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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Countdown to a New Adventure…

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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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My Crazy Trip – Day 1 (The London Part)

I’m here. Cape Town is beautiful.

I left my house at 3:30 in the afternoon on Monday.  Luke took me to the airport after stopping for coffee, and I left US soil at 7 that night.

First stop… London! 

big ben underground

I landed in London 11 hours later on a very long layover – and I couldn’t wait to get out of the airport and straight into London.   I took the Heathrow Express (the world’s most expensive train ride – haha!) but I was standing in Paddington Station 20 minutes later.  And it was cold.

Somewhere along the way, I totally forgot to check London weather. 

And yes – I can hear everyone’s thoughts now.  November in London!  I know, I know.  Those thoughts sound remarkably like the voices that said London in December??? when Luke and I got married.   Public service announcement – if you’re in London anywhere in the fall/winter – it’s cold.  Consider yourself warned, and dress appropriately.  You’re welcome.  J

It had been 90+ in LA this whole time, and I knew Cape Town was going to be 75-80 while I was here.  Thankfully, I had a little light jacket tucked into my carryon suitcase, so I whipped that out in the middle of a Costa Coffee (hello, free wi-fi) and off I went.  I found an art store and bought a set of colored pencils because what adventure is really complete without the ability to draw whatever you’re seeing?   And then I went back to Paddington, got on the tube (after a slight misadventure reloading my Oyster card) and set off for Charing Cross.

And is it weird that I kept hoping David Tennant was just randomly going to be sitting on the tube next to me?  Does the Doctor take the Underground?  Inquiring minds want to know.

Charing Cross. 

Earlier this year, I wrote a feature script set in London – GLIMPSE. It’s one of my favorite things I’ve ever written, actually.  (Love!  Danger! Guns! Biological warfare!  An Aston Martin explodes! And did I mention London???)  The last time I was in London was 2006, so I was writing the entire thing from memory and an occasional Google Maps street view.  Trafalgar Square plays a huge part in the story – and so despite the fact that the voice in my head was screaming NOOO!!!! You’re going to miss your flight to Cape Town!!!  I made a run for it.  I popped up out of the tube station, and there – so close I could touch it – was Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery and Nelson’s Column.   My story came to life in front of me, and I spent almost an hour walking through the Square, taking pictures, meeting people and walking through nearby streets.

I live for moments like that.

And I forgot that if you stand on the National Gallery steps and look towards Nelson’s Column, you can see Big Ben.

So I was off again.

Wesminster and Big Ben

 That’s quite a long walk, actually.  But you can see the Eye on one side, and the city was just full and beautiful and bustling around me.  I took some great pictures (including one angle of Big Ben and an Underground sign together that I’d found a photo of a couple years ago.  I painted it, and it’s been hanging in our living room ever since).   The people walking all around me on the streets are this vibrant mix of everyone.  There were businessmen just exiting their offices for the day – pondering what they were going to do with their Tuesday evening.  There were friends out, heading for the pubs together.  Soccer and rugby matches were on several of the screens as I walked by.  There were girls out shopping.  Tourists out taking a gazillion photos – speaking so many different languages I couldn’t even keep up.  There’s just this spark in the city, this totally beautiful LIFE feeling there, and I can never get enough of it.

 London.

I made it back to Paddington on a different line, and I ran for the train back to Heathrow.  I knew if I missed this train, I could easily catch the next one and make it back with plenty of time, but it just seemed like so much more fun to sprint through the station.  J  So that’s exactly what I did.

 Heathrow’s all decorated for Christmas – opening scene from Love Actually, anyone? – and it’s gorgeous, of course.

 But here’s the thing about London.  I adore that city.  Luke and I have talked so many times about moving there – short term, of course – but the thought of living in that beautiful crazy city for even a few months just fills my heart with joy.  We’ve been praying for years that one of us would end up on a project in London and the other person would just get to come along.  So maybe one day… just putting it out into the world – Team Maxcy is available for any and all London-based projects!

That was the first 20 hours of my trip. 

 And then, at 9 that evening, my flight took off for Cape Town, South Africa….

 And the adventure continues….

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London! Halfway there…

A quick stop to send a few emails and a few photos.

my costa coffee

The overwhelmingness of being in London is crazy.  Luke and I came here for our honeymoon six years ago.  We got married in December, so everything was decorated for Christmas.  And now, everything is decorated once more.  There’s snowflakes on the windows and a chill in the air and everything is peppermint and caramel and chocolate.

Cars drive the wrong way here.  But it’s amazing how easy it is to slip back into UK-isms.  I asked for soya milk without even thinking about it.  I will admit I looked the wrong way before running across the street, but I caught myself before causing massive damage.  I got to the trains and through Paddington Station in the blink of an eye.  But just when I thought I’d stepped away from LA for a few weeks…

You can take the girl out of LA, but you can’t take LA out of the girl…”

At customs in Heathrow, the guard noticed I had ‘television’ in my job description.  He asked if I worked on a show.  I told him I work on ALPHAS, and the guard from the other side of the cubicle came jumped over.  ”OH MY GOODNESS!!!!!  I love love love that show.  That David Strathairn is something else!  I can’t believe you work on that show. It just started here again, and I’m so excited.”  She shook my hand, wished me well, and I went on my way.  As I walked away, this lovely lady turned back to my original border guard.  ”You’ve got to watch it.  It’s brilliant.”  I laughed so hard, and I love that I made a new friend in London.

But back to London…

I long to live in the UK, even for a short amount of time.  I love it here.  My heart is so full right now.

The city, the atmosphere, the art, the creativity here.  I love it.  South Africa is just a few hours away, and I am beyond excited.

Love you all!  More updates coming at some point… I’m off to find an art store before I leave London.

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