a Jolla is one of the most beautiful places on earth. A suburb of San Diego, California, it occupies a small coastal plain between a sharp knife of hills and the Pacific Ocean. It has a small town feel to it; only about a mile wide and a few miles long, you can drive through in minutes. But I could spend the rest of my life there and never miss the rest of the world. Some of the most breathtaking coastline in the world, stunning architecture, fabulous restaurants, a modicum of seclusion from the hustle of the ‘real’ city; it’s nearly perfect.
La Jolla was almost the subject of Stephen Bishop’s preciously non-tragic non-love song “On and On” as well.
The local ‘old rock’ station, KGB, used to do a benefit every year. Local bands would submit tapes of tunes and the 10 best would be compiled in that year’s ‘Home Grown’ album. They range from interesting to spectacular. Ron Satterfield, who later formed Checkfield, appeared often. (Ron’s ‘Light of the City’ from ‘Home Grown IV’ is one of my 10 favorite songs of all time; too bad it’s just not available anywhere but used vinyl.)
Bishop, born in San Diego in 1951, allegedly submitted his tune (with the opening line ‘Down in La Jolla’ instead of ‘Down in Jamaica’) on the wrong format tape, and was disqualified without even getting a listen. That’s okay; it probably deserved a wider audience than the Home Grown albums got.
La Jolla is also host to the annual Raymond Chandler writing contest. Hosted by the La Jolla Chamber of Commerce, submissions of short stories in Chandler’s style or in parody of his style are awarded small cash prizes.
I always wondered why all the submissions were parodies. I assumed it was because it was easier than writing a serious piece in Chandler’s style. When I tried to submit a vignette I wrote while I was an unemployed construcion worker, I found out otherwise: all submissions become the property of the La Jolla C of C. Why would I write something I really cared about and then give it away?
Still unpublished except on the web, my vignette, “Simplicity Itself” was written in about 10 minutes, and hasn’t change a word since the night I awoke from a sound sleep with it fully formed in my head. I recommend listening to Dire Strait‘s song “On Every Street” while reading it.