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Hollywood Notebook

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  117 ratings  ·  20 reviews
Hollywood Notebook is a prose poem-ish memoir of fragments. Ortiz takes us through the streets of Los Angeles and the internal maps she's charting as she moves from her twenties to her thirties in a studio apartment in Hollywood. A cartography of love, loss, and transformation, Hollywood Notebook is a portrait of the author's psyche overlaid on a map of the city she makes ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published April 2015 by Writ Large Press
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Antonia Crane
May 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Some writers bloat my heart so that it can be trampled in a gazillion new ways like Rob Roberge, Cheryl Strayed and Lidia Yuknavitch. Others tap into fresh and ancient terrain so poised and raw and brave it makes me want to stop the world because why bother breathing when we have Anthony Doerr, David Treur and Roxane Gay? Wendy C. Ortiz’s writing simply demands I have a more noticing heart. Perhaps acknowledge the galaxy in which I exist. Look again at how fast the light changes into night in la ...more
A shape-shifting book of journal entry-like stories, moments, and emotional fireworks. It's fun to imagine Wendy as this free-wheeling 20-something figuring out what the world has to offer her. ...more
Oct 18, 2015 added it
We are left with the breathless belief, that for Ortiz writing is performance art, and that she is ever-discovering, then illuminating, fragments of herself on the page, only to have the words, and memories, stamp themselves onto our collective brain.
Aug 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Hollywood Notebook is an interesting follow-up to Excavation: a series of modified journal entries that were originally published as blog posts. Whereas Excavation feels like the revelation of old secrets, Hollywood Notebook revels (and sometimes recriminates) in the life of an artist finding her way in the world. Although Ortiz is an L.A. native, I suspect that those who came to California to pursue his or her passion (as I did) will find passages that strike a familiar chord. Again and again I ...more
Mar 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant, honest, startling in its beauty. Ortiz's voice is unlike anyone's, a voice I continue to seek out, a voice that instructs, a voice I will return to again and again and again. I particularly love how this memoir is as much about process as it is about story.

It was an honor and pleasure to interview the author:
Kate Maruyama
Sep 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Open and honest and filled with those careful details that make a life what it is, make Los Angeles what it is, Wendy Ortiz's tiny chapters become brushstrokes in a larger, vibrant fantastic picture that I can't stop looking at. Excellent bedside table reading. ...more
Karrie Higgins
Mar 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Genius magic. I think those two words capture it. Genius dreamy magic.

Melissa Grunow
Jan 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
“As beautiful as the palm trees are, as placid as the sky looks, I am still disturbed at the world I find myself in.”
Hollywood Notebook is a collection of journal entries that have taken the shape of lyrical essays that search for one’s self in the context of place first while relationships and personal interactions come secondary. Other people are often referred to only by an initial, other times, dismissed with pronouns. In that regard, the concept of place—a street in the neighborhood, a hot
Aug 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015, memoir
Hollywood Notebook is a collection of journal entries that read like prose poems--or maybe prose poems that read like journal entries. Reading this gave me the impression that I was flipping through an old photo album, but in addition to images, I had sounds, sensations, abstract thoughts, astrology, alcohol, and old friends and lovers at my fingertips.
Jan Stinchcomb
Mar 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I was lucky enough to read this before it hit the masses.
This is a beautiful book about Los Angeles and living the artist's life. Whether you love reading, writing, or both, don't miss this opportunity to immerse yourself in Wendy Ortiz's world.
Matt Lewis
Aug 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Remember all those unique, amazing, tragic, momentous, of-the-moment moments you had in college/early adulthood? Remember how you said you would write about it all because the world deserved to know? Well, Wendy Ortiz wrote hers down in a beautiful fusion of poetic prose. What's your excuse? ...more
Jan 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Ivy
Shelves: notebooks, on-writing
I like reading notebooks more than I realized.
Alexa Almeida
Nov 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
In Hollywood Notebook, Wendy C. Ortiz creates a hallway for the reader to walk through, and at the end of the hall is a door to her mind. An exemplary showing of how prose and non fiction can exist in harmony, Ortiz tells her story. A story of moving from place to place, struggling with the cultural and social dependence on monogamy, all while entering her 30's and trying to find time to write.
From a craft standpoint, Ortiz uses simple language that is concise in its meaning as well as its emot
Mar 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I don't know why this was the book I confidently grabbed from the shelf, but it was the book I needed right now. I'm feeling very burned out and all I want is, like, time to myself to think. I want a life of the mind, even if that sounds super cheesy. Turns out reading someone else's document of the life of their mind is the next best thing to having time for introspection. Reading this made me feel like I was living alone in Berkeley again or in grad school again--that the days are full of noth ...more
Sruthi Narayanan
Dec 12, 2019 rated it liked it
The observational tone was great, but I found myself missing the introspection to go along with it. (I felt this most during the sections about writing - "writers writing about writing" is already a tall enough order!) ...more
Ben Brackett
There were great snippets, but I would get lost between them.
Hannah Wohlenberg
Apr 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
favorite book about LA that i've read so far ...more
Jun 10, 2020 rated it it was ok
wendy ortiz writes great sentences and every now and then this book hits the emotional flashpoint of someone in transition bumping up against something but too often its too vague, the people in it real but out of reach the situations too abstract to feel much about. at its best you get a sense of location that allows you access to something bigger but often it felt like scrolling through different peoples live journals in 2003.
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Wendy C. Ortiz is the author of Excavation: A Memoir (Future Tense Books, 2014), Hollywood Notebook (Writ Large Press, 2015), and the dreamoir Bruja (Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2016). In 2016 Bustle named her one of “9 Women Writers Who Are Breaking New Nonfiction Territory.” Her work has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, The Rumpus, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and the National Book Criti


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