I stumbled on this essay that I wrote for Your Life Is A Trip -- The Number 1 Experiential Storytelling and Narrative Travel Writing. I started this blog when I came back to L.A. in 2009, shortly after writing this while still living in San Francisco.
In 2004, I'd fled L.A.'s madness and stayed away for 5 years, partaking of other lifestyles in Kansas, Missouri and San Francisco before fleeing back into the loving arms of friends I'd made in 20 years of living in Los Angeles.
Now, 9 years later, I'm at another crossroads. Bridges have been burned. Friendships run their course. Several good friends have been lost to Death.
This past week, I grabbed myself by the ping pongs and jump started my life by taking more actions. The result was quick:
Just by answering a survey that the Los Feliz Ledger sent me on Facebook, I won a $50 gift certificate to The Alcove cafe in the upscale hipness of Hillhurst Ave. I see that as an omen! What does it portend? I have no idea.
I'm learning Spanish with daily lessons and brushing up my French. New skills bring new adventures. Right?
Send me your own take on L.A. these days. Let me know if I have permission to post it on my blog here. Thank you!
LONG DAY'S JOURNEY TO HOME
"You have to come down if you want your stuff," Beatrice said. "There's termites under the building and I have to fumigate."
I can't remember what I stored with Beatrice while exiting Los Angeles for rural Kansas , but lately I've been missing certain photos, journals and scripts. In ‘04, I fled after 20 years of trying to make a career and happy love life. My friends begged me not to go:
"You're the last person in the world who should move to Kansas !" said my charming boss.
"One thing I'm hearing about where you're going...No available men," said my handsome therapist.
"You won't be able to find a job. People will see you as an outsider. Like when I moved to Florida ," said a well-meaning friend.
I hail from a Florida town that I longed to escape. Left home at 19 and sought my fortunes in Boston, Canada, Chicago, San Diego, and L.A. before two old friends, a mother-daughter duo, talked me into joining them in the middle of nowhere in Central Kansas where they'd moved after doing time in big cities. Nellie and Olga hailed from pioneer stock and had returned to their roots. I was still in search of mine.
I downsized and drove to Lucas , Kan. (pop. 400). Soon my L.A. friends' predictions came true, and instead of settling on the naked prairie, I felt "home" drift even farther out of reach. Still, I found work that I loved within 100-mile radius of Lucas, working for two community newspapers and a PBS-TV station. But that's another story.
My L.A. friends kept in touch. Most liked my fractured tales of the exotic People We Fly Over. But one e-mailed: No more stories of those lug-nut women and their jello creations. That's why I left North Dakota.
In ‘06, my finances tanked so I took a full-time job as a reporter in Missouri and was fired on Day Three. Next came tornadoes. I spent nights on the bathroom floor with my cat waiting for our house to be torn off its foundation and sent sailing through the sky.
At this point, the Dorothy parallels failed to amuse.
My brother in Florida sent me money to move, and an acquaintance in San Francisco advised me that there was a sweet deal on an apartment next to hers. I jumped on it, leaving behind more possessions, and drove back with the cat in the navigator's seat while Joni Mitchell sang, " California , I'm coming home" on the radio.
In San Francisco , most locals view me as a gypsy. A lost human. A stray. They put down their roots long ago and they have enough friends. My creative life has been full. I wrote a play and produced/directed it at a known theater. Now I'm shooting a documentary film. A few Bohemian artists at Caffe Trieste proclaimed me a "good writer." I had an exciting fling with a young man. But internal emptiness remains. My phone doesn't ring much. I don't click with people that way. It's been three years.