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G.K. Chesterton’s short and surreal parable, “The Angry Street: A Bad Dream,” reminds us to not overlook things that surround us in everyday life, and to show them respect. Wayne Thiebaud’s paintings of cityscapes, inspired by San Francisco’s steep, building-lined streets, reestablish our links to the built environment with a vitality that sometimes the real—and the camera—lacks, but which drawing and painting bring to that which is represented. Chesterton and Thiebaud underscore how fictions are more evocative than truths. In this essay, accompanied by my own drawings of San Francisco’s steep streets, I suggest that fantastical fiction and art, in allegorical forms, can inspire us to reconnect with the material world around us—of things, and even streets—with renewed civility and respect.


First published in Streetnotes:

Sankalia, T. (2023). Tilted Upwards. Streetnotes, 30. Retrieved from


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