Last week I attended a literary event at the independent bookstore, Book Soup, located on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, California. Five writers whose work is included in the inaugural issue of Slake, a Los Angeles-based literary magazine, were there to read their work.
When Australian poet/novelist/essayist/screenwriter Luke Davies began reading from his personal essay, "The Cisco Kid," about his childhood obsession with America through its depiction on television and in B-movies, I could relate. I too was seduced by the alluring promise of Hollywood. Captivated by his story, I wanted to hear more.
Luke Davies is also the author of "Candy," a novel centered around the destructive relationship a couple has with their addiction to heroin, and each other. The book is a fictional account but it contains certain truths from Davies own experience during his years of heroin addiction. As I listened to his beautifully written story of longing for America – and a life more glamorous than his own experience growing up in Sydney – I wondered what had happened to that boy. What made him turn to drugs? How did that chapter of his life finally end?
After the reading, I introduced myself to Davies and we spoke briefly about writing, Los Angeles, and reality TV. He was delightful and engaging and signed my copy of the magazine, “for Diana best wishes Luke Davies Sunset Boulevard 9/8/10.” It tickles me that he noted the location where our lives happened to intersect. It is fitting that we should meet here in Los Angeles, the sprawling metropolis that called out to each of us as children, its beacon stretching East across the wide spans of America, reaching me in Philadelphia, and West across the Pacific Ocean to Sydney on Australia’s East Coast. Of course it would be here, where we’ve each taken up residence, that we should cross paths on the most iconic of streets.