The Weather

The Challenge

Yesterday, Evan wrote that he sympathized with the challenge facing me in this task of writing creatively about the weather from a place with a climate as famously uneventful as Los Angeles’s: here, we barely have seasons, and we barely have rain.

(Incidentally, it’s raining right now, for the second day in a row, making this I think the first two-day stint of rain since I moved back here a year ago. And, to support Evan’s point, I do feel completely transported. Like, I have a case of ongoing super-nostalgia or déjà vu, like the world I’m living in right here and now is not really happening, like I’m really back up in Marin County, at age twelve, floating popsicle-stick-boats down flooded gutters with my best friend, Ben Haberman. So Evan’s right—when the sky breaks loose and assaults your AC unit with its tinny patter, you’ve got something to write about.)

But in LA, I do think we have a weather to write about, I just think our weather’s more subtle, and more elusive, and that maybe, our weather needs a bit of an expanded definition.

I think, for example, of the particulate in our air, and how my view of the hill across the street, a mere few hundred yards away, completely changes after rain, when the air clears up. The lines of the houses and trees get tighter and less granular, and my neighborhood comes into focus.

Southern California is famous for its light. My dad’s a painter, and he drives down here once every six weeks or so to try to capture the pale, bleached quality of our sky. But writing about that light, over, say, a snowstorm, is a real challenge—you’ve already read what I’ve got to say… pale, bleached… and I’m not sure where I’d go from there. So yes, our weather’s a challenge. But I think I like it. Generally, I like to write about the little things. I’d rather write about a trip to the grocery store than a guy who won the lottery and then got shot in the head. So maybe that’s why I like this place. Without snowstorms, trips to the grocery store seem slightly more relevant.

Tom Dibblee is Trop’s editor. His fiction has appeared in Glimmer Train and his nonfiction has appeared in Pacific Standard, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and the Point. He lives in Los Angeles.