Wednesday, January 13, 2010

It's a "Go"

Looks like the course of my life for the next 2-1/2 years has now been set. The 60th anniversary Lamplighter History project got green lighted today.

What a fun day it was. My plan was to meet Alison at a BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) station somewhere in the Bay Area so we could talk for a bit about our understandings, desires, timetables, etc. for the project, so we would go into the meeting with Barbara and Kathryn prepared.

We chose the El Cerrito BART station because several people had told me there would be no problem parking there.

Several people were wrong.

They have two big parking lots, but both were full, so instead we decided not to take BART over to San Francisco (to avoid the parking problems that you always find there) and just plan on parking at a lot which I thought was near the office. But first, we went to Starbucks to talk about the project.

It was fun going over the details with her. This is our third Lamplighter history project and despite the fact that's been 20 years since the last one came out, we discovered we really do have it down to a science. Not the somewhat daunting task that it seemed back in 1975, when we began the first one.

For one thing, in 1975, I was extremely intimidated by the actual writing, though I was star-struck enough that I wanted to get a chance to be up close and personal with all these people I had admired from the stage. 30-plus years later, I am confident in my ability to write my part(s) of this book and have strong opinions about what I would like to do (and not do). (I'm also no longer star-struck!)

After we finished our pre-meeting meeting, we drove over to park at the garage at 5th and Mission. Having lived in Davis now for more than 30 years, I forgot that the intersection of 5th and some other block is not necessarily the 500 block of that intersection. All streets in San Francisco run on a diagonal, so you never are sure what would be the cross street for which address. It seemed to me (and as a native San Franciscan, I should have known better) that if you walk four or five blocks down 5th Street to Bryant Street, that the intersection would be the 500 block to the right and the 400 block to the left. Silly me. 5th and Bryant St. is the 600 block to the right and the 500 block to the left. We were going to a building in the 400 block so we had more long blocks to walk before we got there. We were late to the meeting, but that was OK.

It was a delightful meeting with Barbara and Kathryn, who had their own agenda, which pretty much matched ours. We laid our our understanding, what we would do and what we did not want to do, they agreed, and all that was really left was to eat pastry and drink orange juice!

So our time line includes spending 2010 interviewing some 40-50 people and transcribing the interviews while someone else does the database work that neither of us ever wants to see again. That leaves 2011 for writing and designing the book and then it gets sent to the printer to be ready for the 2012 Gala, the big 60th birthday party and book release. Piece o' cake. Or pastry. Or something.

Of course I know that it's going to seem overwhelming at times (especially if I have lots of interviews backed up to transcribe, since I'm doing all the transcription), but I'm excited about starting the project again.

Alison and I both agreed that one of the main things that got us to agree to work on this book (which we so vehemently refused to do at the 50th anniversary) is that we have fun working together and we live many miles apart, so this is a chance to have another two years of working together again.

AND, a big point is that the first two books were our idea, so we did have some convincing to do to the board, which, at times, caused problems. This time they came to us and so we are in a better position to kind of shape the project the way we want to (like saying someone else can do the database work!). The age of computers has also significantly altered some of the more problematic parts of the project as well, specifically the ability to put things into a database (which we had never heard of in 1975) and advances in printing, which may make it less costly to get the book printed. But we suggested that they also do the leg work on printing options as well. Been there, done that, don't want to do that again!

I'm really kind of excited about it. I hope I can continue to say the same thing two years from now.

When it was all over, Alison and I went to Denny's for nachos and to sit and talk about the meeting, the project, and to start getting caught up on each other's lives again. That's going to be the real perk of this project--working with Alison again!

This must be the week for old friendships. I went to a meeting yesterday to plan the birthday party of a beloved almost-100 year old physician (the party is the 22nd and I think he turns 100 on the 23rd). The meeting consisted of 10 people, all of whom had at one time or another been good friends from our kids' days in school, almost none of whom I ever see any more, other than to cross paths briefly at some event.

When we were discussing getting hostesses for the party and someone said "each of us maybe could ask one or two friends to help out," I realized that I had nobody in town to ask and remembered how much I liked all these women and missed them in my life. I love the dogs, I love sitting at home watching TV or writing e-mail or checking Facebook or whatever it is that I do these days, but I also miss having a friend to call up and suggest we go out to lunch or to a movie.

But then, in an embarrassment of riches, at the end of this week, on Friday, I am driving down to Ventura (south of Santa Barbara) to go to a birthday party for my friend Lynn, who is flying out from Texas for this party her family is hosting for her.

So this is a really great week for getting together with friends and I'll be sorry when it's over!

No comments: