I think there’s a 99.999999% chance that not one of you heard me on the radio yesterday. I was the final five minutes of this show, right before Ollie North took over the airwaves. Yep. Me and Republican radio, just like you always knew it would happen.
For those of you who missed it (ie: all of you), I was on the radio to discuss the Oakland Book Drive. I have never been on national radio before, but somehow I wasn’t nervous. I think it was the fact that the only person I knew who could possibly have been listening was the ghost of my father.
But a strange thing happened whenever the host, BQ, and I spoke at the same time — a metallic ringing in my ear, kind of like feedback, but more like an error buzzer. So for the first thirty seconds of my interview, I was stammering and stuttering, trying to figure out if I was becoming a digital version of myself through the phone, or if I was somehow on a cell phone or if I was sounding like a complete idiot. I think because I was so thrown off, I summed up the OPL book drive as, “Well, I told people they needed books, and then people sent books!” Something brilliant and witty like that. She said that this was the kind of story she liked sharing with her listeners, how one person can initiate change with even a daunting problem such as public library budget cuts. I worked in that people can help their local libraries if they don’t want to help (hippie liberal) Oakland’s. Know your audience, people.
So then she deftly maneuvered the conversation over to the book, asking me why girls are weird. This is not the first time I’ve gotten this question after announcing the title of my novel, so I need to come up with a good answer for this. As we started discussing the life choices of a twenty-something female, the desire to have it all, and how to live your life with no regrets, BQ somehow worked in this sentence: “Because then the next thing you know, you’ve got forty-year old women buying uteruses. Don’t you think? Don’t you agree?”
Cut to me in complete, stunned silence. All I could think was, “Goodnight, Oakland!”
I somehow got it back to being about living your life without regrets, when BQ asked me pointblank if I’m married with kids. When I told her I wasn’t, she launched into how children are never a regret no matter what age you have them, or whether or not you’re married. Then she said that you can have kids at any age, and can have it all at any age. Somehow I’d persuaded her back to my point and away from the uterine-sale she was harping on earlier. We ended the interview without mentioning the name of this website or my full name, but the book got a lengthy discussion and BQ is sending a pile of books sent to the station over to Oakland. It’s important that the Bay area is exposed to right wing points of view every once in a while, don’t you think?
Speaking of other points of view, welcome Plastic people. Hope you stick around and read some of the letters from people who donated and from librarians who wrote in. It might address some of your skeptical concerns. (And thanks, M Giant for the publicity!)
Natalie is thinking about me, and that makes me feel good:
[readermail]i just got a thank you note from Jamie Turbak, the children’s librarian at the piedmont branch. it had a sticker on the back of a penguin reading a book and the title of the the book was “books are cool!” a hot title indeed. and she tucked in a captain underpants bookmark!
i sent them “the cat who wished to be a man” by lloyd alexander and “underkill” by leonard chang. leonard chang is a local author who, until last week, was a professor at mills college of oakland in the MFA program. now he’s quit teaching to be a writer all the time and i wanted to give a copy of his newest book to the library in his neighborhood as a horray! and a thank you! leonard helped my finish my first novel this year and he’s just an amazing writer and a great friend and he even has a website devoted to him that he doesn’t maintain: www.leonardchang.com which i think is a real sign of arrival, don’t you?
and then a few days ago i was in cody’s books with my friend len and i told him about your book drive and he got so excited he bought the library some hard-cover science fiction (sorry i can’t tell you the titles.) (and too bad it wasn’t hard-core science fiction. because then i might have remembered the titles.) i love that you’re doing this! and i’m amazed that you’re spending so much time updating us all about all this greatness… is it cutting into your writing time? i hope not.[/readermail]
It’s just making for longer work days, but it’s all so rewarding I don’t mind. At least when I’m online updating I’m getting semi-human contact. Sitting in front of my laptop writing scripts or editing the new novel can be very lonely.
But I’m still working and I’m still writing. Thanks for worrying about me. Also, there’s so much procrastination involved in writing… at least I’m doing something worthwhile when I’m not working on a rewrite.
Kate sent a book but really wants to talk about her funny friends:
[readermail]I gave in and purchased Tales of a Female Nomad for the Montclair Branch because if I walked by that book in the library, I’d pick it up and check it out. I’ve done a fair share of travelling myself, but she makes me look like a homebody.
I have a website, but what I’d like to pimp are some friends of mine who have a sketch comedy group called The Habit. They’ve taken their show from Seattle to Hollywood, and are playing this month at the Complex Theater. SEE THEIR SHOW. It’s a steal at $10.[/readermail]
The Complex is across the street from where we did the Anne Heche show, for those of you interested in going.
The librarians are getting creative with their thank yous:
[readermail]Just wanted to let you know that I received a personalized thank-you card from the OPL. Had a handwritten note about my book choice and even an excerpt from my comment that you posted on your site. Now, that’s classy. Thought you’d find that cool…[/readermail]
Emily proves it’s never too late:
[readermail]Subject: Finally, I’m a cool kid!
I’m a long-time reader (read: lurker) of your site (although I did buy a Squishy shirt from you, so maybe you do remember me), and, like everybody else who has written to you, I think it’s great that you’re doing this for the Oakland Public Library. I wasn’t able to donate anything earlier, as unemployment has made my wallet kinda of light lately, but I’ve finally gotten a bit of spare cash, and the Canadian exchange rate isn’t too bad, so here I am, joining all the other cool kids. “Richard Scarry’s Best Sing-Along Mother Goose Video Ever!” is on it’s way to the Montclair Branch. (I think that’s the branch. I can’t remember now.) I loved Richard Scarry’s books when I was a kid (the pickle car! The worm! So many pigs!), and I like to sing, so it made much more sense to send that than a lot of other stuff I don’t recognize. Since I also just donated to Allison and Chris, it’s about all I could afford to send. Hopefully I’ll get a job soon, and I’ll be able to send some more stuff to both parties.[/readermail]
Now as happy as I am that Emily could help, I don’t want you guys using your unemployment checks to donate to Oakland or my friends. Please use your unemployment checks to pay your electric bill, get some food, save some money in the bank for when unemployment runs out. I do appreciate it, but you can always donate later when you can afford it. Crazy Canadians.
Allison’s website has an update with photographs of the apartment post-fire, if you’re interested in that kind of… closure, I guess.
For those of you wondering why some public library wishlists have fancy expensive DVD players on them, the following letter might shed some light, and prompt you to contact your local library before sending off an item:
[readermail]I know you’re flooded with e-mails about the library donations, but I just had to tell you what ended up happening to my well-meant book donation to a public library in Decatur, GA.
I found a Decatur library with a wish list on Amazon, donated two books about aquariums (I did think it was awfully weird that they only wanted books about aquariums), and left it at that.
Yesterday, I got an e-mail from Amazon saying that someone from the Avis G. Williams library in Decatur was trying to contact me. They didn’t give me his info or anything, but I found the number for the library and got an e-mail address for him. I assumed he just wanted to know whom to acknowledge for the gift (I work for a nonprofit, and we’re always having to track down donor info), so I wrote him this e-mail telling him who I was and how the person he should really thank is this girl named Pamie at pamie.com because she started this feel-good library donation thing and blah blah blah.
I got a return e-mail saying, “Please call me immediately. There has been a misunderstanding.”
So I call him, and he tells me that the list I found on Amazon is his PERSONAL wish list and that he’s just having them sent to him at his work address, which happens to be the library. Mwah-mwah-mwaaaaah!
In the end, he said the head of circulation decided to take the books as a donation anyway and that they’d put my name in the front and whatever, so I still got to do a nice thing for the library, sort of. If anyone wants to read about aquariums, anyway.[/readermail]
How nice of that guy to not be like, “Hey, free books! Thanks, Sugar Mama!”
[readermail]Just when I was starting to think that I was a cold-hearted bitch, I read the comments of the people that emailed you and I got all teary and sniffly.
I spent my childhood in libraries and I don’t have the words to express how important libraries have been to me at various points in my life. I wanted to let you know that, because of your webpage and the information about the Oakland Public Library, I have decided to pick one public library a month and send them at least $25 in books and/or music.[/readermail]
What a nice idea. A book Johnny Appleseed. The library revolution has begun!
It’s amazing how much we accomplished in just three weeks, don’t you think? I’m so proud of the people of pamie.com.
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