Back in June of 2015, I thought that I was going to be in Los Angeles for the rest of my life. My goal was to be a TV writer. Where else would I go? Why would I leave?
Within a month, I had answered those questions. I would go to Wisconsin, and I would leave because my priorities changed. I was fully committed to living simply, tending my future homestead and eating delicious cheese. There, in the spacious, affordable Midwest, I would stake my claim.
Not quite. After 6 months in the Badger State, my bags were packed and I was off to NYC. By this point, I was no longer sure where I would spend the rest of my life, but I figured I’d be there for at least a year. Two months later, I was on a flight to San Francisco to make my new home in the Bay Area.
A week after that, I had left SF and was traveling the streets of Sri Lanka, determined to make it as an amateur snake charmer. That’s not true, but there are people in my life who wouldn’t have been surprised.
I’ve been reflecting on what I’ve learned amidst all this moving. I thought I would jot down some thoughts.
This is a classic for anyone who truly wants to understand the origins of the psychedelic movement in the 1960’s. If you’ve ever done a psychedelic and been overly worried about set and setting (quiet room, trip guide, etc.) then this could be a good book to check out. To the originators of the whole movement, set and setting was far less important than partying as hard as possible at all times. The core group out of northern California was tripping 24/7 and tooling around the country in a tricked out party bus. It’s a great read. Ken Kesey is like Keith Richards, Rob Gronkowski and Jesus all wrapped into one.
During the second half of my second year in Israel, I was relegated to the bench. I wasn’t a sixth man. I was the last man. Well, maybe I was just above the 17-year-old who was in the army and was only there half the time. But I certainly wasn’t playing.
I’d never been a bench warmer. While it was miserable at the time, I learned a lot. Like how sometimes you just have to deal with an “unfair” situation. You have no right to become an obnoxious, negative, sarcastic practical joker just because you think you’ve been slighted. That’s a good way to make a lot of enemies.
Here are a few other things you never want to do as a bench warmer:
About a month ago, I decided that I was moving out of Los Angeles. Everyone I’ve told has been surprised. The surprise turns to shock when I say I’m moving to Wisconsin.
The bewilderment stems from the fact that people in LA know the following things about Wisconsin:
1. It’s cold
2. The Green Bay Packers
4. “Really, do you know how cold it is there?”
5. Jeffrey Dahmer
You can see how convincing people of Wisconsin’s merits is an uphill battle. I wouldn’t move there if I thought all I’d be doing is shivering in my apartment, watching football, pounding string cheese and keeping an eye out for serial killers.
But, even if it wasn’t Wisconsin, I’d still be moving. So before I extol the virtues of the midwest, I’ll talk about why I’m leaving in the first place.
In the next few weeks, I will apply to the HarvardWood mentorship program. HarvardWood may have the douchiest name of any alumni organization in existence, but it’s a great resource for the struggling writer. Not all Harvard grads have instant success when they set out to find a job in the arts. For every B.J. Novak…