But seriously, folks…

So last night, in my hubris, I prayed for some kind of direction as to what to try to actually make, art-wise, in 2012.  Today, I read this passage in Walker Percy:  A Life:  “It is worth noting that Commonweal carried Walker’s review of the recently published Owen Wister Out West, the letters and journals of a novelist noted primarily for his novel The Virginian…” Out west, you say? 

Grossmont Isn’t Just a Shopping Center:  Recollections of Grossmont, Mount Helix, and Surrounding Valleys is a fine piece of local history about my town (now called La Mesa) by Hubert Guy.  Guy spends considerable time describing the Grossmont Artists Colony, founded by retired stage actor William Gross (who gave the place its name), land developer Ed Fletcher, and legendary contralto Ernestine Schumann-Heinke:

Schumann-Heinke purchased the plot of land where she would build in February of 1910 – it’s a wonderful place; if you visit, I’ll drive you past it. Writes Guy, “By the summer of 1910, a characteristic trend was developing as new Grossmont landowners or prospective buyers included the world’s foremost entertainers in the musical and literary fields. A nucleus had formed for the creation of an exclusive residential retreat for celebrities in the world of performing arts – for famous people seeking a private, secluded home where they could escape the rigors of strenuous travel schedules. The ‘Colony for Artists’ concept fell into place quite naturally.”

Who else bought and built in the Grossmont Colony for Artists? Well, one person was…Owen Wister. “During his early years, Owen Wister broke away from a strict family environment and headed West to combat a serious illness…Through his acquaintance with Ed Fletcher, Wister purchased a Grossmont homesite located at 9499 El Granito Avenue…”




    He does that a lot, but he’s enigmatic-like.

    Go write your book.

  2. And so he went out of the land of idolators and into the promised land the Bard called him too. And the land was called The Table, for it flowed with tomatoes and lemons, and he established a home in the area of Mariposa, for many were the butterflies which the Lord had made there. And he labored in the land, and, Lo, the land bore fruit. And a carpenter came from a far land and said to him, if you will give me food and lodging, yea, I will build for you and under my roof your wife will bring forth many sons and many daughters. And so it was.

  3. Cubeland Mystic says

    I am kind of dense. What is the direction?

    • The direction, I have long thought, is to write a book about the second incarnation of the artists’ colony in La Mesa:the land of lemons, tomatoes, vintage car shows, and butterflies.

      And of the “marvelous comrades” he gives to us, “the faithful who dwell in his land.” And the many failures and few triumphs that attend those faithful, and the banality and absurdity of their lives in the City of Man, and the blessedness of those lives in the City of God. And all the quirkiness and generosity and sin and holiness and messiness and sublimity of living in this community.

      Or something like that.

      So say I who am not.

      But, Matthew: WRITE ABOUT YOUR LIFE.

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