Chapter 3

The waves crashed violently on the coast of San Simeon.  But from my view, watching the sun disappear at last and leave the sky cast in some mystical grey and blue, it all appeared very peaceful and necessary. I watched it while I stood parked on the cliffs with ‘Mama You’ve Been on My Mind’ playing on the radio. Everything past was falling into sleep and giving birth to a magic that now waited in the darkness.

I left San Simeon as my surroundings instantly became very dark and the ocean vanished. I had no idea where I’d stay for the night. My headlights were now all that allowed me to see in pitch-black. I could barely see the towering pine trees on either side of me. I eased my foot off the gas for I saw a sign up ahead. My heart leapt as it read ‘Welcome to Big Sur’, and just past the sign I found lodging immediately to my left and drove inside. I parked in the lot and stepped out into what had suddenly become a very dark, quiet and cold night in the beginnings of these mythical woodlands. I tried to find anybody nearby for some information. I could see light from one of the buildings. A gift shop, still open and filled with outdoor apparel and Native American jewelry and clothing and attended by a quiet woman with horn-rimmed glasses.  She was wearing one of those t-shirts laced with fake diamonds and a pastel-colored abstract painted onto it. She was talking with a couple who looked like they’d traveled here from one of the desert states, both of them dressed in cowboy boots and jeans, and cowboy hats.

I didn’t speak to them, just nodded hello as I walked past the dream catchers and Indian rugs and over to the books. Travel guides and nearly every book ever written, it seemed, on William Randolph and Marion Davies. I picked up one of the books written about Marion and read the preface, written by none other than the great man himself, Orson Welles. The voice in the writing was unlike that which I had come to know, that of the same man who made masterpieces of American cinema. Here was the former child prodigy, the dedicated magician and Shakesperean genius writing with the lust and passion of some astute yet carnivorous gossip columnist, and I thought of how strange it was that the lives of two such people, like Davis and Hearst and their own relationship, could hold such weight with a man like Welles. He was stepping out of himself tonight it seemed, but then again we all were. Humans and ghosts on the coastal night highway.

I walked out of the lodging quarters and back into pitch-black. I thought it best to get back to San Simeon, though a part of me wanted to stay, remain here with the strange creatures that dwelt there. I could hear them all around me, sense them. What they were exactly, what they looked like were a mystery.

I drove back to the motel in San Simeon, as the castle still gleamed faraway in the hills, keeping guard over the beach. Big Sur, its black expanse staring straight at me like a looming leviathan so inquisitive and craving.

I stepped inside the motel, lit up by a dim lamp from the lobby. At the desk was a young, portly woman who was very cheerful saying ‘Welcome to San Simeon.’ I got my key and entered the room and it was cozy and I turned on the television and the news was on, talking about Jeremy Lin the new sensation for the New York Knicks, some young rising star. I felt no kinship with him. I was happy for the man but he was no Tim Tebow and I had a feeling that I would be proven right.

At night I vowed to become a master in every aspect of my craft, to be the most dedicated student to acting and writing, and to my music. Balance was the key. Focus. I’d stand on a wire and not look down. Just breathe. Concentrate on the task at hand, on what needs to be done, and do it with ease, with a single delicate brush. Anyways I ordered pizza and soon fell asleep as the howling winds glided up and over the pitch-black coasts of the Pacific, so natural before Hearst Castle as if repeating this same haunting scene every night for every year of it’s dark existence.

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