Mona Simpson


I spent my teenage years taking the Wilshire bus to the beach, where kids our age could still make bonfires and bring their dogs. But like all my friends, I wanted to go away, and I left for a long time. I came back just after the birth of my first child. The move had the feeling of a lark. Seven months pregnant, I’d flown out to look for a place. My brother and sister-in-law met us, and we drove around in a rented pink convertible Cadillac. It had the feel of Lucy and Desi go to Hollywood. We didn’t sell our New York apartment. We kept saying we’d return in one more year. Five years later we applied to kindergartens in both cities. My son attended school here, I found friends, and we started a Shakespeare group in the canyon. This summer I was in New York and told friends who’d known me for years that I’d probably stay in Los Angeles even after my son went to college. I realized that though this was news to them, I’d already assumed it for a very long time. Like most love, it snuck up on me. » Simpson, 53, published her fifth novel, My Hollywood, this year.

Photograph courtesy Gaspar Triangle