Located off the 10 on anyone’s drive to or from L.A. is a relic of the past. A stadium, abandoned, except by birds and those who find it an irresistible discovery.
I visited it first years ago, bent on exploring this skeleton of yesteryear. I’ve heard many stories about its history. Some say it shut down because of a mob crime ring. Some say dogs raced there, others horses. It does not matter to me what happened, only what it is.
I have returned many times since. The rubble, the broken-down escalators, the rusted metal of ancient machines and broken glass. These images haunted this storyteller’s mind. What story might do them justice?
I found one: the story of a girl who goes there, it’s her secret place, where she bares all clothes and emotions, and her desire to show her secret to someone else. But like so many dreams, it didn’t come together.
At the sight of the Stadium, most people mention horror. For them, it is a location that conjures ghosts, ghouls, violence, terror, and fear. For me, from the very beginning, it was beautiful and I had to find a story that agreed with me.
A writer now faded in memory like the Stadium: Sherwood Anderson. He influenced Hemingway, an inspiration for a whole generation of writers that changed stories. And his stories are beautiful. There is one in particular that I like very much; it’s called I Want to Know Why.
We don’t have much time for stories anymore I suppose, even short ones. I will not try to summarize Anderson’s because it deserves to be read. I feel a great loss for anyone who doesn’t know the great American storytellers.
We are telling Anderson’s story and part of it takes place in the Stadium. We’re not trying to adapt it in the formal sense. No. We are re-telling the story as if around a campfire, recounting a version of a story long passed down.
I feel we have abandoned our storytellers, our stories and our real hunger to tell them, just as we have abandoned the Stadium, something mysterious and grand and wonderful.