Saturday, April 23, 2011

Crunch Time for a Bibliophile

As of today, Saturday, April 23, 2011, I've got six more Saturdays, including today, in which I can check out books from the Valencia library. On June 4, books can no longer be checked out from there, Canyon Country or Newhall, and on June 10, all materials belonging to those three libraries will be due.

Now, I don't know when holds being placed for materials from the other County of Los Angeles libraries will be cut off. I've been lucky because despite declarations that any items put on hold from those libraries have to be picked up from the Castaic library (separate from the three Santa Clarita branches), all the books I've put on hold through the online library catalog have come to Valencia. If this was not meant to happen, I hope they don't correct it. Not yet. I still need these weeks so I can keep bringing in presidential books for research for my second book. I need those books. As I've said before, without the County of Los Angeles libraries, I never would have been able to write my share of What If They Lived?. I don't expect to get through all the books I'd need, but just to get the relatively major ones out of the way and those notes transcribed and saved, so I have it and can be comfortable with either checking out what those three branches have come July 1, or buying for cheap whatever I need off of

But this also presents a new conundrum. Because though I'm dedicated to getting this research done, to figuring out exactly how I want to cover the material I'm bringing together, there's a play that keeps nagging me. Or maybe two plays. One takes place during Grad Nite at Disneyland (inspired by chaperoning my sister's Grad Nite in 2007), involving two sets of characters at different places in the park during the same hours, and the other takes place just off the lobby at the Grand Californian hotel, at two plush easy chairs, with a small circular table in between them, and a lamp a few inches behind the chair on the left, and a long, horizontal rose-patterned rug. I had my sister take pictures on her phone and e-mail them to me so I get the setting exactly right.

I've already spent time on the Dramatists Play Service website (, and spent some money there, ordering those plays that hew fairly closely to what I want to write. I want to see how those playwrights did it, how they staged their plays, how they presented those situations. I want to learn as much as I can from them. At the same time, I've also become very much inspired by the works of Sam Shepard, or rather his prose. About two weeks ago, I checked out as many of his plays as I could find, intending to read them. This week, I've got more presidential books on hold to be picked up, and those are crucial in the face of these dwindling weeks.

But maybe there is a way to still have Shepard's plays, even though I'll likely return them today to pick up the books I need. I'll just put them on hold again after I've returned them and picked up my books on hold, and hope for the best. I should have the same luck next week that I've had this week. With so many people having abandoned the Valencia library in favor of Castaic and other County branches in anticipation of the transfer of control from the County to the City of Santa Clarita (It's a lot emptier on a Saturday than it used to be), there's more space for me.

Oh, one other thing to mention. I hit upon this book in an e-mail I subscribe to containing Washington Post book reviews. It's called Founding Gardeners: The Revolutionary Generation, Nature, and the Shaping of the American Nation by Andrea Wulf. A rather unwieldy title, but important to me because Wulf wrote about the first four presidents' passion for gardening. This is exactly what I'm seeking. It can be done, and so can the aspect of the presidents that I want to write about. I just have to figure out how to do it and I'm sure this book can help in some way. I don't intend to buy it now, since it's just a little too pricey for me after what I've already bought in recent weeks, but I will soon. I want to see how Wulf wrote about Washington, Adams, Jefferson and Madison, and maybe there'll be inspiration in there for me.