Author Wendy C. Ortiz gives a visceral exploration of love, loss and transformation in the hills and streets of L.A. in an excerpt of “Hollywood Notebook,” a memoir of her 20s and 30s coming-of-age in Los Angeles.
A fast-moving excerpt from Shanna Mahin’s acclaimed debut novel, tracing the ups and downs of Jess, third-generation Hollywood trouble.
“His spirit is buoyed when he sees the lavender oil in the bathroom mirror. It’s simmering in a glass dish that glows orange over a candle; the lighting is perfect. Behind it: his mother’s curly, red hair swept up, her ivory arms rim the leaden tub against checkered tile. The dish and her hair stand out like the colorized objects in an otherwise black-and-white photo.”
“My son starts doing the cooking. He serves me a hot banana-nut muffin with cinnamon, butter and brown sugar melted inside, and I start to regain my appetite. I begin to see a glimmer. While this isn’t the life I had planned, it could work.”
“Hiram ‘Doc’ Hollywood had come to California from the Topeka World’s Fair of ’88 to build a dream factory that would bear his name. But dreams were a rough business. In his years of efforts he could never figure out the formula to get the dreams into the heads of the sleeping people (something his protege Leonardo ‘Leo’ DiCaprio would one day do), and when the dream market took a beating in the Panic of ’96, Doc Hollywood switched to movies.”
“Dear Los Angeles: You are not perfect. But I love you. I’m, like, super-into-you.” A love letter to L.A. from comedian, author and Brooklyn transplant Sara Benincasa.
AFLW co-founder David Lott reflects on the loss of a close friend by examining his dreamlike grief and tenuous memories of adventures in the high grounds of the Doheny Estates.
“My little terrier mutt is quintessentially L.A. This is not to say that she’s an item I throw in a $1,500 handbag when she matches my ensemble, but she was born here and by the end of her first year she had already left home and walked more L.A. streets than Charlie Sheen’s last ‘girlfriend.'”
Native Angeleno David Franco’s photographs capture the city’s changing landscape, soulful architecture, gritty beaches and darkness among sunny days.
Photographer Eric M Cwiertny’s images of facades and marquees in DTLA draw the viewer into their ornamental detail, character-filled history, and a yearning for what was and what could be.
In Nicola Wood’s vivid oil paintings, L.A.’s ubiquitous cars are both real and magical.
“I exist in duplicate. I double your pleasure. I double your fun. I exist in triplicate. I’m three faces of Eve. I’m a bevy of beauties. I’m Girls, Girls, Girls! My name is legion, for I am many. Good blonde, bad blonde. Born blonde, bottle blonde. I’m a blonde bombshell.”
“Couple of mothers, aren’t we?
Just look at us,
still breathing strong,
when we swore there wasn’t a chance.”
Author Joel Harper pens a beautiful allegory about preparing those we love to deal with the adversities of life, and then letting go.
“Rose was born in Long Beach. Wanda in the desert. Barbara Ann was the baby. Honey-colored curls made her mother hum the Beach Boys tune for which she was named. Happily hanging diapers on the homespun line strung between apartment buildings. Moments and myths long gone.”
“My dad wanted me to be more ‘American,’ so they only spoke to me in English. But I didn’t mind because I hated the sound of the Spanish that I’d hear at home. It was the weapon Dad used against Mom.”
“She had deftly used the rearview mirror since her early days of driving and rarely wasted time at home on makeup. Efficiency was of the utmost importance to her … a borderline obsession.”
“You think horrible things on your commute through the insidious cesspool that is Los Angeles … Why would anyone want to live here? You are just a dirt speck here. You are no one here. You’re from here.”
“I’m a hot flash, molten gold
drawing your eye up
from poor and rocky soil
to my perky chocolate brown cones
call me gloriosa daisy
but don’t compare me to
that pale cousin of mine
prey of ambivalent lovers”
Songs that remind her of Los Angeles filter through a survivor’s reflection on her life and connection to the city.
In Rachel Sona Reed’s meditation on history and loss, a neighborhood’s wartime homes are stripped to their bones.
Every woman knows the memories and meaning that a dress can carry. Saryn Chorney’s poem gathers those ethereal, delicate threads.
Two poems on the possibilities of rebirth and motherhood.
L.A.-based singer/songwriter Avery Roberts shares the deeper meaning of the lyrics to “Wifi & I,” his infectious love song parody about our constant search for connection in a world Velcroed to our devices.