Many things. Many, many things.
First, for my friends Pilar & Jessica: We Are Here. MissWhistle Lives!
Dateline: July 2, 2018... Chiltern Hills (rural Bucks.)
Sultry, sweaty, sexy weather. Weather for crimes of passion. Today, some respite. A breeze that blows through the hazel tree.
Since I've been gone the land is turning brown. No rain since the thunderstorms at the end of May. Full moon, jet lag, lack of sleep. These are the things that make me slightly nuts. He says I'm mercurial, and I know that's an understatement.
I've come back from LA buoyant, puffed up with optimism, sure of who I am and where I stand in the world, full with knowledge of who loves me and why and why I should love the people I love, and how important these things are. My mother likes people who don't complain. I know it makes life easier to not complain, to remain stoic, to tamp things down and smile and move on and say "oh everything is going to be fine," but by some trick of genetics, I seem to be Italian. I want to shout and scream and cry and talk about bloody everything.
Los Angeles is a bubble that we love, filled with like-minded Lefties, died in the wool Democrats, socialists who believe that their wealth is to be shared and that every man deserves dignity and civility and access to health care. Los Angeles not by mistake is filled with tall, dopey palm trees that sway gently on the side of the road, their Limahl-inspired heads in the clouds. Los Angeles is full of people who smile and seem genuinely excited for you. And it's also filled with angst-ridden A-type personalities, over-achievers and humorless ass-kissers. I spent hours doing something I never do, sitting in my pyjamas with one of my best girlies discussing in obsessive detail interpersonal relationships. Why we behave as we do. What people want. Why millennials suck (I'm kidding). Why you need a great team around you at work. Why 101% is the only acceptable amount of effort you can give at work. And why it works -- and doesn't work-- to be a Brit in Hollywood. I've threatened before to write a book about being a brilliant assistant and I still think I should do it. (Let me be totally clear: I was NOT a brilliant assistant. But I have had brilliant assistants and I know how to train one. Gone are the days we suffered through where it was completely okay for your boss to have you on call 24-7, to abuse you, throw things at you, yell and scream, where there was no room for sensitivity of any kind. We considered it boot camp and we believed in order to Get Ahead In Hollywood, this was The Price You Pay. I sat with two of my friends who worked closely with Harvey and we laughed about how good he was to us, and how awful simultaneously (none of us were victims of his toxic masculinity, however -- we were not abused sexually, just yelled at, frequently and loudly.)
Los Angeles is for me as an adult the same as I felt as a child going into the sweet shop in Little Gaddesden with my 5p to spend. It's filled with pretty, sweet things, things that you want, presented in the most flattering and well-merchandised way. It's Dylan's Candy Bar on Ecstasy. There I find my favorite man in the world (my son), lots of supportive, funny, smart girlfriends, ideas (so many ideas), the best sushi. Ever. (Matsumoto on Beverly and Orlando.) The din of work. The noise is a good sound. Ideas. Everywhere. Even from people you don't like. And more than this: people willing to connect. People willing to put aside differences and prejudices and are ready to engage. It's enlightened. Enough people do therapy and yoga and meditate and chant and drink green juice that it has pierced the zeitgeist. It's its own cloud. Just reach up and grab it. Take what you need. It's all here. A Garden of Eden for the botoxed, Frenchie-wielding, Gucci-slide-wearing elite. And I say this with full-on love. These are my friends: men in white suits wearing them unironically (and unironed), women with small dogs that never leave their sides, killer filler and no lines around the mouth, and understanding, and the knowledge that Everyone Carries Something Difficult, despite the trappings that suggest ease and wealth and breeziness. No, no, no. People are wrong about LA. There is loveliness here. Great swathes of loveliness, like the huge, heart shaped fuchsia bougainvillea on the 101 Freeway, and the great fat blue-green aloe which springs somehow from the parched earth. It's here, all around.
And then we come back to the optimism. Everything is Possible. I think this should be a t-shirt. Everything is Possible. It's just a puzzle you have to figure out. You have all the pieces and they all fit together but you just have to find out how. And maybe that will take a while, but magically, they all fit together. 5000 piece Eiffel Tower? No problem, mate.
Okay, back to my desk, my work, the heat, the dogs laying flat out on the floor to keep cool. I hope you have a most excellent Monday, and happy early 4th oh my lovely American friends.