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.