Nobody knows the streets of South Pasadena like Margaret Finnegan, whose monthly City Walk column takes readers on virtual tours and offers lively, witty commentary on South Pas neighborhoods.
Now Finnegan, whose work has also appeared in LA Times, Salon, FamilyFun and other publications, has published a novel, The Goddess Lounge.
We asked Finnegan to sit down with herself and tell us about the journey from monthly Patch columnist to novelist.
Margaret, let's begin with your . How did that get started?
Walking every street of my hometown has long been on my bucket list. Luckily, South Pasadena is only 3.42 square miles. Otherwise, I would probably die trying to carry out my bucket list, and you never want your bucket list to turn into an epitaph.
How about The Goddess Lounge? Was writing that on your bucket list?
Actually, that was more of a compulsion.I wanted to read a book about a mom who struggles with what I struggle with: wanting to be the best mother I can be but also wanting to own my own life. I couldn't find that book, and everything close was full of unremitting misery. If I want unremitting misery I can look at the ever-growing pile of unfolded laundry on my couch and the mildew in my bathroom. I wanted a book that was fun—and funny. So I wrote it.
You did! And The Goddess Lounge has been called "Smart, funny, and strangely comforting," as well as "A wild, hilarious and empowering adventure."
My mother has been very supportive.
You have a novel. You have a column. Clearly, you are almost an international celebrity. What is next for you?
Well ... there is that unfolded laundry. ... And I am determined to walk the entire length of Monterey Road. But it seems kind of far, and then I'd have to walk back. Let's just say I'm mulling possibilities.
Where can we find The Goddess Lounge?
Lots of places, but the best thing to do would be to join me at a book signing and reception at Arts Center on July 21 from 3:00 to 4:30 in the afternoon. I'm making cookies! Best of all, 20 percent of all Goddess Lounge proceeds will go directly to SPACE art scholarships.
As you may know, the arts have not fared well in the recession. Between state budget cuts and tighter family budgets, the Department of Education claims that there has been growing inequity in children's access to quality arts education, and that's a shame because scientists are finding more and more evidence about how creativity benefits brain development.
Equity in education—equity in life opportunities—isn't augmented by the arts. It is dependent on the arts. SPACE does terrific work in not only bringing professional resident artists to South Pasadena public elementary schools, but in providing on-site arts education to children, teens, and adults.
The hope is that this book signing can help make that education available to kids who would not otherwise have access to it.
Any parting words?
Go for a walk and read The Goddess Lounge, but not at the same time.