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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Writing Prompt: 5/6/10 This LA Life

By Marilyn Friedman

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Writing Prompt: Make a list of 3 experiences that you have had that are quintessentially
"LA." Pick one and write about it. For instance, when I first moved to LA, I had a celebrity siting while grocery shopping, and I was convinced that that person was my friend until I realized he was a character on my favorite TV show!

Comment on this blog. Tell me about a very "LA" kind of experience that you've had. You could win a free class!


Julie said...

Growing up in the middle of California, you can go one of two ways if you want to live in a big city. You can go South to Los Angeles, or you can go North to San Francisco. I was always on the San Francisco side of the divide. To me, San Francisco was exciting and beautiful. It was like a jazz song; sophisticated, complex, a little dark, unexpected. With it’s soaring monuments, iconic fog, beautiful old homes and glittering Bay, San Francisco was a place, like the old song goes, that called to me. Somehow, I ended up in LA.

Los Angeles, on the other hand, was simple. It was sunny, sprawling, beachy, on-the-surface, girls in thong bikinis, no seasons, smog and traffic. If San Francisco was a jazz riff, then LA was the cheeziest pop song and I hated it. I complained about it. I tried to move away. Then, life happened. Before I knew it, I was working, commuting the freeways, exploring the city, and just like that, I'd been living in Southern California for ten years. I had even grown to like the city in a begrudging sort of way. I reveled in the sparkling days after a good soaking rain, when everything is scrubbled clean and the hills are covered in green. The warm evenings during a January Santa Ana, when the sunsets glow and the light is just screaming for a camera to capture it. The chance meetings with people the rest of the world only sees in, well, “People.” The smell of flowers that fills the air in early spring. The beach on a weekday. I loved the movie premieres, the concerts at the Music Center downtown, the museums. Even so, I always felt like Los Angeles was a temporary stop before I’d move somewhere better.

Then, one day in late February, I was driving through Hollywood to meet some friends. It was a warm evening and the breeze was ruffling the palm trees along Franklin Avenue. I had my windows down and my sunroof open, bored in bad traffic and half listening to a dumb song on the radio. Suddenly, the heady, honeyed smell of flowers drifted through my window and everything around me came into clear focus. The hazy evening sky, streaked with purple and orange. The buildings, with their bright colors and peeling paint. The palm trees silhouetted and swaying in the breeze. The swish of cars going by on one side of the road. The squeak of brakes on mine. I had the oddest feeling of familiarity, fondness and comfort, right there in traffic. With it came the realization that Los Angeles was no longer just a place. It was home.

Writing Pad said...

What a LOVELY piece! I love that San Francisco is like a jazz song and LA is the cheeziest pop song. I really love the moment when the narrator is in her car and sees the sky streaked with purple and orange and even the squeak and swish of brakes is a beautiful sound! Great job!


Writing Pad said...

I had lived in LA for a few months. I didn't know a soul other than my husband. I was so lonely. I missed the pretty pastel buildings and friendly hippies of San Francisco.

I shuffled through Gelson's. Just as I put a $20 carton of eggs into my shopping cart, I saw a pale man with his head shaved bald with dark framed, stylish glasses. I thought, 'I know him! That's my friend!' A warm feeling rushed through me head to toe.

I started to walk over to him when I realized it. He wasn't my friend, he was Carrie's friend! It was the actor that played Stanford on Sex In The City. I ran back to my cart, embarassed.


Erin Anadkat said...

Writing Pad!!:)

I was roommates with his cousin, a long, long time ago:)


Mary Lorraine said...

For my 28th birthday, I decided to take my friends (recent transplants from the East Coast like myself) to a quintessential LA experience, Drag Queen Bingo. A gem along Santa Monica Boulevard in rainbow-flagged West Hollywood, this would not be your grandma's game of Bingo in the old folks home. Hosted by a drag queen who yells things like "Strap it on!", you actually can win money and prizes while eating greasy burgers and laughing your ass off. The martinis weren't bad either. I went once before and had actually won the grand prize, a basket full of gay porn and popcorn. Not for me, but my neighbor was more than happy to take it. Sitting in the big bouncy booth, I sipped my birthday martini and explained the rules of the game before the action got started. My friends all complimented "How do I find these awesome places?" and "You are so good at doing all the unique LA activities!" and my fuzzy feelings cup was running over. Just then the Drag Queen appeared and announced the guest ball callers for the evening. Guests? There had not been guests the previous time I went. Sally Kellerman walked up to the mic and I gasped. My friends surely would not remember her, but being a huge fan of Ranch Dressing and Rodney Dangerfield, how could I forget her? A soon as I did my best Sally Kellerman "Hidden Valley Ranch" commercial impression, my friends lit up and laughed. What a treat and random celeb sighting! For the last game, another guest appeared at the mic. No, it couldnt be, but it sure was. This was the best, most "LA" birthday ever. Long Duck Dong, from Sixteen Candles, one of my favorite movies, was the surprise guest. When the birthday dessert came out, I ran up without hesitation and gushed about how it was my birthday and would he blow out the candles with me? The picture perfect LA birthday, complete with Drag Queens, D List Celebrities, and Drunk friends!