One Month Hiatus: Annnnnnd Go.

A week ago today, I started a deliciously inspiring one month hiatus following what can only be described as a summer in Hell, aka New Jersey, which consisted of 3 months of working a ridiculous number of hours a week, drinking far too much in the few off hours I had and getting very VERY little sleep. It was a summer of excess, to be sure. Though I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything as I learned a lot and was challenged in every arena of my life (not just professionally), I returned last weekend feeling physically, emotionally, mentally, and most horrifically, creatively drained.

And even worse – I’m unemployed now.

But every cloud has a silver lining, or so I’m told. And for me, that is the one month I’m taking off to write, travel, clean out my closet, exercise daily, get my oil changed and otherwise regain some semblance of a normal life, before I jump back into another project and send my life spiraling into unpredictable chaos once more.

It took about a week for me to unpack my bags, for my liver to adjust to moderation once more, and for my body to get used to being back in sunny, lovely Los Angeles, a place I never realized I loved so much until I was forced to spend 3 full months away from it in the cruel humidity and sudden downpours of New Jersey. My head has slowly stopped spinning and I’ve managed to find a nice, sharp focus to carry me through these next 3 weeks.

I’ve got plans – grand ones. I’m attacking my to-do list hungrily and striking off things left and right. This last week, I cleaned out my closet, de-cluttered my apartment and re-instated my membership at my local gym. I opened up my novel files and dusted off my notes, jumping back into a scene I haven’t worked on since June. I backed up my computer and cleaned out my hard drive. I re-registered my car and even went to the DMV to get a new license. I’ve reconnected with friends and family that I haven’t been in touch with for months. Yesterday I flew to Texas to visit my parents and friends in my hometown, which I haven’t done since March. And I leave for 2 weeks in Hawaii on Wednesday – the yearly “vacation” I take for my own mental health, where I challenge myself to try new activities, face my fears, confront my mental obstacles, escape the grind and find new focus and perspective in my life.

I’d been lost in sea of work and booze all summer. Now, I’m hitting the gym and the keyboard harder than I have in months. I’m actually being productive again. And it feels fucking fantastic.

Watch out world! Lindsay has FREE TIME!!!!!

Visiting Art Museums (and how they can inspire writers)

This last weekend, my dad and my step-mom came to visit me in LA for the first time since I’ve made it my permanent (ish) home, and I was tasked with showing them around for a couple of days. Because they are both well-traveled and enjoy art, I decided a trip to the J. Paul Getty Center Museum would be a perfect way to fill a pretty Saturday afternoon in LA.

The Getty is one of my favorite places in all of Los Angeles. For those of you that haven’t had a chance to visit it yet, it is perched high above West LA on a hill, right off of the 405 Freeway, and it houses a fabulous, first rate art collection ranging from antiquity to a few early 20th century pieces, all of which are displayed in a beautiful modern white marble collection of buildings. The views alone are worth a trip.

I’ve always loved visiting the Getty, especially when I was in college. Even before I switched my major from Creative Writing to Art History, I would make the drive from Malibu to the museum at least once a month to bask in the treasures that it holds and to revel in the views of the LA basin, which stretch from downtown all the way to the ocean on a clear day. And the best part was and still is that admission is to the center’s permanent collection is FREE.

This trip, the museum again didn’t disappoint. It has been years it seems since I last visited the Getty, and I always forget how amazing the art and experience of it is when I spend time away. We wandered around the galleries and had ourselves a grand time, and it occurred to me how inspired I was feeling to go home and write.

I tried to think of what it was about visiting art museums that I’ve always loved. I’ve decided that reveling in the incredible works of art that men and women have created over centuries past has the power to spark the desire in us, as writers and as creators in general, to work tirelessly towards our own creations and contributions to the world. Seeing the great work that others have accomplished reminds me of the vast creative ability of man, something that is easy to forget in our world that is being devastated by those seeking to destruct and harm.

It made me want to go home and start writing immediately and see my own creative vision be manifested on the page!

I think I’m going to make it a habit to visit art museums more often – I’m a big fan of LACMA and the Norton-Simon Museum in Pasadena, and it is definitely time I paid both of those spots a visit.

 

Where are all the used bookstores, LA?

To me, there are very few things that are better than a cheap, charming used bookstore. When I was home in Bedford, Texas this last week, I was reminded of how, since I was a kid, I have always loved wandering around inside Half Price Books, looking for my next literary adventure. Every time I go home, I go to the local branch  and hit the clearance section to grab great books for $2 and $3. Even though it is now America’s largest used book store chain, it started in Dallas and the store around the corner from my parent’s house is the one that I’ve been going to since I was in the first grade.

It seems that stores like HPB are a rarity these days around here. In fact, in Los Angeles, there are not many notable cheap used bookstores that I can think of. The only one I frequent are the $1 Book Heaven in Burbank, which is currently operating a Halloween store at the moment and I’m told will be turned back into a bookstore soon. And I’ve heard Ilyad Books up in North Hollywood is good, though I try not to venture into the valley anymore unless I really have to.

I’ve been wondering why this is, and I’m guessing it is due to lack of demand and expensive real estate prices. There are a lot of small independent shops that are great – Book Soup in my neighborhood is awesome – but I don’t get the lack of used bookstores. Why are Los Angelenos so anti-used books?