I scout books all over Los Angeles, so I find books about Los Angeles all the time. I stumbled on Ashes in the Rain in Glendale, and it immediately took me back over 30 years, to college, in Berkeley, reading the newspaper at the student co-op.
Though we were in the SF Bay Area, the house subscribed to the Los Angeles Times. The best columnist at the Times was a Bay Area native, Al Martinez.
For an hour or so, I’d read the Times, and remember Los Angeles, my home city.
On different days, the paper featured writers a bit older than I, some who were there a while, and others who were going to be lifers: Patt Morrison, Bob Bracamontes, and Robin Abcarian, and Al Martinez. This is no knock on the hard hitting writers – I just liked the ones with the soft edges, though I didn’t dare admit it at the time.
I asked ChatGPT to write a paragraph about Martinez in the style of Al Martinez. The result:
Al Martinez was an American journalist and columnist known for his humorous and poignant writing style. In his columns, he often shared personal stories and observations, and his writing was characterized by its warmth and humanity.
I remember the day I met Al Martinez like it was yesterday. He was sitting at a bar in downtown Los Angeles, sipping a martini and scribbling notes on a napkin. I introduced myself, and before I knew it, we were deep in conversation about life, love, and everything in between. Al had a way of making you feel like you were the most important person in the world, and his stories had a way of capturing the essence of the human experience. Whether he was writing about the trials and tribulations of being a parent or the joys of falling in love, Al’s writing was always heartfelt and honest. He had a gift for finding the beauty in the everyday, and his words had the power to move people in ways they never expected. Al may be gone, but his legacy lives on in the countless lives he touched with his writing.