Lover of London & LA

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? 

See? Hope.

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Monet’s The Beach at Trouville

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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