The days are getting shorter and the nights, cooler. It is almost time to go back to school which ultimately means less free time and more opportunity for structure. How can we utilize this transitional period and make the best of both worlds?: A little mindfulness, with the help of our very own backyard!
Last summer, our Program Director, Ashley Bramhall, pitched the idea of capturing Los Angeles with friends in her article, Six Cool Places to Take a Selfie This Summer. Let’s expand upon that idea and capture the last days of these beautiful summer sunsets with words. Here’s an opportunity for adventure with a purpose.
Below are some ideas of local places to take a mini road trip:
- UCLA’s Powell Library – What better place to start than the Powell Library where Ray Douglas Bradbury wrote a 25,000-word story he called “The Fireman”? After doubling the word count, Bradbury published “Fahrenheit 451”. It is said that the novel cost him just under $10 which was to pay for the typewriter’s rental fee of 20 cents per hour. Imagine a day in the life of Bradbury and create a narrative incorporating descriptive language pertaining to the interior decor and see where the story takes you! While you’re there, also check out the architecture and design.
- Griffith Observatory – Free, educational, and accessible, Griffith Observatory is a great place to learn about the stars beyond our hazy skies! It’s a whole new world attended by dedicated enthusiasts. Visitors can look through telescopes, explore exhibits, see live shows in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium, and enjoy spectacular views of Los Angeles and the Hollywood Sign. Bring some coloring pencils and a notepad. Start from the trailhead and walk your way up, taking note of how your body responds as the altitude increases. What do your surroundings look like? Is it a clear day? Are there clouds? What is the general mood? Once you reach the top, grab a seat and sketch out the infamous building or create a visual representation of what your experience felt like during the walk.
2800 East Observatory Rd.
Los Angeles, CA 90027
- Manhattan Beach – What would a California summer road trip be without the beach!? Venture down south to Manhattan Beach, a city with the motto: ”Sun, Sand, Sea.” There’s a lot to experience settled in one spot! There’s a lot to be awestruck by in this city of stars, one being the recreational opportunities in different, accessible environments. Make sure you bring a blanket so you can sit down, take off your shoes, and feel the sand and water under your feet. Smell the air. Admire the hues of color that paint the sky at the golden hour. Lick your lips! Use your 5 senses and allow your hands to freely write what comes to mind.
- Free Jazz Nights at LACMA – Did you know the Los Angeles Contemporary Museum of Art hosts free jazz nights on Fridays during the summer? It’s an all-ages, family-friendly affair with guests setting their own picnics on the lawn. Leading international and local ensembles present programs in classical, jazz, Latin and new music. These programs are performed right in front of the popular Urban Light(2008) structure which is illuminated in the evening. Bring a fun group and enjoy each others’ presence over snacks and drinks. Bookmark the writing prompt and practice being present. Witness the atmosphere around you as others aim to do the same with their company. Dance to the music, tune into the laughs, and notice the architecture and the art. Once you’re back at home, take out the pen and paper and write a poem, drawing inspiration from your evening at LACMA. Don’t overthink it! Allow yourself to be silly. It’s been a long day. Now, give yourself a pat on the back for taking some time to be mindful!
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
5905 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90036
With Los Angeles being such a diverse and concentrated city of activities and people on the move, it can be overwhelming and nearly impossible to be present. Writing is a wonderful, all-ages friendly tool to stay centered and see things from a different perspective. Why not compliment these pit stops by soaking in the moments? Leave the phone/tablet/laptop and bring along a pen and paper. Who knows what you’ll discover!