Lit Crawl and the Resurgence of the Mission

I was trying to figure out what about last Saturday’s Lit Crawl particularly warmed my heart, and it hit me this morning like a stream of light through the sun down 280 (which if you think about it, makes it clear I wasn’t actually reading at the Lit Crawl).

As I look forward to attending the Web 2.0 Summit tomorrow through Friday in San Francisco, my community, work, and the different roads and travails in between are again on my mind (not like they’re never not on my mind). Those of us who already lived here in the mid-to-late ’90s of the last millenium remember names like Kozmo, Webvan, Bigstep, and slogans like “because pets can’t drive.” Those of us who lived in the Mission district in San Francisco remember the schizophrenia of the times and the huge influx of people striking for a new gold rush. These people could bring excitement and ideas, but they often left frighteningly quickly and with waste in their wake.

In just one of many similar scenarios, Bigstep took over a huge building down at 22nd and Mission. Artists and teachers were evicted, presumably to the outskirts of civilization, because artists and teachers didn’t earn the mint for living there now. Till recently this exodus hasn’t been a memory, but rather a reality.

I don’t know when or if it started to feel like a memory for most, but on Saturday night, the “death of the Mission” was far from my mind. Oceans of people washed down Valencia, Mission, and Guerrero from one pub (or laundromat) to the next and crammed in and on top of every nook and cranny (or agitator) to hear people reading. Reading! Literature, poetry, fiction, travel writing, rock writing were all alive and well and thriving with absolutely masses of people. Only this morning, looking back, did it make me feel like we’ve finally come out, and back into some kind of goodness again.

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