Lauren Sapala is a writer, speaker, and teacher. She is the author of Between the Shadow and Lo, a gritty addiction memoir and the first installment of The West Coast Trilogy, an autobiographical fiction series. She also writes nonfiction books on personality theory, motivation, and marketing for intuitive writers. She currently lives in San Francisco.
When Leah lands in San Francisco, she’s hoping she can leave her past—along with her broken-down life in Seattle—behind. But what she can’t run from is her present reality as an alcoholic on the downward spiral, and the strong future possibility that she might die in the gutter. So, she quits drinking and resolves to live a new life, determined to be a better person and resist the siren song of addiction, staying a few steps ahead of her demons all the while.
But then Leah takes a job at a P.I. Firm and her resolve is thoroughly tested. Instead of alcohol, she becomes addicted to work and the nonstop demands of the agency. In a desperate attempt to break the cycle, she answers a mysterious online ad calling for writers and ends up working as an assistant to serial entrepreneur Scarlet Monroe, a woman who seems almost too good to be true, and like everything Leah has always wanted to be. But when Leah is hired as Scarlet’s personal assistant and gets in deeper with Scarlet and her cult-like company, the demons from her past come alive again, and this time they refuse to go away.
The sequel to Between the Shadow and Lo and the second installment in the West Coast Trilogy, West Is San Francisco is a surreal ride through the strange secrets—and intangible magic—of San Francisco.
Leah is an alcoholic. She’s antisocial, self-destructive, and deeply damaged. She’s also battling a voice in her head she calls Lo, who wants to take over her body. Lo is everything Leah isn’t—beautiful, charming, confident, and ruthless in her desires. She commandeers Leah’s will whenever Leah gets too drunk, and acts as her escort through the rainy Seattle underworld.
As a misfit bibliophile, Leah’s conception of reality has never been rock solid, but as she spirals deeper into addiction the “real world” of bars, bikers, dealers, and addicts slowly dissolves into Lo’s dark vision. As Lo steadily tightens her hold, Leah prepares to make one last bid for survival, knowing her only chance is to transcend Lo’s terrifying drive toward death.
An addiction memoir from Lauren Sapala, Between the Shadow and Lo is a new addition to the gritty and hilarious transgressive fiction tradition of Chuck Palahniuk, Charles Bukowski, and Joshua Mohr.
When you’re a full-time serious drunk, empties become a longstanding problem…Like corpses heaping up in exponential proportion, they force you into the business of digging mass graves.
I wrote things down that I’d never told another living soul, and when I’d written enough I didn’t want to drink so much anymore. The book I was writing was one of the ugliest I’d ever seen, but also the most beautiful, because it was the only good thing I’d ever done in my life.
Coming off a bad binge feels a bit like dying…like I’d found some dead rotting girl by the side of the road, and taken out my trusty pocketknife and sliced her open from throat to crotch and crawled right in and slid around, settling into the slippery reeking mess like it was home.
Most people don’t like to admit that vaginas have economic value, but they’re one of our most valuable natural resources.
Better than drugs that don’t last and more solid than gold, vaginas allow women to move about unmolested, in a way that men can only dream of.
Most people don’t realize how often PI’s deal with escaped quarry. You think running after a rabbit in an unfamiliar forest is confusing? Try hunting a human being in the middle of San Francisco. That’s why any good PI is an underdog at heart. He’s used to getting what he needs from a world determined not to give it to him.
Writing is a kind of holy practice, and there’s both white and black mixed up in it…if a writer is able to exorcise most of what’s inside and needs to come out, down onto the page, then he’s been successful…He’s taken the black that lives within him, practiced the magic, and turned it white, where it harmlessly settles, captured and tamed, down onto the page in black on white again.
I told most people I was an alcoholic if they asked and some if they didn’t. I figured everyone deserved a fair chance to cut and run at the very beginning.