Magnus Torén of the Henry Miller Library in Big Sur provides listeners with a deeper undestaning of Big Sur - one of the most mythic places in California.
In this 42-minute podcast, Magnus discusses hitchhiking down the coast to Big Sir in the late 1970s, the work of the Henry Miller Library (where "nothing happens" - min. 2), how Miller first arrived in the area and some of his writings specifically about (min. 5-10), Miller's relationship with Emil White and Emil Schnellock and some of the outstanding letters that the Library holds (min. 11). Magnus also explains the indebtedness that contemporary artists have had to Miller's work - Neil Young, Arcade Fire, Fleet Foxes and the Red Hot Chili Peppers are just a few of those who have played the Library's very intimate stage (min. 16).
Magnus then turns towards contemporary challenges, notably gentrification (min. 23). "It is at risk of being loved to death." Whereas Big Sur used to be an artist colony (and served as a refuge for those hiding from the House Un-American Activities Committee), it has now been gentrified. Traffic and skyrocketing house prices are two of the biggest issues that challenge the preservation of the area's cultural and natural values. He closes with discussing the Esalen Institute, the Zen Monastery in the hills and his own oral history project (min.. 31).
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Lindsay Hatton's novel Monterey Bay takes on a lot - Ed Ricketts, John Steinbeck and the founding of the world-famous Monterey Bay Aquarium. She squarely takes on that history and legacy, delivering an enjoyable and thought provoking examination of character set against the tapestry of the Monterey peninsula.
In this 28-minute podcast, Lindsay talks about the novel's setting, her many summers working at the Aquarium, the meticulous use of archives for material and takes a look at the close friendship, indeed bromance, between Ricketts and Steinbeck.
While sticking to the historical script between the marine biologist and the novelist of The Grapes of Wrath, she throws caution to the wind and provides an alternative creation of the Monterey Aquarium.
Lindsay also discusses the craft of writing, the loneliness in the work and the stark contrast in nearly "performing" for an audience. She also touches on her next novel and closes with her favourite place in the Golden State (it's not where you think).
Next time, Magnus Torén of the Henry Miller Library in Big Sur.
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