Toby Young, the Brit journalist who used to write for Vanity Fair, is writing the Slate Diary this week about living in L.A. for three months while he works on a novel set here. Here's how he began on Monday:
How many people come to Hollywood in order to write a novel? I've been working as a journalist for nearly 20 years, but just before Christmas I sold a proposal for a novel set in Los Angeles to a British publisher, so here I am. In the Roaring '20s, serious writers like F. Scott Fitzgerald came to Hollywood in the hope of becoming well-paid hacks. I'm a fairly well-paid hack who's come to Hollywood in the hope of becoming a serious writer.
Actually, that's not quite true. I'd like to be taken seriously as a writer, but my main priority is to make a shitload of money. I literally had to remortgage my house in London in order to move out here. And I'm only planning to stay for three months. It wouldn't have been so expensive if it weren't for the fact that I'm married with a 9-month-old daughter. My wife insisted that I rent a house with a pool and a spare bedroom so her parents can come and stay. She wasn't joking, either. They arrive on May 6.
Example of his observations: "It's a rule in Los Angeles that the smaller the person, the larger the car." Young is the author of How To Lose Friends & Alienate People, about his years trying to be a New York journo.