Category Archives: Memory Checkpoint

Six Months Later

By all rights this should be a new flannel Friday post. Yeah I haven’t done one of those in a while, huh? Certainly not on a weekly basis. Another good idea put on the shelf due partially to a lack of time but mostly a lack of motivation. I’m killin’ my internet cred.

Instead I’m going to make a (hopefully) short update on my life. I forget that Twitter doesn’t do a great job of accurately portraying my life and I sure as heck don’t talk to people very much anywhere else.

snow bad

I like my snow like I like my women, beautiful, cold and uncaring, and dangerous when exposed to for too long.

SNOW IS BAD

I say six months later but it’s closer to five and a half. And five of those months were friggin cold. I mean, it’s STILL cold. But there’s a smaller chance that it’ll snow at least? The thing about snow, I’ve learned, is I hate it. I hate it so much. I hated it being dark when I went to work and dark when I got home. I hated scrapping ice off my car, snow off the driveway. I am not a fan of snow. What was nice about the snow is it was a wonderful distraction from the rest of my life. In snow the conflicting priorities of my brain had a common enemy. Plus it was too cold to do anything so sitting at home and playing video games in all my free time was A-OK.

sad lookin home

Yeah I actually WISH this is where I lived. With those many open windows I’d get more air.

THIS IS NO PLACE TO LIVE

Now…I SAY home. In a general sense. Because it doesn’t FEEL like a home. I’ve come to the conclusion that it simply won’t. The basement isn’t a terrible place to live. As a structurally sound shelter it passes. As an environment less so. It’s been an interesting ride, so interesting that I won’t even get into it now. I’m saving it all for a future post for the happy day I leave it. The title starts with “The Saga Of” so you know it’ll be a good read. Before anyone starts with the “Told You So”s you must understand: this is my best option. No. Really. This is a small college town. Sometimes I wonder if it’s too small for a college town. Rentals that I can afford are nearly all student housing. I looked at an apartment that costs more than what I’m paying now and it was not great. The logic seems to be if you aren’t a student, you can afford to rent a house. As long as you don’t have a pet, of course. Because what awful people would dare think to bring a cat or a dog into a house?

That's me on the left.

That’s me on the left.

RELATIONSHIP STATUS: NONE

Aside from the housing situation I haven’t felt overly…welcome here. Even considering coming from Southern Nevada where passive disinterest is the best you can get from a neighbor. Now I’m going to be SATURATING this next part with qualifiers, let me be clear on that. PLENTY people here are very nice. Particularly where I work most everyone is absolutely friendly. And yet often a given passing smile will be met with a cold stare. And the people that ARE friendly are friendly enough for the current conversation and then they move on. Everyone already has their own lives and concerns, I’m simply a background character to their own story. That’s not a critique, it’s a reality. I had friends I considered family at my last job, but I was there for a decade. I don’t think time is going to be the solution here. What I feel….it’s hard to say simply. Except that I haven’t met anyone I think would be a lasting friend and I don’t think I will. That’s simply said, though a little colder than what I mean. Also, it’s not like I’ve MET many people overall.

This town looks much better when it rains, I wish it would rain more often.

This town looks much better when it rains, I wish it would rain more often.

I WANNA BE WHERE ALL THE HIPSTERS ARE

With the melting snow I have made an effort to get out more. Within the town’s limits the sights of interest include…??? I had hoped for a stereotypical small town to explore in comfort. It’s not. It’s as if someone took a chunk of Henderson and plopped it down on an unforrested mountain. Walking, at least in my area, isn’t fully practical. The busses ARE free and I do need to start using them but it’s not the same. While there are a few local places to eat and shop overall it’s a typical Big Box department store/fast food chain situation. There’s a dog park I can drive to with a walking path next to a river and so far that’s my favorite place here. Otherwise…there isn’t much notable. So far. Further exploration might yield better finds.

I'd say I've had worse office window views but...actually I've never had an office with a window.

I’d say I’ve had worse office window views but…actually I’ve never had an office with a window.

THE JOB IS FINE

For the job I’ll say it IS a good job. Maybe not as fun as reading books to kids but I’m learning a lot and I’m always busy. It’s not, I think, what I want to be doing forever. Which is good since it’s a temporary position! I’m learning more and more of how all departments in a library function and a great deal of the process drives me mad. I do have some upcoming projects I am excited about.

"I've got flowers planted now everything will be okay!" I thought, as a rusted out van pulled into the driveway with my new neighbors.

“I’ve got flowers planted now everything will be okay!” I thought, as a rusted out van pulled into the driveway with my new neighbors.

SO ANYWAY

The point is I am okay. I’m okay in the strictest sense of the word. I am not HAPPY, but that is not necessary right now. I had plans, and had hoped, to upgrade my goal of survival to thriving. I even did some gardening last week when the new upstairs neighbors moved in and everything went downhill in a hurry. Now the goal is to endure. Because I’ve accepted that, at least from my current perspective, that This Is Not Where I’m Meant To End Up. My purpose here is not to have fun. My main focus is to take care of myself, my cat, my car, and to do what is needed to GET ME to Where I Am Meant To End Up. I moved to Utah because my family needed to be together. After this I can go wherever the heck I want, as long as I stick to the plan.

I’m not a fan of Henry David Thoreau. Too much of his attitude towards humanity was worthy of eye rolling. That said I agree with him on two issues: first, that the slaves should have been freed immediately. F* gradual emancipation. Secondly, you should look forward to the future. Reading his exit from Walden left a deep impression on me in high school. He said he left because- and I’m paraphrasing because high school was a long time ago- he loved Walden Pond. Thoreau felt that by being content to stay there he would waste the rest of his life. It was a place he wanted to end his days, and he didn’t want his days to end yet. Similar concept, I’m fine with not loving my current situation because I’d hate to think that I’ve already reached the peak of my life.

 

NOW WHAT?

I realize this paints a pretty bleak picture. I’m able to separate the good from the bad, though. There’s no mixed balance that creates a sum total of “Life is good” or “Life is bad”, they’re oil and water. Where I live is awful. The potential for that to improve while I’m here is low, I accept that. The job is good. I enjoy most of it. I don’t see it as a long term deal and that’s okay. The rest of my life is stalled, that’s fine. I have other things I could be doing. For now I’m going to try to get myself in better physical and mental health. I’ll work on writing in earnest. I’ll try to start mailing things out to friends more often (but uh, wait to mail stuff back to me until I give you a different address. In case my new neighbors are stealing mail). ALSO, I might try to find a church to start going to even though I love my free Sunday mornings. But at a church I’m more likely to meet people that I’m compatible with. Maybe even…a roommate? A roommate that’s not an insane person and will let me move into a decent place? It’s all a pipe dream as far as I’m concerned but you never know. Really, my goal from now on is to be adaptable.

A lack of contentment now gives me flexibility to make decisions that would otherwise have greater risks. December 2015 is as AT MOST as long as I’ll be here. I’ve used up a quarter of my time moping, time to use at least the next quarter gathering supplies and making a map for…the next journey?

That’s a terrible metaphor to end it on but I can’t think of anything else, and I’ll probably spend another two pages trying so let’s just make this

THE END

Ex-Children’s Librarian OF DOOM

This probably should have been written sooner. Much of what I wanted to say probably rattled out of my brain by now. And I’m tired, I’m not finished packing, and also I’m watching New Girl. It’s not really the best setup for waxing poetic about ending a decade long chapter of my life.

But I’m gonna try to make a few people cry anyway!

This all started back in grade school. I was super into Star Wars, you see. My life plan was to become a world famous, extremely wealthy director like George Lucas and retire to my giant mansion. Complete with a moat. By age 25.

Well I’m 28 now so it’s a good thing I had a second passion. My grade school librarian always encouraged me, something not a lot of teachers did. She bought me a copy of The Hobbit when I was maybe in the third grade. I still have it! So after I retired from movie directing (by age 25) I planned on becoming a children’s librarian.

I started shelving exactly nine years ago this November. Not to fulfill a childhood dream, I just hated working in the movie theater. Shelving was marginally better. And then a year later, unexpectedly, I had an opportunity and interview to become a youth services specialist.

And Kendra got the job.

DAMN YOU, KENDRA.

Then one year or so after THAT she left and I got the position I rightly deserved.

I decided to “settle” for an early retirement and become a children’s librarian and skip the whole famous movie director bit, at least for the time being. I would have had a masters in library science by now but for my college murdering my degree and firing the teachers when I was a handful of credits away from graduating. College left me bitter. My friend had just died of cancer, and the library began to fall apart. I kind of just drifted for a while, not really caring about the future or what I wanted to do with it. I began to suspect by this point that youth services wouldn’t be a part of it, but what else could I do? What else had I done?

I won’t miss being a children’s librarian. The storytimes were fun. I enjoyed helping kids find books, recommending my favorites, coming up with crafts and ridiculous flannel stories. There’s a billion good memories I’ll be taking with me. But I won’t miss it. I will appreciate the past years, however, because the sum total of those experiences pushed me towards what I really want to do with my life.

We have to work backwards to get there, but I can at least tell you it begins on a Tuesday.

It ends one night at a seriously mediocre Mexican restaurant. Bob Shea is yelling at me. Well, he’s not really yelling at me, but he has a few choice words about my progression through life that wouldn’t be found in any of his picture books. And he isn’t saying anything my friends hadn’t told me before. Maybe it took hearing it from someone outside the library family to take it seriously though, so I began to think about my future by remembering my past.

I remember when a few of us on Twitter began talking about posting weekly storytime stuff online. By that point I had begun to make my own crafts and write my own flannel stories. I was tired of recycling the same few good storytime themes I had (mostly stolen from Nicole) and trying to find ideas online was depressing. So this idea of a Flannel Friday sounded perfect to me. As you can tell by looking at my own website, I did not keep up to a weekly posting schedule for very long. I became disheartened by my own slacking. Even with an enthusiastic community I couldn’t keep my motivation for the job going.

My motivation started to dip a year or two earlier when I realized I was trapped in two part time youth services gigs for perpetuity. I applied for a job at another branch to become a full time youth services specialist. I was sure this was my chance, the destined path of the future. Didn’t get it. I began to hate both my jobs. On paper, each was perfect. I got paid to read books to kids and use scissors and glue sticks and paint! Together, having to do twice the programming, deal with twice the office politics, keeping two calendars straight, with no hope for a better future, they grated on my nerves constantly. Between both jobs, I had no time for myself. Certainly no time for my ambitions.

I blame Kenna for my ambitions. She was my friend and my boss. We worked Tuesday nights together. Any night in the library was slow, and Tuesday nights especially. To pass the time we’d talk about whatever random subject came to mind. Occasionally this involved art and writing. In high school I had written most of a book, but the friend, who was also writing a book, drifted away and took my motivation with him. Kenna encouraged me to pick up writing again so I started a new story. She’d get a new chapter every Tuesday and review it. I had to start working Tuesday nights by myself when she got cancer. When she died I gave up on the book.

I’ve loved the art of storytelling since I was a kid. That’s why I wanted to be a movie director. Later I realized that movies were only one of many vehicles for a story. I misinterpreted my original passion growing up. I wrote stories thinking they could be great movies someday. For some reason I never thought about becoming a writer myself. Even when I moved away from movies, I didn’t consider writing. I had a plan in place. Librarian by day. Artist by night. A safe route.

And then years later Bob Shea yelled at me in a seriously mediocre Mexican restaurant. The advice he gave me, the advice essentially anyone had ever given me before, from my friends to my peers to even every English teacher I’ve ever had, is that the safe route won’t get me what I want. And what I wanted, I realized then, was to be a full time writer.

My Twitter bio, unchanged since 2008 I believe, currently says:

Children’s librarian OF DOOM by day, artist/designer by day, writer by day, sleeper by night.

I mistakenly wanted to be it all. The librarian, the graphic designer, and the writer when I had time. I used to be a saxophonist, you know. I was pretty good at it, despite my crippling apathy to playing in a band and never practicing. I gave my saxophone away this year. I love music, but it has no place in my present. I loved being a children’s librarian, but I have no place for it in my future. The storytimes, the reader’s advisory, even the flannel stories I wrote, were all part of a very chaotic path to a destination I couldn’t quite see.

I suppose it was about two years ago my friend Caprice got me to start writing again. I can’t remember if I approached her first or if she suggested it. But for two years I’ve been writing when I can and she’s been reading when she can. I’m actually a couple chapters short of a first draft. I don’t know if it’s any good, really. But I know I enjoyed writing it. And now, without having to split my creative energies between storytimes and writing, I’ll be writing a whole lot more.

This isn’t a very good retrospective montage of my public library career. This I know. I wanted this post to be that. Instead I had to think of the realities of my past, present and future. It’s not an entirely happy or hopeful one, but here we are. Everything that has happened the past year has taken away any sort of comfort zone I had. There is absolutely nothing I do now that makes me feel safe and secure, so why not take the path less traveled, complete with alligators, pitfalls, and rad dungeons that might have treasure chests inside?

I made a lot of friends over the years. I joined a family, really. Complete with all the arguments, tragedies and falling out that a real family has. The library I left isn’t the place it used to be. It’s not a family anymore, sadly. It’s a broken home thanks to only a few awful people. Can’t be helped. People have to adjust, new hires are fortunate not to know what they missed out on. The family I made is still my family, those who stayed and those who left before me. And those people are what I will miss the most, even though they’ll still be in my life.

By the time this posts (assuming WordPress autoupdates correctly) I’ll be on the road to Utah, to a new job and a new adventure. I guess what’s so difficult to put into words is the idea the library, something that was my life and future, becoming simply a job to me. I am sad to leave it behind. I’m excited to fully engage myself with the next thing but just like any first love I’ll always wonder if I made the right choice.

I’ll stop rambling now so I can get my sister at the airport so she can drive with me to Utah this Friday. There will be another post, hopefully sooner than later that will better explain what this next step in my life is and how working in a different library is going to help me work towards making writing a full time gig. I’ll have yet another post explaining that while I leave youth services behind as a profession, it’s not the end of my participation in Flannel Friday. In fact, I’ll be participating much more often.

Unless I become entombed in a frozen, blue Honda Fit in the middle of Utah.

In which case you guys can have my stuff.

 

 

 

 

New News and Future New News

So.

Hoooo boy.

My mind is all aflutter. There’s way too many things to think about so here’s a look at what’s going on now and what will be going on later. Very soon later. I’ll have one or two other posts that go into greater detail, this is just a quick bulletin.

Let’s review what’s happened this year.

My parents lost their house.

That’s not a great year as years go, and believe me when I say the bar is not set very high. Way to fail to meet your full potential, Year.

But there have been bright spots in the year. Mostly in the form of the amazing support I’ve found in friends throughout all my many, continuous and varied tragedies. NOW SOMETHING GOOD HAS HAPPENED.

AND TERRIFYING.

I have a new job.

Not just a new job.

A new job in a different state.

A new job at an academic library.

Doing something completely different than what I’ve done for seven years.

WOW OKAY.

It’s also a full time job, my first, which is surprising given how many hours a week I’ve worked with two part time jobs since forever. It’s also the first time I’ll be starting completely over since I’ve started working. I’ve always kept one part time position while starting a new one, taking baby steps up the ranks. And then I stayed in the same rank for 7 or so years.

So yeah, these are exciting time.

How horrifying.

More to follow.

 

Upcoming Events

Right so, I’m laying in bed because my brain isn’t sleepy yet, listening to music and fiddling with my phone. And then I remember my phone has a decent WordPress app. SO LET’S UPDATE WORDPRESS!

As you might imagine life is, at least in a general sense, pretty miserable. In specific instances it is less so. And I’m making plans for the future which may be put in place sooner than later depending on what happens in the next couple weeks.

So as far as the WordPress goes, here’s the direction I’d like to go:

-More minor life posts about my day to day. Like the monthly summaries I tried to do but shorter and more frequent.
-Random art posts. This will require me making art again.
-52 Flannel. Building up a thing for Flannel Friday, which I why I haven’t been posting.
-Writing? I want to write random snippets and this is as good a place to post them as any.

That’s basically it.

I wonder if I can post photos with this.

I can!

Yay.

2013: February

Not too much to report for Febuary. Febrary. February? HA. English is so stupid. Anyway a lot got done but I mostly just kept my nose to the grindstone.

  • got rid of pool table: nobody would buy it so I donated and stored it in Libris#2.
  • started writing: Worked more on my main writing project and picked up a couple more.
  • wanted to start doing art again but nooo: Had the urge to make art but I need to focus.
  • began budget groove: keeping track, saving, paying off debt. Awwww yeaaah.
  • started riding my spin bike again
  • finished old projects: I’ve had some old art projects that I put off too long and finished.
  • surprise selling of the pool table: my boss and her husband had some wine and decided to buy it.
  • computer is dying: maybe not DYING. But my awesome overpowered custom built (by someone that knows computers) laptop has always had issues. Now it has extra issues. I could probably fix it but I have no backup now. I REALLY want to buy a Surface Pro but won’t be able to afford it until July. I’ve looked at some short term solutions and they suck. This just makes me sad is all. STAY ALIVE, LAPPY.

Games Played
Hotline Miami: Some folks on Twitter were talking about this one. I checked it out, and despite all the reviews praising it as a surrealistic, violent masterpiece, it didn’t seem all THAT fun. But curiosity got the better of me and boy were the reviewers right. This game is accurately described as the video game version of Drive. Stayed up late two nights to beat it, and even then there is more to do. But I have to take a break because it was doing unkind things to my brain. The awesome soundtrack was getting stuck in my head and keeping me from sleeping, and I was looking at buildings as big murder puzzles. So I guess for me it was the video game version of Drive: Twin Peaks edition.

Woah someone should do that mashup.

Movies Saw
The Hobbit: It was good! It had a lot of problems. Story problems. I’m not generally one to roll my eye at novel adaptations. “The book was better!” is just something obnoxious that people will say to prove how THEY are better than the average movie goer. Stories are stories. I don’t recall there being an elitist uproar when storytellers began to put their tales down on paper. Anyway.

The Hobbit is just particularly hard for me because it’s a very important book in my life. In the third grade or so my school librarian gave me a copy and signed it. I still have it. The book and the librarian are an important influence in my love of stories. I’m not so concerned that The Hobbit isn’t entirely faithful to the book, but I wish they didn’t change a few things that would have made the movie BETTER. Also I’m a little more forgiving that it’s going to be three movies instead of one, but there sure was a lot of filler. Those teary eyed speeches got a little much. And some of the cameos of stars from Lord of the Rings felt contrived, like a tv holiday special. I expected canned audience applause when some of them showed up. But I don’t want to rag on it too much. Overall I was very much relieved that it had a more light-hearted tone than LotR, and overall retained the spirit of adventure of the book. I did have to groan a bit with their decision to make their quest an altruistic attempt to kill a dragon and save their home. Noooo. A dozen or so dwarves can’t do that. There only plan was to STEAL SOME GOLD AND RUN AWAY. Which made it awesome. It was a murderous road trip in the book, not a journey of fate and destiny. My favorite part? The goblins. THE GOBLINS. I will forgive the movie anything else because of how well it did the goblin scenes. One of my favorite parts in the book, and I expected them to make it a much more dreary affair if not cut it out entirely. What I did not like? All the CG. I don’t remember LotR being that obvious with the digital effects. In a decade it will likely look like a very poor movie because of it.

Music Listened

Uh. Actually nothing of much note. Earlier in the month I did buy a Neil Young album. Apparently it is good for writing. And then later in the month I randomly picked up Margot and the Nuclear So & Sos which is a really interesting band. And did I mention the Hotline Miami soundtrack?

Next month will be much more interesting!