is one reason Las Vegas exists: Reinvention. You can truly be who you want to be there, even as a resident. Not as wild, obviously, since work is important and we have to have a decent night's sleep to function the next day, but enough to make us feel whole again, to feel like we're living and not just existing, as it was here.

      Meridith has so many opportunities there in cooking, no matter what she chooses. She's been playing with her food ever since she was little, so she's set. I would also like to find some writing work on the side, perhaps some proofreading, since I can pick out errant punctuation and grammar with laser-like intensity. Or perhaps some writing. I like those publications geared toward tourists, and I think I have the enthusiasm for Las Vegas that would work for those. I can always find something good to write about Las Vegas.

      We all want to enjoy ourselves completely, to be able to explore all the time and always find something to do. We can find it there. Even if we visit all the casinos on the Strip (The Strip won't be the only thing for us, but it'll always be a focal point), there's always a reason to go back there. For example, Shania Twain begins her residency at Caesars Palace in December. Meridith and I want to go to that.

      I have so many stacks of books in my room and I'm willing to give up 95% of them. I will not move with all of them. I have about 50-75 I want to move with and that's it. I need room in the new place, wherever it may be, for my Buddha statue, and wall space for my prints of paintings by Chris Consani of Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, Humphrey Bogart, and Elvis Presley together. It is all I want of Hollywood in my new home. Nothing else. Once gone from Southern California, outside of my book about the Airport movies, I am done with Hollywood.

      And then I want to try to find a print of Noel Coward standing in the Las Vegas desert, wearing a tuxedo, holding a tea cup and saucer. That, to me, says about Las Vegas, "Anything goes." Anything you want, you can have. If I can ever find that print, I want it large, and I want it framed.

      I'm still in the process of shrinking my Las Vegas book stack, and recently got in the mail Colossus by Michael Hiltzik, about the building of Hoover Dam. I'm going to start that one this week, even as I'm reading other Las Vegas books. The more of Las Vegas that swirls around in my head, the happier I am. When I have that Clark County library card, I'll be even happier.