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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?
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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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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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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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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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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…
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I’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.
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I wrote this after Comic Con 2012, and it only seemed fitting to bring it back for today. Enjoy!!!
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!
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!
Now, 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.
Comic 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.
an incredibly exhausted and happy Lynn
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