I was born in San Francisco but raised in the San Fernando Valley, so I did not entirely escape the Valley Girl accent or activities such as making many unnecessary and redundant trips to the Galleria while growing up in Sherman Oaks.
I am embroiled in a love/hate relationship with Los Angeles that may lean more toward the derogatory side even though I have hypocritically enjoyed the fruits of its positive side; L.A. does have convenient access for lots of outdoor fun–hiking, biking, camping, skiing not far away. On a side note, I learned how to ski when I was 19, in about five hours, something I attribute directly to being a crackerjack roller skater.
I was encouraged in the sixth grade to write more by an attentive English teacher, encouragement which seemed to say, “It’s all right if you’re a loner and a hermit; I approve. Go ahead and lock yourself up in your room for hours on end, scratching away on a piece of paper, while everyone else is outside playing.” I read a lot of depressing uber-realistic books as a kid until I discovered Stephen King, Octavia Butler, Margaret Atwood.
Majoring in English at UCLA did not improve my life at all. It appeared I would have to be inventive in the job market upon graduation. I felt like I could maybe be inventive with words, just not with jobs. But words could…lead to jobs…so maybe I had a chance.
I remember telling my creative writing mentor that I wanted to write a story about someone who disappeared into a mirror for one reason or another, and my mentor very gently said he’d prefer if I “stayed in reality for now.”
I remained there, unmoving, until one day I began to suspect that reality was grossly overrated. Who here suspects the same? Let’s see a show of hands. Is anyone raising their hands? Because, uh, I can’t really see you in here…
What is the secret to life? you ask me. Or maybe you didn’t ask me. Maybe I asked myself. I would say almost everything can be boiled down to a bit in one of Eddie Izzard’s stand-up routines: “Cake or death?”
You have to choose. In one way or another. I can get into the serious stuff, but lately I’ve chosen cake. Lightly frosted. Urban and paranormal. Set in my nemesis city: Los Angeles. I figure laughing is much better than crying. Usually. And if I can make other people laugh, I’ve reached my goal. Then I can die happy. Basically. More or less.