When I first read Kat Ward's articles on Hometown Pasadena I recognized her enthusiasm for discovering the treasures of her new hometown. I know the feeling! No wonder the Dena embraces her; Kat is easy to like. Please welcome today's guest author, Kat Ward.
Saugatuck River, Westport, CT by Kat Ward
What a difference 24 minutes make (and 15.46 miles). From procrastination to proliferation; from unfocused to driven; from stuck to inspired—thank you, South Pasadena.
After eleven years of living in the Hollywood flats, I felt claustrophobic in the mishmash of my neighborhood. Initially, this world spurred my writing. Late at night as I looked out my window, the city lights reflecting yellow-green off the low clouds, I wrote diligently. But years of sirens, car horns, loud drunks and party-goers wrung out my last nerve—my hand constantly held the t.v. clicker so I could raise or lower the volume depending on how expressive the neighborhood was feeling. I began to feel uncreative. I ached for something else.
Artist Jennifer Frank introduced me to a woman who had raised her kids in South Pas. The very day I met her while walking in the Arroyo, she called and told me of an apartment for rent across from her house. I wheedled and charmed the landlords and got what I needed—a bigger apartment that doesn't share a single wall—finally a quiet night's sleep—versus neighbors washing dishes at midnight, dumpster divers outside my window or helicopters with search lights. Best of all, a tub-length shower versus an upright, coffin-sized stall shower and a 10 minute drive to my daughter's school! I suddenly had an extra two hours on my hands five days a week. Divine.
With my time, I have edited my friend Lori Bertazzon's self-help workbook Where Are You Stuck?; have a local professional copyediting my novel Amy's Own and have started a blog loosely based on my current novel Keeping Sane, and Other Aspirations.
The biggest boost was meeting (again through Jennifer Frank) and being hired by Colleen Bates of Prospect Park Media, a small publishing company in Pasadena. Colleen authored the outstanding guidebook Hometown Pasadena and created a website of the same name. After doing a few freebie posts, I was hired to write about local events, kid-focused fun, new shops and charity fundraisers, and to do monthly interviews. I get to go to businesses, use my photography skills and write stories. I am having the time of my life.
Dubrovnik, Croatia (formerly Yugoslavia) 1988, by Kat Ward
I stay up until two in the morning and awaken with the alarm to get my girl ready for school and I don't miss a beat. One day when she was off on a Sequoyah School camping trip, I stayed up all night, not going to bed until 1 p.m. the next day—I was so amped with ideas, I couldn't wait to put them all down on paper. I was walking on air. Well actually, I was walking on Oxley Street. My new street lined with California Craftsman bungalows and endless trees—where I can walk and walk in the quiet (even at midnight), letting ideas germinate, words gush and adrenaline pump.
Thank you, Hollywood; you did me well, but I have to let you go.
Now my spirit is excited, my mind humming, my writing hand aching, and my composition books filling up. Hello, San Gabriel Valley.