When I was in my late teens and early twenties (you know, those years where you're invincible and know everything?) my friend Dave and were crazy about the LA Weekly. We'd pick it up every Thursday, and then sit in his house or my apartment, listening to records (actual, vinyl records) and reading it cover to cover. I think it's safe to say that the Weekly's voice and editorial point of view in the early 90s was a significant influence on me.
A couple of months ago, my former editor at the Suicide Girls Newswire became the editor of the Weekly's blogs, and she asked me if I'd come and write for her again.
I was really excited at the prospect of writing for a publication that I'd been reading for over 15 years, but as soon as I accepted the job, the performance anxiety kicked in. I got really nervous about writing for a new audience, especially one that I know nothing about (if I could hop in a time machine and go back to 1991, I'd be all set, but currently? I'm kind of shooting in the dark.) It's intimidating, like finally getting to play for a team you've watched your entire life, and I'll admit to being really overwhelmed by the whole thing. When I worked on my column yesterday, rewriting it for the millionth time, I realized that, for the first time in a long time, I was afraid to suck.
It was a lot of work, and I'm not entirely sure I struck the notes I wanted to strike, but my first column just went live a little bit ago. It's called Crosstown Traffic, and it's about Los Angeles as a microcosm of 21st century America:
I’m an Angeleno by birth, rather than by choice (a bit of a rarity, it seems). I grew up in the Valley, I worked in Hollywood (in both the geographical and mythical sense) for most of my life, and I’ve driven at least ten miles on our freeways for every resident in the county, most of them sitting in traffic on the 10 during rush hour.
Two things are certain when you live in Los Angeles: you’re going to deal with people who can’t drive in the rain, and you will meet people who have come here from all over the country. Some of them are chasing a dream, some of them are running away from a nightmare. Some are here to get discovered, some are here to disappear. And, sooner or later, all of them are going to be between me and where I want to go. When I’m late. On a Friday. Sitting on the 10 during rush hour. Well, at least if it’s raining they’ll know how to drive.
Speaking as a third-generation Angeleno, I’m glad they’re here, because I think we’d live in a pretty boring city otherwise.
My column will appear every Tuesday morning. If you think it doesn't suck, I'd be extremely grateful if you'd tell your friends about it, link it, and do all that stuff that makes my bosses happy, and glad they hired me.
(I'm stealing a move from John Scalzi and closing comments on this post, to encourage comments over my post at the Weekly.)