Peter Vincent’s

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Peter Vincent


The ’60s Diary: Summer of Love is a personal account of my experience during the Summer of Love. I began the diary several days after I arrived in San Francisco to start my graduate degree in Creative Writing at San Francisco State in the fall. All this fit the literary life I hoped to begin rather than the voyage I was about to embark on. I was 22 and ready for changes.

I kept the diary on my writing table. It was easy to reach when the afternoon’s work on the novel was finished. Nights were free to explore a new love in my new world.

I wrote in a stream of consciousness style, describing the vignettes of my new existence in quick flashing images, separated by commas. Periods were used to take a breath.

Decades later, I discovered what was hidden beneath the scrawl. I typed it up. I edited it down. I added lots of periods.

The ’60s Diary: Summer of Love is the first section of an extended set of diaries that continue to the present. Over the years, the diaries have inhabited boxes, closets, basements, garages. For several years, they sat in a huge grocery carton on a leaky porch in a city that loves to rain. They survived, and so did I.

I’m proud to say that The ’60s Diary has been used in the college classroom, with great success.

It was an embracing scene, an attempt to spread a tribal love that celebrated life rather than the death culture surrounding us.

For myself, and many others, it was the birth of consciousness—personal, social, and political—no matter how much effort the media made to morph hippies into a spacey cliché. We threatened entrenched beliefs. We saw the lies early.

Peppered with acid trips, drug dealers, Draft dodgers, runaways, Hare Krishnas, Hell’s Angels, gangsters, Black Panthers, the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, and the Jefferson Airplane, the love story at the core of the diary, along with contrasting letters from a cousin in Vietnam, display the range of passions young people faced at the time. Periodic references remind us of the number of war dead, accelerating Draft calls, riots in the cities, the Six-Day War—all suggesting a world coming apart at the seams.

But for one brief moment the Summer of Love exploded, like a shooting star that was here and gone—but while it was here, it lit up the planet.

I hope to publish The ’80s Diary: No More Fame & Fortune next. It captures the Punk period during the Reagan reign.