A friend of mine is doing a project called “Secret Chicago”, which now has a wider-ranging LJ group. They’re ultra-short vignettes that open little mind-doors of (often dark) magical realism into whatever place the writer is from or holds dear. Some places have strong existences, once you’ve lived there a while and you go past that shop that has been closed for years or take public transit daily it can start your memory reeling into possibilities of whys and what ifs. Secret Cities is a fascinating project, expanding pocket worlds from chance impressions.
I’ve played with the idea of writing a couple myself, but I think what magical realism I’ve found in the Portland metro area is already being tapped in a couple of ways. The area in and around where I live I photograph. Yes, rural suburbia is weird, but in a way I mostly enjoy by living in it. The city I work in I have a love-hate relationship with and I’ve already got the place drawn up in a different genre of writing experiment.
Besides, the magical realism aspects of the city are, for me, incredibly tied up in someone else’s work.
If I’m waiting for a bus and start a cigarette, I think of Jo in Anvil (#6). Ghost bikes have a new dimension. More or less, when I’m looking at the city I’m either wondering what it would look like if the plants went un-battled or if that’s the Safeway in book eight.
It’s a kind of nepotism, I guess. I am of course fond of my own ideas and I know the writer of City of Roses, who is damned charming—except maybe for how his saga totally overwhelms my impression of the city and keeps me waiting for the next instalment like my own personal narcotic.
Which is still rather charming.