Best literary places: I often think of places that no longer exist, or places that are personal to my own literary journey. Because for me, the most literary place in Los Angeles is a bungalow in Santa Monica Canyon on E. Channel Road – on the property of Peter Graves, inexplicably – where I spent years in a writing workshop with my mentor Tom Filer. He called the workshop “Goat Alley”. It was here that I read the books that would change my life, made literary friendships that sustained me, and found the courage to write the stories that meant the most to me over the years.
Best places for literary inspiration: In my first book [“Fake Liar Cheat”], I’ve spent pages and pages writing about a now defunct restaurant on Melrose called Intermezzo in hopes of being able to dine there for free in perpetuity. But they closed shortly after the book came out, and I never even got a free coke. The places that inspire me the most, however, often have no name: long stretches of desert highway, interrupted only by car headlights far from the road. What are these people doing ? Why are they there? Why don’t they move?
Best places to meet other writers: I have the advantage of leading the MFA Low Residency at UC Riverside, which meets twice a year (provided the plague cooperates) at the Omni Rancho Las Palmas resort in Rancho Mirage. I bring in two dozen guest writers/agents/editors/producers, as well as permanent faculty members, to teach our MFA students. During these 10 days twice a year, this hotel is the literary Valhalla. I can see all my favorite writers and friends at once, but also, plans are made, problems are solved, deals are made, all over beautiful desert sunsets. … It’s the free time, in the evenings, when many of LA’s best writers get their fill of social interactions… at least for six months. When it comes to work, there’s only one place where I’m really able to write: here, at my desk, near my espresso machine and chocolate-covered almonds.
Goldberg’s books include “The Low Desert” and “Gangsterland”.
Los Angeles Times