Long stretches of darkness interrupted by the white glow of approaching headlights becoming brighter before disappearing with a sudden flash into darkness again. Clusters of red, white, yellow, green, blue neon signs advertising motels, restaurants and bars at the outskirts of silent farm towns. Periodic stops in drab, gloomy bus depots where people are perpetually waiting.
I am awake most of the night, restless sitting for such a long time, as the bus moves northward through the Great Central Valley, aware that this journey between two cities is also a transition between two periods of my life. Los Angeles, where I spent the last four years in college, as a humanities major, is finished and behind me. San Francisco, where I will soon be arriving without a job or a place to live, lies ahead of me as a yet undefined, hopefully promising adventure.
It is September 1958. Earlier I was reading Kerouacs On The Road, just out in paperback, and I imagine myself as a character in his book. I am a tall thin, young man with dark hair and intense brown eyes named Jason, wearing a t-shirt and jeans, traveling with only one suitcase of clothes, a cardboard box filled with books and a portable typewriter, on my way to an exciting new life.
Unable to sleep, I watch the dark evening sky give way to an orange and golden dawn before the start of another clear blue day. As the bus crosses the Bay Bridge early morning, I see San Francisco, which at first seems small and unreal in its whiteness, grow larger as we approach. One moment we are magically floating above the city, the next we are traveling through the streets surrounded by tall gray buildings, the bus turning left on Mission Street and then right to enter the Seventh Street depot.
Second Crossing is the story of Jason Mellis, an aspiring young writer arriving in San Francisco in the fall of 1958 and drawn toward a North Beach literary circle at the end of the beat era. Already beginning to question the conventional values of society, he experiences a period of intense change and surprising self-discovery as he comes to terms with his emerging sexualtiy. This autobiographical novel is a roman a clef of the Jack Spicer poetry scene.