With each move, mystery surrounds me and my partner’s lives. Until friends and family visited us in Livermore, California, a place we called home for 26 months, they pictured San Francisco or Oakland, but Livermore is its own thing. On accident, I would type Lovermore with regularity, and it always made me grin. To me, Lovermore felt true, too. We married there, slow-danced on our favorite restaurant’s patio. This is a tribute to the literary things we enjoyed in our East Bay neighborhood.
Once every weekend jog, I visited the Creative Healing Center. Just stepping through the door feels serene. Plants, crystals, the titter of birds, and warm conversation from the women that work there greet you. Frequently, a used bookshelf pulled me to it, where I found another dream dictionary for my collection. Before moving, I left a piece of our home, a split-leaf philodendron with the owner, knowing it would thrive there.
No matter where we live, I love looking while jogging. (Actually, I may be looking more than jogging.) A couple of my favorite sights on our Livermore route: a blue iris mural on a utility box and the metal plaque featuring a William Faulkner quote at the Bankhead Theater. Although, I replaced the pronouns with more inclusive ones when I read it. Also, the Bankhead Theater Gallery, along with the Bothwell Arts Center (where I taught creative writing workshops), hosts wonderful art exhibits and events.
As you may know, my love of Riverdale is unabashedly public. I’ve written about Betty’s literary hero (Toni Morrison), book cameos, and titles I’d recommend to the teenage characters. In homage to nostalgia, I bought an anniversary issue of Archie Jumbo Comics at Fantasy Books and Games, a haven for baseball cards, collectibles, and—you guessed it—comics.
Before the wineries, stop at the Civic Center branch of the Livermore Public Library for photo ops with the prettiest bike rack I have ever seen (the word BOOKS bookended by books), concrete and stone benches held up by classic literature, and a beautiful circular mosaic named The Doors designed by artist Maria Alquilar featuring the Tree of Life surrounded by famous artists and thinkers to mark the entrance. At the Friends of the Livermore Library, a cheery and packed room, I donated titles and saved the ones I couldn’t believe speckled the shelves.