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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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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In Case of Natural Disaster…

Hi friends!  I’m BACK!  Let the blogging craziness begin…. 

I’ve been reading Tamar Adler’s An Everlasting Meal for the second time this week.   If you haven’t read this book, seriously — go order it now.  Or, better than that — go find your local bookstore and buy it from a real person who can also point you towards their current favorite book of the week.  (That may be another post for another time.  And yes, I heart Amazon too, don’t worry.)

Where was I? An Everlasting Meal. 

an-everlasting-meal

Right. So, nestled among some of the most gorgeous writing I’ve come across, tucked in between recipes for roast chicken and vegetable stock and piquant relishes on crackers, there’s a recipe for A Salad For a Natural Disaster.  The idea being that — no matter the day, no matter what disaster is befalling you, you can always come up with something that’s not just going to keep you alive.  You can come up with something that is — dare I say? — tasty. Refreshing. Beautiful.

My favorite part is the final instruction:  Mix well and hope for the best. 

A creative life feels a lot like that.

It takes a lot of prep work to be creative.  I absolutely live for the days that I’m curled up in my little writing den (aka my dining room) with a french press of coffee and Trevor Morris or London Grammar or Gungor playing in the background, the days that I’m staring at a blank sheet of paper or a blank computer screen and actually writing a script.

But there is so much more that comes before those days.

What research do I need to do? What do I need to process? What bits of dialogue or character development can I stick up on my board? What should I name this character?  I should probably write an outline first. I need to buy more index cards and post-it notes. What’s the heart of this story? 

It feels messy and mostly unproductive.  I have fanatically organized “Idea Documents” in a folder on my desktop.  Names I like. Story ideas. Places that are beautiful. Actors I’d love to write for.  Inspiring articles. My 50-in-5 lists (another post coming soon…).

It’s a bit like stocking my writers pantry. 

When am I ever going to use this much arborio rice or coconut oil or ginger?   When am I ever going to use the rain in Trafalgar Square in a story?  Seriously, do you really need a glass jar of salt-packed capers? It’s not like we’d really ever shoot at that location, so why even bother saving the photo? Should I really buy a dozen eggs?  I’ve been trying to go vegan. But what if that boy-meets-girl story actually works? I just want to cook something easy for dinner.

I just want to write. 

But the best meals you just “throw together” happen because your pantry is actually stocked with things that taste good together — like jasmine rice with a can of coconut milk and fresh ginger and lemongrass, topped with whatever vegetables you have hidden away in your fridge and pantry. A pinch of salt and fresh-ground pepper. Some soy sauce and mirin.  And suddenly, on a night where I seriously don’t feel like cooking — ‘hoping for the best’ actually turns out to be pretty wonderful.

The best scripts for me happen when I’ve done all my pre-writing.  First, the basics like research and outlines.

But second, and very nearly more important are the inspirations that are much less tangible — the saving of songs that sound like the right emotions, the names that capture the heart of a character, the classic novel that reminds me what beautiful prose can be.  The coffee that tastes like heaven while I write.  Knowing that when this script is done, I’ll crack open a bottle of good merlot with friends and celebrate.

So, go… gather your inspiration.  Your ingredients.  Cook.  Write.

And hope for the best.
 

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Neurotic Girl Seeks A Mimosa

scones!

Entertaining isn’t a sport or a competition. It’s an act of love, if you let it be. You can twist it and turn it into anything you want – a way to show off your house, a way to compete with your friends, a way to earn love and approval. Or you can decide that every time you open your door, it’s an act of love, not performance or competition or striving. You can decide that every time people gather around your table, your goal is nourishment, not neurotic proving. You can decide…

Shauna Niequist speaks my language.  I love that quote.

(Sidenote: I promise I will not turn my whole blog into repeated statements of “Go read Shauna Niequist’s books. Now!”  But seriously – I make no guarantees about this specific blog post.  Go do it. Now.)

I love this quote, not because I am incredibly good at chilling out when people come over, but because I need to be reminded to Chill. The. Crap. Out. most of the time.  All of the time.

For the past several years – pretty much since I moved to LA and wanted to meet tons of fabulous people – I’ve hosted girls’ breakfasts off and on.

Saturday mornings, 9:30 to whenever.  

I always make the coffee first.  Sometimes I have two friends there.  One time I had 30.  Usually most everyone knows at least some of the people there, and so I do a round of introductions and make another pot of coffee and scurry off to the kitchen to make crepes while listening to my sweet friends, laughing and drinking coffee and mimosas.

Without fail – I panic at least once.  What if someone’s bored?  What if I burn the crepes?  What if I didn’t buy enough eggs for the frittata?  What if my house isn’t clean enough?  What if I didn’t buy enough food in general and someone gets stuck with a bowl of cereal?  What if people think I’m a terrible hostess?  

And the truth is – no one really remembers exactly what I made.  No one comes in, staring at their watch and chastising me for being 10 minutes late because – oh yeah, I should probably turn the broiler on to toast the bread.  I’ve burned stuff and spilled coffee and had to stretch the berries across 12 plates instead of 9 because unexpected guests joined in for the morning.   I’ve also pulled off nutella crepes and apple cinnamon muffins and tiny Elvis brownies (chocolate, peanut butter, honey, bananas) and fresh whipped cream stuffed into cored strawberries dipped in chocolate and frittatas with a beautiful toasted parmesan crust.  But all of that is beside the point.

The point is the beautiful friends all sitting around my kitchen table.

And so I give out hugs and mismatched coffee cups.  People offer to brew a round of coffee or cut the fritatta or wipe the kitchen counter down because it looks like a powdered sugar monster descended and ran amok – and I say yes.  And thank you.

Despite all my neuroses screaming otherwise – I don’t need people to think I’m perfect.

I want people to come into breakfast and feel like there’s a safe space to share and fun food to eat and excellent company all around. I want you to meet her because she’s an excellent photographer and you’re searching for one. I want the two of you to meet because you have an equally passionate love for Justin Timberlake, and I want them to meet up because they’re both about to be moms for the first time.

I hope that friendships are renewed and restored and started over a couple cups of coffee and some mimosas.  I hope everyone laughs.

And in the meantime – I’ll be calming down over here.

 

 

 

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Still TBD…

Twitter bio

Let’s just talk for a second about how much I love that Hillary Clinton has a sense of humor about herself, her accomplishments and her life.

I know the internet exploded and everyone started talking about her bio when her Twitter went live.  And with good reason… her bio is awesome on every level.

My very favorite piece of her entire bio comes from this:

TBD…

Because seriously – if there’s anyone in the world who might possibly be able to look at her life and say: Okay, I’ve accomplished some pretty amazing things… I could probably take it easy for a bit, it would be her.  

Instead, she’s publicly announcing that she’s not perfect. (Perfect by it’s very definition seems to include finished.)

She’s publicly announcing that she’s incomplete – and it’s a moment of strength for her. 

Politics aside – there’s something really awesome about the idea of living life with a TBD at the end of your bio.

There’s always something more coming, just around the corner.

You’re not done learning yet.  You’re not done growing.

Your very worst mistakes don’t have to live as the final word on your life. You get tomorrow to start fresh.

You’re still to be determined…

What are you going to do with that? 

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Genius, Power and Magic in it….

I just read this quote today for the first time – though I’m sure there are a million literature buffs all around me going – What??? You’ve never ever heard this before?    

Yep.  

I love this quote so much I just had to share… 

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.”

                           – Goethe

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Made-Up Stories Can Matter

Life has been totally crazy lately (hence the serious lack of posts here!)

So – in protest of the craziness, and honestly a bit out of self-preservation, I bought a book just for me, just for my own heart.  It has nothing to do with research for my show.  Nothing to do with things I’m writing.  I don’t plan to write anything similar to it.

I just want to read someone else’s story and disappear into it.

fault in our stars

Enter John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars. 

I haven’t even started reading yet, but I am already in love with Green’s words.  This is his author’s note at the front.

This is not so much an author’s note as an author’s reminder of what was printed in small type a few pages ago.  This book is a work of fiction.  I made it up.  

Neither novels nor their readers benefit from attempts to divine whether any facts hide inside a story.  Such efforts attack the very idea that made-up stories can matter, which is sort of the foundational assumption of our species.  

I appreciate your cooperation in this matter.

Made up stories can matter… 

What a revolutionary idea.

We spend our growing up years with questions papering over our hearts like an interior decorator gone bezerk. Will you tell me a story?  Will you read me a story? Tell me about the time when this happened to you.  Why?  When?  What did the strawberry chiffon cake taste like?  Do you think time travel is real?  What would you do if you had a pet dinosaur.  Can I watch a movie?  Will you read me just one more story? 


And why is that?  When you’re 8 – the whole world is new for you.  I’d never been to Africa, but I remember learning about ancient Egyptian culture.  I remember going to the zoo and trying to imagine  what it must be like to be a lion in the jungle. I remember trying out a British accent at 10 and wondering what life would be like if I sounded like that.   When you’re so small,  life isn’t old and average yet.  It’s new and scary as hell and different.  Every day is a new story.

But you still want to hear more.  

I read the Little House on the Prairie books so many times my mom finally took them away from me so I would read something different.  I read all the Nancy Drew books.  I wrote stories of time traveling teenagers and strange alien spaceships and a girl who was in love with a boy and she could never tell anyone about it at all.

Those made-up stories mattered.

Every once in a while I get asked why I decided to be a tv writer instead of going off and becoming a doctor (blood and math. seriously?) or lawyer (arguing for a living? pass.) or businesswoman (I could have survived.)

I want to take this quote and just superglue it to my forehead so everyone who wants to know can read it.  Made-up stories can matter.

And maybe my stories aren’t going to matter in the grand scheme of the world.  I’m not going to cure cancer or solve an international crisis.  But I’m sort of going after the smaller moments anyway.

There’s a Star Trek: TNG episode where the Captain has a chance to re-live his life making the ‘correct’ choices.  He undoes a crucial risk he took – stupid youth gotten way out of hand – and in a flash, he ends up being some a mousy no one on his ship.  I was 16 or so the first time I saw the episode, and I don’t know if it was just the moment I saw it in my life or what – but it sparked something deep and lasting in me.  I was the quiet little wallflower who just wanted to stay out of everyone’s way.  But I wanted SO much out of life – and up until that moment, I lived in fear that I would miss it all.

I suddenly saw my life as if I was headed into those sort of big crucial decisions – and I decided right then and there that I was going to make the big choices and take the big (dare I say stupid) risks and see what would come of it.     My life has been scary as hell some days – but I don’t have a long list of What ifs?

That was a made-up story that mattered.  

One of my favorite college memories is sitting in a friend’s living room with 10 other friends watching Triplets of Belleville. It was a moment in time where I felt safe and surrounded and like maybe – at least for the moment – everything was going to be all right.  We laughed and talked and paused the movie to admire the artistry in every frame.  We drank a good bottle of wine and bonded over our complete inability to cook dinner that night.

In it’s own way, that was a made-up story that mattered. 

A little over a year ago, my best friend and I sat in her living room, painted our nails, ate dinner and marathoned 6 episodes of Dawson’s Creek. And it led into a whole discussion of life in junior high school and all of the fears and weirdness that came along with that time in our lives.  We laughed at the horrible fashions from back then – and cringed when characters had to live through a moment we totally remembered from being that age.  it was a beautiful reminder that we’re not actually alone in any of this thing called life and every bonkers moment we have – someone else has probably been exactly where we are. Today is not forever.

That was a made-up story that mattered.

And it’s true that maybe I would have grown up and become a less-wallflowery type of person.  Maybe I would have taken the risk to be brave after listening to another song or after reading another story.  Maybe my friends and I still would have had an amazing night without watching Triplets.  And surely – my best friend and I could have found a thousand other things to talk about instead of Pacey (*thirteen year old swoon*)

But in those moments, those made-up stories made up precious moments of life I’m talking about and thinking about a year later, five years later, a decade later.

Those are the kind of smaller moments I’m after.  

The kind I wouldn’t trade for anything.  +


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Halfway Out of the Dark — Merry Christmas, Sweet Friends!

There’s something in the air this time of year.  

Twinkly lights edging every window, a puff of cold air whispering Hope and Go get some hot chocolate, rather than the horrific Why on God’s green earth is it this freaking cold? that somehow visits in January and February.

I love that every year ends with celebrations.

christmas flowers

Hannukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Year’s Eve. Sometimes we’re celebrating a really beautiful time.  It turns out the Mayans were wrong, and 2012 was actually the best year we’ve ever had!   Other times we’re celebrating the end of a year from hell, and thank God it’s over. 2013 is going to be better.  It has to be.  There’s nowhere to go but up. 

And every year begins with a celebration.  2013 arrives, and the ball in New York City drops in perfect time with the atomic clock, and the world celebrates the beginning of a new year.  A fresh start.  A chance to begin again, a chance to undo some of last year’s damage, a chance to step into something new and beautiful.  christmas!

Winter covers over both the celebrations of the ends and the beginnings.  Every December 22nd, we arrive at the shortest day of the year.  For the last six months, the darkness has been ever creeping.  But now, (in the forever-brilliant words of Steven Moffat)…

We’re halfway out of the dark.

We’re moving forward into the light.  God has not abandoned us, even in our darkest moments.  He’s whispering our names, pointing us in the right direction, reminding us that there is hope and peace if only we’ll look, if only we’ll accept the absurdity that we are all broken yet somehow still loved. Still being pursued.  Still being accepted.

To my sweet friends, family, and friends I have yet to meet (aka my unknown readers), I just wanted to say Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!  May 2013 be a year of life and joy for you.  May you find exactly what you’re looking for in your very deepest heart of hearts.  May friends and family fill your daily lives, and may peace somehow surprise you with its perfection.

May 2013 bring beautiful adventures your way…

Thank you for coming along on this new journey with me.  I am ever so grateful.

xoxo
Lynn

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Before They Flare and Fade

– I think it might be a bit of circular logic to use a sci-fi quote to explain exactly why I write the stories I love.  I don’t write for the escapism (though escapism can be amazingly fun!) I don’t write to run away from the world around me.  

I write stories to understand the world. There’s so much to see in this beautiful place we call home. So much to hope for. So much to dream about.

There are so many wonderful, creative people I’ve been so lucky to call friends & colleagues.  It is so worth being on this adventure with them. 

The stories are a part of why I do what I do.  I love them.  But it’s the people I’m surrounded by that make this whole crazy adventure worth it.  And we have this moment to seize the day… 

I’ve never heard it put better…. 

I’m not running away. But this is one corner… of one country, in one continent, on one planet that’s a corner of a galaxy that’s a corner of a universe that is forever growing and shrinking and creating and destroying, and never remaining the same for a single millisecond. And there is so much, so much to see, Amy. Because it goes so fast. I’m not running away from things, I am running to them. Before they flare and fade forever.

– The Doctor, “The Power of Three” – Doctor Who

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