Los Angeles Part 5: Why You'd Want to Live Here


Somehow, when I wasn't pay attention, Los Angeles endeared itself to me.  This has been something of a shock.

There was a point, roughly two years in to my stay, that I thought about moving.  I'd spent two years in Atlanta before heading west, so two years seemed to be a good run for a city.  Besides, I'd always felt some kind of strange kinship to the Pacific Northwest.  I began doing research on moving to Seattle.

Then I met Nicole, and since Nicole works in the entertainment industry, she needed to stay here, so I stayed here.

Strangely enough, over the next seven years I found a lot to really like about this city, and even a few things to love.  Oh, I'm not saying I didn't find plenty of reasons to dislike living here, because anyone who tells you they love everything about Los Angeles is a filthy liar.  But I'll admit that I've grown surprisingly attached to this town, and for the strangest reasons.

For example, there's something appealing about living in a city whose baseline creative output can best be described as below average.  I'm not saying there aren't some works of genius coming out of the City of Angels, but let's face facts: Hollywood generally produces crap.  And it all comes from Hollywood.  The television shows, the movies, and the books by celebrities or people who know celebrities -- it all comes from the same place.  But the fact that this town regularly produces awful material is oddly comforting, as if the bar is so low that someone like me can jump it.

There's also something appealing about living in a town that exists to monetize creativity.  I realize that might sound awful, but ask anyone who engages in any kind of artistic endeavor, and they will tell you that actually making money from what they do seems incredibly daunting.  And I know that there are a lot of sharks in the water in Los Angeles, but there's also a system in place, a mechanism that can take a project and find a way for people to pay for it.

Combine those first two points and you have a city where you can come up with a really crappy idea and make a ton of money off of it.  It really lends itself to a rags to riches fantasy.  Because of this, of course, everyone and their dog walker has an idea, a screenplay, or a head shot.  The disregard for quality by much of Los Angeles is counteracted by the sheer volume of people trying to cash in.  In fact, if I lived in any other city, I would probably be less hesitant to refer to myself as a writer, but here I don't like the connotations that such a title brings with it.

There's an entire class of people here that are "creative professionals," a title that baffles me because I have a hard time reconciling that those two ideas are compatible.  I suppose this is more a reflection of my own creative process than anything else, but still.  To live in a place where you're surrounded by people who make a living being creative (regardless of how good or bad what they create might be) is pretty exciting.

And, honestly, living among such a diverse group of people is just as exciting.  Our building is made up almost entirely of twentysomethings and older Russians.  I've interacted with the people from dozens of different countries, endless background, and various orientations, socioeconomic statuses, and political views.  I have never lived in a place as diverse as Los Angeles and I doubt I will ever live anywhere that comes close to matching it.

Combine those last two points with the constant rhythm of this city, the drunks stumbling down side streets when the bars close, the ghetto bird shining its light down upon as, the parades for pretty much any occasion, even the crazy homeless people who yell inspired, otherworldly poetry as I walk past them.  Los Angeles is sensory overload of the best kind -- the kind that makes you want to create.

These are the things that I will miss about Los Angeles itself, at the least in the broadest terms.  I'm sure the specifics will come out in the near future.