Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Dena is My Village

Yesterday morning I went to South Pasadena to meet with writer, blogger and successful entrepreneur Margaret Finnegan. Her luscious new book, The Goddess Lounge, is selling very well. I had a long list of questions to ask her about publishing as I move forward with my plans for Camelot & Vine.

Pictured is the old Meridian Iron Works building, which houses the South Pasadena Historical Museum. It's right by the Mission Metro Rail Station. South Pas is the closest thing to Mayberry around here. You can ride your bike to the station and take the train to downtown Los Angeles; it takes about 15 minutes. The big white square is for movies on the lawn.

Some may argue that Altadena is our closest thing to Mayberry, but Altadena is more like the Dena's version of Berkeley. In about 1976. Or Idlewild in the off-season.

South Pasadena is Margaret's turf. It's also Laurie's turf. Thank you, Laurie, for allowing me the border-crossing. Laurie would say it's my turf, too. We are sooo not territorial around here.

Margaret and I sat upstairs at Buster's (cash only), just across the street from the Iron Works. The heat has finally arrived on the west coast so we drank iced drinks. I had too much caffeine. Margaret generously answered every question on my typed list, and waited patiently while I jotted notes. (We are sooo not territorial around here.)

My biggest question was, now that I've done all this research, what's my next step?

There are about five first steps.

Hello ground, I have hit you running. Thank you, Margaret.

And thank you, Buster's, for the caffeine.


Adele said...

Congratulations to you and the Ground. I can't wait to hear what happens next! (Oh, and I finished Margaret's book while I was in Sequoia. Love, love, love it!)

Ann Erdman said...

Gosh, I haven't been to Buster's in a couple of years. Time for a visit! I always run into someone I know there, which is lovely.

dive said...

Currently on Chapter 8 of Goddess (and rationing myself so it doesn't fly by too fast). Can't wait for you to follow in Margaret's footsteps, Petrea.
That's a wonderful building. Pasadena really cares for its heritage.

Bellis said...

Yes, South Pasadena is Mayberry. You should see all the families with young children eating and playing on that lawn when the Thursday Farmer's Market is on. And if you're a train-mad toddler, Buster's is a great place to sit and watch them.

Mister Earl said...

Well, let's just say it has aspects of Mayberry. Recently, after Andy Griffith passed away, the mayor said that one of the reasons South Pasadena is like Mayberry is the the police chief lives in town. Considering how this came about, it's probably not something to point to with pride.

On another note, the South Pasadena Preservation Foundation is seeking donation of used red common bricks to replace the dirt in the parkway in front of the Meridian Iron Works. You can see the dirt parkway in your photo.

Desiree said...

Dena. I'm so square I shudder when people say Cali.

Great going with the research!

Petrea Burchard said...

Adele, I was going to start posting stuff on my "Camelot & Vine Casey's Adventure" page. But I've discovered it doesn't work like a blog, so I may post it all here. We'll see. I want to tie it in with the blog theme, you know.

I hadn't been in a while, Ann, and it was fun to be there. I especially like the upstairs, but the whole place retains its charms.

I've heard several people mention savoring the book in that way, Dive. I first read it as a beta reader; there've been changes, and I think now I'll go back and read again to savor. The heritage thing--it's the best thing about the Dena besides the people, in my opinion. Our politicians do well to take note; historic preservation keeps property values high.

I love Farmer's Market Thursday eves in South Pas, Bellis.

Mister Earl, I should have qualified my statement! When it comes to politics, it's like Chicago down there.

Thank you, Des. Yes! Dena. There is no other. Who said Cali? I have the power to delete.

Jean Spitzer said...

Upstairs at Buster's: I miss it.

Lucky you, the Denas are wonderful, especially if you include the adjacents.

I love the mini publishing empire/boom that's occurring. I love to read.

Petrea Burchard said...

I love it, too, Jean, it's really exciting. Moans and groans from New York: "the publishing industry is ailing!" But it's not, it's just changing, and it's an exciting time to be a writer.

Speedway said...

I think it's a bit ironic that most of us leave our home towns for the "big city" only to search out smaller neighborhoods where we feel comfortable. Yet, I would NEVER return to the small town because here I have access to more cultural resources, more people who share my interests than I ever did at home. I guess we want culture, but with trees.

LOLfromPasa said...

Another great story and photo to go with it. When we were in Pasadena last month, we went on train to LA for French Dip at Philippes and then on way back got off in So Pas for a visit to Buster's. Super. Good on you for seeking advice but no worries, I am sure your Camelot & Vine will be a huge success.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

I like Speedways comment "we want culture but with trees"

Our native born cultural Tsar (of the Southland) Mike Davis, chose east Altadena as his home. After renting a plane to fly over LA., Altadena, from above, presented the highest density of trees.

So exciting to see Margarets success. Smart of you to seek her council. Will you be up and running in 2013?

Petrea Burchard said...

Speedway, the hometown has its blessings and its curses, dammit.

LOL, I'm having so much fun it almost doesn't matter. NO WAIT I TAKE THAT BACK. I'm having fun and it matters.

PA, thank you for asking. I expect to have the book out by early October. Excuse me while I bite a nail--it's been so exciting to watch Margaret's progress and success I only have one nail left.

TheChieftess said...

In my case...I want culture with my trees!!!

I've never been upstairs at Buster's...only outside! Should we be warning the Olympics that you've hit the ground running with caffeine fueling???

Trish said...

Petrea, glad you ventured out to SoPas for a visit. I left that Mayberry for a bigger field to play in. Oddly enough, I eventually ended up in a town very similar to SoPas. Same politics and trees, just less smog and traffic, with more culture. Similar issue with the PD, Mr Earl, small town stuff is the same pretty much anywhere you go.

I giggle because when I left Mayberry, Buster's had barely put their foot down, few were sure if it would keep that foothold. So glad it is an institution now!

Your photo reminds me of hanging out at the Iron Works as a kid. That grass used to hold a white building, that currently escapes me as to what it held before the Metro began to run thru SoPas and they made it into that vast lawn and bike parking. The horse trough and seating directly behind those bike seem related, even though it has been years since horses were tied there.

Hoping that the caffeine spurred you on to tackle that list of answers Margaret helped you with and looking forward to seeing Camelot & Vine in print soon!

Petrea Burchard said...

Chieftess, you do have your share of trees. And I think the Olympics are going doing fine without me.

Trish, I guess I've never taken a photo of the horse trough--haven't shown one here, I don't think. And I didn't take one yesterday, nor did I get a shot of Buster's (but click the link below and I have a shot of the interior).
It's weird because the trough is filled in. Good place to sit.

Trish said...

Great place to sit now and certainly cool in the heat we've had of late. There used to be a drinking fountain as well near the trough. Would love to see your take on the trough sometime (I think I can wait until after C&V is out).

Thanks for bringing back memories for me!

Susan Campisi said...

One of these days I'm going to take a vacation and stay right here exploring all the places in Dena (the Dena?) I never have time to visit.

I'm thoroughly enjoying The Goddess Lounge. It's very cool we've all been reading it around the same time, and the same will be true of your book. How great that you're looking at an October publishing date!

Petrea Burchard said...

My fingers are tightly crossed. One of the things Margaret shared with me is that I'll be depending on others--for book blurbs, for proofreading, for design, etc.--and not everyone is on my schedule! (I have no idea why not.) But the ball is rolling and picking up speed.

Ms M said...

Looks like a nice spot to visit. It's great when you have other authors to talk with (and who are not territorial). And glad you're planning your steps to publication!

Petrea Burchard said...

Ms. M, I've found the writing and blogging community here in the San Gabriel Valley to be nothing but generous and supportive. In every way, I'm in the best place.

Latino Heritage said...

Don't think it can be the Dena as you couldn't ask for three more distinct places. Shoot, Altadena is a study in at least three parts. I'm with Deseree on this.

I love that you caught the "screen" that is used for outdoor movies and the bikes share their story, too. What an eye you have!

Petrea Burchard said...

I'm not sure I get your meaning, LH, but it's true, I don't know of a town that isn't divided into parts and united at the same time. The Dena has its absolutely distinct parts, yet to me it's a unit all the same.

Margaret said...

Late to the party again. Oh, my. My sweet girl has been sick a ,or so it is hard for me to stay abreast of things, but I had such a good time, and South Pasadena is indeed lovely.

Petrea Burchard said...

Margaret, I'm sorry your girl is sick. Both your girls are sweet.