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Doing all this was, of course, a romp; I was almost disappointed when one Sara Boutelle put out a beautiful and highly informative book about Julia. It was almost too easy. She listed all 700+ of Julia’s buildings and gave lots of other hard information.

But what wasn’t easy was figuring out how to present Julia on a stage. Her buildings were more than entertaining, but her life made a fairly dull play: she worked, and then worked some more. In her spare time, guess what? she worked.   She didn’t have romances; she had buildings. She didn’t have histrionic arguments; she explained carefully why a proposed structure needed reinforcement or didn’t fit a landscape or expected use. She got up early to travel to San Simeon, and worked late, fueled by coffee and chocolate, to redesign something that wasn’t working. She wouldn’t do interviews. “I want my buildings to speak for me,” she said firmly.