birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Looks Like Hometown Spirit

Hometown is mostly a fictional concept for me.

I would concede that it exists for people, but what I think of when I think of it at all is a cozy place, a familiar town that forms you and draws you back, a place of recollections and a sense of belonging. The fairytale version is that you grew up there and even though it may have changed over the years, you have a wistful pull towards it. You would root for the local sports teams. There’s a house where your mother still has your youthful castoffs stored up in the attic and everybody returns for holiday gatherings when you can drive around and revisit the nearby spots that formed your memories. And the neighbor next door will greet you and say, My, look at you all grown up!

It is something depicted in movies and tv shows, nostalgically set in the past where one can dwell on memories and regrets, or sadly, a corrosive version set in the present that provides background about how the protagonist reached his current, sorry condition.

I lived in 9 different places by the time I graduated from high school, all within several miles of one another. There is no old homestead for me with my initials carved in a tree and a friendly – or cranky - neighbor next door. Our life was transient in many ways. We moved as a family for a few years and then members dropped off the list from divorce, young marriage, growing up and away. Most of the places are a faint memory and the towns, all somewhat close together, have little to recommend them.

I don’t think of any of them as my particular hometown. Unless you consider the Greater Los Angeles Area as the answer, then, yes, I have a hometown. I am a genuine Los Angeles native, a rare item in this city of transplants. Early days in the San Fernando Valley, then an upgrade with my mother to a swankier zip code - albeit, the poor side of town. I don't have a sense of belonging here. Quite the contrary, in fact. I spent some years out and away, and here I am back again. Return of the Native. In my hometown. It doesn’t look the same. But sometimes, even I can't resist a drive around and think, Huh, that’s where the Rexall Drugstore used to be, and Look! There’s my old high school!

Bad ass broad