Diary Of A Hollywood Refugee

Friday, April 01, 2005

A Hard Beauty To Love

"In LA, its hard to tell if you're dealing with the real true illusion or the false one."

It's an interesting observation, from Eve Babitz, about a town whose largest industry is about creating illusions.

California was named after a 15th Century Spanish novel which portrayed a miragelike paradise called "Kalifornia".

Los Angeles was named after imaginary beings who may or may not exist Hollywood was named after a plant that never existed.

Hollywood is home to an industry that creates fantasies which are filmed in a town named after beings that don't exist in a state named after a paradise that never existed. Its all unreal, surreal, ethereal. In this town, one can reinvent oneself as one wants. In NY one wears existential angst on their sleeves for the world to see but in LA one is expected to smile and be sunny and cheerful all the time - like the weather.

Hollywood is a great town for self invention but ironically, you have to come to LA with a sense of self. Because the longer you're in LA, the more a confused diminishment sets in. Maybe that's why so many people who come to LA wind up lost. You absolutely cannot expect that this city is going to give you some kind of identity! You will simply end up as one of the many crazy people on Hollywood Blvd - talking to imaginary beings in a town named after invisible beings in a state named after a Paradise that never existed.

Steve Ericson commented that "the desert sands blow in while the seas slowly rise on a people with so little sense of self left that they pretend not to notice". That's true - and when an earthquake or fire destroys everything they owned, then they cry out that without their art, clothing, jewelry, cars, books, they no longer know who they are. Truth is - they never really knew to begin with. They had no real sense of self! Maybe that's why some many people ending up wearing whatever mask is easiest to create.Hollywood and Los Angeles - one city named after imaginary beings, one named after an imaginary plant, both located in the state of California, named after a Paradise that never existed, the figment of a woman's dream , an illusion, a mirage.

There is a natural beauty to California: the mountains, the sea, the sun, the trees, the bouganvilla, the blue skies; everywhere you look you can see beauty - beautiful people, beautiful cars, beautiful clothes. A city where nature's beauty is juxtapostioned against a superficiality that comfortably masks most peoples inner void.

But I'm reminded constantly of what I once read: that California's real beauty is the beauty of letting go. Letting go where you came from, letting go of old lessons, letting go of who you want to be for who you really are - letting go of attachments (you shouldn't get attached to anything you own in a city where earthquakes and fires will take it all away in one fleeting moment).

It's a hard beauty to love.



Post a Comment

<< Home