We had the good fortune of connecting with Connie Kronlokken and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Connie, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
As a writer steeped in the real world, every experience is a story. Becoming aware of details, connecting them with what I know and making sentences and paragraphs of them is the writer’s craft. Like a Chinese poet, distilling down the multifarious world into memorable phrases, I feel the world needs our attention and the meaning we make of it. The world makes beautiful, fractal patterns in a froth of expansion. But it is also ordered and we have the privilege of watching.

Over the years, I have developed a pattern of work that serves me well. In the morning, for three or four hours, I do original writing. In the afternoons I “read” (yay for audiobooks!) something useful and in the evenings do something more social or frivolous. Domestic details fill in the cracks: collecting, cooking and putting food on the table; cleaning and washing up; tai chi and walks around the neighborhood to see what’s going on.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
We all feel that we are on the verge of change. Ecological changes, a global pandemic and the reduction of the need for people in manufacturing and distribution of goods all point to a realignment. We have based our lives on individual freedom and comfort, but it seems we are running into our limits. What comes next? How can we save ourselves and the earth? We must turn our attention to the institutions we depend on, families, academies, churches and communities, opening them to truth and strengthening them.

In my fictional series So Are You to My Thoughts, I shine a light on the family of Line, Marty and Paul Mikkelson, showing how powerful a strong family can be, even as its members negotiate cultural change over the American period from Eisenhower to Obama. The Mikkelson parents do not live to see their grandchildren, for the most part, but we do. These children too benefit from the family values set up by their forebears, valuing education and authenticity over worldly goods and entertainment. We are human beings with human traits. The story of the Mikkelsons brings old-fashioned warmth to a contemporary era. This is what we need to know now.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I live on the east side of the river, near the Arts District, and I find the changes going on there exciting. The new Sixth Street bridge looks like it is about to open, with its ten arches and ribbon of light. Its views of the city will be thrilling. At the foot of the bridge, a new grocery has opened, Hank’s Organic, and we also love the Bread Lounge with its shady arbor where you can drink coffee and have a roll. Zinc cafe nearby also has a wonderful outdoor ambiance.

We like going over to Monterey Park to eat Shandong food, for instance at QingDao Bread Food. The Thursday evening farmers’ market right at the Metro stop in South Pasadena is wonderful and we also love the expansive lawns of the Los Angeles Historical Park alongside Chinatown. My favorite Mexican restaurant is Casa Fina on First Street at Mariachi Plaza. In Little Tokyo, which is beginning to recover from construction of the transit hub to open there in the fall, I love Rice and Nori in Weller Court. And don’t miss the Kinokuniya bookstore with its extensive anime collection.

Two gardens which I would not fail to show a friend are the Blue Ribbon garden behind the Disney Concert Hall with its amazing naked coral trees, and Descanso Gardens in La Canada/Flintridge, an amazing delight at any season of the year with its rose, lilac and camelia gardens, its little lakes and oak trees..

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
None of my work would be possible without the support of Don Starnes, my husband and partner. Despite his own busy schedule as a cinematographer and occasional director, he is always willing to listen to what I am working on. Plus we share amazing conversations abut art, life, and the world in general which light up my life.

Website: lightlyheldbooks.com

Instagram: @conniekronlokken

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=connie+kronlokken

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