Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Love and the library

One city north of mine, there is a public library near a public park, around several other public buildings.

Reader, I am falling in love with this library.

Tuesday, I dropped Jonathan off at Spanish lessons in this city 15 minutes to the north. Rather than drive 25 minutes south to my office, I drove 3 minutes to the public library and found a well lit table all to myself. Spreading papers and laptop, I worked in peace for nearly three hours, occasionally resting my eyes on the titles of the books nearby.

"Exploring Norway." "Lands of the north."

And I wondered about the people who wrote those books, nonfiction, and if they ever spent their afternoons in well lit public buildings contemplating other writers of nonfiction. Thinker and writer, I went back to work invigorated, needing no additional break to take the time to drive to my office.

Thursday I returned, and found a new table in a different corner. There was a man across from me, periodically standing and then returning. And I could hear the occasional child whining in the aisles, and I suspected I would whine, too, if my babysitter brought me into adult nonfiction. On the way out, I looked over a wall of photos of former beauty queens: Miss City-15minutes-north going back to the 1950's. Stylist and dreamer, I silently laughed at the dresses and hairdos, and was glad I could look at them rather than the cinder block walls of my office.

Friday I was back, to find an art fair set up in tents just outside the library door. I wandered through the exhibits briefly before finding myself a table inside. They made me want to paint again. Critic and painter, more culturally aware, I entered the library ready to take on the day's academic project, still long before I would have arrived in my office on campus.

Back again today. I found a table upstairs, next to a plug outlet. I let my phone quietly recharge while I worked on a paper revision. Then stood to rest my back and found myself near the paranormal section. Standing, I flipped through two ghost stories. Believer and skeptic, more psychically aware, I returned to my next paper having lost only a fraction of the time I would have spent driving back from my office on campus.

Oh library, this is love. You can give me the time that I need, the peace and the freedom, and yet each day something new and exciting. I long to be with you more often and always. I dread the campus meetings that pull me away. I miss you. Do you miss me?

I love you.

Thursday, I'm getting a library card.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Eat dessert first

Two quick thoughts:

1. This morning, I observed Jonathan gently tucking his light saber into bed, whispering "nighty night", and then cuddling in next to it. Who says little boys aren't nurturing?

2. We had caramel fondue for dinner last night. It's supposed to be a dessert dish for about six people, served with fresh fruit and cake. But when there are only three of you in your dinner party, there is no reason to cook something else. Start and end with dessert! Only halfway through the pot of caramel, we all started feeling slightly queasy, and a little overwhelmed with the sweetness of it all. I guess we'll be eating boiled cabbage and potatoes again tonight.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Blogging is evil, and other thoughts

In one of my favorite novels, set in nineteenth century England, a certain Mr. Collins is appalled that his relations would ask him to read a novel to them. Apparently at the time, novels were considered evil, or at the very least a disappointing way to occupy one's time. One could be doing something useful instead, I suppose, like higher mathematics.

These days, if a kid is reading a novel we celebrate. Hooray! The boy will grow up to have a mind and a job and be clever and thoughtful!

I have heard, or heard of, much backlash recently against new and modern ways of occupying one's time. Apparently at this time, blogging and other forms of social media are evil. Or at least a disappointing way to spend an evening when one could be doing something useful.

I disagree.

Yes, just like reading novels, blogging can suck up all one's time and leave little left over for other important aspects of human life. Like going pee. (My bladder hurt a lot after reading The Hunger Games.)

But like reading novels, blogging can improve the mind and make one clever and thoughtful.

Or something like that.

I don't get many opportunities to write for pleasure, but I can blog. And (a few) people even read my blog. Now. Not in the distant future when I am dead and they are sorting through my things trying to decide what to keep and what to throw away. You can tell me immediately that yes, that is a good idea, or no, that is totally wrong, or even point out that I have repeatedly used the incorrect spelling of "role". Whereas I read the words written by my grandmother, who is dead, and wish I could ask her why she didn't fight Grandpa harder about living in the cabin as a newlywed. Did it not occur to her that it was her right and her duty to negotiate living circumstances with him? Or did she only learn that after fifty years of marriage when the memoir was written?

Not that I'm only writing here my memoirs for posterity, or anything -- just like I don't always read 19th century English literature for pleasure, although it makes me sound smarter if I pretend I do.

Certainly blogging is healthier than reading vampire romance novels, for example. And I can say that, because somehow in the last several months I have read more vampire romance novels than you. And one werewolf romance novel too, to boot. (In my defense, I have recently moved myself off of that particular book recommendation list. But before doing so, I did read all those novels. I did. And then I pictured Mr. Collins reading them to me. And I felt some empathy for the man.)

Blogging. You put in the work. You get something out. You write to make yourself a better person, to deal with stresses of life, and just to think about something else for a brief period of time.

OK. That's enough mental stimulation for me. I'm going to go play video games.