In two weeks, I'm from moving from New York back to LA where I lived and worked for almost 30 years. The good news is that it's because I co-created a new series. The bad news, just like the song, I don't know when I'll be back again.
I first left New York when I was in my early baby twenties and leaving was something that little new to chirping birds like me did when it was time to leave the nest. The unknown was sexy in those days. It was like a mysterious woman who just might give me the thrill of a lifetime if I played my cards right.
For the first ten years that I was out there, I refused to become or even dress like a native. My go-to uniform of defiance was a Macy's wool crew neck sweater, corduroy pants and desert boots even during a heat wave, which is every day in LA. Fact: according to Satan, the weather is the exact same as down there.
I resisted LA for as long as I could, but eventually I had children and LA is admittedly a great place to raise little people. The everyday days just beckon you to come out and play.
After a few decades of staggering dreams-come-true success, I did lose my way having finally slugged back the Kool LA-id and got drunk on the belief system that since I was writing on hit shows like Fresh Prince and Full House (which I referred to as "Awful House") I must surely be one of God's personal, favorites right after Jesus, and his lesser known son, Bob.
After I finished my 21-year tour of sitcom and movie duty and I became a freelance writer, that is when LA began to show its true vibrant peacock colors which are basically different variations of blur and brown.
To me, LA, when you are not doing round the clock, eight days a week high-end sitcom writing grunt work, you are basically living the same life as the Taliban---in nicer shoes.
You leave your Taliban cave houses to drive, at 405/camel speed, to your Taliban cave offices. You then go to your Taliban cave restaurants. Shop at your trendy Taliban cave stores (where everyone treats you like you are the head of the Taliban), then you have dinner at your Taliban restaurant cave (with all those Taliban Lamborghinis and Mercedes parked out front) and then you camel drive home one last time, back to your Taliban cave house ready to terrorize the world with your sharp and witty "you got it, dude, " jokes.
Okay, I'm (mildly) exaggerating. My grown up sons are out there and I still have a few friends who have somehow managed to survive the holicoast (you only get to make that joke if you are a Jew).
But I also remember the 91' earthquake which was like being hit by an Indiana Jones sized rolling crater ball while floating in the middle of a Waring blender running at whip speed.
I also remember fires and floods. Everything is so biblical out there. I mean it's even called "The City of the Angels" for Christ's sake even when it's actually the city of The Dodgers---and the Rams who are already charging $100 at their parking lots.
At the tail end of my LA life, I suffered a PTSD spiked mental breakdown (following an 8-month bout of SCREECHING tinnitus) and it took me five long years to crawl out of the shards of glass paved path towards sanity.
Along the way, as you slowly reassemble the Humpty Dumpty egg of the shattered shell of your once intact soul, if you are really lucky you eventually get that depression is a crisis of faith and you can no longer believe in who you were.
Only in who you will soon become.
And trust me what is to come is fantastic. So do me a favor and get off the ledge.
You have to metaphorically die, bury the old you, and then you must simultaneously mourn for your loss while you water your memories until the Phoenix finally peeks out and eventually sprouts from it and that is when, to your utter amazement, you finally get to rise from the ashes and fly...and fly...and fly even higher still..
The east coast was very curative for me. I got to be surrounded by all the patient, life-long loving members of my family and friends of me club who re-taught me resilience, courage and helped re-teach me how to think positively while I re-fortified myself. Great shrinks, great meds and great Yoga all pitched in as well guiding me through the obstacle course of the Endorphin Games.
My writing for the first time ever revealed what up until then had only been buried in the illusion of potential. (Someone once said of my writing that it was all icing and no cake).
And now here I was, soul submerging like a Navy Seal writing script after script after play after book.
All this from a man who had spent entire days on how to commit suicide websites.
New York, with its luster and light recharged and reshaped my entire being, Oz style.
Museums, Stadiums, Restaurants, Music venues and Broadway all became mini-meccas to me, where I got to celebrate at the altar of gratitude
Best of all I got to reclaim my voice just like an old beret wearing jazz cat wailing on a snow covered bridge in search of his long lost lip.
Going back to LA is like the mom and kid in the film "Room" going back one more time to where they were held captive.
But this I know to be true.
When you leave home, there is only one thing that you are really looking for: home.
And it is up to all of us, no matter where we are, to find it.