I’m not a daredevil. If anything, I’m a pee-myself-a-little-then-hesitate-and-try-to-make-up-an-excuse-to-never-do-it-like-ever sort of girl. I’m a refraindevil. So when I found myself scooching across a clear glass slide on a gray mat, 70 floors above the downtown Los Angeles’s bustling and hustling 5th and Flower intersection, I looked down and murmured a well-deserved “What in the fuck . . .”
I’d advise you to read this post, then read this post on how I accidentally ran into Lance Bass and the universe aligned itself perfectly for just a few seconds. Enjoy.
I wanted to chronicle my experience at the Women’s March Los Angeles—not just so I remember it in detail, but to give it the spotlight it deserves. I can name the many reasons why I marched, but here’s a truncated version: for women’s rights, climate change, inclusiveness for the LGBTQ community, and for immigration and embracing the diversity that was supposed to be the blueprint of the United States of America. Yes, walking was liberating, but the march was a moment—we’re in a movement. If we take no action as a constituent, what’s the point?
I started walking to the Palms Metro Station holding my cardboard sign in one hand, and holding Ben’s hand in the other. The Los Angeles sun obliterated all evidence that it rained heavily the day before, allowing us to revel in its rays instead. This was a good sign.
As we approached the station, only a block away from our apartment, my eyes immediately took notice of the huge mass of people already waiting for the Expo line toward downtown Los Angeles. Sprinkled in front of me were a sea of women, men, and children, many holding signs and wearing knitted pussyhats, each in various shades of pink. Caucasian, Hispanic, Asian, African-American, Middle Eastern—it was a scramble of different shades and it felt encouraging.
It’s my third season volunteering at WriteGirl, a creative nonprofit here in Los Angeles. Founded and pioneered by the amazing Keren Taylor, WriteGirl empowers over hundreds and hundreds of local teen girls through creative writing, writing genre workshops, and one-on-one mentoring each year.
WriteGirl is now in its 15th year! That’s 15 years of helping underserved girls find their own voice and cultivating their potential. 100% of girls who go through our mentoring program graduate from high school and go onto college—many not even realizing that’s an option for their futures. 100% of them.
Each of month of the season is a different genre workshop—spanning fiction, poetry, screenwriting, songwriting, you name it. Last Saturday we tackled journalism with around 100 girls, ages 13-18. I was paired with a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed 13 year old, who would doodle these really incredible sketches (mostly of My Little Pony characters, but still truly amazing) when she thought I wasn’t looking. I let her know she should start a cartoon one day and she smirked in return.
As the workshop went through the fundamentals and building blocks of journalism, it was like my muscle memory kicked into action. And I’ve realized I miss it. I miss interviewing people and finding the story. I’ve missed feeling a slight kinship with complete strangers, even if it lasts for a few minutes. I miss being invited into their world, and writing about it. I forgot that spark that drew me to journalism in the first place—the idea that everyone has a story to tell. And someone has to tell it.
We were lucky enough to hear Beverly White, a NBCLA reporter who has over 30 years of reporting experience under her belt, talk about her career and time on the field.
— Beverly White (@BeverlyNBCLA) November 14, 2015
I wish I recorded everything she said. She’s so vivacious and knows everything there’s to know about getting the story. But I happened to scribble these wise words from her:
1. “If it’s not truthful, what’s the point?” —Beverly White
2. “Getting it right is always the job description.”—Beverly White
3. “This is not melodrama, this is real life.”—Beverly White
4. “Every story is big to somebody.”—Beverly White
There was also a panel of women journalists who talked about their careers and gave career tips for writing:
5. “Read, read, read!” (I know this is a simple quote, but it’s true. Reading = become a better writer. P.S., I can’t remember who said this, my apologies!)
6. “Don’t hold yourself back. Don’t make yourself the obstacle. Let someone else be the obstacle and tear that obstacle down.” —Tamara Duricka Johnson, journalist
After hearing all of these wonderful women speak, I’m definitely thinking up more projects for the future—using my curiosity as the driving force. Stay tuned!
Writing a note at 12:21 a.m. to someone who will never read it isn’t really my style. (Unless it’s during an impromptu therapy session and the letter is to myself five years from now. But until that time comes . . .)
My irked level is off the charts right now, thanks to the lovely neighbors above me.
So I’ll make an exception.
Dear person who lives in Rm 201,
Merry Christmas, you son of a gun. Oh, is it not Christmas Eve? Then why the hell are you watching Love Actually right now, at 12:23 a.m., on a Thursday night in May? And don’t deny it. I can hear Billy Mack singing about his magical fingers and toes through the thin ceiling. I can also hear the sadness in Sam’s voice, as he contemplates unrequited love for the first time. I have the same amount of saturated sadness housed within myself, since I’m just now realizing that I’ve seen that movie enough times to pinpoint the exact scene you’re watching.
You’re pushing me to reevaluate my life choices. And I haven’t got the energy, time, or patience to dive into deep thought right now.
Although, this is a step up from you blasting “Sweet Child o’ Mine” and Boston at one in the morning. Have you beaten your best score in Guitar Hero yet? You’ll hit Expert in no time, you bloody bastard.
Or maybe I can borrow your lovely clogs. Your moves must be fire, what with you Gregory Haines-ing it up all the time. Yeah, I just verbified Gregory Haines. And yeah, I did just make up the word “verbify.”
Oh sweet, now it’s the lake scene with Colin Firth. Did it ever bother you that the chick he was pining over had a super-duper tramp stamp? Or that they used music from The Sims for this moment and called it sound design? Because that has always annoyed me, and I should not be wasting thoughts on this right now. Not ever, really.
I truly hope that one day you’re stuck in an elevator with the person who lives in the apartment to the left of me. And that he or she traps you with bad Linkin Park covers and Simple Plan late-night karaoke.
Only then will you be welcomed to my personal Hell.
With lots of crazy swearing and middle fingers,
Mel from Rm. 101
I was going to title this “Mel dives into LARPing for the first time,” but that’s not in the least bit true. All I did to prep for the Renaissance fair was braid my hair into a semi-decent Dutch crown.
But, HUZZAH! I had the pleasure (pun-intended) to go to the Renaissance Pleasure Faire in Irwindale on Saturday with the roomies. As a virgin-Renaissance-fair goer, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. But I really did have some good ole’ medieval fun.
Actually, since it was me and one of my roommate’s first time at a Renaissance fair, a random festival goer (in character) took us aside and pronounced our welcoming to the crowd of people. He then asked if we were together, which my roommate answered with a “Yes,” and I answered with a “What?!” That awkwardness was trumped by distraction though, since there were so many shops filled to the brim with knick-knacks I don’t need, but very much wanted.
Just to give you a picture of all the things I fancied, but completely lacked necessity, I’ll list a few: a glass potion bottle (thought it would make for a great flask), a leather-bound journal, a pewter chalice, and a wooden sword. Who the hell doesn’t need a wooden sword though? Truly.
The roommates and I dined ye olde-fashioned, with beers—I had Harp, Hoegaarden, and a “Bloody Buddy” chocolate and raspberry porter mixture—and a turkey leg. I consumed more calories than I had this past week—most definitely. But it was well, well worth it.
Here’s a summary of events that took place while at the fair:
1. We paid $2 to get lost in a maze. And lost, we were.
2. We waited to watch a joust, but instead ended up watching this bird man that introduced us to owls and vultures. I was on my last drink at that point, and mixed up my bag-o-sweet nuts with my beer. Rookie mistake.
3. Irwindale had a beautiful backdrop of a lake and misty mountains. We took a good break while taking in the nature. It was almost as if we traveled outside of Los Angeles (which we technically did, but still). Fresh air at last. Kind of.
4. My roommate, Ben, had a random “battle” with a woman. He was decked out in war gear and everything. Not really sure who won, but he looked good!
. . . Does this make me cooler, or what*
Oh yeah, and I really wanted this wooden armory. For the love of all things bad ass: