Coming to Los Angeles

At the age of sixty-three, I had survived two depressions, addiction, a strange suicide attempt involving Ambien, three divorces, the loss of loved ones, and thirteen years of celibacy.

At the age of sixty-three, I fell in love with my third cousin. We are not married and do not intend to have children. I followed him west to this sprawling, desert metropolis by the ocean. I moved to Los Angeles. After six years, I have decided to speak up about life in Tinsel Town.

I have kept a journal on my city life. It keeps me sane. Is it possible for me to live a contented life in a sprawling metropolis? Can I find happiness in this really big, busy city? I struggle with this on a daily basis. City living is stressful and it does, in my opinion, require a loss of humanity. It is not for everyone. Los Angeles and New York City will never change.

Here is my journal, my notes on life in Los Angeles. It is quite different from Shuffletown and I do not stick out in this city of land of illusions. But I do not fit in either. After six years of trying to make a home in LA, I have made tremendous strides and I have wonderful new friends, but, OHMYGAWD, Tinsel Town beats anything I have ever experienced or imagined.

I believe that my troubles begin when people discover that I am from the South. They assume that I am not educated and my former living conditions were impoverished. There have been days, nights, and weeks that have been wonderful because I live in LA. I like sharing place with movie stars. But I cannot fit in…and I am still surprised when life in the city becomes a slap in the face. It is a conundrum.

I came to the metropolis of Los Angeles late. I thought I would fit in and not even be noticed in this metropolis of illusions. I was naïve. After all, I stuck out like a sore thumb in Shuffletown. I was born irreverent, adventurous, and stubborn. This created problems. My dear family spent decades trying to lure me onto another path. If they had concentrated on inventing perpetual motion, it would be a reality. But you cannot blame them. I took many paths. Well, maybe there were instances, but, bless their hearts, this sweet meddlesome family meant well. It was just their reaction to me.

Today, we live 3,000 miles apart. After a false start, they supported my first book, “Shuffletown USA.” And they are my greatest resources on my new book of historical fiction. I bless their love and hold them deep within my heart.

It is as my sister says, “I did the best I could.” You cannot fault anyone for their perception. All of life is perception. There are no truths; it is how you view everything. It is our perception and no one else’s.

I provided fodder. I am guilty of a lot of things; but not everything. I have led a life of fireworks and it has been quite a grand ride. I wouldn’t change a thing, not breast cancer, not my three marriages and divorces. I had a long wonderful relationship with a wild-ass Scotsman. I have led an irreverent life and I have experienced many opportunities to recall my antics. Sometimes, it is very embarrassing.

For example, I’ve been fired from jobs more than most. Sounds bad, but it was never for incompetence. I lost a job in the early 1970s because I would not sleep with my boss. The excuse he used was that my latch-key children called the office too often. Also, I used the following words in a press release: “Razzle, dazzle, and bee’s knees.” He could not find the words in Webster’s Dictionary.

I am fortunate to live long enough to see changes for working mothers, and I have lived long enough to re-discover my beloved Shuffletown. As I wrote in “Shuffletown USA”:

May God bless this village of odd and regular folks, saints, and bigots. They are all to be honored…and remembered. They abided in the years of yesterday and taught us how to shoulder today.”

But they didn’t prepare me for Los Angeles.

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