Back and Back to Work

So… I’m back!

From Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, Los Angeles, San Diego and every major beach town within a couple of hour’s drive of LA—and, needless to say, countless Starbucks. It might well be the best trip the Swan & Dolphin girls have ever taken, and we’ve taken some trips.

I was afraid there’d be nothing to do in Las Vegas except drink; it turned out to be one of the most fun places I’ve ever been, a Disney World for adults, complete with Monorail. And we saw a Cirque de Soleil show, which blew my tiny mind. I was afraid the Grand Canyon would underwhelm when I’d be dreaming of seeing it since before I could (probably) spell it; it was bigger and more impressive than I could ever have imagined.

And I was afraid LA would be all wannabes and eating disorders, but the beaches were beautiful and it was heaven for a movie fan like me, with familiar landmarks and street names at every turn. (I also want to go back and re-read all of Michael Connelly’s Bosch novels, now that I know the streets he’s talking about.) I also want to move to Westwood, where I saw the hunky Tony Goldwyn waiting at a crosswalk—I’ve had a crush on him ever since he played an abtastic Neil Armstrong in From the Earth to the Moon. (But not just because of him, I should add…!) Also we hung out a bit with my friend’s friend who won a Green Card the very first time she entered the Green Card Lottery so maybe there’s hope yet.

One thing I have to say about being in LA is that it’s really uplifting to be among people who are so open about having what would be considered fanciful and unlikely dreams on this side of the Atlantic. Our waiter at The Cheesecake Factory was proud to tell us he was really an actor; walking along Hollywood Boulevard you hear plenty of snippets of conversations about “current projects” and sentences like “I really think this is the best thing I’ve ever written”; the table inside the door of Barnes and Noble at The Grove is not reserved for new releases but books about acting and writing screenplays; the shopping plaza at the Dolby Theatre has a “Road to Hollywood” with quotes from countless dreamers who just packed up their car and drove west.

I think that’s one of the biggest differences between Ireland, where I live, and the US, where I want to live: limits. Here, we see them everywhere. Over there, there’s never any that can’t be pushed through. I’m going to try and keep that attitude with me. It can’t hurt.

As the saying goes, what would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?

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26 thoughts on “Back and Back to Work

  1. koco says:

    Here’s hoping you get your chance, never heard of the green card lottery but now I’m hoping you’ll win! So pleased to read you enjoyed your time away 🙂

  2. Janelle says:

    It’s a big ole world! Or maybe since you are just back from LA, it’s a small world after all. I’m glad you enjoyed seeing a bit of it.

  3. christianfreyca says:

    If I knew I couldn’t fail, I’d put this book out. But… it needs editing first, here in the real world. Thanks for a great trip recap! I’ve been to Phoenix AZ a few times; I’ve always wanted to drive down there (I live in Canada) and visit the Grand Canyon on the way. Someday.

  4. Jason Beech says:

    America isn’t perfect by any means, but it does make you feel like you can do things, if you have the cojones (and the talent).
    Comments from back home (Sheffield) have been mostly very positive about me releasing a book, but there is the odd “Oh yeah, you can do that once you have sold four books in Thoresby Market” (tone: sarcastic).
    I never get that here in New Jersey.

  5. Debbie Jeffrey says:

    Thanks Catherine for your encouragement and telling us about Las Vegas. I was worried about taking children there as it is a gaming place. Being British we had no idea of the strict laws and Daughter told me in a loud voice that there was no harm standing on a red carpet and no-one would stop her doing that. Cue: the largest security guard in the world who told her to hop off and now! We loved it and would be back tomorrow. The nightly shows were to an incredibly high standard, although we were at Treasure Island and they were pretending it was the Boston Teaparty. Yes, the British captain did go down with his ship and it was so realistic, we kept our accents to ourselves 😉

    Here’s one for you: The people who think they can change the world, they can. let’s do it.

  6. kammotion says:

    Welcome back. So glad you enjoyed your trip out to LA and LV. What would I do if I knew I couldn’t fail? I think failure was always an option but I’m one of those folks who moved to Hollywood to follow my dreams. Now I’m a working screenwriter. It’s been a pretty fun ride thus far. There are lots of folks who have moved here from other countries and are now working in the town. So if living in the States on your bucket list, I encourage you to give it a go. It is liberating to be around creative types who are working on their passion projects. If you’re at all interested in reading about more good folks who work in the industry, you’re welcome to visit my blog “Glass half-full in Hollywood” at I read your blog and tweets all the time. I’m a “Catherine, Caffeinated” fan. Happy belated birthday! Cheers!

  7. me says:

    What should YOU do if you weren’t afraid of failing? Move to L.A., if that’s where you want to be. As a girl who was raised here (Burbank, thankyewvurymuch), and loves living in Westwood (I’d have loved to show you around!), I can attest to the fact: dreams come true where you are where you want to be, in the moment, making them happen.

    • catherineryanhoward says:

      Unfortunately I legally can’t! Non-US residents can only stay 90 days in the US. So until they pull my name out of the Green Card Lottery, it’s going to have to remain a daydream. So jealous you live in Westwood! 🙂

  8. H Bastawy says:

    Sounds like a new book will be coming out soon Catherine, can’t wait to read about your adventures overthere. Glad you had a good time, I hope one day I will manage to give LA a visit too.

  9. Mary J. McCoy-Dressel says:

    Glad you’re back and had a good time. I’d have to give a lot of thought about what I’d do if I knew I couldn’t fail. Probably move to San Francisco, my favorite city. I’ve been to LV and loved it. During the day we explored and played outside of town, and at night visited ALL the casinos, mainly to look not lose money. (lost some)

  10. Candy Korman says:

    Try New York City next. My home town is in a constant creative whirl and unlike L.A. — where the stars hide behind gates — they walk ‘like regular folks’ here. I love sitting in the window of my favorite coffee bar. I’ve seen an amazing list of top celebrities and even the actors I admire most. Usually just on their way to an appointment. Love it. Uma Thurman on the way to yoga class. Chris Noth, Alec Baldwin, Susan Sarandon… all neighbors. Peter Dinklage walking his dog when he was doing an off B’way show. A few month later, Laura Linney was walking the same dog. Turned out they were friends and she took his place in the city while she was doing a gig in NYC.

    • catherineryanhoward says:

      Wow, what neighborhood is this coffee shop in?!

      I’ve been to NYC a few times and absolutely adore it, but the longest I stayed was my first trip, which was a week, and that was all pure sightseeing. I’d love to spend a couple of months there like I did in France (rent a place on Air B&B or something and write) so I can really experience the city. It’s on the list! 🙂

  11. Kiya Krier - Runs With Blisters says:

    Wow, sounds like an awesome adventure! Someday I will make it out to Vegas. I will have to save up a pretty big chunk of change though, because I will be there for the (expensive) SHOWS! Which Cirque show did you see? I’ve been fantasizing about seeing “O” for years…

  12. Just a Girl and her Pups says:

    Love your post; glad you had a good time in the states. I lived in Los Angeles for 5 years and its funny the motto you have to remember when moving there, is “Live your Dreams, but don’t dream your life away.” Many of the people in the entertainment and writing industry repeat that to themselves daily 🙂 , some of them really just need some limits. I have lived in Europe and Los Angeles, and am now unfortunately stuck in the Midwest for a bit, it is always funny to hear people speak of the lovely USA, but mostly mention Los Angles, New York, Miami, or Boston. I think those are the towns with the most probability of not having limits; the Midwest is horrible. I think you will succeed no matter where you live, I have followed your blog for a bit and with the can-do attitude, there is no room for failure. Although I really like what one of your readers said, “Dreams come true where you are where you want to be, in the moment, making them happen.” You can only succeed if you are happy, that is what I believe however, in some circumstances, there is always a flip side, sometimes location hinders success. Your blog entry inspired my blog today,

  13. annewoodman says:

    I live in the U.S. and have never been to Vegas or Los Angeles. But I understand what you mean about limits; there is a certain cultural attitude towards limits. I think, too, that you can train yourself to see fewer limits in your own life. I’ve found it helps to get older. I’ll turn 40 in a little under two months… I care much less what people think about me than I used to… so when I say something like, “I plan to publish my novel,” it doesn’t matter anymore that people think I’m crazy. ; )

    Glad you had a fun trip.

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