This week's Weekly Geeks topic, posted by the lovely softdrink, is:
"Take us on a literary tour of your home town!"
Hmmm...interesting one. I grew up in northern California, in a town called Danville, which is part of the "East Bay" area, outside of San Francisco. Danville is a commuter town, a "bedroom community" for San Francisco, and though it has its own history as a railroad stop on the Southern Pacific railroad, and is a lovely place, I wouldn't call it a literary town.
However, the San Francisco Bay Area has a rich literary history. Jack London was born in San Francisco and lived in the Bay Area and of course Mark Twain famously lived in San Francisco where he worked as a journalist, and described the weather to a T ("The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco"). The literary history continues on through the beat poets and expands to a wide group of writers who make San Francisco their home, including Dave Eggers and the McSweeney's crew.
But my little home town of Danville did have its own literary star, at least for awhile, in the late playwright Eugene O'Neill.
Eugene O'Neill and his wife Carlotta built Tao House, a beautiful Spanish-style house, on a hillside in Danville, and they lived there from 1937 to 1944. He wrote his final and most famous plays there, including “A Moon for the Misbegotten,” “The Iceman Cometh,” and “Long Day’s Journey Into Night.” O'Neill garnered four Pulitzer prizes for his plays, and is the only American playwright to have received the Nobel Prize for literature.
Now the home is a National Historic Site, and you can visit and take a tour if you wish, but you have to make a reservation first. And evidently the Eugene O'Neill Foundation hosts an International Eugene O'Neill conference in Danville--who knew?