Jonathan Blum Recommends...

“When I’m stuck writing fiction, I sometimes take a walk through my neighborhood—the Garvanza section of Highland Park in Los Angeles. I’ve lived here for more than thirteen years. What inspires me? Kids having birthday parties, adults playing baseball, and a ranchera band performing in the park across the street. The slope at the edge of the parking lot of the Korean church, where teenagers make videos of each other doing high-flying skateboard tricks. The man and woman who set up a grill in their front yard and make carne asada tacos, which they sell to passersby. Ice cream trucks. Grandparents. Dodgers flags. A mint condition black 1965 Impala parked along a curb. Playful Halloween decorations. Glorious old cacti that are twice as tall as I am. It is a neighborhood where, more and more, you see new Audis turn the corner past old pickup trucks with hand-painted signs advertising salvage and demolition services. And yet, everyone still likes to stroll along the Arroyo Seco. In the poem ‘Not Writing,’ Jane Kenyon compares a writer who can’t write to a wasp that cannot enter its own papery nest. This neighborhood helps me work.”
—Jonathan Blum, author of The Usual Uncertainties (Rescue Press, 2019)