by Holly West
My life feels crazy right now and I'm not sure how to handle it.
I just had to put that out there, you know?
My husband and I are contemplating a major move from Los Angeles to the area in Northern California where I grew up. We spent last week up there looking at houses and feeling overwhelmed. We did end up putting an offer on something but it wasn't accepted. I was disappointed about that at first but now, back home in Venice, I'm kind of glad we don't have to pack up and leave just yet.
None of this really relates to writing except that for me, everything relates to writing. In this case, it's my identity as an "LA" writer. The thing is, I'm pretty sure I'm the only one who thinks of myself as an LA writer because A) I don't generally write about LA and B) who cares anyway? If I can write about London sitting in my office here in Venice then I can certainly write about LA while enjoying the lush landscape of Northern California.
I've only recently become really involved in the LA writing community, primarily through our local chapters of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America. Both groups have become important to me and while I know LA is just a quick plane flight away, there's no question it will be more difficult to participate if I'm in Northern California. I plan on becoming involved with the NorCal chapters of these organizations but establishing myself in these new communities feels daunting.
Ultimately, I know this potential move has less to do with my writer-self and everything to do with the fact that I've lived in Los Angeles for over 25 years and I'm reluctant to move on. This city is a part of me. We've looked at the pros and cons of moving and in so many ways, the pros outweigh the cons--much more house and land for the money, a more relaxed lifestyle, and proximity to family and friends that we don't currently have are just a few of the reasons we're considering this change. But in the face of my uncertainty, the cons loom large, taking on much more significance than they deserve.
It sounds like I'm trying to talk myself into this, doesn't it?
I don't know what our final decision will be, but as far as the immediate future is concerned, I have a book coming out. Mistress of Lies will be published on September 29, just six short days from now. It's hard for me to believe that at this time last year, I was still writing it.
It's also a good reminder about how fortunate I feel to be a part of the writing community at large. Deep down inside, it doesn't matter where I'm located and you can't say that about every job. It's good to have some freedom.
Finally, I've found that the one thing that calms me when all of this indecision starts to rage inside my head is writing. Immersing myself in my work. This is the first time that I've ever truly found solace in writing and that's comforting.
I'm guessing a lot of you out there have made a major move at some point in your life. Care to share with the group about how that turned out? What about moving from the city to the country? How did you cope with the drastic lifestyle change?
Well, it's worth remembering that James Joyce wrote the quintessential Dublin novel while in self-imposed exile from it, so I think you can still be an L.A. writer if you want to.
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