The Truth Board

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The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


“Babies,” she says “Are fascinating. Did you know that by the time they are four years old they are able to understand the concept of inheritance?”
“No,” I admit, “I did not know that.” She nods, turning back to her book.
I’ve known Wendy since my freshman year of college, when she was roommates with one of my best friend at UC Santa Cruz. I remember waking up one morning in their cramped dorm room to a slightly illegal smell and turning over to find a girl with long brown hair in a tank top and cargo pants sitting cross-legged a few inches away from me, a small bong resting on her knee.
“Hi, I’m Wendy. Want a hit?” I peered behind her at the glowing computer screen that informed me that it was 8:20 in the morning. The sounds of Cat Stevens danced out from the tiny speakers on either side of the monitor.
“I think I’m good for right now.” She nodded and went back to her morning routine.
Fast forward three years and I’m sitting in the parlor of her house in Santa Cruz, sipping an apricot ale, surveying the lay of the land that is her front yard. The fence surrounding the garden boxes is painted rainbow. There are two tubs at the edge of the lawn, one containing copies of an anti-propaganda film and the other containing informational DVDs on sustainable living. Just in case a passerby feels inclined to educate themselves. Flyers for “Occupy Oakland” line the driveway. A former tenant painted the image of Frida Kahlo on a bedroom window with the words “Grow Peace” floating above her head.
I’ve never met anyone quite like Wendy. There’s a lot of people, places, and topics of discussion that I encounter on these trips that would have never penetrated my Southern California bubble, a fact that I’m greeted with almost immediately whenever I return to this place. I always find myself pondering how different my life would have turned out had I chosen the path that my friends did in moving to Santa Cruz. How would my interactions be altered? Who would the important people in my life be?
It’s the same song and dance every year, every time I make the long windy trek down Highway 17 and finally emerge from the forest into the tiny coastal town. There’s something about this place that always disarms me, always forces me to remain stationary for a little longer than I’m comfortable with. As a self-proclaimed “city girl” I often find it deeply hypocritical that every three months or so I begin to whine about needing a weekend away, if only to catch my breath.
Like an overworked hamster being flung from its wheel, I arrive at my destination and immediately brace myself for more stimulation. What I find here is anything but; everything seems to move much more slowly. It’s excruciating at first, but it’s a characteristic that I learn to match quite quickly.
Upon returning to LA it’s hard not to look back on time spent in Santa Cruz as anything more than novelty. It’s hard to remember anything as clearly as that which is in front of you, and once the San Fernando Valley disappears behind me it’s back to the never-ending stimuli I was cursing just hours before.



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