A Brief Preface to My Notes from Berkeley, 1968-1970
Meanwhile, in Berkeley, the struggle to free space and to create new forms within it went on. As the Sixties wore down, the focus of our lives moved from the campus, took root in the town.
I went away to watch and work, I came back to learn to be a citizen of revolution. After seeing our investigations repeated and extended throughout Amerika, I felt less isolated: Berkeley was just like any place else, only a little more promising. Here the common energies of our change were strongest, most well-rooted, forced the door of the future open for long turbulent glimpses. Here at the Edge, where danger developed new forms, I found myself most among friends, and felt most fiercely the grim joy of wanting to survive.
For Berkeley was my home, was mine. Here I came back to quiet evenings in the cottage with my love. Here I wandered barefoot up to the Avenue with my dog, just another hairy freak lost in the friendly carnival, buying a Good Times before taking off to the sea or the Sierras. Tear-gas under streetlights, dope-smoke in candlelight: here where the line between public and private had broken down, I tried to knit together my life.
Why has no major novel been written about this legendary town? Alas, my art in writing -- all things considered -- is sociology, sometimes poetry. About fiction I feel as timid as a boy at his first dance, back in the bad old days. All I can offer of its raw material are these episodes from our lives in Berkeley, as we struggled to come together within the conflict.