My path from farm to Hollywood

This post is not a metaphor.  I will not be discussing how a seemingly hapless forty-something stay-at-home mom got a job writing for TV.  (I’ll save that for another post or my tell-all book.)

This post is about how I get from our farm in Northern California to Hollywood.  Literally.  The distance between our farm gate and the studio lot is 406 miles.  On Sunday night, after I put the kids to bed, I set my alarm for 1:00 a.m. so I can get the required three to four hours of beauty sleep.  When my alarm goes off at one, I get up, shower and hit the road which gets me to the studio by 9:00 a.m.  I change out of my pajamas in my car (so glamorous!) and then stroll to work fresh and ready for another day of joke telling!

Now, if I wasn’t a mom, this would seem difficult, even impossible.  But here’s the thing, I haven’t gotten a good night’s sleep in over thirteen years, so being up in the middle of the night is really no biggie.  And hey, nobody is throwing up on me.  I’m not trying to pour medicine into a tiny cup in a dark kitchen or walking up and down the hall with a crying baby on my shoulder.   I’m just driving!

A really, really, really long way.

Which is also not that hard because well, I’m alone.  I have driven on many 3,000 mile car trips with my kids and I’ve always maintained a “no media” rule.  This means that they can play games, read, draw or stare out the window, but they can’t watch Finding Nemo for eight hours.  Sometimes this strategy pays off big — we laugh, we tell stories and we learn about the places we’re driving through and sometimes the kids fight with each other non-stop for hours and I want to get in a time machine to the moment right before I decided to have children and core out all my reproductive organs with a melon baller.


So the fact that I’m by myself in the car — even though it’s the middle of the night — is kind of like “me” time.  Sure, when I get to Hollywood, I miss my kids and I wish more than anything they were with me, but the drive?

Hey, I didn’t have to listen to “Humphrey the classroom hamster” the whole time.  Just some really interesting podcasts for grown ups.  (Like “Invisibilia” and “Revisionist History”.  Try them.  They’re amazing.)


It’s just another miracle of parenting.  Everything else in life seems so easy.


  • Congratulations on the new gig! I am fascinated by the whole thing. I could never survive that drive, but I am also a big podcast fan (for me: subway rides + morning runs). It also helps to have a day job at a company that produces many of its own podcasts. I always have too much to listen to.

    You would probably enjoy “Scriptnotes” with John August and Craig Mazin.

    Other favorites: “All Songs Considered” (NPR), WTF (depending on the guest), Michael Ian Black’s “How to Be Amazing,” “Little Gold Men” (Vanity Fair), Slate’s Culture Gabfest, “Mystery Show” (currently on hiatus), “The Memory Palace,” “The Mortified Podcast,” “The Allusionist,” Slate’s Mom and Dad Are Fighting. I also occasionally listen to “Politically Reactive,” “Working,” Slate’s Political Gabfest, “Longform,” “99% Invisible,” “This American Life.”

    • Holly Hester says:

      AAAAAAAhhhhhhh!!!!! Thank you Heidi for the podcast suggestions! OMG they are great. You’ve really helped my drive!

  • kiera says:

    Hooray for podcasts! My commute is a mere pittance compared to your, but the podcasts make it into quite enjoyable “me” time.

  • jennifer says:

    Aren’t there farms closer to Hollywood? So glad you’re blogging again.

    • Holly Hester says:

      Every time I drive down there I think, I know there are farms closer to Hollywood! Why didn’t we move to one of those???

  • Donita Whitehead says:

    Glad to hear from you and your latest adventure!

  • Ugh! Crummy drive, but then I hate driving. Are you considering moving closer?

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