Author Vinnie Hansen fled the howling winds of South Dakota and headed for the California coast the day after high school graduation. She’s now the author of numerous short stories, the Carol Sabala mystery series, and Lostart Street, a cross-genre novel of mystery, murder, and moonbeams. Still sane(ish) after 27 years of teaching high school English, Vinnie has retired. She lives in Santa Cruz with her husband and the requisite cat. Learn more about her and her books at her website.
Santa Cruz Weird
Even though we’re not a large city, people across the country know of Santa Cruz, California. Huntington Beach may think it’s “Surf City,” but everyone here knows we claim the title. We’re the ones with a statue of a surfer who wears a pumpkin head on Halloween. Jack O’Neill, inventor of the wetsuit, lived here until his death last year. Santa Cruz has a lighthouse converted to a Surfing Museum and even a hanger for Lost Souls.
Others recognize Santa Cruz as a tourist destination featuring a beautiful coastline and The Boardwalk, with its historic, wooden Giant Dipper roller coaster. But there’s so much more here! Santa Cruz overflows with artists and musicians. The Doobie Brothers and Neil Young lived here. Santa Cruz produced James Durbin (who should have won American Idol). My own orchestra leader used to play with Eddie Money. For visual artists, we have a long-running Open Studios event, and we offer first-rate theater with Santa Cruz Shakespeare.
Music, visual art, and theater collide in local legend, The Great Morgani. The Great Morgani
is a real musician with over 1,000 songs in his
repertoire. His costumes (over 50) are all handcrafted masterpieces that cover
even his accordion. And he has his patter down—artist,
musician, and thespian—rolled into one. And, just a little weird—a perfect
representative for Santa Cruz.
|The author posing with The Great Morgani|
Where else but Santa Cruz can you find Sons of the Beach, as many as 200 ukulele players congregating every Saturday morning to play music? And that’s separate from the Santa Cruz Ukulele Club, which boasts it’s the largest ukulele club in the world!
Not convinced yet that we’re any quirkier than, say, Austin, Texas?
In our Santa Cruz Mountains, we have a museum dedicated to Bigfoot and a physics defying Mystery Spot.
We're literally fishy. Fish were vital to the native Ohlone. Commercial and sport fishing remain integral to our community.
Santa Cruz is a city where you go for a walk and encounter magic. It’s part of our everyday life. We expect nothing less.
And now to celebrate the wonder and weirdness that is Santa Cruz, Nancy Lynn Jarvis has put together Santa Cruz Weird, an anthology where all the stories are set in this wacky place. The collection includes my story, “Critical Mass.” My protagonist, writer May Knight, allows a horrid literary agent to invite herself to stay in her condo, hoping that the agent will represent her work. That’s not what happens.
Santa Cruz Weird
Stories contributed by Lynda West Scott, Marc Darrow, Vinnie Hansen, Jan Harwood, Katherine Bolger Hyde, Ed Sams, Edward Weingold, Nancy Wood, J.D. Graves, Mary Flodin, P. Maya Morgan, Nancy Lynn Jarvis, S.L. Hawke, Helene Simkin Jara, Jill Scott, Rick Parfitt, Maryanne Porter, and a reprinted column by Stephen Kessler from The Santa Cruz Sentinel.