Transplant Profile: Anthony Williams in Los Angeles

Transplant Profile: Anthony Williams in L.A. | StayingSouthern.netName: Anthony Williams

Born in: Tyler, Texas

Occupation: Writer, assistant, cashier, background extra, etc.

I currently live in: Los Angeles, California, in the Pico-Union neighborhood.

When I go back to the South, I always: Fail to do everything I want to do. But Taco Cabana is usually my first fast-food stop, whether I’ve driven back and see the first one in El Paso, or fly in and dive into some nachos right after leaving the airport.

Something I miss: I’ve been car-free for a year now, but more than sometimes missing having that kind of transportation, I just miss driving 100 miles or more randomly just to see family or friends. I miss high school football games with huge crowds and intense atmospheres. I miss taking my little cousins off to the city to visit a new mall or new burger joint.  I’ve got people spread all over Texas, and even dotted across the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, and those little road trips were often a good little escape that I appreciate so much more now.

Similarities I find between the South and Los Angeles: The Los Angeles Lakers are almost as revered, worshiped and talked about as the Dallas Cowboys. Almost.

Something I do to keep my Southern identity: I still say, “y’all,” and started saying, “Bless your heart,” here while (working) in retail – to keep my sanity. And, there’s numerous little things I only catch here and there that I do because I’m Southern or just because I grew up used to it – saving and reusing bacon grease, and cooking huge pots of food even if it’ll only be for myself. Weirdly enough, I say “ma’am” and “sir” more here than I did growing up.

Being Southern has helped me: Stand out. Even though I lean more towards being an introvert, I can be a little extra when meeting and hosting people. I help lead a Bible study group with another Southern guy from Georgia. When it’s at my house, I always end up cooking or offering something, despite protests that it’s unnecessary.

Morsel of wisdom to other transplant Southerners: I’m starting to write creatively, and something that hit me while learning the formulas for scripts (yep, there are formulas) was the quote, “It’s the same, but different.” That’s true in writing and in life, and whenever I’ve traveled to or lived somewhere new.

There are basic structure to cities, communities and routines everywhere. While it may be fun and easier to sit and figure out what’s your “new this” or “new that” (“Pasadena’s my new Fort Worth,” “Ralphs is just Kroger,” “the 405 is my new I-635”), it’s better to accept things for what they are so you can sincerely savor it all.

Oh, and whenever you go back home, relax. Thankfully, I have family that can remind me of that when I’m trying to run around to see everyone and do everything. But you should be able to just chill all day at an aunt’s house as if you’re eight years old again.

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Transplant Profile: Stinson Carter in Los Angeles, California

Transplant Profile: Stinson Carter

Stinson’s novel, False River, is available on Amazon.


Name:
Stinson Carter

Born in: Shreveport, Louisiana

Occupation: Screenwriter, Journalist, and Novelist

I currently live in: Los Angeles, CA

When I go back, I always: Eat Southern Maid Donuts and a Herby-K shrimp buster. And I appreciate the time I get to spend with elderly family members. I listen to their stories like it’s the last time they’ll ever be told.

I miss: Family. And being in a place where I have a past. In Los Angeles I feel anonymous most of the time, but in Shreveport I feel like I’m part of a lineage, and there’s a deep comfort wrapped up in that.

Similarities I find between the South and where I live now: There is a kinship between ex-pat Southerners that I enjoy whenever I meet them in California. I’m working on a script with the producer of The Help right now, who is from Jackson, Mississippi. I think the fact that our hometowns are only a couple hundred miles apart definitely helped me get the job.

A Southern value I keep: I value knowing how to cook, and how to be a good host. A modest spread by Southern standards goes a long way in Southern California. Also, being accountable for what you say you’re going to do. In Hollywood you don’t make real plans. For example, you might say to a friend, “Let’s get lunch this week,” and they’ll say, “Yeah, that’d be great!” (Everything is great in Los Angeles.) But of course you don’t actually get lunch. What you’re really doing is just both agreeing that the idea of lunch sounds nice at that moment. There’s an old joke in Hollywood that goes like this:

“Did you hear that so-and-so died?”
“No!”
“Yep”
“That’s a shame. We’ve been meaning to get lunch.”

Being Southern has helped me: Keep a fundamental baseline for my values, and preserve my integrity in a city and within an industry that doesn’t exactly reward it.

Morsel of wisdom to other transplant Southerners: Don’t forget who you are. If you have a strong work ethic and treat people well, then you will make the kind of friends who will root for your success.

Transplant Profile: Stinson Carter in Los Angeles, CaliforniaRead Stinson Carter’s novel, False River, available for download on Amazon now.

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How to Write a Thank You Note (and why you should)

In this era, steeped in technology, it’s hard to sit down and hand-write a thank-you note when sending a text, tweet or email is so much easier.

Those forms of thank-yous might be immediate, but they’re hardly as personal as a penned note in the mail.

My mother and her sister exchange thank-you notes practically every day, even though they live less than a mile away from each other. They write cards to one another for things as simple as a good chat during a power-walk around the neighborhood or bringing a quiche to Sunday brunch.

It’s easy to feel like thank you notes are wasted on those who don’t write them at all. But, it’s been my experience that showing appreciation is never lost on anyone.

A thank-you note is a tangible experience. Think about it: what do you do when you see an envelope that isn’t a bill or a pre-approved credit card? You smile. You enjoy the feel of the unincorporated envelope and the hand-written address. Then, you open it… and smile again.

A quality thank-you note should read like this:

Dear _________ ,

1. An expression of gratitude for the kindness/gift/presence.
2. How thoughtful it was/how much it was appreciated.
3.  A mention of the future: When you will be seeing each other again and how lovely it will be.
4. Another brief expression of appreciation, closing salutations and the author’s signed name.

Send one of these and people will remember you for the lengths you go to express your gratefulness. The thank you note is possibly the easiest way to create a positive, lasting impression on anyone.

Good manners and gratitude know no zip codes. So keep on writing, because nothing makes a person feel appreciated like receiving a hand-written piece of mail, sent just to say “thank you.”

Dear Miss L’Anne: My in-laws call me by the wrong name… help!

Dear Ms. L’Anne,

My new in-laws keep calling me the wrong name by accident. I don’t think they mean to, and the name they call me is really close to my actual name, but it’s definitely not my name. I try not to be offended, but it’s getting old. What should I do?

Susie in Eden Prairie, Minnesota

———————-

Dear Susie,

It must be very awkward to have your in-laws call you by the wrong name, and you are doing the exact right thing in trying not to be offended.  You are beginning to build a lifelong relationship and choosing not to embarrass your new in-laws is the kind and gracious thing a young Southern lady would do.

Having been on the receiving end of many mispronunciations of my name, I’ve learned that people have a difficult time correcting a name they have often used incorrectly. If you can determine why your new family might be calling you the wrong name, it may give you more patience and enable you to find an indirect way to help them learn your name.

One way to do this is to engage your husband in a plan to use your name often when talking or writing to his parents, instead of using “we” or “she,” say “Susie.”  Over time, your problem may be solved with no embarrassment on either side.   In the long run, you will not have to groan inwardly when you remember that you embarrassed your in-laws early in your marriage and they will not have to remember that you had to correct them about your name.

Remember that kindness and grace encourage good relationships.

Miss L’Anne

———————

Do you have a question for a tried and true Southern lady? Ask Miss L’Anne via the contact page. She knows everything there is to know about everything. Seriously.

Transplant Profile – Lauren in Washington, D.C.

Family comes first for most Southerners. Whether it’s pitching in around the house or enjoying a meal and a glass of sweet tea together, time spent with family becomes invaluable when it doesn’t happen every day. That’s just one of many things Lauren has learned as a Southerner living in Washington D.C.

It's all about spending time with family when Lauren goes home to Louisiana.

It’s all about spending time with family when Lauren goes home to Louisiana.

Born: Hampton, Virginia, but due to my Dad’s military career we lived all over!

Occupation: Public Relations Executive

I currently live in: Washington, D.C.

When I go back, I visit: Louisiana is home because that is where the majority of my extended family lives and where I spent my college years. When I go back to visit, it’s all about seeing family and spending time with them since I don’t get to see them as often as I would like. I like taking my younger cousins to the movies, doing my Maw Maw’s grocery shopping for her, watching the news with my Pops every night, or driving out to the casino with my aunts and uncles for a little boot scootin’.

When I go back, I always:
Over-eat. It’s true – women of the South just know how to cook really, really well. I probably over-drink, too; Maw Maw makes the best sweet tea and my uncles love a good totty.

I miss: So much about the South! The generosity and kindness of strangers, the slow-paced lifestyle, the Southern men and their jacked up trucks! I was home over Thanksgiving last year and I forgot how nice it was to see a sky full of stars. You don’t see that very often with all the city lights reflecting off their buildings.

Being Southern has helped me: To appreciate finding joy in the little things. When someone holds the door open for me at the local Starbucks (even if it was an accident), I appreciate that so much more than the next person who never grew up with that as the norm.

 Morsel of wisdom to other Southerners living outside the South: People outside of the South and the military don’t like to be referred to as “ma’am” and “sir” but that doesn’t mean you should forget your manners. Make it a point to get back to the South at least once a year. Even if you don’t have family to visit, just do it.  It will be refreshing, rejuvenating and will give you the time you need to just relax.

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Dolly_smile

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Smile! It increases your face value.
– Dolly Parton as Truvy in Steel Magnolias

Image Source: masonjarsandsoutherncharm.tumblr.com

Charm is a glow within a woman that casts a most becoming light on others.
– John Mason Brown, American drama critic and author