Volunteers from all over the Bay Area have convened in this empty lot as part of the Youth Spirit Artwork (YSA) Tiny Homes Project, which aims to build 100 tiny homes for housing-insecure young people in the East Bay over the next 10 years.
I would like to share my experiences with one of the most fascinating people I have ever met. For the purposes of this story, I will call her Emerald. And if you believe in the powers that gemstones and crystals contain, her name is very appropriate.
Big Pink was finished 23 years before the civil war began in America. Big Pink was made from local cypress trees, impervious to the rot and insidious decay that time brings to most things, the living, the dead, and all those things in between and beyond.
Walking down Franklin Street in Downtown Oakland you’ll see a larger than life mural of a man in a baseball cap. With gentle eyes and a wide smile, he looks east over the city, watching over the people passing by. Small businesses line Franklin Street to the left and right. Below the mural is a parking lot, and shiny office buildings tower above. In between lies the portrait of Derrick Hayes, a 59-year-old homeless resident of Oakland who has been selling Street Spirit for almost 20 years.
The town of Berkeley is full of so many ghosts for me. This building on the corner of Shattuck and University is one of these ghosts. In 1986 it was the office of the Daily Californian, the campus newspaper. And every semester the staff voted on what comic strips they’d run for the semester. In 1986 I won the election. And it turned out to be a big break for me.
On August 13, 2012, I was at home in my tent at the Albany Bulb, taking pictures of my clothing after I finally sorted all of it. Being a perfectionist, I took two pictures from each angle. I figured that I would review the pictures after I was done, keep the best ones from each angle and delete the other ones.
Science has now proven that trauma can be passed down intergenerationally; that rats whose mothers were exposed to stressors like water can epigenetically inherit a special fear of water. Before we had this science, nearly every culture on Earth had ghost stories.