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WHY I MOVED TO LA

I came here to get off heroin. Needless to say, this fact makes for awkward moments in conversation when people ask me why I moved here. I have lived in Los Angeles for seven years and I still don’t quite know how to answer that question. Sure, I could lie and say that I came here to be an actor. I mean, after I got off heroin that’s what I ended up doing. I became an actor, a writer and a comedian. No one would blame me if I just left the whole heroin part out of the equation. But for some reason I just can’t seem to let the words “I came here to act” come out of my mouth. In fact, I would rather say, “I’m a heroin addict,” than say “I’m an actor.” I think at some point during my childhood, the seed must have been planted in my head that acting was a fine hobby, but not an acceptable life goal. Although, apparently the seed about not doing heroin was left in its package, because my say no to drugs tree never grew, while my don’t be an actor tree flourished. Then there is the fact that everyone and their sister, and their sister’s kid, is an actor in this town, so being an actor just doesn’t seem so special. Whereas, how many ex-junkies can you honestly say that you know?

[Ed. note: All the ex-junkies I know are writers for this site.] I know it’s not really the sort of thing you are supposed to take pride in and it’s a lot to digest for someone you’ve just met. So I have found myself saying things like “I moved here for the weather,” but sunshine just seems so lame in comparison to hard-core heroin abuse. Lately my reaction has been to get embarrassed and say, “Oh, it’s a long story.” However, this answer only seems to solicit guesses. “Did you move here for a boyfriend?” is a common one. “No…” I say, dangling the ellipsis like a carrot. I haven’t used heroin in seven years though, so I guess you can say that my LA dream has come true. How many people can really say that?

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Amanda Egge, Erik Lang, LIVING THE DREAM

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