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Two loves. Two cities. One dream. One life somehow stitched together between the two. And the ever-popular question I always get: WHY???
A few years ago, Krista Tippett (amazing author/podcaster) & her guest were talking about using writing/words/conversations to find your own sense of belonging… and they were saying “A simple, simple exchange of words can give you a sense of gravity. I’ve always loved the definition for contemplation: a long, loving look. And when you take a long, loving look anywhere, you feel sort of more bonded with whatever you’ve looked at. You feel as if you recognize it. You see it. Maybe it sees you back. And you’re participating in a world where it exists. And so feeling that sense of gravity and belonging everywhere is very important to me…. Writing is a way of having a conversation between those different selves inside you…
“My life will forever be a conversation between different places.”
I think that’s how I feel about London and LA.
I find myself equally at home and adrift in both cities, dreaming and inspired and wondering what’s coming next, and somehow — I step effortlessly between my two lives in my two cities, as though no time has passed at all. I recognize London and Los Angeles on a deep soul level as the two places I belong most completely.
I am myself here.
I think — regardless of whether or not I can explain the why of it all — that my life will forever be a conversation between London and Los Angeles. That I am lucky enough (or doomed? I suppose it depends on your perspective and general hopefulness in the moment) that I will always have two lives, two cities, two loves with writing being the thin, beautiful string stitching all of the disparate pieces together into one whole.
I am always missing the place that I am not, but always overwhelmingly glad to be in the place that I am.
And isn’t missing something recognizing its value in your life? And doesn’t that mean that I always, always have something to look forward to?
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Seriously. Don’t miss it.
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So, 17 year old Marty McFly is out there… somewhere… TODAY!
I was probably 10 the first time I saw Back to the Future, some summer day in the late 90’s, and I was hooked.
My day has been completely filled with all things Back to the Future. Several channels (including Amazon Prime) are running all three movies on a loop all day. And why is that? Why am I watching and re-watching a movie I’ve seen so many times I could quote the entire thing? Why has the world been counting down to today — simply because it’s fun?
We crave stories. We crave connection. We crave hope and a promise that the future will indeed be there for us. (Preferably with a real hoverboard, thankyouverymuch.) And brilliant movies well-told connect us with those stories and connect us with our fellow humans.
The girl at Starbucks – who knows nothing about me other than my name and the fact that I drink tall hazelnut americanos – wished me a Happy Back to the Future Day. No explanation, no backstory. Because of course I’d seen the movie. Why wouldn’t I?
There’s something beautiful about the lifelong power of a good story, don’t you think?
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I was eight years old when I came home and announced to my parents that I was going to be a writer when I grew up.
For years after that (admittedly crazy) statement, life as a TV writer was nowhere on my horizon. (Any childhood dream of moving to HOLLYWOOD!! – fearsome land of the flashing lights and brilliant stars — was definitely more predicated on the idea of growing up and marrying Leonardo DiCaprio vs. any actual thought that I could grow up and actually write for the small screen…)
See, I grew up without watching much TV. I Love Lucy and Leave it to Beaver were usually playing at my grandparents’ house, and my fam watched Lois & Clark like clockwork. A few later years, my deep and enduring love for Smallville could not be overstated. But outside of that? I was much more of a books girl.
But there was a show — The Show.
On weekends, whenever we could find reruns, my dad and I would sit and watch Star Trek.
I had no idea in those random moments how much my entire future was getting laid out before me — a future TV writer of the sci-fi persuasion. I just knew that I loved hanging out with my dad and watching A City on the Edge of Forever, The Trouble with Tribbles or Mirror, Mirror. We watched that show for years together — and still do. (The last time my dad was in LA, we sat and watched City for probably the millionth time.)
And so tonight, sitting in London on the writing adventure of a lifetime, I find myself sad.
Leonard Nimoy has passed away…
Even typing that feels just a little impossible. I’m sorry — that makes no sense. What??? Decades before I was born, he was creating this weird little show with so many others, imbuing life and humanity into this odd, seemingly emotionless creature. He was the other, the outsider, the one who just didn’t understand. He railed against our emotions, against our seeming lack of logic, against everything that was wrong with the way we humans went skipping about the galaxy. And we loved him for it… he was our voice of reason in this new world we so desperately wanted. He was Mr. Spock.
And it was this weird little show that made me love sci-fi. It was this weird little show that made me feel like maybe I wasn’t alone, that even if all my friends hated all things sci-fi and nerd-culture while I loved it, that I’d be all right. I could be me, and let them be them. It was the beginning of Lynn The TV Writer, and I didn’t even know it yet.
So tonight, I’m a bit quiet and a bit reflective, thankful for all of the people who created the worlds that inspired me to create my own. We were never meant to make it alone — we are all here because someone else went on ahead of us and said — The hell with convention. Let’s make it awesome.
Where would we be without them?
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This is one of my favorite paintings on earth.
Meet Monet’s The Beach at Trouville, currently hanging in The National Gallery in London. It’s a painting of Monet’s wife and a friend of theirs, sitting on the beach and enjoying a leisurely afternoon.
And you know why I love it?
One of my favorite things to do here is wander the halls of all the amazing art museums here and live in the past for the briefest of moments. I admire brushstrokes and color choices, the way the light plays across the surface, the texture of the oil paint long since dried. I wonder if the subject ever imagined that this painting they were sitting for would ever be hung in a museum three centuries later. I laugh at these stunning “unfinished works” and “studies” — these painfully beautiful paintings that the artist dashed off in an hour or two one day, prep work for some bigger and better piece of art — the art they completed in a hurry, the kind that’s still leaps and bounds over anything 99.9% of painters could ever hope to accomplish.
And I wonder how the artist — Monet in this case — got inspired to paint a specific scene… what piece of his life — his dreams, his hopes, his terrors — he decided to save for us. Because life, your real life, in all its weird absurdities, always gets reflected in your art.
Which brings me back to The Beach at Trouville.
It’s one of my favorite paintings because there are still grains of sand and bits of seashell from that day — so long ago and so far away — embedded in the paint. Monet was really painting in that moment. It wasn’t a revisiting, it wasn’t a memory. It was now, this moment, right in front of me. Real life saved in the paint.
Metaphor become real. And our world is all the more beautiful for it.
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This was supposed to be another blog post. It really was. It was going to be all about London – and all about next adventures that are coming in my life.
Instead, I’m sitting here staring at my computer… my heart and thoughts and prayers firmly in Paris.
Je suis Charlie.
I’ll be honest. Until a few days ago, I’d never read Charlie Hebdo, with the exception of a few cartoons of theirs that went viral and made the news. I disagreed with some of them. I thought some of them were hilarious. But every single one of them made me think.
And I think that’s the point of art. Good art, anyway. (Bad art is a whole other ballgame… something I’ll talk about in a future post. Stop with the bad art, people.) Sometimes we find ourselves wrapped up in a tiny safe art/life bubble where everyone agrees with us on every point. It’s lighthearted and pretty and fun. It’s nice. But sometimes good art is meant to be subversive. It’s meant to make you think. It’s meant to make you uncomfortable. It’s meant to bring light in the darkness. It’s meant to bring hope to the oppressed, to draw attention and bring hope to the worst places on earth.
It’s meant to be a voice in the wilderness.
I write for tv. I write for the theater stage. I am a songwriter and performer. I paint on occasion.
And today, my heart is in Paris. Not because I am a comedic, incisive cartoonist with a seriously political bent. But because I am an artist.
For good art and good conversation and a better, more full world — and a reminder that we are not alone in our creative endeavors to create a more hopeful place to call home… It may be a completely uphill battle, a Sisyphean task of epic proportions — but that does not mean that we should ever stop trying.
Je suis Charlie.
(Art credit: Lucille Clerc)
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My countdown to a new adventure is ticking away…. I can’t wait to share more with you!
But in the meantime… I’ll just leave you with this gem from James Boswell’s The Life of Samuel Johnson. Do with it what you will… 🙂
“Sir, if you wish to have a just notion of the magnitude of this city, you must not be satisfied with seeing its great streets and squares, but must survey the innumerable little lanes and courts. It is not in the showy evolutions of buildings, but in the multiplicity of human habitations which are crowded together, that the wonderful immensity of London consists.”
— James Boswell
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