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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4 AM. Let’s Do This Again!

It was a late night last night — a long-planned fancy dinner with my love. (Unsolicited restaurant plug — seriously check out Scratch Bar in Beverly Hills. *Swoon*)

And yet at 3am, my eyes popped open. Good morning, Monday! 

After half an hour of realizing that there was no way I was falling back asleep, I curled up on my couch, staring out at the orangish Los Angeles sky above my apartment. The streetlights are alive and well in my neighborhood. And the silence feels physically tangible. I haven’t even made it to my coffee yet.

Everything in me wants to rush past this moment. 

Dear Lord, can’t I just go back to sleep?  Who should I start emailing?  What can I start writing? I could call Laurie — she’s already awake on the East Coast. Hell, there is a Good Wife episode sitting on my DVR that apparently I’m supposed to watch RIGHT NOW.  

Sometimes a voracious appetite for anything other than my own thoughts can expertly masquerade as ‘creative inspiration’.  

And yet, at least in my experience, learning to live in the quiet is just as essential — if not possibly even more essential — in the creative life.  Boredom is my friend. Silence is my friend. The vacuum left when there is no immediate input is also my friend.

It creates balance.  It’s permission to stop and thrive, rather than survive. It’s space for my soul.

Today, my quiet moments came early. Very early. And there was space to stay there for a while.  Sometimes, those moments come in just that — moments. Two or three minutes in between phone calls and meetings.  But they are equally important for my writing life. The quiet is allowed.

Where are you allowing the quiet in your own life?  

And now the sun is rising… and I think it’s going to be a beautiful day.

 

Early morning sunrise...

[EDIT: Shortly after posting this, I did end up watching that episode of The Good Wife… My thoughts are here if you dare.]


 

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LA, a modern day classic…

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taken from the East Pavillion walkways at the Getty Museum…


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Driving with Abby Singer

The second-to-last shot of the day on set is known as the Abby, named for a man who became famous for his “This shot and one more, and then we can all head home for the night!” reminder to everyone on his sets…

 

Legends_AbbySingerThis is Abby Singer…

But before we get there, a little background for you. When I was growing up, my go-to movies were mostly ones like Charade, His Girl Friday and Bringing Up Baby.  I grew up with a mad crush on Cary Grant, and I’ve seen Oklahoma and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers more times than I can count.  I would sit in my grandparents’ living room and listen to Frank Sinatra and Jack Benny and Glenn Miller with them for hours.

But it was always like I was peeking into this other world that was long-gone, this world that belonged with my grandparents.  I would never be a part of it — I was just lucky enough to catch the echoes of everything that went before me.

Never in a million years did I imagine I’d be moving to Los Angeles one day… 

I was on one of my first shows out here, and my boss asked if I’d be willing to drive a friend of hers around for the afternoon after he visited our set. Of course I said yes, and a few minutes later I was standing in a hallway shaking hands and saying hello to this delightful older gentleman.

That’s how I met Abby Singer. 

That afternoon, we drove from the Valley down to Santa Monica while he told me all about the Los Angeles that used to exist…   “Back when I first came out to LA, this was all orange groves…”  After a mile or two on the 405, he told me to get off the highway and drive through some of the neighborhoods so he could point out spots while he talked about them.  He started stories with “Back when I was working for Jack Benny…” or “That was around the time I was doing the Doris Day show…” He told me all about crossing paths with Katharine Hepburn and John Wayne and Cary Grant at events.

For just a moment, classic Hollywood was blazingly alive again, and it was gorgeous.

That drive remains, to this day, one of the best moments in my entire career.

Hollywood lost someone truly lovely yesterday.  He helped create the trails that so many of us walk on today.  And while it’s probably true that outside of Hollywood, there may not be a lot of people who know his name — I like to think that today on film and tv sets all around the world, people will take an extra second on the second-to-last shot of the day…

Hey! We’re on the Abby…

… and we’ll all smile.

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Salads and Dream Jobs

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I am reading the most fabulous book right now.

Shauna Niequist’s book Bread and Wine is a collection of essays about life and making beautiful food for amazing friends.  And honestly – that doesn’t even cover it.  My girl Brandi (whose music you should totally listen to, by the way) recommended the book for me, and I can’t say enough good things about it.

Some of my deepest, most viscerally beautiful moments have come when I’m sitting around a table with friends, eating through big bowls of herby pasta and arugula salad, when the wine bottles are just starting to dip below half full, when we’ve gotten past the important but still surface questions of How has your week been?  What did you do last weekend?  and gotten to the deeper questions of – How are you?  Really?  

Hearts are on display. 

I love cooking.  I love feeding people who walk through my door.  If you’ve known me for any length of time, I’m probably going to rope you into a dinner at some point so I can try out new recipes.  Bonus points for those of you who have survived my cooking disasters.  Most of the time, I think I pull it together all right, though.

But it’s so not about the food.  

Food is just what gets everyone to the table. It gives you something to do with your hands – especially on those first few times of hanging out, when it’s sort of awkward but sort of awesome.  No one wants to just sit across a table and stare.  And so you start eating.  You talk about the salad, and the salad you had at lunch for work today.  So tell me about your job.  And then you talk about your job and your career and your ultimate dream job. And that’s when you start getting into the real heart of people.

My dream job would be to run my own company, because I am so passionate about creating this type of world. 

My dream job would be a neonatal specialist in the hospital, because I watched my best friends in the hospital for six weeks with their baby.

My dream job is to travel to Africa and provide clean water for villages in Namibia.

My dream job is to be a comic book writer. 

My dream job is the one I’m going to get next year.  My dream job is the one I have now.  

And suddenly, a conversation about arugula, kale, shallots and almonds has just become a conversation about people’s core values and deepest wishes for their lives and for the world.  

Somebody pass the chocolate cake.  This conversation’s going to go late tonight…

——————

This is Part 1 of an ongoing series – Living Life Together … stay tuned later this week and next for more!

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Not Alone in LA


I’ll say it. Living in Los Angeles has a reputation for being really difficult.  Some people think LA and imagine a city where you’re surrounded by a bunch of mean girls who are out to end you and steal all your friends and dates and drinks.  And their shoes are always going to be better.  Always.  (The part about the shoes may be true.)

And some people – going off of that whole idea – look at me like I’m a bonkers crazy girl.  How on earth can you live in a city like that? 


This is part of why:

lavendar light

Boom.  Unfiltered and everything.  That’s a point and snap photo of my beautiful city in the lavender light of sunset.

That is why I live here. 

For starters, anyway. 75* in February?  Come on! What’s not to love?

See, it turns out LA isn’t always that kind of evil backstabby sort of city.  But it totally depends on you.

When you’re kind and generous and creative and awesome, you’re going to attract other people who are kind and generous and creative and awesome.  You attract the same kind of vibes you put out, if that makes sense.   It’s true that not everyone is shiny and brilliant and lovely all the time.

But you kill those suckers with kindness. 

It’s just a good thing to do.  But it also saves your mental and emotional capacity for things you actually want to be talking about  and spending your time on.  And would you rather be known as the person who fought back and was equally as nasty?  Or would you rather be the person who gets the reputation for being unfailingly kind?  (Ps – “kind” does not equal “doormat”.  Just saying.)

And seriously – you just have to get over yourself.  Stop worrying about what everyone else is thinking about you.  People are people – and no one can survive on their own.  See, whether or not they’d actually admit it – people really do want friends.  They want community.  They want a safe space where they can be themselves and not get destroyed for it.

We all want to know that we’re not alone. 

The other morning – I was out running.  It was super early and COLD.  (38* actually.  That’s like Los Angeles’ version of subzero.  I felt like I should be all bundled up in an Eskimo suit to go running.  As a side note, I’ve totally lost my Colorado girl edge.)   Now, I’m just getting into running, and everyone else in my neighborhood who runs is totally awesome at it.  These are the people who take off for their “morning jog” at a faster clip than I could even sprint.  I watch them running and picture them dashing through a ‘short run’ of 20 miles while I’m praying I can make it to 3.  Sigh. They’re awesome.

But I was running and being all super-judgy towards my own lack of running skills.  And another runner coming the other way gave me a wave and a head nod.  Hello, fellow runner. 

And suddenly, I felt awesome.  Like I had been let into this secret society of runners. Like  I had my member card all the sudden.  Like I was now allowed to run alongside.  That’s Lynn. She’s one of ours. 

That’s the kind of city I live in.  That’s the kind of people I’m surrounded by.  Those are the people I want in my life.  The people I need in my life. 


It’s true that LA can be an ugly place.  I watch it unfold every day.  But for those of you who are wondering – we’re just people here too. We live our lives and go to work and the grocery store.  We need other people.

So – my fellow LA people:  you’re not alone.  We’re all out here, wanting connection just as much as you do.

Say hello. 

I promise I’ll say hello right back. 

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A New Year’s Walk into Adventure…

colorado cold

Let’s just talk for a minute about how cold 17 degrees is.  

Now, I know there are some of you reading who are thinking 17 degrees?  That’s nothing!  Let me really tell you just how much I’d love for it to be 17 degrees outside, because right now I’m staring at a thermometer that’s reading -20.  17 degrees is positively balmy.

True.  

New Year’s Day, I went for a walk when it was 17 degrees outside, and it was completely lovely!  

My mom thought I was completely insane, actually.  Before I left, she was following me around her house in that awesome mom-way of hers.  Do you need another coat?  Are you sure I can’t drive you to breakfast?  I have a hat. Would you like gloves?  My mom is the best. 

I definitely took the gloves and promised to wear my scarves so my lungs didn’t freeze. (Which they can, apparently. Who knew?)  

But it was cold and crisp, and the air was so still.  

I grew up right there.  I’ve driven down that road thousands of times.  But I’d never seen it like that before.

 It was a brand new thing. 

Every year, I have a word for the year.  2012 was a year of LIFE.  2013 is the year of ADVENTURE.  I have no idea what’s coming around the corner, but I think this is going to be the year where everything changes.  

I want to have beautiful and crazy adventures.  Big ones.  Tiny ones. Writing new stories. Traveling to new countries.  A walk down a childhood road.  Learning to get over myself and be better at loving the amazing people around me. 

2013. 

What does your year look like?  What are your hopes and dreams and plans?  What adventures are you going to have?  I really want to know!  

Because we’re all headed off into a new year…

Somewhere we’ve never, ever been… 

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Saving Innocence Gala

Tonight was the 1st Annual Saving Innocence Gala!  And it was a.maz.ing!  Seriously.  I am surrounded by the most awesome people in my life.  

Kim Biddle may be one of my new heroes.

So here’s the details – because I think the whole world should know.  

Saving Innocence works with local law enforcement, social services, schools and other parts of the community to help bring a permanent end to sex trafficking of children in Los Angeles.  They also work to restore the cultural values of innocence and human worth.  

Hell, yes.  

I am so excited to see where this amazing non-profit is going to go over this next year…  2012 was such a phenomenal start for them – and they’re just getting started. They are on the absolute leading edge of creating hope and dignity in these girls’ lives, helping these abused girls to know that their abuse does not define them going forward. They are not trapped or permanently destroyed. They have life ahead of them.  They have stories.  Their hope is going to spill out of those stories.  And the world needs their voices.   Because one day, maybe we’ll live in a world where sex trafficking is no more.  How amazing would that be?

It’s so funny – in the last several months, my life keeps coming around to this same idea over and over – being a voice for the voiceless with the stories I write.  LA. Cape Town. Back to LA.  And it’s really making me wonder – what’s coming next for me?  What are the next stories I’m going to tell? 

Saving Innocence creates relationships and community here in LA where those desperate voices finally have a chance to be heard and valued. Because even the quietest, most overlooked girls deserve to have a hopeful future.  

Can you imagine being 15 years old and constantly hearing that your value is strictly in being a sex object?  That your life and future plans and family are totally irrelevant?   

And then – can you imagine being rescued out of that?  Told that you have value and a voice, that you’re safe, and that tomorrow, you get to go to school and pursue your dreams?  

Come on now…. how awesome is that?  I’m so excited that I can support them, even in my tiny little ways.  

                                                                                                                                          +                Kim and Kellan, rocking it out!  Love them.  ——————————————>

And just for fun… 

                                                                                

                                   My fancy husband and I in our night out on the town.  He’s the best ever.                       

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3 in the morning…

– Did you know there is such a thing as 3 in the morning?? 

There is. 

And I know that, because I’m sitting at my kitchen table watching my computer clock click past 3:15. 

It’s one of those nights.  

I can honestly say it doesn’t happen very often, but sometimes you just wake up, you know?  And that’s madness.  I tried the ever-popular just go back to sleep trick.  No dice.  Then, because my brain was starting to spin and get ready for the day like it was 6am, I had the idea that I should probably read for a while.  So I popped out my iPad and started clicking through my favorite (and here unnamed) food blog.  

Mistake #2 of the day.  

It’s a great blog – and I will definitely mention it later.  But not here.  Because otherwise it sounds a little too much like, “Hey, here’s the blog to read when you never ever want to sleep again!”  And that would just be sad.  

This is the blog you read when you want to be so completely inspired and take risks with what happens in your kitchen.  I’m figuring out ways to combine coconut and avocado.  I’ve been making scones and quick jams like they’re going out of style.  I made my first three-layer cake last week.  I want to make my own ketchup. And rosemary syrup.  And gluten-free bread.  And corn tortillas. And homemade veggie sushi.  I want to eat chickpeas and avocados and arugula and scrambled eggs until the day I die.  I’m on a roll… and so I read this (unnamed) blog. I started making notes for Sunday lunch.  I started googling crazy ideas like marinara with peanuts and lime. (I’ve had it… thank you, Marcus Samuelsson.  Unbelievably good.  You have to try it. If I can find the recipe online, I’ll post it.  I’d also like to reiterate it is amazing! *) 

I’m blogging about a blog. 

This is why I don’t usually blog at 3am.  

Anyway…

My head is so full of dreams right now.  Big ones.  Little ones.  Quirky weird ones.  

Ones that look like the end of my first book.  Ones that look like a brand new pilot or two with a character named Eli Rain.  Ones that look like Africa.  Ones that look like the end of my season on Alphas.  It’s kind of scary to end a show.  You never know what’s coming just around the corner. And I have loved every moment of being on Alphas.  But there’s something new on its way. And I love living in the anticipation of my next adventure.  Makes it that much more awesome when I take that first official adventure-step.  

I just re-subscribed to a local CSA here, and my first box of 20 pounds of organic fruits and vegetables will be here on Sunday afternoon.  ($30 including delivery?  Come on now…)  

What am I going to do with 20 pounds of vegetables??? 

This is when you have people over for dinner.  Or brunch.  Or whatever bizarre meal you eat at 4 in the afternoon alongside your coconut coffee. 

Awesome friends.  Good food.  Good wine.  I think we have a winner.  

I want my feature script to sell.  I think it might just do that shortly… 

I want to sit by the pool for an entire afternoon and drink homemade blueberry italian soda.  I want to just enjoy the moment.  I want to get a little bit sunburned because I fell asleep by the pool listening to neighborhood kids laugh and love their summer.  

I want to write new music and sing with friends of mine in some tiny club where people drink old fashioneds and brandy. I miss being in a band.  

I want to be a part of whatever crazy thing God’s doing in Los Angeles.  Because he loves this place even more than I do, and honestly?  That’s hard to imagine…  I’m in love with my city. 

I want to stop freaking out about gluten-free baking and just get in there and get up to my elbows in rice flour cookies with roasted peaches and chocolate chips.  Are those a thing?  I just made them up.  If not, there should be.**

It’s 3a.m. and all’s well.  

Just thought you wonderful people who are asleep right now would like to know.  

Even in the midst of crazy, adventure is coming… Happy Friday!! 

xoxo

Lynn 

*mental notes for later! 

** [UPDATE!] surely these can be made with rice flour, substituting chocolate chips for the raisins. Thank you, internets…

  

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