Lawrence Swaim 1942
Waiting for the Earthquake
"The sacraments of life changed. Love changed, and friendship changed. In a time of total power one man could destroy the world, and every bite one ate was taken away by lies or force from someone just as hungry or hungrier than oneself, and one's good intentions meant very little. You clung to the dream of fairness because it made life worth living, but the dream was changed and came in forms you could hardly recognize."
"Many people came to San Francisco to die. Grace had shown him that clearly. Some arrived before they were even conscious of the thing for which they came searching. Others came looking for an Athens, and found instead a too-familiar place of tensions, violence, trickery, and strident competition. It was not a good town in which to run out of money. Even its cool beauty could work against these pilgrims, enhancing their pain instead of distracting them from it, as they had imagined it would. These aspects of San Francisco were not easy for deranged people to accept. For many it was the last straw. A process of mental inversion took over. The suicides almost always jumped off the side of the Golden Gate Bridge facing the city lights--they were leaving, but they were also returning in triumph. One more voyage, back to the way is should have been. Back to Athens." ==