D.J. Waldie retires (Is that even legal?)

Brace yourselves for a shock -- D.J. Waldie, whose lyrical writings about his hometown have earned him awards, honors and the title 'the bard of Lakewood', is stepping down from his position as spokesman for the city after 32 years.

Lakewood seemed an unlikely muse. Others found much to mock about the pre-planned community, which rose from bean fields soon after the end of World War II. But Waldie, who still lives in the 1946 tract home that belonged to his parents, found poetry in the manicured streets. In 1996, he published "Holy Land", a memoir, which won the California Book Award for nonfiction. Most recently, he wrote the text for Diane Keaton's coffee table book "California Romantica", about the state's Spanish Colonial and mission-style houses.

"And what will I be doing?" Waldie wrote in an email. "I hope writing a lot more . . . although if anyone is looking for a writer to give voice to their organization's mission, I'm available . . ."

You can read an excerpt from "Holy Land", at California Authors, and browse an archive of his writing in the LA Times.

Want more Waldie? Check out Where We Are, his lovely blog on the KCET web site.

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