Autobiographical Soundtrack by Erin Michaela Sweeney

Tracing my mutt-like ancestral tree
validated me to fit in the freeform West
Yet I’m a second-generation Californian
Dad, San Diego; Mom, Eureka

Hit it!
This ain’t no disco
And it ain’t no country club either,
This is L.A.

Arriving one day before inducement
I’m a born UCLA Bruins fan
Six weeks later, I was whisked away
Returned six years older for my L.A. education

She grew up with
The children of the stars
In the Hollywood hills
And the boulevard

Growing up in the I.E. means
Only one name now worth dropping
I’m grateful for the closeness of Hollywood
Always enthralling, but never too too

I want to glide down over Mulholland
I want to write her name in the sky
Gonna free fall out into nothin’
Gonna leave this world for a while

Leaving L.A. for college back East
Learned history began before the Gold Rush
Stayed for work and to play house, but always
The West casted its shadow over all

I’d be safe and warm
If I was in L.A.
California dreamin’
On such a winter’s day

Dreaming to live another day, month, year
Returned for City of Hope
I am a miracle just walking along
Among the throngs of visiting tourists

From the South Bay to the Valley
From the West Side to the East Side
Everybody’s very happy
’Cause the sun is shining all the time
Looks like another perfect day

Now I’m back —
It’s still good to be alive
I heart L.A.

Erin Michaela Sweeney is a writer, poet, mother, yogini and napper extraordinaire. She published “Every Breath Is a Gift: Reflections on My Leukemia Journey” in 2015 and is working on her next nonfiction book, tentatively titled “Beyond Your Cancer Identity.” She is a featured blogger for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and publishes her musings at