Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The 327 Gazetteer

estate, originally uploaded by camille94019.

A while ago John
asked about the obscure geographical references that pepper 327land. This is going to be the first in a series of posts (and I'll link them to the handy sidebar someday) about the many colorful towns, bergs, freeways, local gods, metropoli, mystical/numinous forests, shrines and suburbs that fill this imaginary continent. I had assumed, when I started this blog that my readership would consist entirely of friends who also knew the area and could easily figure out where I was writing about. Fortunately the readership has expanded beyond my wildest fantasies so there are a couple of you who may have never visited this dulcet region and may be curious about the backstory.

The Idea of Place and my Imagination

There are few things that fascinate me more than trying to figure out what makes one place different than another. This is especially challenging living in California, where most of the development took place after World War 2, when those diobolical builders figured out all sorts of imagination-killing cost-and-labor saving building techniques and flooded this heart-wrenchingly beautiful place with the most hideous (hideous in the way Soviet architecture is hideous and soul killing) and generic tract homes, strip malls and schools. The fall-out is that you can go to hundreds of places and by simply forgetting where you are and looking around, the clues that anchor you in a particular time and place are few and subtle. As a result, I take great pains to situate myself in places which are as quirky and archaic as possible. Or I imagine that places are more quirky and archaic than they are.

On the Names of Places

I don't use real names because I wish to talk about real people and places without blowing anyone's privacy. I chose names for places that reflect what they symbolize to me, often punning the original meaning or referencing something about a place. Sometimes I use mutliple names for the same place, and I'll note that in the individual entries.

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