Dave Eggers | On San Francisco

Berkeley 001
Dave Eggers, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
"Only up here does the earth look round, only up here does the horizon dip at its ends, only up here can you see the bend of the planet at the edges of your peripheries. Only here are you almost sure that you are careening on top of a big shiny globe, blurrily spinning -- the sky is blue for us, the sun makes passing cars twinkle like toys for us, the ocean undulates and churns for us, murmurs and coos for us. We are in California, living in Berkeley, and the sky out here is bigger than anything we've ever seen - it goes on forever, is visible from every other hilltop --hilltops!--every turn on the roads of Berkeley, of San Francisco -- and up there we see everything, all the red rooftops and trees of cauliflower and columbine, shaped like rockets and explosions, all those people below us, with humbler views; we see the Bay Bridge clunkety, the Richmond Bridge, straight, low the Golden Gate, red toothpicks and string, the blue between, the blue above, the gleaming white Land of the Lost/Superman's North Pole Getaway magic crystals that are San Francsico ... and at night the whole fucking area is a thousand airstrips, Alcatraz blinking, the flood of halogen down the Bay Bridge, oozing to and fro, a string of Christmas lights being pulled slowly, steadily, and of course the blimps - so many blimps this summer - and stars, not too many visible, with the cities and all, but still some, a hundred maybe, enough, how many do you need after all? From our windows, from our deck it's a lobotomizing view, which negates the need for movement or thought -- it is all there, it can all be kept track of without a turn of the head. "
* This is why I save books, underlined and dogeared and tattered. Because the time I spent in Berkeley, the way I saw everything, was narrated by the vague recollection of this manic two sentence (!) description by Dave Eggers. And it's been living in my boxes through the move, only to emerge and give me the words I didn't have myself - the way great writing tends to do.


  1. i keep ALL my books. i don't even lend them out. i hate when people come over and touch them haha. because they have become a part of me, as silly as that may sound. i feel as though each one holds a piece of my heart, a different moment from my life and past. they are dog-eared, underlined, written in, etc. there is a sort of vulnerability in the relationship i have with words. they understand and define my heart in ways no person ever could.

  2. I read this passage aloud to Radley when I was reading this book and you could see how much he loved it as someone from San Francisco, and how perfectly Eggers is able to capture that Northern California feeling. Love that I'm going to end up there!!! :) (And that I'll end up closer to YOU!!!) :) :) :)

  3. i love saving books that had special meaning to me -- especially for these reasons! xxo!


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