Like many Californians, I’m a transplant. I came to L.A. in 1985 to work on a soap opera called Santa Barbara and a year later my soap character was dead, crushed by a giant neon letter “C” – but I was still here.
I didn’t mean to stay. I’d left my stuff in storage back in NYC. But one job led to another, and the next thing I knew, thirty years had passed. What began as a marriage of convenience became a love affair, but so gradually it’s hard to count the reasons I adore California. But that’s the gig, so here goes.
First, it’s big. If it were a country, it would have the 8th largest economy in the world. So while my California may not be your California, there’s something for everybody. At the risk of sounding like the Chamber of Commerce, it should probably get more than one blog. How many? Well, we have fifty-three seats congressional seats. North Dakota—where I went to kindergarten—has one. 53 blogs might be excessive, but maybe one for San Francisco, another for Napa Valley vineyards, then the deserts of Palm Springs, the ski slopes of Mammoth, Big Sur, Pebble Beach, historical Santa Barbara, Mexico-adjacent San Diego, Topanga Canyon hippies, Orange County conservatives, Silicon Valley brainiacs, migrant farm workers . . . Yosemite! Disneyland! BurningMan! Real Housewives of Beverly Hills!
Who’d I leave out? Several million people.
What are we all doing here?
We are barbecuing, here in the southland. Even in February. Even the vegans. Surfing or swimming or wading in the Pacific. Praying for rain. Praying that the Big One (earthquake) will not happen until we and everyone we love are either dead or on vacation.
We are sitting in traffic.
It took me a long time to say unreservedly, “I love L.A.” because like all NYC expats, there were things that bugged me about my adopted town, the most obvious of which is that it’s not New York. But what is?
However, we have world-class museums, theatre, symphony, rock concerts, basketball, colleges, luxury cars, subcultures, cuisine, every kind of language and ethnicity, high-end shopping, insanely expensive real estate, spiritualism, hooey-wooey, many, many unbelievably physically beautiful people and an equal number of very, very odd ones.
My backyard today is covered in lemons, oranges and grapefruit, hitting the ground faster than we can catch them. The downside of chronic sunshine is that when it does rain, people stay home, cancel their reservations, call in sick. Not everyone—runners training for the LA Marathon are still out running. But drivers grow disoriented. Even former Nebraskans may succumb to Southern California-induced weather
amnesia. We forget where our windshield wiper buttons are located.
My personal California is Hollywood. Where filmmaking was born. For me, the romance never fades, even though the reality isn’t anything like—well, like it is in the movies. It’s not easy to find a parking place on the boulevard of broken dreams and when you do you have to keep running out to feed the meter. But that’s what’s kept me here, even when I took a break for 15 years, to raise my (native born) children and write books. It’s not easy to admit, that I’m still in love with it, this boyfriend who rarely calls, the one who’s seeing younger women. The one inspiring these endless metaphors. But yes.
I may leave California one day, when my kids are grown. But if I do, the song running through my head will be . . .California Dreaming: Mama's and Papa's--flashback: http://youtu.be/3kcmwXUdDCE
CONTEST! Tell me your favorite California thing, something I left out—the Top 5 most memorable ones will get a signed copy of my latest book, the paranormal romance, Keeper of the Moon, or the first in my mystery series, Dating Dead Men. Your choice.
As an Actor and Author, Harley Jane Kozak is all over the web, currently working on several projects. Find her here: http://www.harleyjanekozak.com
(all info provided by author)
(all info provided by author)