L.A. is a prism. And because it's a prism hammered three-hundred thirty-three days a year with blazing, unrelenting white light, where you stand determines which part of its spectrum you'll see. Personally, my favorite angle of view is from five-thousand, eight-hundred feet above, atop the recently wildfire-spared summit of Mt. Wilson, where Edwin Hubble once discovered that the galaxies were receding and that we'd one day be utterly alone in cold, empty space. This is not because I enjoy "looking down" on L.A., or because I feel superior to it. Far from it. It's just that the only way to comprehend the place is from the perspective of a god, because otherwise it doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
Other cities seem to have well-defined identities, like character actors who always seem to play the same kind of eccentric person. Paris is a great lady of the old school and New York is a brawler. Prague is a sorceress and London is a poet in autumn. It's fashionable to say that L.A. has no identity, but it does. Los Angeles is a shape-shifter. That drives some people nuts, like living inside a magician's shell game. How can something amorphous have reality? At those points in life when we take comfort from constancy, are anchored by the fixedness of things around us, we don't want to be in L.A., because what Los Angeles is depends almost entirely on what we are. Guaranteed: you will see yourself there for exactly what you are at that moment, and you may not like what you see.
My protagonist and sometimes alter-ego, Stephan Raszer, is unimaginable without Los Angeles. As a man who actually wants to see a different face each time he looks in the mirror, there is probably no place else for him to be. Transformation is what turns him on, and people go to Los Angeles to be transformed. The fact that some are transformed into angels and others into demons just makes it all the more interesting.
Causes A.W. Hill Supports