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What the Wind Brought Me

 Come see the reading on the 25th in Quincy!

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Reading at Notre Dame de Namur in Belmont, CA Feb. 15th

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Anyone in the Bay Area want to come to a reading? I’ll be there.

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Just. One. Book. CRAZY HAPPY JOY!

So we are pretty much AT CAPACITY.  I think we need more bookcases than books now. What a great problem to have! You guys rock. I got some wonderful personal cards and messages that I opened today. Including a friend of mine, Jenny who sent me chocolate to eat while we open packages. Because BOOKS AND CHOCOLATE are an awesome combination.

 

I want you to know so many people in our community are revitalized by this effort. We have people volunteering an hour or two a day. A steady stream of kids. But then we also have the postal people cheering us on! The Evergreen Market is helping us by taking the cardboard to recycle. People are figuring out what they can donate when. Perhaps bookshelves. Time. Ideas for programming. It’s like a thousand ideas at once.

You know what was cute today? My kids are back from Wisconsin and are working the library with three of their friends today. They were opening boxes and stacking things so the adults could record what came in and from who where we could see it. The kids would stop every once in awhile , squeal out the name of a book and thumb through and another of them would remind them that we were here to work not read yet, and the kid would say “but I’m dying to read this one!” or “I didn’t even know this was a book!” Stuff like that. So adorable.

Of course they’re all tweens and they drove me nuts too.

So remember those shelves with only encyclopedias and biographies from the 50s?

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THIS IS US TODAY!

You can’t tell from the photo but some of these are double rowed. So now begins our process of finding duplicates, of seeing if there was something teachers wanted that we overlooked. If you haven’t sent a box yet but were thinking of it, please hold off for now. We will have a great announcement in a few days for next steps.

THANK YOU  THANK YOU THANK YOU. This was successful beyond any of our imaginations.

This has been such a positive experience for all of us. In the midsts of so much divisiveness politically, in the midst of so much aggression and violence in our world–here is kindness. Here is generosity. Here is life anew. THANK YOU.

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Just. One. Book. Curiosities.

Greetings. I THINK I’ve responded to all emails. There’s a chance I haven’t. There’s 30K words of my new book due to my writing group on Sunday so naturally I’m blogging with you all instead.

THANK YOU! You all are one generous bunch of mammals! You are from every English speaking country on the planet at this point. You care about books and young adults and care that no one who wants to read is left without books to read.

Many of you have posted suggestions that we are looking into. I’ve passed on your links, your grant suggestions, etc. to the people who can best deal with them. I am learning to delegate authority and put myself out of work. Yay!

Green Bay is lovely by the way. JUNE is a good month for Green Bay. Mild not too humid. And these people love craft beer and cheese with such abandon it’s rather fun to watch. Back in California I’m sure someone would have told me not to sample 20 kinds of cheese NOT so in Wisconsin. I digress.

Word has spread like summer fire and students are coming to the library in the summer to help out. We have a team of kids coming in Monday to help clean off the dust, pack up trophies from the glory days and scrub the grime from the room as well as knock out all the recycling.

Everyone rather be reading. I have a feeling this library will morph into one the parents and staff use as well.

Since I get so many repeat questions, I thought I’d reiterate here.

Yes we take used and paperback provide they look/feel newish.

Yes we are 7th-12th grade. Not collecting in particular for younger grades.

There are a few books we have multiple copies of which will be great for class sets: Book Thief, House on Mango Street, and Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Ya’ll LOVE those books.

Yes we have a donation plan coming into place for sharing duplicates with other area libraries.

Address wise—the school building will be closed for vacation July 1-15. Please send books to  PO Box 585 Greenville, CA 95947 during this time. If you need a street address email me.

Thank you!

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Just. One. Book. It’s Starting.

Enthusiasm has taken hold. I’m gone for the rest of the week in the lovely town of Green Bay, WI. visiting my dad– the other person in my family who gave me a love of books. My dad got that from my grandma who used to drop my dad and his brother off at the library for hours on end. Some of my favorite books over the years came from my dad. No rhyme or reason, just every now and then a book he thought a young person should read–and as I’m older now he still does it. Some of my favorite non-fiction comes from him. He came from a family that while, uneducated in its humble beginnings in New York, used libraries. His mother didn’t graduate from high school; my father has a PhD as well as a medical degree. We call him ‘double-doctor.’

I still look to him for book recommendations. And Packers gear. And cheese. Go Packers.

Meanwhile focus in Greenville say packages are still arriving. More kids who are in town for the summer are showing up to help discard old debris, make recycling runs, and the exciting part—opening boxes. One student yesterday remarked to Sue Weber, “I don’t even want to go to classes next year. Can I just sit in here and read?” Book contraband.

Last night when I finally got to talking with my son, he’d asked his friends on FB if there were books they wanted to have in the library.  Every recommendation my son and his friends threw at me I got to answer with, “Yup. Have it. It’s coming.” His friends were amazed. He was amazed.

My daughter revised the summer plans for when we get back. “Okay so, in the morning we work the library; in the afternoons, we go to the pool.” Yes, indeed. Sounds like a sweet summer plan.

Both the Washington Post and Feather River Publishing (the newspaper I work for) have asked me to do stories on the library project.  Yay! And we have teachers working on a donorchoose.org campaign as we realize we will need a designated computer for the library–something we don’t have now. The former Greenville High School library was never digitized.

Also we have a name now for the new library. Since it is for both schools and since the community is so intrinsically involved (and we envision them using the library too) we’ve named it the Indian Valley Collective Library.

Hope you’re having a good day. I know we are.

Green Bay!

 

 

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Just. One. Book. Saturday with List.

Good morning. One foot in front of the other! Throwing Chanclas has not put up a shoe lately. Here’s one of my favorites.

As I write this people all over town have their fire places going. I have to check the date. Yes it is JUNE. We never get rain and burr cold in June. So much for summer. I was planning to be indoors today anyhow as my partner in crime, Heidi Moore, is coming to Greenville so we can record an audio book of some of my new short stories from my yet to find a publisher collection Mary of the Chance Encounters. So yay! Fun! I hope my voice holds out. Heidi is an independent film director with her own micro-company in Chester called Wretched Productions.

Meanwhile down at the library my mother (who is the and I mean THE OCD neat freak Virgo will be meticulously recording the names of new books, notes from you guys, addresses for thank you cards, etc. We have our first big round of volunteers coming today to haul away stuff, etc.

The culinary arts teacher Judy Dolphin has given me her list. Amazon seems to be down right now in the list category but as soon as it’s up I’ll post it. I’ll put it on the end of this post as well. Judy also has the cheerleading squad coming in this coming week to take down the glory days trophies from the 1980s and dust for the first time in 30 years. We have someone working on buying new paint.

My husband the IT guy is donating some time to do some rewiring and reconfiguring of some of the computers on the side of the room. There’s 14 stations but only about 4 that are usable at the moment.

What’s making me happy at this moment, is it’s no longer one crazy mom flailing her arms and yelling, “hello we need to do something here!” It’s no longer me exclaiming, “Dude–what’s up with the three copies of the Stepford Wives in the seventh graders books?”  Now I can’t even go to the market without someone saying: “I heard about what’s happening with the library. This is exciting. How can I help?”

Yesterday I had two volunteers join me. I was feeling pretty bummed about my beloved MacBookAir taking a vacation too. The postman dropped off five giant bags of your boxes. We cleaned out four old bookcases. One of the ladies who volunteered had been on the board 12 years ago when they voted to nix the librarian position. She was the only one to vote against it. She was the mother of four boys who’d gone through the school and she kept shaking her head at how bad it had gotten in the library. That it had become “a storage closet for things people didn’t want” instead of a vibrant place. I learned so much from her yesterday.

Both principals came by too. The spirit of what we are trying to do is catching on! Other people want to work on this.

So I’m taking a bit of a day off.  I’m going to go drink some tea with honey so my voice can last through 10 stories. And I’m super confident my mom and her friends will make an amazing dent in your contributions.

THANK YOU! Here is the culinary teacher’s list:

The American Culinary Federation’s Guide to Culinary Competitions: Cooking to Win! (it would be great to have several copies or class set – 12)

Culinary Math Principles and Applications (this is another book that it would be great to have a class set – 12)

An American Chef’s Dream

Tastes and Tales of a Chef: A Culinary Journey with Mr. A

Tastes and Tales of a Chef: The Apprentice’s Journey

Tastes and Tales of a Chef: Stories and Recipes

Peeking Behind the Wallpaper

“A Woman’s Place Is in the Kitchen”: The Evolution of Women Chefs

The New Professional Chef

Locavore Adventures: One Chef’s Slow Food Journey

Outstanding in the Field: A Farm to Table Cookbook

The Farm to Table Cookbook: The Art of Eating Locally

It’s All about the Love: A Cookbook, a Memoir and the Balance Between Art and the Bottom Line. by Michele Camera Faurot Former Owner and Executive Chef of Cafe Michele.

Starting & Running a Restaurant for Dummies

On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen

Mastering the Art of French Cooking

The Professional Chef

The New Professional Chef

Arzak Secrets

The Professional Chef’s Techniques of Healthy Cooking

The Sorcerer’s Apprentices: A Season in the Kitchen at Ferran Adria’s Elbulli

The Making of a ChefIMG_6921

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Just. One. Book. Friday Morning 8 am

I am not ignoring you.

I am however 1) on deadline and 2) overwhelmed.

Like who starts a book campaign when so many people to work on it are out of town? Next week will be simpler when people are back.

So first off—thank you , thank you, thank you! You book lovers are amazing and you’re purchasing things off our Amazon wish list as fast as I can list them which is not very fast considering I live in a forest where the Internet parties like it’s 1995.

I will get to everyone and quickly as I can. I like correspondence. Just a few things I gathered from the emails I ‘ve gone through:

  1. Please read the updates! I think I’ve answered most questions people are asking there.
  2. I’m listing mostly non-fiction now.
  3. Building a CD collection — so many kids are musically illiterate and that was my favorite part of school as a kid was listening to LPs on headphones! Got a recommendation? Let me know.
  4. Building a DVD collection. We’re in the mountains –not everyone has TV set up and you can’t watch TV without cable. We do a good deal of swapping around here so kid appropriate DVDs are welcome. The nearest movie theatre has one screen and plays one movie a week. It’s quaint and fun but limited. I’m from Los Angeles so I take my films seriously. 🙂 Ask my kids. They aren’t allowed to get up until after the credits.

We are looking into Donor Chose. Thank you for the suggestions. You all are amazing and the kids who aren’t at camps or their grandparents are popping their heads into the library room stunned.

This afternoon our committee crew is meeting. I will take a photo then.

And now….deadline! Talk to you soon.

Update: My trusty MacBook Air, which I’ve written on for going on six years, just bid me a hasty farewell. That was my computer access. It will be at least a month before I can afford a new one. Have patience with me as I navigate this blog and your comments via my phone. Your questions will get answered–it just might not be as quickly as I hoped.

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Just. One. Book. (Your Questions Answered)

Hi. I don’t know how many writers have been reading this but you know how sometimes you write yourself into a corner on a project and you think I need to get up and move around some and think about what’s going to happen next. Where is this character going? Is she really going to do what I think she’s going to do?

So if you are like me, you get up and fold laundry or take a walk in the campground (I literally live right next to the campground in our town which means when I say I live in a forest, I totally mean I live in a forest).So that’s where I’ve been on my new book project. And while it’s non-fiction this time around there’s many places it could go so I fold laundry, clean out the kids rooms, write an article for the local paper, or speak with you all and add books/films/cds to round out what I hear is coming or that we have at the library. And all and all this system I set up for myself this week was so smooth that I was thinking to myself —look at you managing all this. The house is clean. Articles are written!  New chapter worked on! You even made killer breakfast burritos for the husband.  And then I log into my email and amazon and think OH MY GOODNESS! 200 people emailed me while I slept and the Amazon wish list which I culled from wants and needs of teachers and students and my own idea of what a library should have has gone from 700 items to 5.  Holy shit.

So now I feel inadequate. THANK YOU for making me feel inadequate and humbled by the great power of a collective voice of people who want to see more books in the hands of children and young adults. YOU are seriously rocking our world right now in the most positive way possible.

I realize that this morning before taking my car in for servicing I could 1) try and answer every single email and get a list back up or 2) I could write this blog post and try to include as much as possible to address concerns and questions.

So I’m doing the latter.

  1. We do accept lightly used books. I’m totally down for that and I don’t think any of the students mind.
  2. We do have people on my wee small committee looking into all your great suggestions regarding places that do grants. THANK YOU for the heads up and referrals.
  3. We are accepting classroom sets but are scrambling to figure out what next year looks like at the same time so please, hold that thought!
  4. We aren’t accepting old National Geographics as that’s the one thing we already have plenty of which I think was the last local donation made a few years back along with bodice ripper books. Since the kids didn’t have much in the way that was targeted to their age group, we really want YA fiction and literary classics over adult romance.
  5. YES! I know that the Amazon Wish List is down. You all were so much faster than me. Thank you for your generosity. I will (after work today) add to the list with the teachers lists and recommendations others have been giving me.

If you’ve been on the Amazon Wish List you may have thought my lists were a bit whacky. They –in a large part– reflect what our programs are as well as our interests. In a small town you get to know the kids and their interests. Am I a little concerned about my own son’s fascination with The Walking Dead? Sure but he also love’s the Howard Zinn books so. What’s more I birthed a next generation Nick Cave/Leonard Cohen fan so I’m good.

I thought you might want more details of what we do well. So here it is:

  1. As with many small towns—the schools’ extracurricular programs reflect available resources (people) who teach or volunteer teach/support/coach activities.
  2. Indian Valley Academy is a progressive school that focuses on 21st century skills and channeling student interests and abilities whether they are academically inclined or not.We have kids who have not succeeded in a traditional academic setting but we’ve channeled their interests to make things happen for them. We have kids who were bored in the traditional setting and need a place that doesn’t place boundaries on them. So our dyslexic student who loves to build things gets an opportunity to both catch up on his reading and build his inventions at the same time. Our programs include a chess team, a maker design class, a philanthropy group, a theater program, a wonderfully fun choir named “Puberty’s High Note”, film/video production, and traditional classes.
  3. Greenville High School is a traditional school and also has some programs that are top-notch given our puny size and strength. It has a strong band program with a teacher who has been with us 39 years and a culinary arts program that manages to win competitions through out the state. The schools are integrated for sports and in particular a rodeo program–four students i fact just competed on the state level in rodeo. With the help of the Sierra Institute and Feather River College’s Outdoor Rec Program, our students have been able to go on hiking and water based field trips. In the 6th grade all area tweens go on a series of field trips from the top of the Feather River watershed to where it ends in the San Francisco Bay to give them a better understanding of water and its importance.  Yeah, not the kind of field trips I got growing up in Los Angeles.

What we don’t have as the other posts have indicated–is a strong grounding in the written word.  What we don’t have is a better appreciation of diversity. You are helping to provide that. You are giving these kids access to other worlds outside our great but narrow focus. You are providing your own perspective and in doing so opens up our minds and hearts.

SO THANK YOU FROM A GRATEFUL & OVERWHELMED LIBRARY ORGANIZER. THANK YOU FOR HELPING US OPEN UP THE WORLD FOR OUR KIDS. Stay tuned. There will be an updated list.

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Just. One. Book. Updates and Observations.

Honestly, folks. I do write about other things. I figured if you’re following my posts lately that I should let you know that. Tales of a Sierra Madre is my blog hub with links to all the esoteric creative things I wind up doing in this beautiful but strange place called Plumas County. Since I’m more of a writer than a blogger, things over there tend to go looong. I started Throwing Chanclas to be fun! Short! Photo driven! Light hearted and airy. Or something like that.

Anyhow, I’ve received a few emails on here wanting to know if I am a real person and if this book drive is real, etc. Yes. I am a real person. I write for a newspaper by day. I’m also a fiction writer. And I write and produce a play every once in a while. Also? I love books, I have too many, and I’m constantly giving them away. As I think many of you are too.

IMG_7340So this is me. Margaret Elysia Garcia. When I do modeling or anything of that nature I use Greta Garcia. Because ‘Margaret’ sounds like someone’s aunt in an old folks home. Not the sexiest name. And for the reporting gig and when I have to write something innocuous and boring I go by Maggie Wells whom I assume is my doppleganger sorority pledging, well-married twin with no student loan and a much larger house.

But then there’s you! You’ve been sending books. You are amazing. Sunday was hard. I’m from a very gay family–as in lesbian mothers, lesbian sister in law,  raised by gay men in the 70s, etc. My best friend from junior high was off  at Pride in DC with his new husband and we were doing that FB thang  and then bam. Orlando. And it reminded me of the kid in my daughter’s class who always tries to tease the one lesbian girl in class. And I wonder sometimes is there a way that I can personally offset this madness and hatred? Can I give the bully a book ? Will it open her world? Maybe. Maybe not. But I have to try.

And then it was Monday and  I stopped by the post office to mail a package and the post master lady said can you pull your car around back?

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And then I drove to Greenville High School/Indian Valley Academy and the secretary looked up from her computer and said, “WHAT DID YOU DO?” I walked into the library and saw this:

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So thank you. You restored my faith in humanity. And the cool English teacher and our awesome special Ed teacher and the culinary arts teacher–who is used to getting all book requests denied  all stood there at different times with their jaws dropped.  We are so used to being ignored that it is taking awhile to sink in. I started crying when I opened books. I sniffed in the books. If anyone was watching I’m sure it looked weird. I also cried when I read some of the notes with the books. Full disclosure: my dad and his wife  flew my kids out to Wisconsin to visit him and go kayaking in the North Woods so I’m a little weepy this week anyway. 

But you people are beautiful. Here are three themes going on in the notes.

  1. Retired librarians (and current ones ) get really pissed off at closed libraries. I am picturing some kind of librarian march on Washington where you all just shame Congress for continually gutting arts and education.
  2.  You remember where you came from. So many people are writing “I grew up in a small town and books SAVED me. I can’t imagine not having books. Here’s my favorite.” To this I say I know what you mean. I was a very shy army brat and it always took me six months to say hello to people. Meanwhile I just made friends with books.
  3. You care about the nation’s children and rural America. You send books to open up worlds to them. I opened up a box for LGBTQ teens and cried yet AGAIN. 

So from the bottom of my very real heart. THANK YOU.

Tomorrow is my day in the big city–the neighboring town of Quincy (population 5000) but I’ll be back on Thursday–stopping at the post office and the library. I can only imagine what the table will look like then.

So Thank you! And I’m so sorry if I’m slow in answering email. As all people who live here do, I have like six part time jobs (think Northern Exposure). So I can only get to so many at once. Here’s the current wish list for those asking:

Amazon Wish List.

And to whomever ( I think it was a few people) sent kindles YOU ROCK SO HARD THANK YOU. My husband the IT guy will be setting them up this summer so they’ll be ready to go come fall semester in September!