November 18, 2004


I live in Virginia, near towns called things like Accokeek and Occoquan. I love the crackly taste of their names in my mouth, all those carefully delineated syllables. Our town goes by the far more pedantic name of Dale City--could it get much more white bread than that? I grew up in Southern California, where all the roads and towns have Spanish names like El Camino Real, the Road of the King, which if you pronounce it with the proper rolling r, sounds very royal indeed, and El Pueblo de la Reina de Los Angeles, the City of the Queen of the Angels, which always sounds like a melody to me, like the babbling of a syncopated river, even if you only call it by it's shorter pseudonym, Los Angeles.

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