Publication Date

Fall 2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


English and Comparative Literature


Cathleen Miller


Apple, Google, San Jose State University, Silicon Valley demographics, Silicon Valley forests, Silicon Valley immigration

Subject Areas

Social research


In the last three decades, Silicon Valley has become one of the world’s most watched and imitated communities. Daily news reporters, long-form journalists, cinema and television-programming producers have crafted a public image, but it represents nothing of the lives of hundreds of thousands of Valley residents. These fabrications obscure and diminish our complex human profile and reduce our uniquely beautiful geography to a place to generate financial profits, with all the damaging disregard such attitudes foster. The essays of A Silicon Valley Life: A Silicon Valley Love Story seek to show our true self: our rich mix of people drawn from all regions of Earth seeking a better life in a veritable Eden, which, even in the face of violent ecological degradation, remains beautiful and worthy of our greatest care. Home and homelessness are major themes of A Silicon Valley Life. The research relies on the fundamental tools of all great nonfiction writing: honest and prolonged observation of human action and self expression combined with deep reading and reporting of statistical fact and historic record to render insightful analysis and conclusions within a meaningful context. The essays and introduction should be read holistically, not unlike an impressionist or pointillist painting. The result renders a portrait of the people and place of Silicon Valley far closer to the real images and experiences that constitute our actual lives.