Introduction – Chris Kissel

Chris Kissel is an LLS student blogger.

Not too long after I turned 22, I decided to go to law school.

That was seven years ago.

Back then, I had just graduated from Seattle University with a degree in English, and all I knew was I wanted to write. I had worked as the news editor at the school paper, interned at the local alt-weekly, wrote papers about American economic history, and blogged about politics. I thought I was off to a good start.

But I had also fallen in love with Seattle, and I felt certain I wanted to be a part of the city in a meaningful way. I knew a couple of lawyers, and I figured law school was the way to do that. If nothing else, it would give me plenty to write about.

In the intervening seven years, I learned that things rarely turn out the way you plan.

Seven years ago, I was working at a book store in Seattle and plotting my future. One night after work, I got a text from a friend who told me he could get me a job in New York City. One week later, I was on an airplane. Who could pass up a writing gig in the cultural capital of the world?

Things went from there. I made an adventure out of my 20s. I ended up working in radio in New York for a few years. As part of the job, I spent much of my time in cities like Shreveport, Yakima, and Utica teaching radio DJs how to blog. Later, I learned how to DJ myself, and gigged around the city; I worked as a bike messenger; I worked in bars; I played in a band. I got back to writing, which will always be important to me — it’s the way I find my bearings in the world — and when I moved to L.A. a couple years ago, I got to know the city by freelance writing about the local music scene.

L.A. reminds me of everything I loved about Seattle. It’s a big, complicated, strange city, a city of shiny dreams and stubborn struggles; of Hollywood studios and working class neighborhoods; of Kendrick Lamar and Raymond Chandler; of cumbia blasting from backyard parties and experimental music emanating from warehouse art spaces.

As I became absorbed in this city I was reminded of my original desire to be a useful part of something bigger than myself. I don’t regret a single weird minute of my ‘20s. But I couldn’t be more ready for what’s next.