Monday, October 24, 2016

Sunday Shorts: A Traveler’s Guide to Los Angeles

By Amy Jones Sedivy

Written as an ersatz travel guide to Los Angeles, the story briefly sketches several L.A. neighborhoods as they define one woman’s life, and leading her to the place that fits her best.

Sunday ShortsEarly travelers explored the community of Westwood. They dined at a German Bratskellar, saw 2001: A Space Odyssey at the Fox theater, and walked the streets with the locals, discreetly checking out the opposite sex, although they were a married couple. They were hippies then, surrounded by other hippies on Le Conte and Westwood and Weyburn. She felt she belonged there; he felt the natives were snobbish and his attitude became a shield.

A shooting of an innocent college girl destroyed that community for years. An affair with a girl not in college, but quite beautiful and mouthy, destroyed that marriage not long after.

Later travelers took an apartment in Koreatown, on a dare. They did not know that a decade later this would be the hip place to move. As it was, they did not speak to their neighbors mainly because they could not. The scent of roast duck and pig drifted through their apartment; after several months of eating the local food, they found themselves exploring the McDonalds out on Wilshire where they ate salty fries.

One explored someone dangerous in their apartment building so that shooting up and sleeping became the primary activity of the traveler; the other intrepid traveler moved out on her own.

This traveler explored Cal State Northridge for a short time studying grad students who studied literature. The traveler traded off her newfound knowledge to teach English in fashion school.

Downtown is worth exploring; this traveler studied the parking lots, sidewalks and their related homeless men, tall buildings. The community of fashion students was quite glamorous. Men and women wore bright colors and dresses, coats and hats in a way that was both genderless and erotic. Our traveler enjoyed the madcap nature for a time, until exploring outside of this community helped our traveler discover that she wasn’t paid very much.

Two travelers discovered each other while exploring an art gallery in Hollywood, where many people wore black clothing and heavy black glasses and said impenetrable things about paintings and each other. The two travelers departed together and explored the inside of Lucy’s El Adobe where a few faded movie stars and one still-famous one ate dinner in booths nearby.

Two explorers explored each other, but that is not available for description in this travel guide.

Currently these travelers move in and around the community of Highland Park where they observe the carnicerias and panaderias and also cafes with bearded hipsters and babies and bullies. This community is eclectic and friendly and a good place to raise children. So the travelers explored staying put.

Message to persons reading this traveler’s guide: Los Angeles is wide and vast and filled with many delights. Like that elephant in the old tale, each traveler can explore a different part and each will come away with an entirely different understanding of the city. The authors of this guide suggest that travelers make it a point to explore a variety of communities, even some not mentioned here. These others could include Venice Beach, West Hollywood, Studio City, Silver Lake, and East L.A. One never knows when one will find the place where the heart fits and where the body settles down.
amy box

  • Sunday Shorts features fiction and creative nonfiction contributed by Eastsider readers. Got a short story, video, pod cast or graphic novel you want to share? Click here for details.

Eastsider Advertising


  1. Love this most creative Traveler’s Guide to East L.A. I could read an entire book on the subject. I hope to read more of Sedivy’s work here and in other literary journals.

  2. Shelley Blanton-Stroud

    Lovely voice, which sounds like the neighborhood, down through its scratchy history.

Post a Comment

Please keep your comments civil and on topic and refrain from personal attacks. The moderator reserves the right to edit or delete any comments. The Eastsider's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy apply to comments submitted by readers. Required fields are marked *