Sunday, October 19, 2008

Jack London...

Back in the Napa Valley for work.

Something which has become sort of a tradition for me now, is to pick a topic/author to investigate while staying in the monastic-like-dorms of the hospital. I try to find some sort of California or Napa Valley connection to the subject. Something local with pictures. I've delved into Ellen White (the founder of 7th Day Adventism) and Robert Louis Stevenson. Keeps me out of trouble.

This time it's Jack London, whose ranch is just over the Mayacamas in Sonoma. About thirty minutes away. If I don't work a double shift tomorrow, I think I'll investigate the State Park that has been created out of his residence and ranch.

Frankly, I find Jack London to be much more of an appealing figure than the former subjects. He is my kind of guy! Anti-capitalist. Anti-industrialism. A radical socialist! Uneducated. Self-educated. An adventurer. A drinker! A product of New Age Stock (itself a scandalous story). And a self-made man without a trustfund nor an inheritance. And, at the end of his life, he became, essentially, a back-to-the-lander.

He was the first Ed Abbey (or maybe Thoreau was? Emerson?--it's arguable). Nature writer, radical and lover of the land. Only Jack London wrote from California...not the Canyonlands.

Amazing how prolific he was in his short forty least two novels a year, plus a multitude of essays, political pamphlets and short stories. Of course, he wrote so that he wouldn't have to work hard physically (which he did).

It's been a treat to read a few of his lesser known works (including one--The Scarlet Plague-- about a virus which wipes out most of humanity in the year 2013). Prophetic?

More to come...

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