Literary Travels with Lacee Low… California

John Steinbeck is from California and is one of my favorite authors. I read Of Mice and Men a thousand times and I would love to go to California and explore his legacy. For example, Steinbeck practically discovered Monterey, California—well, not really, but he made the city a well-known landmark in “Cannery Row”. You can visit Cannery Row (the street) and even visit Doc’s Marine Lab, set up by Edward Flanders Ricketts (“Doc” in “Cannery Row”). Tours are available. (Henry Miller also hung out there a lot.)

Robert Louis Stevenson (Treasure Island) also lived in Monterey (Steinbeck actually lived in Salinas, which is just next door). He lived at 530 Houston Street and you can visit—but beware, because people say it’s haunted!

Other literary figures from California include poet Robinson Jeffers, who built the Tor House, hidden away on a rocky knoll overlooking Carmel.

The Eugene O’Neill House (National Historic Site) is located in Danville, California. I don’t really know so much about him, other than the fact that he is a playwright who lived in pretty solid isolation at his Tao House, a 5100 square foot hillside home. He wrote The Iceman Cometh, Long Day’s Journey Into Night, and A Moon for the Misbegotten while he was living at Tao House.

Nearby is the John Muir National Historic Site, in Martinez. He was a writer and a naturalist from the 19th century.

Then, of course, there’s San Francisco, home of the beatniks. Timothy Leary and his posse hung out at the Golden Gate Park, where he coined the phrase “Turn on, tune in, drop out”, while introducing the widespread use of LSD. (I just read The Electric Acid Kool-Aid Test.)

That’s it for now…until next time!

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Literary Travels with Lacee Low… The Literary South

I’m from the South (Virginia/North Carolina) so…I don’t know. I’m definitely not an expert b/c I’ve barely been to any of these places, but I guess I feel some kinship or something to these writers b/c in school teachers always stress that they’re from the south and we’re from the south so we can “hear” what they’re saying better than other people. I don’t know if that’s true.

  1. Edgar Allan Poe Museum – Richmond, Virginia (FYI, there’s also an Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site in Philadelphia, and the Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum in Baltimore, but those aren’t quite South.)
  2. Booker T. Washington National Monument – Hardy, Virginia
  3. Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum – Key West, Florida
  4. Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park – Cross Creek, Florida
  5. Heritage House Museum and Robert Frost Cottage – Key West, Florida
  6. Margaret Mitchell House and Museum – Atlanta, Georgia

Happy travels!
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NEED to GET OUT of Richmond!!

I’m taking a break from my “Literary Travels” to say this: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! So going to Philadelphia for the summer didn’t end up working out b/c my grandparents decided to move out of their house and into an apartment so everything is in boxes and my grandfather had hip surgery and my parents thought it would be too much if I were there—even though I think I could’ve been a big help. So instead I’m HOME, in Richmond, which is NOT where I want to be. AND I’m a stupid counselor at that stupid camp that I SWORE I wouldn’t work at again. AND my parents are driving me crazy. Maybe most teenagers are used to that, but since I go to boarding school and generally see my parents for AT MOST two weeks at a time, but usually a lot less, spending THE SUMMER home is extremely daunting. And it’s only been a month so far…
The only silver lining of this dark, dark cloud is that my parents are letting me take one of the cars up to Philly to visit my grandparents after their big move, which is in a few weeks, after the first session of camp is over. And I’ll be stopping in Baltimore on the way to visit a friend from school. I’ll probably be gone for 10-12 days total…more if I can convince the authorities…
The only solace I have while I’m still here is Short Pump Town Center Mall, the Library of Virginia, and Kings Dominion. And I guess I have a few friends stuck here too. We all bitch and whine together. What else are friends for?

Top Ten Literary Cities

I can’t find the original article, but here’s a list of the top ten literary cities in the US from Jessica Burkhart’s (fun!) blog. She got her list from USA Today in the book section of the paper.

Minneapolis, Minnesota
Seattle, Washington
St. Paul, Minnesota
Denver, Colorado
Washington, D.C.
St. Louis, Missouri
San Francisco, California
Atlanta, Georgia
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Boston, Massachusetts

I’ve found a few great articles on the literariness (is that a word?) of these cities. This article gives ten reasons why Pittsburgh is a “literary star”. There’s an interesting article in the New York Times which talks about how companies like Costco, Starbucks, and Amazon (all based in Seattle) influence what books Americans read. The article describes Seattle as a town that loves books. That’s nice!

So I’m left with just two questions: Where is New York City? And where is Los Angeles? This article offers proof of LA’s literariness, and do we really need proof for NYC?
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Literary travels

There seems to be a new genre of travel that has yet to be discussed in this forum, and that is, literary travels. There’s a book (and blog) called Novel Destinations: Literary Landmarks from Jane Austen’s Bath to Ernest Hemingway’s Key West that seems to be getting some attention. Novel Destinations, by Shannon McKenna Schmidt and Joni Rendon, is a book for people who share a passion for reading and travel, and the only I can think is, for the millionth time…why didn’t I think of that book idea?! I know I’m only 17, but I think I’m ready to write a book, if only people would stop stealing my ideas…

And so prepare for my version of… ,

Literary Travels with Lacee Low

This week: Literary Travels in New England

1. The Orchard House, Concord, Massachusetts – Home of the Alcotts (as in, Louisa May, of Little Women fame).
2. Walden Pond State Reservation, Concord, Massachusetts – Home of Henry David Thoreau and place of inspiration for his (and others’) writings. HDT lived at Walden Pond from July 1845 to September 1857.
3. Longfellow National Historic Site, Cambridge, Massachusetts – The home of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was originally occupied by General George Washington during the Siege o Boston. Less then 100 years later, Longfellow took a room in the residence now bearing his name.
4. Robert Frost Stone House Museum, South Shaftsbury, Vermont – Frost wrote “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” while he lived here on a hot June morning in 1922.

Stay tuned next time for…The Literary South!
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