Monday, August 06, 2007

Fantasy Land


I'm sure many of you have heard about this book, "Eat, Pray, Love", by Elizabeth Gilbert. It's a long story about how I came to read it earlier this summer but it's essentially an autobiographical tale of a woman who kind of loses it in her thirties and goes off on a year-long search for the things in the title. She hits Italy to eat, India to pray and Indonesia to love. It's a decent read I guess. But honestly, I only made it through the India portion before I lost interest in it and her constant search for "what is it all about?" Maybe it's not that complicated. Maybe what you really need is all around you, right here. I'm just sayin'.

At any rate, at one point there is a discussion about single words that sum up what cities are all about. New York's word was "achieve." Rome's word was "sex." LA's word was "success."

Success? Hardly.

LA's word should be "fantasy."

Simple as that. Be it the stars in their dream homes in their dream hills, or the deluded masses living in a perpetual state of pseudo-stardom right on the cusp of the role that will break them big or simply those of us who do nothing all day but create stories of fantasy to be played out on televisions and movie screens by people playing characters, that's what it's all about. Fantasy. Living it, creating it or financing it—everyone seems to be in on it.

Not to go all "LA vs. New York" on you but when you think about it, most TV (excluding soaps) and movies shot in New York are shot on the streets and in the buildings—the real things. Here, even most stuff shot on location is made to look like somewhere else. The rest is shot on sound stages and back lots. It's great. This city is all about fantasy. And the lighting is fantastic.

So success?

Out here, success is just perception. You don't have to have it to look like you have it. What's more important is what kind of car do you drive? Where do you live? Where'd you eat last night? Who do you know? What do the people back home think? That you're actually making a movie that will someday play in their town? That you really are a screenwriter? A director? That your project will someday be reality?

Maybe it will, maybe it won't. It's all a show. And I suppose there's nothing wrong with that. Fake it 'til ya make it, as they say.

Hell, the city itself feels like one big fantasy. There are mountains rising in the east and north of the city, a desert lies just beyond them, there's a beach lining the west side, palm trees line the avenues, and the sun shines impossibly beautifully every day. Yet somehow the tans are fake. Fantasy on top of fantasy.

Fantastic.

I've decided that aside from the weather and scenery, my favorite thing about LA has to be the people. There really are characters everywhere, all playing a part they've written for themselves. A role they were born to play on a stage that just doesn't exist in Kalamazoo or Tuscaloosa or Omaha. It's fascinating.

And for that reason, like New York, LA is a writer's dream. And sometimes you're out somewhere and just can't help but wonder "what is that girl's story?" And then you go home and maybe try to write it. Try to sort out what she's up to or where she's been, where she's from. Maybe she just got here, maybe she's leaving. Is she running from something? Toward something? Maybe she's just waiting for someone. Or thinking about something. Or maybe she's just standing there on the sidewalk. But why?

Of course, you could always just go up and ask her.

But then that would spoil the fantasy, wouldn't it?

3 Comments:

Blogger Alena said...

Really nice post!

2:15 PM  
Blogger minus five said...

yeah.

and also.

ny's word should be, ruthless.

5:03 PM  
Blogger Tania Rochelle said...

Marietta's word would be 'resignation.'

8:01 AM  

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