Letters and Actors

If you’re wanting to add information on helping the Oakland Public Library on your own site, you can link to their help page, which tells you all the many ways you can help them out. Every day I see another website mentioning the book drive, like this one or this one, spreading the word. Thank you so much.

Here’s the ALA article about the drive.

Also, those of you who want to help Austin’s library (as I’m spreading the love for Oakland, I should also give a little back to my own hometown, right?) Here’s a letter from Joanna:

[readermail]I was catching up on your entries when I noticed that “Austinite Monika” was looking for the Austin Public Library Wish List (May 15, 2003). Well, it looks like we’ve just put one up on May 30. If you can contact Monika would you please share this information with her?

The donation site is through the Friends of the Library, but going to the library’s page will also – after 3 clicks – link you there (look for “Be Part of the Story” in the News section).

Apparently we’re asking for money from online donors, but Austinites can go to Waterloo Records and BookPeople to pick up the CDs and books. I don’t know if the in-store display at BookPeople has any children’s books as this online list does not. Youth Services just received another big grant for materials so maybe that’s why.

As a public librarian, thank you so much for sparking this fire! Your name has popped up on listservs and librarian blogs, and I love that you have received such a positive response. It’s fun for me, too, because I’ve enjoyed your writing so much through your site and TWoP, and now you’ve crossed over into my territory as this kick-ass library supporter.[/readermail]

For those of you wondering what happens when you donate a book to the main branch, here’s a letter from Dana Heidrick at the collection department:

[readermail]Thank you so much for your donation. We have a minimal materials budget and really appreciate your support. We were surprised and delighted when we realized that many of the donations were due to www.pamie.com and the goodwill and kindness of people from all over North America.

The donations do not automatically go to the Main Library. We check to see which branches have lost copies or do not have any copies and assign the books throughout the entire system.[/readermail]

More cool kids!

[readermail]The Michael Moore is Cool and Pamie Rules Story made me order more books. I wouldn’t write, but I love seeing the total number of books go up. I sent Simply Alice (Alice) because of the teaser: “Starting out with the most embarrassing high-school situation imaginable (no, really!),”

Trucks: Whizz! Zoom! Rumble because my nephews are obsessed with trucks–city bus! they shout when they leave their silly suburb– and a subscription to Better Homes and Gardens because my grandfather always sent that as a gift subscription to his five children. It’s a staple of my childhood.[/readermail]

Austinite and awesome writer Matthew Sturges writes:

[readermail]I bought a book–for the Romney County, WV Public Library (because I grew up near there, and they really needed a copy of Yoga Mind and Body). I also submitted you as a topic for the Oprah show. Because Stacy watches Oprah and she could tell me if you were on it.[/readermail]

I can just see that.

Pamie was on Oprah!

Oh, good. Then that all worked out.

Oprah. She was on Oprah. Pamie.

Yes, yes. It was my idea, darling. I used “the email,” as the kids say.

I taped it, do you wanna see it?

I know what Pamie looks like. I know what Oprah looks like. I can imagine.

Are you smoking a pipe? And what’s with that jacket?

My dear Stacy, can’t you see how cool I am?

[readermail]Hey, Pamie.
I read about the book donation thing in the S.F. Chronicle, Jon Carroll’s column. I work at the Ashland branch of the Jackson County library and yesterday I received my lay-off notice. Things are pretty dismal here in all aspects of the service sector. I have a gazillion books at home which I’m not quite ready to donate but I will surely donate one from Amazon to the Oakland Public Library. The book I donated is “Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood.”

Similarly, we have a “read and release” program here in conjunction w/ local bookstores, wherein people donate newly purchased (and hopefully read) books to the library system. Thanks for putting out “the word.”[/readermail]

Rebecca writes:

[readermail]I just wanted to tell you I think what you’re doing for the libraries is wonderful and inspiring. I have biracial children so I’ve donated ‘All the Colors We Are‘ by Katie Kissinger, ‘Whoever You Are‘ by Mem Fox, and the ‘The Colors of Us‘ by Karen Katz to my local branch–who has heard what you’re doing–for them.[/readermail]

So the reason I was going to talk to Michael Moore in the first place was to ask him about this very theory that Squishite JohnConstantine brings up in this letter:

[readermail]I hate to be all Bummer McDowner on the book drive, because it’s going so well, and it really is a good thing you and everyone else is doing. (I’ve contributed to the cause myself) But I worry about the precedent.

See, I live in a very tax-adverse state. And I see that trend growing across the country. As such, we’re seeing budget crunches all over this country, and I don’t see it ending anytime soon. Communitarian efforts like libraries are going to continue to be at risk.

My point? Ah, yes. I worry that when a budget hole is plugged by cutting the book-buying funds, and then people respond to this outrage by donating as we have done here, that the anti-government privatization forces (who get elected through everyone’s favorite vote-getter: “less taxes! more money for you!”) will turn around the next year and say, “Who needs a budget for new books? The private sector will take care of it.” And now we’re off to the races. Because it gets progressively tougher to raise private funds like this. And a sort of de facto censorship can arise, as politics and expense prevent certain books from being purchased. And then there’s the precedent for other areas, going beyond libraries.

I don’t know what the political situation in Oakland is like, not to that level of detail. I suspect the scenario I’ve illustrated is unlikely, particularly considering the kind of publicity this campaign is generating. But we need to be watchful. Beyond reaching into our own pockets to fix this problem today, we need to make sure the letters and phone calls are made to ensure it doesn’t come back next year. Or the year after.

Hopefully, this effort (which is fabulous, all my fears aside, and I love you for starting it and driving it and tracking it) will serve as a bit of a wake-up call to some folks, and remind them that they need to stay informed with their community. Stay politically aware and active. Think global, act local may be a bit of a greenie cliche, but it still functions.[/readermail]

Okay, so I started a tiny forum to discuss Oakland Public Library Book Drive. Have at it, Mr. “I’m just sayin’” and Ms. “IMHO”.

Melissa writes:

[readermail]Love you, love Michael Moore. Of course, I think what you’re doing for Oakland’s libraries is absolutely fantastic. It totally reminds me of the work I used to be involved in when I worked for the Association of American Publishers, the non-profit publishing trade organization in New York. We created and ran the Get Caught Reading program, aimed at getting people of all ages to start reading for pleasure. It was amazing getting celebrities to sit for photo sessions, soliciting pro bono work from designers and printers, and doing outreach at New York is Book Country and smaller book fairs in Harlem and Brooklyn, and donating bookmarks and stickers and posters to teachers and librarians all across the U.S.

So, in that spirit, I sent the following to the Lakeview branch:

Cracking the Sat II Writing & Literature, 2003-2004 (Princeton Review), by Princeton Review
Double Fudge by Judy Blume
The Sense of Being Stared at: And Other Aspects of the Extended Mind, by Rupert Sheldrake

Keep up the good work, and thank you![/readermail]

In response to my wish for a black female candidate the other day, Kris writes:

[readermail]I’d like to point out that if you want this opportunity, it may be yours for the taking. Carol Moseley Braun, former Senator from my adopted home state of Chicago–yes, Chicago is a state. It’s not like the rest of Illinois. That’s like saying Austin is part of Texas.–is one of the hundreds of current candidates for the Democratic nomination. I think she’s the first black female candidate from a major party. And I must say, having been one of the three people who watched the Democratic debate several weeks ago on C-SPAN (like anybody watches C-SPAN!) that she really held her own. I think she might have a chance. So you could conceivably be able to vote for Senator and Ambassador Moseley Braun, at least in the primary.[/readermail]

We’re becoming so much smarter with each and every entry, aren’t we? We’re politically sexy.

Lex writes:

[readermail]Hi Pamie. I’ve been a longtime lurker of your journal and was a random visitor to your old forum. I’m so excited for your book to come out and your inevitable arrival at the “Big Time.”

I finally convinced my inner Procrastinator to join the book drive effort. “Relationship Rescue: A Seven-Step Strategy for Reconnecting With Your Partner” by Dr. Phil (from their wish list) and “Please Stop Laughing at Me” by Jodee Blanco (highly recommended by Say) will be arriving at the Cesar Chavez branch soon.

While I was visiting good ol’ Amazon, I decided to send a book over to Allison and Chris so they can start rebuilding their own book collection.

Thanks for the inspiration! And for the entertaining Squishy entries.[/readermail]

We have almost hit the 500 mark! How very exciting.

Speaking of Allison and Chris, I’m headed to Atlanta tomorrow to spend some quality time with some of my favorite people in the world. Thank you so much for all the help you’ve given them. I plan on breaking in their blender, their wine glasses, and maybe a few cereal bowls.

And now, our Anniversary Archive request.

For those of you writing in to ask about Tiny Wooden Hand, that one is in the novel. (a couple of you must have bought the book recently, as my sales rank hasn’t been in the 5,000 range in over a month!)

This letter comes from Leila:

[readermail]Hi Pamie! I used to post on Squishy (as la) but then I lost track of it when it moved. I was embarassingly excited when you started posting again…man. That sounded backhanded. Anyways, my favorite pieces from the old Squishy were the one about why it’s bad to date actors and the one where you explain all the slang you use. I used to read Squishy at school and those pieces (among others) made me laugh to myself like a crackwhore. Once my new credit card comes, I’m donating to the library and Allison and Chris. Thanks so much for your site….I can’t wait to read the book.[/readermail]

There’s nothing better than generating crackwhore guffaws. It was in an early draft of the novel, but has since been cut, and is Jeff Long’s favorite thing I’ve ever written. Here it is, “An Actor Speaks.”

And since I’ll be gone for a couple of days, here’s my slang entry. Man, I’d completely forgotten about that one. I had to search for it. How sad is it that I still say some of those things every damn day?

Currently reading

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress.

Please donate a book to Oakland

Buy My Book

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