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My name is Claire Bidwell Smith. I am 32 years old and I live in Chicago.

I started blogging in June of 2003 when my father was dying of cancer. I was 25 years old and needed an outlet. He died only a few weeks later and coming here to write became something for me to hold onto. In the beginning, I blogged on Salon. You can still read the original Life in LA there. In October of 2003 the Sydney Morning Herald named mine one of the best blogs in the world. I took a break for a while after that (smart, right?) and came back to blogging in 2006. You can read the 2006-2007 LA archives here.

In 2007 I met my husband Greg Boose while we were both writing for a literary website. Read the modern-day story of how we fell in love in here. I moved to Chicago shortly after that and have now been here for just over two years. We got married last July and less than a year later, our daughter Veronica was born.

I grew up in Atlanta, Georgia the only child of two much older parents. They both got cancer when I was fourteen. My mother died when I was eighteen and my father died when I was twenty-five. For better or for worse, these events have shaped who I am today. Much of what I write about here has to do with me being a young woman living in a big city, navigating marriage and motherhood. I often write about the lows, the contemplative afternoons, the twisting, manic screaming that wells up inside of me, the strange encounters, the nightmares and lucid dreamscapes, the falls, the pushes, the soft sounds.

But those aren't everything that I am. I have a Bachelor's degree in creative writing and a Master's degree in clinical psychology. I've worked as a psychotherapist in several community clinics and I currently work as a grief counselor for hospice. My house is filled to the brim with books, my calendar with dinner dates. I’ve been to over 20 countries and I’m obsessed with both maps and menus. I have three cats and a lot of houseplants.

And I'm a writer. I've always been a writer.

I hope you enjoy this blog. Stick around, scroll through the archives, send me a note, bookmark me, follow me on Twitter, check out my personal website and come back soon.