(California Post #1) History of my novel, Friday 10:03 (Part 10): a California novel.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

(This series begins here.)

Friday 10:03 is a California novel. It has settings in northern, southern, and central California, but all the action takes place within a nine day period in California history. I don’t want to give away my story, but I can talk about some of the settings.

During the years (1970-1972) that I began writing the novel, I was studying at UCLA, working two part time jobs in the San Fernando Valley, and volunteering as an ESL tutor in Chinatown. I spent a lot of time on the freeways. At the end of 1972, I went to Europe. (The novel does have flashbacks to events in London and Paris). Then I earned my teaching credential at CSULA (1973-1975), located east of downtown. As I traveled from place to place, I collected locals for my story.

Many years later, as I picked up writing again, I went back and walked some of those locations to be sure I remembered them correctly, but at least one no longer existed.

In 1973, I picked up a newspaper and read that bull-dozers were scheduled to raze the last vestiges of Hicks Camp. I had read about El Monte’s farm labor camps in the writings of Carey McWilliams (see part 5). The moment I saw the paper, I knew I wanted a family in my story to live there. I had three days to see it before it disappeared forever.

The reporter had interviewed a social worker at a youth center near the camp. I found the social worker and asked for a tour. I was able to go inside one of the last homes still standing, and conduct an interview with the owner. All these years later, I don’t know where the notes are that I took that day, or the photographs, or the interview tape. However, in a story characterized by careful attention to settings, that is one of two settings that most please me. The other will have to wait for this account to move ahead 32 years.

Posted by Brian at 9:54 PM  


Hi Brian. I believe I am a descendent of the Hicks who owned Hicks Camp. If you happen to know anything about the owners of Hicks Camp, could you please divulge? I can be reached at dawnamatrix777@hotmail.com. I, also, am a writer :)

Anonymous said...
August 22, 2008 at 7:28 PM  

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