Live Long, and Prosper…

Leonard Nimoy

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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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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Je Suis Charlie

pencils

 

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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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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The Theory of Everything

Let’s talk about Eddie Redmayne for a minute.

OSCAR.   Okay, as you were.

I saw The Theory of Everything for the second time last night. And I am still in love… 

I am fascinated by the people who know brand new things before the world gets to know them – the people who look at a quickly drawn tumble of numbers on a blackboard, soft bits of chalk getting in between their fingernails, after weeks and months and years of walking through life and imagining — What if???

The people who suddenly understand the motion of the stars or the energy of an atom.  The first man who imagined a way of taking Jules Verne’s wild ideas about space guns and transforming them into one of the grandest moments of human history. One small step for man… The man who takes standard economic theory and turns it on its head. The genius who imagines a wax cylinder of sound — our very own voices preserved for the future. A train, coming to crush a theater — and the moment it stays on screen. The dawn of a new branch of science or mathematics… We’ll call it a quark. 

Can I just sit next to someone in this moment of discovery, please??? 

There is something so perfectly, intensely creative about these future moments — when the way things are always going to be somehow bleeds ever so briefly into now, and we whisper the words “This is where it all begins.” This is the day we first hear of the things that will one day become commonplace and accepted, understood by even the youngest around us. We are changed forever, and our history will begin a new orbit after a moment like this.

This way of life, this constant exploration is THE THING that gives humanity our life and breath… we explore because we do not understand, because we are seeking that something that will explain everything to us… and perhaps we will never ever arrive at such an extravagant moment of – I understand. Completely — any more than we might ever arrive at such a moment of being known completely by another human being. Even someone as brilliant as Stephen Hawking has thought and rethought his theories. And so we continue on.

But we catch glimpses of those moments – brief hints filled with promise and hope.

A few weeks ago, when NASA and friends landed Philae on the comet (and the world spent the next several days making Bruce Willis jokes and listening to “I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing”) — they discovered that the comet sang. They think that the song is actually oscillations in the magnetic field around the comet — but no one knows for certain. They just hear the song. One of the scientists on the project – Dr. Karl-Heinz Glassmeier – said what is probably one of my favorite quotes this year:

“This is exciting because it is completely new to us.”

It was unexpected and unexplained — the polite and proper scientific equivalent of “What the hell is this???”  These moments are exciting. These are the ones we live for. They are scary and inviting, overwhelming and beautiful…  They carry us through the darkest places where we are misunderstood and broken, where we live out the brutal consequences of selfish choices gone awry.  None of us are perfect, sadly.  I have every intention of being just that all the time, and it never quite works out the way I wanted it to. But those moments of life – those sweetly quiet moments – I want to live here forever!  Those are the ones I dream about.  I think we all do… And maybe one day we will find that theory of everything — where planets and quarks align and there is a grand, overarching mathematical theory that explains why everything moves the way that it does. We could see back to the beginning of it all…

Or perhaps God is laughing at us, because the best answer we’re ever going to get is “That’s just the way it is…”  And what a weird and mystical universe that would be…

theory of everything

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Surviving Comic Con (A How-To Guide)

I wrote this after Comic Con 2012, and it only seemed fitting to bring it back for today.  Enjoy!!! 

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First time at Comic Con?  I can help! 

Comic Con 2012 was a smashing success! 

There are things no one tells you about Comic Con, because it’s kind of like asking about details of Disneyland.  No one tells you about how long they stood in line or how much time they spent staring at the map when they should have been sprinting to make it to yet another showing of Abraham Lincoln. Because who wants to hear that when you can talk about Space Mountain and pizza in Tomorrowland or Indiana Jones and your third Dole Pineapple Whip of the day?  (Just me?  Where was I?  Back to Comic Con…)   So I’m going to try to help you out here.

1. You are going to stand in line.  For a LONG time. It’s worth it.

This morning, Luke and I (and friends) stood 4000+ people back in line for Hall H – home of fantastic panels like FRINGE… and most importantly… DOCTOR WHO!  Doctor Who!

There were people who camped out overnight.  Our 3+ hours in line = a cakewalk. It’s just par for the course if you really want to see specific panels or exhibitions or film clips or you just want to stare at Matt Smith see your geek favorites.

Get used to the lines.  Love the lines.  It’s worth it. Seriously, though.  You’re standing next to people who love exactly the same tv show/movie/comic book that you do.  Make a new friend!  Bring a backpack and snacks to share.  You’ll totally be the cool kid in the lunchroom whose mom packed the good desserts while everyone else is stuck with squishy day-old turkey.

2. Accept that you won’t get to see everything you wanted to see.  It makes you love the things you do get to see. 

This is coming from the girl who couldn’t make it to the Firefly panel.  It just happens sometimes, and that’s okay.  Plan as best you can, and just run with it.  Make better plans for next year. And take tons of pictures in the panels you do get into.  Enjoy it!

3. Sit in on random panels.  You might be in for a surprise or two! 

Nathan Fillion, Sarah Wayne Callies, Liam McIntyreNow, stopping for another moment of truth.  Sometimes, in order to get into a later panel in the day, it means you have to sit through the three panels beforehand.  (They don’t clear the room in between panels at Comic Con.  Once you’re in the room, you’re in.)   Yesterday, while waiting for the Alphas panel in the shiny and beautiful Indigo Ballroom, the moderator got up and announced the TV Guide panel.  Thrilling stuff. But there was no way on earth I was missing Alphas, so TV Guide it was.  (Is there even a TV Guide anymore?  Does anyone still watch that channel?)  And then Joel McHale of Community and The Soup walked in.  And Liam McIntyre from Spartacus. And Maggie Q from Nikita. And Sarah Wayne Callies from The Walking Dead.  And Jasika Nicole from Fringe. And did I mention Matt Smith and Nathan Fillion?  It was a fantastic panel and I am SO glad that I just happened to be there.

And today, I was in Hall H for the Fringe panel at 10am.  And I have been waiting for a year to get into the Doctor Who panel at 12:30 since I couldn’t make it last year (again, see #2). I wouldn’t have missed either of those panels for the world.  But, in between was the Supernatural panel, a show I just haven’t had a chance to watch.  But after today’s panel, I’m seriously going to get Season 1 and start watching.  The panel was hilarious, and it made me want to give the show a try.  I’m so excited for it!

See?  You never know…

4. “Cosplay” = all the awesome costumes around you.

That’s like Comic Con 101.  If you have to ask someone what ‘cosplay’ means, you’ll definitely get the “Who are you and why are you at Comic Con?” look.  So now you know. You’re welcome.

5. Doctor Who. TARDIS. Felicia Day.  The Guild. Firefly. Star Trek. Tribbles. Star Wars. Buffy. JJ Abrams. Jane Espenson. Battlestar Galactica. Geek and Sundry. Summer Glau. The angels have the phonebox.  Chris Hardwick. The Nerdist. Lord of the Rings.

Chris HardwickComic Con 201.  Learn, young Jedi, learn.  It will keep you from asking questions like, “What’s a sonic screwdriver?” in front of 4000 Whovians who will eat your heart out if you mess with their show.  And I like you, readers.  No getting your heart ripped out.  You need to come back!  (And that’s a whole other show anyway…)

As seems to be the theme of this blog, you never know what you’re going to discover.

6.  Be ridiculous.  Wear the hat.  Paint your face.  Let your geek flag fly.  Have fun! 

Have a blast.  It’s so worth it… The real world will be waiting for you on Monday…

I now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

love,

an incredibly exhausted and happy Lynn

 

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The World Cup and Life Off-Planet

(How’s she going to tie those two together???  I know you asked.)

world cup

I seriously love today.

Just a few miles from my house, the LA Kings are gearing up for their Stanley Cup victory parade.  I will forever and ever be a Colorado Avalanche fan (you can take the girl out of Colorado…) but there’s something fantastic about being in my adopted home city, celebrating together like this.

And I’m curled up on my couch writing today, the World Cup playing in the background. The world is watching and celebrating. And I’m really sure that if I wanted to, I could walk down my street to one of our local sports bars at noon and watch the game with a bunch of people I don’t know, but who would immediately become great friends.  But I should probably eat lunch before I hit a sports bar, you know?

I’ll be the first person to admit that I am not the most sports-inclined of us all. 

I broke my hand playing soccer when I was younger.  I tore tendons running across a level floor.  God did not grace me with the athletic gene, it would seem.

But I am all about the stories that come out of events like the World Cup.  It’s like the Olympics all over again.  These athletes have been preparing for this moment their entire career – their entire lives.  They have nothing to lose and everything to gain — and they play like it.  Now is not the time to hold back — now’s the time to run that 4 minute mile they’ve been dreaming about their entire lives.   (Mixed metaphor? Maybe.)

There’s also something glorious about a world at war, pausing to play beautifully together.

Just for a brief moment, we are all humans together. 

Just humans. Together.

I think it’s this same feeling that’s drawn me to all things NASA– and space-related.  I dream about off-planet colonies, and Neil Armstrong & Buzz Aldrin have always been two of my heroes. They are stories of great adventurers, of men and women the world over — living at the very top of their skills, miraculously accomplishing the thing that was impossible yesterday.  The most recent episode of Mad Men totally nailed the excitement of the world coming together to watch a beautiful leap forward. And even though I know that story backwards and forwards — I was totally in that moment.

We come together around our common stories.

I wake up every day dreaming about the possibility that I’ll actually see a Mars landing in my lifetime.  (Seriously. Every day.  It’s one of my many obsessions.)  I’ll never work at NASA.  And I seriously doubt I’ll ever walk on the moon unless somebody totally rocks out space tourism like, pronto.

But I am a storyteller.

I write for TV and tell stories of a world further along than we are — where humans live off-planet, where they’ve already accomplished the things we can only dream of.  Where we’ve come together to make something beautiful and bigger than ourselves.  But one day, I’ll tell a story that will inspire someone to GO. and DO. and CREATE.  A story that makes the world wonder: What if??  Those are my favorite stories.

Maybe we’ll actually start chasing our dreams out into the stars.

And for that moment, we will all be humans together.

 

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I Would Have Died…

LA

 

I moved to this beautiful, brutal city in February of 2008. 

Luke and I had no jobs.  No apartment. Nothing, really, besides a U-Haul truck full of everything we owned and the absolute know-it-in-your-soul certainty that Los Angeles was exactly where we were supposed to be.  We’d come out to LA at the end of January for vacation and “just to see” if maybe one day we might be able to pull off living here.

The sun. The ocean. The farmer’s market. The hint of promise in their air.  The sense of We are home. 

We flew back, quit our jobs and moved to LA three weeks later.

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I was 8 when I came home from school and announced I’m going to be a writer when I grow up.  

I was 18 when I realized that I wasn’t going to have to give up writing like some sort of childhood habit I was outgrowing. I am going to be a writer.  I am a writer. This is actually going to happen.

I was 28 when my first episode of television aired.

And that is a hell of a lot of in-betweens.

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When I first moved to LA, if someone would have told me that it was going to take five years between driving across the California state line and the first time I wrote a script that got shot — I would have died.  Five years is an eternity. An absolute, unending eternity when you’re standing at the beginning. It would have felt like the insurmountable challenge of my life.

When I was 8, I couldn’t even comprehend the idea of 28.

I had so many in-betweens, eternities and a half in the moments ahead. 

But that’s where all of life was lived — one day at a time, in all of the moments that fed into my stories to make them real.  Journeys are always the scariest at the beginnings. Projects are always the most overwhelming when you’re cracking the very first book for research and thinking Six whole months here?  It’s true — I probably would have died if someone tried to explain 28 to my 8 year old self.

But I wouldn’t trade all that time for anything.


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Who Are Your People?

best friends

It’s all about COMMUNITY.

No, not that one. (Although — while we’re here: #sixseasonsandamovie!!!!!  Netflix, seriously — it’s your move.)

Who Are Your People? 

It was after midnight here, which means it was just after 3am where my BFF lives.  It had been a really brutal day, and I’d been meaning to call her all.day.long.  And I picked up the phone and started dialing before realizing 3AM.   I decided to call her in the morning because I really just wanted to chat about random life stuff, not anything crazy and worth a 3AM phone call.

But the thing is I know I could call at 3 in the morning and she wouldn’t miss a beat.

I go on girls trips with my two best friends — and they are some of my favorite moments in the entire year.  Lots of laughter and awesome ridiculousness and “Oh my… Do NOT put that on Instagram. Or Facebook. Or Twitter.” This is what happens when you’ve all been dear friends for 10+ years.  But I also know that at some point, the real conversations are going to begin.  The ones that start with them calling me out on the lies I’ve believed, the fears I’ve let myself live with, the risks I’ve totally shied away from.

It’s never easy to have your soul exposed like that. 

But it’s always good.

So — go. Be brave. Take risks. Be willing to let yourself be known. Because I promise, you’ll never be the same.

 

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Life in my Messy Kitchen

Mainly, my days are writing. Or researching. And finally getting the nebulous story idea I have floating around in my head to finally make its way to my computer screen.

But one of my most important creative outlets is being in my kitchen.  Baking, cooking – it doesn’t matter.

I love it all.  

And I’m totally the girl who takes pictures of the best of the best: Instagram that shiz! 

gluten-free pumpkin sage pasta with toasted flaxseed
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fancy blt crostini (definitely cooking for other people)
gf almond buttermilk scones
gf almond buttermilk scones

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aren’t they pretty? 

And… when I’m all done cooking, my kitchen usually looks like this:

the messy
the messy

That’s just real life for those of you totally swayed by my Instagram feed.

Being creative is all about getting to the final product: the finished painting, the end of an episode, a gorgeous meal out on the table.  It’s about having something to share with the world.

But it’s also about enjoying the process and realizing that sometimes it’s going to be messy and crazy — and you can’t skip it, no matter how much you’d like to. It’s not always easy, I know.

Because sometimes the mess says the thing you wish the whole world knew:  Art was created here. 

Messy kitchen and all.

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