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 36-Hour Day

the sun will keep risingI’ve said it over and over and over… mostly as a joke — but seriously, if someone can figure out how to do this, could you let me know?

I wish I had more hours in my day!!! 

But there it is, 24 hours, day in and day out. (Except for the day you take Virgin Atlantic’s awesome London-LA flight after a kickass round of meetings. Then your day is 35 1/2 hours long and you STILL don’t get everything done you wanted to get done.  I think there may be a life lesson in here somewhere…)

The days and weeks and years will go on regardless of whether we are hopeful or hopeless, whether we are patient or impatient, whether I write or do not write. And on one level, that feels completely suffocating — time will go on whether we want it to or not. But at the same time, I think there can be great freedom in that — October and November and December are going to come, 2015 and beyond will come — and maybe I’ll be really glad that I wrote that one page all those months ago, because TODAY, it matters. And I guess today that it did matter.. and I hope that somehow, in some weird way, that this is encouraging for you as well… time marches on, but what you’re doing MATTERS.

Keep going…

 

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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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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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Patches on my Heart

Today, I miss South Africa.

I miss waking up in Alli’s living room, making coffee and scones and then heading out into this big, expansive world that I had absolutely no paradigm for.  I miss laughing with one of my dearest friends, finally having time to get into all of the nitty-gritty conversations of life that only come out after six hour conversations about everything else in the world.

patches on my heart

There was no rush there, for anything.  There was a rhythm and constancy to life while I was there that I miss in LA.  There was peace.  It was stunnningly beautiful so much of the time.  All my Facebook friends saw 300 photos that looked quite a lot like this one. —————->

There was also so much brokenness everywhere.  There are no pictures of those moments, because I wanted nothing more than to actually be present in those moments.  I wanted to honor the people I was meeting without pausing for a Kodak moment.  Even the thought of that just sends a shiver down my spine. So far, I’ve steered clear of talking a lot about those moments that didn’t come with photos, mostly because I’m stuck in this horrible place of not having the words to fully talk about what I lived for those few weeks.  (Side note – eleven days on the ground in South Africa is nowhere near long enough.)

And as a writer, finally coming to a place where I don’t have the words was really difficult.  People wanted to hear the snippets of the trip, not the full-fledged, soul-swallowing stories.

There are some things you just can’t condense.

It’s like water.  You can’t reduce the water any more unless you boil it, but then you’re stuck trying to grab onto vapor that’s just not there.  The real stories just aren’t there unless you’re willing to grab hold of the water that’s almost boiling, but not quite.

Ask me about these stories.  These are the ones I want to tell you.

Because those are the stories that are clinging to my heart – like extra patches I sewed on with a sharp needle and thread.  They became a part of me, and they’ll never leave.  And I’m still bleeding from every place the thread went in.

I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world.

south african flowerI just have no idea how to honor the stories these lovely and wonderful people shared with me.  I have no idea how to wrap my head around death and laughter and pain and bright blue waves lapping at the base of a mountain and crying my eyes out and peace all in the same day.  How do you reconcile beauty and pain all together, almost all at once?

I still live in that moment every day. I feel more grounded and more real having been in those moments.  They fill my life with a deeper center, a deeper love for the people I’m surrounded by.

And I feel so inadequate in the meantime.  

When I write about my time there, I don’t mean to be vague.  I really don’t. You’re welcome to ask me anything you’d like.  I just don’t have the proper words yet to put it all out there into the great wide world.

 

But one day I will… 

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The Orange Room

orange room

Another BabySafe blog. I’ve started and restarted this entry probably ten times over the last week, and before I even get started, I know my words will never ever be enough.  Every time I close my eyes, I’m back there.  And I only wish my prayers were stronger… 

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My name is Lynn, and in this moment, that’s all I can really remember.  It’s as though every piece of me has been stripped away in this second, and for the first time, I come face to face with the truth – there are no words I can offer.  No perfectly turned phrase that will dull the ache of this moment.

I am new here.  A stranger oddly welcome in the midst of a family grieving.  I can feel it in the air when I walk in, a metallic tang that creaks with anger and grief and the bitterness of Why now?  These are the emotions the world spends their entire life screaming to avoid.  And right now, it feels as though the rest of the world has screamed away from us – recoiling in fear that if they dare look us in the face, that somehow our sorrow will morph into their own, our sadness will infect them and taint them with the taste they’ve longed to forget.

Death has visited here.  

And I – the stranger from so far – am welcomed in to witness the day.

I want nothing more than to turn the day inside out.  My heart on my sleeve, a family newly stitched in.  I will remember today for the rest of my life. Their names will find their ways into my prayers.  My heart is still bleeding for them.  And for a moment, I long to take their grief as my own, holding it for them for a moment.  Two. Ten.  The respite they’re searching for will not come today.

If only I was strong enough to bring it to them.

In the meantime, I will hold them.  I will stare straight into their eyes, a stranger welcomed in.  I will witness their soul-rending pain, acknowledge it, bear them up in it.  I will not look away. Nothing I give will be enough.  But maybe – somewhere – it’s important to know they are not alone.

Today, this family survived.

And in the quiet, a song plays.  Freedom reigns in this place… 

Today is not for always.  

Today will mark them, define this part of their lives.  They will remember the weight of the wispy clouds above.  The sound of the bird.  The chilled air that deadens so much. But now is not forever.

And in this bright orange room – I begin to understand.  We are all here together.  A tiny hand slips into mine.  And I breathe in.

Not all is lost today.  Some, but not all.

I only wish I had more to give.

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Finding the Words – Cape Town

finding the words

Imagine sitting at a tiny little cafe, looking out and seeing this view.

A field of warm green grass, hedged in by a field of lavender, with the Atlantic Ocean lapping at the base of the mountain half a mile away.  The sprinklers were going, throwing rainbow mist across the patio, and wild peacocks wandered between the tables, hoping to eat a discarded croissant or cookie.  Sitting there and drinking my coffee, for the first time in my life, I really had the thought – This must be what heaven looks like. 

I just don’t have the words.  

I had this grand idea that I was going to go to Cape Town, then come back with these amazing stories to tell.  And I did.  And I do.

But I just don’t have the words yet.  All my stories are still wrapped up in these swirling ideas that haven’t quite coalesced into actual sentences that move from one to the next.  I know what this moment or that moment felt like, but I don’t even know where to begin with actually sharing those thoughts and experiences with other people.

It. Was. Amazing. 

We can at least start there. Every day was full of brand new “Oh my gosh, I’ve never done this before!” moments, just one right after the other like this endless string of melodies that I’ve recorded but can’t sing back to anyone just yet.

I ate bread for the first time in a few years.  Fish. (My nearly-vegan ways deserted me pretty much as soon as I got off the plane!)  Alli & I didn’t have to rush in all of our conversations.  I watched my very first episode of the train wreck that is “Toddlers & Tiaras”.  (Yes, my fabulous LA people – that is one of the shows we export to the rest of the world. Gotta love it.)  I wore sandals every day while I was there – and the dust clung to my feet everywhere I went.  The sunlight is a different color there, thanks to being pretty much as far south as you can go on the planet without requiring a phD and a snowsuit a foot thick.  I love South Africa. I love the accents.  I love that everyone hugged me straight away before saying, “Hi.  Who are you?  Welcome!”  I loved living daily life with Alli again.  It felt like no time had passed at all.  This trip turned my world upside down in such a beautiful, heart-wrenching way.

I am different.  The world is different. 

If I can barely put into words all of the brilliantly fun experiences, how am I ever going to share the hardest experiences?  I live in LA, where we really don’t deal with the specter of extreme poverty and even death every single day.  All of my photos from my trip are gorgeous.  But they really only tell half the story.

And I’m getting to a point where I’m finally going to be able to share the second half of my trip with all of you.

Stay tuned…

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Seeking Each Other Out

seeking each other out

I think when I told some people I was coming to Africa they imagined me going into the bush, with no showers, no electricity, no phone, nothing.  Boiling water over an open fire, eating crazy things and being around everyone who spoke a million different dialects.

One day, that’s going to be my Africa experience… one day.  

Cape Town is its own thing – a strange mix of modern and ancient, of urban with the way things have been here for thousands of years.

And here in this lovely city so full of life and passion and energy – life is different.  I am different.  Everything in my heart is shifting around. Even more than usual, I see the value of community.  The value of saying ‘Hello, how are you?’ to everyone, and then actually listening to them. The value of beauty for beauty’s sake.  Things really can be functional and gorgeous all at once.  The value of family, of hugging new friends, of listening.  The value of sleeping 11 hours a day.  (Two days in a row…. I am beyond shocked & so so well-rested.)

We went today to Green Market Square – to the open-air markets in the middle, and we walked through all the stalls saying hello to everyone.  It’s free to look. But I have a good price for you.  Look at this one. Or this one for you.  It will look very nice on you.  For everything.

But the craftsmanship was stunning.  So many tiny figurines and bracelets and scarves and carved wooden spoons and statues and earrings and shoes and paintings.  I wish I would have taken more photos as I walked through everything.  I touched everything, felt the smoothness of the soapstone figurines, the supple softness of the leather purses, the textures of a thin cotton scarf, the polished, rounded edges of the wooden ladles.  I could smell the coffee nearby, and the fish & chips from the ocean.  I could hear the wings of flocks of pigeons.  The sound of steel drums from a nearby musician.  The gentle clinking of a mbira in the next stall.  The conversations all around me in English, Afrikaans, Shona. The laughter of kids getting out of school, running through the marketplace on their way home.  I met V’s aunt and cousin and SO many of the other merchants there.  Everyone wanted to hug us and wish us well. This is your first time to Africa?  And they’re looking after you well?  After reassuring everyone that Alli & V are taking crazy good care of me while I’m here, I just listened to everyone’s stories.  How business is going.  How life is going.   At least compared to LA, everyone is constantly touching everyone else.  It’s a land of living together.  These lovely people just know how to do life together and I love it!   There is just so much everywhere.

So often, I feel like I’m just drinking from a firehose.

Everywhere I turn, there’s just so much to see, so much to process, so much to absorb.  The way the air smells.  The way the city is just so full of people always looking to see if they know someone.

Like I told Alli – back in LA, if I saw a friend of mine way across the street while I was driving down a road, I might try to honk at them.  I’d wave, but most likely, they wouldn’t see me.  They’d be looking at their phone, seriously in their own world.  (And if I was the person walking across the street – I’d be doing the exact same thing.)   So we’d more likely get home and text each other – Hey!  I saw you walking on Riverside today! We’d both laugh and catch up at that point.  But here in Cape Town, everyone is looking for everyone else, and everyone is yelling from their cars – Hello!  Hello!  How are you, mama?  They’re seeking each other out, and the world is so much more vibrant for it.  And I can’t even tell you how many times people hugged me before Alli & V could even explain who I was.  In a way – it didn’t matter.  I was a person clearly part of their world, even for just a minute.  Everyone told me I must come back soon.

I love this city.

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