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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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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Dear Thirteen Year Old Me….

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Dear Lynn,

You’re thirteen right now.  I’m sorry about that. I really am. It’s hard.

Really.

But you survive.  That I can promise you.  In fact, I wanted to share a few tips and thoughts in the meantime, just so you make it to 25.

  • Coffee will always, always be awesome.  It will not stunt your growth.  You grow up to be 5’6”, and the world looks pretty good from there.  In fact, when you’re 18, you’re going to follow your love of coffee right into a fantastic job. And then when you’re 20, a really cute boy is going to buy a cup of coffee from you.  Marry him immediately.
  • Superman birthday cake.  No. Just, no…
  • There’s a lot you hate about yourself.  Things you get picked on for.  Things you wish you were better at.  Things you wish were different.  It turns out those things that make you weird in junior high actually make you who you are as an adult.  Hang on to that love of writing, of time travel stories and space operas.  It’s going to come in handy in a few years.
  • Oh yeah… you move to LA.  You’re not crazy for dreaming about it. For reals.
  • I still haven’t met Leonardo DiCaprio.  Sorry about that one.
  • Your parents kind of sort of actually know what they’re talking about.  I know – it just blows your mind.  But listen to them.  They have some good stuff to say.
  • When you grow up – you’re actually going to watch The Sixth Sense. For the love of God, have some perspective.  Don’t let your cousin tell you the ending because “your parents are never gonna let you see it.”  Sigh.
  • Seriously.  That whole perspective thing.  There’s a whole world out there.  There’s a lot of really beautiful things.  A lot of wonderful people who are going join you in life, who are going to shape you into the person you’re going to become.  You haven’t even met most of your life’s most influential people yet.  (Awkwardly worded sentence for the win! But it’s true.)  There’s another world out there as well – one that’s harsh and broken and scary.  Pop that safe little bubble as soon as humanly possible, but understand that there are certain things you can never unknow.  You’re going to have to find that balance between the two worlds – the beautiful and the broken….
  • so don’t be afraid.  Fear is the thing that eats you up from the inside while it’s claiming to protect you.  It will destroy everything you hold dear.  It will destroy everything you wish for and hope for, because it holds you back and makes you doubt everyone and everything.  It comes dressed up as pretty words, words like safety and Are you sure that’s what God’s telling you to do in life? and I stayed, so should you and white picket fence. The first one’s a lie, the second one comes with the very loud answer of YES! and the third one comes with this question – wouldn’t you rather live an adventure? and the fourth one… well, it turns out you still suck at all things gardening, and you’re not going to want a white picket fence front yard anyway.
  • Be bold.  Stop holding back.  You were meant for more than what you can see right now.  And that’s okay.  God has this extremely annoying habit of working through things in process, and you’re just at the beginning of yours.  Hold tight.
  • The day you get your nose pierced – Mom and Dad are both going to come to you separately and say they really like it.  Surprise surprise! You’re also going to have fire-engine red hair, pink hair, black hair, blonde hair and turquoise hair at later points in your life.  Chill out when they tell you not to perm your hair.  When you look back at your yearbook, you’ll appreciate it.  Trust me on this one.
  • Read Pride and Prejudice now.  It’s going to be your favorite book one day. Start early.
  • You don’t have to be perfect.
  • You survive.

I’m sure one day, 40-year-old Lynn is going to be writing a letter to her younger self just like this one.  It turns out I still don’t have things all sorted out, but I’m on my way. You don’t know it yet, but you are too…

Lots of love,

A slightly older and slightly wiser Lynn

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