rockinlibrarian: (beaker)
Summer Vacation hasn't been treating me well. Sure, I didn't always make the best use of my time while the kids were in school, but now that they're home I'm a zombie staring blankly and mourning my lack of alone time. Also they're addicted to YouTube and video games like Minecraft and Roblox which are only available two places in this house-- my computer and my Nook-- and since there's two of THEM they've been commandeering my online access, so I don't even have you all to whine to about it. Seems the only way I can get them to go out and play is if I go, too-- take them to the pool, let them hang out an hour after Vacation Bible School this morning because they were actually running around with other kids even though I really wanted to get back home and have lunch, whatever. I feel very impotent when it comes to actually running my own life-- everyone else is running it for me. And when they AREN'T, I sit and stare because I can't even figure out what it is I would do if I DID take charge of my own life. I'm not sure how long it took me to actually start typing this, once Sammy decided to go see what his sister was doing instead of playing Roblox and I realized I had my computer to myself and could finally type out all the stuff I've been wanting to put out there all week. Like, wait, what did I want to write about again?

My physical body has been a mess lately. My right knee has been acting goofy* since Disney World and really only getting worse over time. It doesn't like to bend. It doesn't like going up or down stairs, or getting in and out of the car, or bending down and standing up again, and will protest with a scream of pain if I try it. And resting it doesn't even help. It's still mad at me in the morning after a supposed good night's sleep. I finally went to the doctor last week, who determined that nothing was broken and it was something in the joint itself, either tendonitis or arthritis, and all I can do is take lots of ibuprofen and put ice on it occasionally. This past week it's felt like my whole body wanted to follow that knee, finding a million ways to creak and cramp and act up whenever I tried to move OR to stay still, and I was like, seriously? Is my whole body falling apart now? I'm supposed to get into shape but I can't because exercise hurts, but not exercising makes me continue toward entropy? The good news is the x-ray determined my knee issue is not arthritis, which means it's not permanent, supposedly. There's hope for me eventually.

For some reason I have gained 25 pounds in the past two years. Now, before I go any further, you have to understand that I, unlike far too many people in this fat-phobic world, have never had body issues. I was skinny as a kid, so no one fat-shamed me into hating my own body, so instead I devoted all my physical self-loathing to my face, my blotchy, too-square face with the crooked teeth and stupid-vague-EnneaType9 expression-- look okay I still have irrational issues with my face, so I'm not like some miraculously physical-shame-free person. But my body I've always been okay with. I thought my figure was kind of perfect when I was younger. When I was pregnant, while other mothers-to-be fretted about feeling fat, I was like HOLY CRAP I LOOK LIKE A FERTILITY GODDESS, THE EARTH IS MINE! Even now, I'm not disgusted by my figure: it feels properly womanly** to me. But lately the weight gain has brought other problems with it. GIRTH has become a problem vanity-wise only because dresses I made or bought-on-Modcloth-so-they're-expensive-and-pretty just a few years ago NO LONGER ZIP UP. I do not want to get rid of those dresses. Okay, but besides that, I've developed actual health issues that correlate with weight gain: the joint pain, as established. Sleep apnea. Heartburn, which for some reason always hits me at two in the afternoon no matter what I may or may not have eaten. I've never been in good shape, what-my-body-can-do-wise, even when I was skinny, but that's hardly improving now, either.

And my husband ironically makes it worse by needling me about it. He's equal-opportunity about it at any case, going on about how we BOTH need to lose weight, but every little crack he makes makes me feel more stubbornly like NOT doing anything to help improve my weight. I'm just going to NOT exercise now because he said that, right? And food. Food is a real issue. I've always wanted to eat healthier than we eat in this household, with salads and produce of all sorts, experimenting with all kinds of foods, cutting back on meat intake-- in summer, especially, why doesn't my family like SALADS? Why do they insist on COOKED food? But with my family of picky eaters, they're not going to go for it. But my husband, while he won't sacrifice his hearty meat-and-potatoes*** dishes, he thinks snacking is the evil we need to cut. No eating too late in the evening (even though when I work evenings I often CAN'T eat until, like, 9 PM). No eating between meals. Whenever he sees me get a snack he makes some snarky comment about it, and you know what? It just makes me want to eat MORE and WORSE. Whether it's out of spite or just a feeling of DARNIT I WANT SOMETHING FOR MYSELF, I WANT SOME LITTLE BIT OF HAPPINESS JUST FOR ME TO INDULGE IN, DO NOT DENY ME THIS COOKIE. With the objective observer part of my mind, I can see myself doing this, making an unhealthily psychological connection to food, STRESS-EATING. So obviously, the objective observer says, I don't NEED to eat when I feel that way, right? At which point the objective observer gets GLARED AT by the rest of my mind, more determined than ever that NO ONE, NO ONE SHALL TAKE MY SWEET-AND-STARCHY SNACKS FROM ME, INCLUDING ME! When I mentioned this to my psychiatrist she said, "so when you feel this way, how much do you eat?" "I don't know, a few cookies?" "So not, like, two pizzas at a sitting?" "What?!" "People do that," she explained. Well dang, surely I SHOULD be allowed my cookies then, shouldn't I.

But seriously, that's so psychological. I so definitely make sure I always have a chocolate stash just because it's MINE. I'm a grownup and I can have a dang chocolate stash if I want. Because it's nice to feel like SOMETHING is in my control, you know?

Completely psychological.

I was going to write about bigger, more important things probably, but I think this is all I'm getting to today.

*pun not intended
**not that skinny women AREN'T womanly! I do not wish to suggest there is any WRONG way to be womanly! But I do feel my body is in fact properly womanly. Not my face, though, it's still too square. :P
***Granted, I won't sacrifice potatoes, either. It's just, you know, the concept. Meat-and-potatoes. But potatoes are happy. I love potatoes. Shut up anti-starch people.
rockinlibrarian: (eggman)
1. I feel kind of guilty about expressing my discomfort with the We Need Diverse Books campaign in the past. I want to make it clear that my discomfort is COMPLETELY PERSONAL, not ideological. I never want to give anyone the impression that I think it's "reverse racism" or unfair to me as a really-boringly-undiverse writer in any way people have industry control over. IT'S NOT. IT'S COMPLETELY FAIR, AND AS A LIBRARIAN I AM ALL FOR IT. It's only me as a struggling writer with low self-esteem, every time I see it The Lone Power whispers in my ear "NOBODY NEEDS YOUR WRITING, YOU'RE BORING, GIVE UP TRYING TO WRITE NOW." And obviously, considering I'm attributing the voice to The Lone Power, I know it's wrong, I know it's a lie, but the part of me that knows this can't think of a good comeback. "I SO TOTALLY DO HAVE A UNIQUE VOICE AND AN OUTLOOK THAT NEEDS TO BE SHARED! I'M GOING TO WRITE...uh...okay I have no idea what I'm going to write." And the Lone Power goes "SEE?!" and I go waste my time reading TV recaps instead. So what I'm saying is DIVERSE BOOKS=GOOD. SUPPORT THEM. I DON'T WANT ANY SPECIAL TREATMENT FROM PUBLISHERS. I'M NOT AFRAID OF HAVING MY CHANCES TAKEN FROM ME BY PEOPLE WHO HAVE LESS REPRESENTED VOICES. I'm only afraid of having my chances taken from me by my own internal doubts.

2. ABC, you can't CANCEL Agent Carter. I'm not saying this as a rabid fan who doesn't personally WANT you to cancel Agent Carter. Well, I AM, but that's beside the point. No, it's just, and I've said this before, Agent Carter is a MINISERIES and theoretically you can bring it back at any time, stick it in anywhere you have a break. The word "cancel" is too FINAL for something so flexible. Just say, "Not in this next year, but hey, maybe some other time!" I mean it'll WORK, we've got YEARS to explore, with the exception offinding out what happened to Thompson

there's no reason we can't pop back into the history of proto-SHIELD several years later. Don't be all "CANCELLED" about it! Be "on indefinite hiatus!" COME ON, KEEP YOUR OPTIONS OPEN!

3. Speaking of Marvel TV, Jason has decided he doesn't care about Agents of SHIELD anymore. Part of me's like, okay, I'm fine with that, I don't need to worry about making it to the TV every Tuesday at 9, I can watch on my own time the next afternoon or whatnot (I work Wednesday mornings), but another part of me is like YOU DON'T REALIZE WHAT A HUGE BLOW THIS IS TO OUR MARRIAGE. It was our DATE NIGHT. That's one of the few things we really enjoy doing together, watching superhero shows! And I have a feeling I want to see Civil War more than he does. Which if we could only get babysitting he'd be okay with, but his parents are in the middle of moving and my parents live farther away. Part of me's like, gee, I could totally go by myself some weekday afternoon, but then I'm like, "NO, AMY, THAT'S THE EQUIVALENT OF ADULTERY. Not just because your Imaginary Husband has a small part in it. IT WOULD BE SUCH AN UNCARING MOVE TO GO SEE A SUPERHERO MOVIE WITHOUT JASON." Seriously. There's more at stake here than watching a movie.

4. I'm kind of mentally cluttered at the moment. I've got gardening to catch up on, on account of being down with the flu all last week. I have a lot of GeekMom articles I want to work on, but I feel guilty sitting down to write long enough to do so. The house is, of course, a wreck. And I still have to feed three picky eaters and myself, which is still the bane of my existence. Sometimes I just want to shout "ENOUGH! FROM NOW ON I AM ONLY MAKING SALADS AND YOU WILL EAT IT OR YOU WILL MAKE YOUR OWN FOOD WITHOUT WHINING!" But I have a hard time cooking for myself.

5. Now I am running late for work, so bye. Excuse the lack of editing and links that I would have done had I had more time.

rockinlibrarian: (beaker)
NOTE: I'm kind of unsure about my personal blog, now that I write on a MUCH LARGER PLATFORM over at GeekMom. I could kind of count on being mostly ignored here on my little corner of the internet, just talking to the few people who knew I was here, so I could just WHINE STUPIDLY to the universe every so often and no one would care. So I apologize. This is one of those whiny depressing unhelpful-to-anyone-else posts so if you're looking for something professional from me, this isn't it.

Well then, if you're still here, let's begin:

I couldn't figure out why I was getting depressed sitting at my desk in the library. I LOVE the library. I LOVE my job. Sure I have depression issues but I'm managing them and anyway it's just something about this desk that's weird. It's not all the time. It's not when I'm working on programs or booklists or specific orders or helping patrons (unless I'm already depressed, then my INTROVERSION kicks in). It's days like today, when I have to catch up with review reading and updating my Massive Spreadsheet Of New Books.

Right now I've got 1317 books on that list. 1317 books published for children through teens by a traditional publisher in the past two years that I HAVEN'T BOUGHT for the library yet, and considering I have just $37 dollars left in my teen budget for the year (at least I still have a thousand in children's) it's a good bet most of them WON'T get bought. But I'm thinking, "SO MANY BOOKS! WHY CAN'T WE HAVE ALL THE BOOKS?" And then I think how I'll never get around to reading most of the books I HAVE bought, let alone all the books from the past I haven't read, and all the ADULT books (as in, not children's or YA, not, like, "Adult"), period (disclaimer, I'm reading an adult book right now, the Bloggess's latest, Furiously Happy. But that's because I love her desperately and so have made the exception), and you add in self-published books and magazines and blogs and fanfiction, it's like SO MANY BOOKS! SO MANY WORDS! INFORMATION OVERLOAD! TOO MUCH TO READ!

And the blogs and other review sources I use, they've got me on the We Need Diverse Books train. Because we do. But we always hear how putting diverse characters in books is good and all, but when people who aren't that minority do it they usually do it wrong even when they're trying, so what we really need is diverse AUTHORS, and I'm as un-diverse as can be. Books have been full of mirrors for me FOREVER. Maybe that's why I got into books. A white straight American mainstream-Christian able-bodied cis-girl who dreams and reads in her happy middle-class home with both parents, OH GAH THAT'S LIKE EVERY CHILDRENS-YA BOOK IN HISTORY. Well, some writers will reassure me, you can't please everyone so just do the best you can adding diverse characters and accept that somebody might say "Hey, you portrayed that wrong!"

But it doesn't MATTER, because it will take a huge effort to get myself writing fiction again, and how can I ever feel like I can start when I see ALL THE BOOKS and I know IT'S NOT MY VOICE that people need?

It doesn't MATTER, because I have so much to fill my time as it is. I share books with children, maybe that's my part, I can connect all sorts of books with all sorts of children and I will give them the windows and mirrors they need to grow and THAT'S ALL I'M NEEDED FOR in the world of story. I write BLOGS occasionally, ARTICLES, and now I have an even bigger platform for my articles. I have my journal, where I can do the writing I need to do to keep my head on straight, just for me, which when people say "writers can't stop writing," THAT'S the thing I can't stop writing, just my journals. I don't have any STORIES I need to tell. And I have two children and a husband who feel I never give them enough attention, and a house that I KNOW I don't give enough attention, and I have my sewing projects, which have been my major outlet of creativity lately after library programming which is probably my BIGGEST outlet of creativity, to be honest.

I just DON'T NEED to write fiction. I have no stories pouring out of me, and nobody would need to hear them even if I did. There are too many books, and my voice isn't needed.

So why does this continual realization of basic fact make me so depressed.
rockinlibrarian: (portrait)
My kids' school has a "Don't send in edible treats" policy, and last year I posted a rant against the unintended side effects of this policy. Namely, GARBAGE. Junk FOOD is one thing-- you eat it and it's gone (usually. If you have a child's metabolism). Junk TOYS are something else entirely. They make messes. They eventually only get thrown out. But to be serious about it for a minute, I have a real problem with that much waste. I don't like to throw things out, not because I want them, but because WHY ARE WE DOING THIS TO OUR PLANET, IT'S JUST MAKING ANOTHER MESS IN SOME OVERSTUFFED LANDFILL IF IT'S NOT MAKING A MESS IN MY HOUSE. Not to mention all the waste that goes into manufacturing the crappy things. But if I'm honest with myself, I'm not really taking this stance out of noble environmental concern.* In the immediate present, my reaction is just a selfish "great, more clutter."

So anyway, the thing is, the school's policy is "Don't send in edible treats," not "Send in nonedible treats," so I'm just that grinchy parent who doesn't send in anything, BECAUSE WE WEREN'T ACTUALLY ASKED TO SEND IN ANYTHING, AND NOTHING IS BETTER THAN GARBAGE.** "But what about the CHILDREN?" you ask. And I say, they're at school, they're playing games, they're with their friends, they don't NEED treats there. They will come home and go proper trick or treating later, and then they will have PLENTY OF EDIBLE AND THEREFORE EXPENDABLE TREATS.

So I relinked to that post yesterday when my kids came home from school with a pile of plastic goody bags, and many people agreed BUT.

Of COURSE there are exceptions. Of COURSE there's a reason for the school's policy. So through further discussion I've decided to spell out the RIGHT and WRONG way to deal with what basically comes down to offering non-allergenic options.

First of all, the problem came from school parties, not from trick-or-treating proper. So number one, if there is no policy instructing you to AVOID edible items, here's how you can handle it:

RIGHT:
Offer options. In my house we are serious peanut butter cup fans, so we always offer peanut butter cups so we have leftovers. BUT peanut butter and chocolate are both big allergy problems, so we offer the choice: peanut butter cups OR Skittles.*** You could in fact offer candy OR a non-edible item, but please see below for further guidelines.

Granted, if you have more than one option, a lot of kids will immediately grab one of EACH, so if you're not okay with that you'll have to be immediately clear with your guidelines.

WRONG:
Deciding FOR your visitors. Offering only one type of treat increases the chance that really won't be a treat for someone after all (whether that's because the kid can't eat it, the kid doesn't LIKE it, or the mom doesn't want it in her house). But worse is forcing your ideals on everyone who comes-- if you're against sugar, don't put your porch light on during trick-or-treating at all, and don't you even THINK about doing what that one lady did last year and pass out notes telling kids they're too fat for candy. And you should also probably not use trick-or-treating as an opportunity to, as Kim Aippersbach suggested (jokingly!) in the comments of last year's post, pass out little cards explaining that, instead of spending money on Halloween treats this year, you bought a goat for a family in Africa and I'm sure everyone understands!

Okay, that's trick-or-treating. But what if you ARE under a no-edible-treats policy and you still want to offer treats? Here are some options that, the other people I've talked about it and I agree, do not suck:

RIGHT: Art supplies. Pencils, pens, crayons, markers, paints, coloring books, tablets. I personally would even be okay with Play-doh, but there are probably more parents that would hate you forever for that one, so I might grudgingly put that on the "WRONG" list instead, since I AM trying to give actual advice here.

WRONG: Pencils that don't sharpen. Crayons made out of way more wax than pigment. Teeny stampers. Small plastic stencils that are barely useable. Tiny tablets with approximately five pages in them. Coloring booklets that look like they were drawn by someone who is stuck in the 1950s.

I am undecided about stickers. Nope, I am decided about stickers. It's just stickers are in that nebulous category that kids WILL enjoy and use thoroughly, but probably in ways that parents would rather they not.

RIGHT: GOOD reading materials. My friend Megan recommends the Scholastic sales where you get five paperbacks for five dollars or whatever. It's probably just as expensive as all the junky toys in the long run. Samantha Fisher from the crew at GeekMom (which I am also writing for now, in case you missed it) also suggests bookmarks, and really, it's ridiculous, you'd think you'd eventually own too many bookmarks, but how come you can never find one when you NEED it?

WRONG: Buying dollar books at the dollar STORE. You really can NOT get quality literature there, and you may be of the opinion that the KIDS don't care, but either a kid WILL care, and throw it aside, or a kid WON'T care and will force an adult to read terrible, terrible prose or verses that don't scan right OVER and OVER again and THEY WILL CURSE YOU. Please, check out the Scholastic discount sales, instead!

RIGHT: Consumable toys. Obviously not in the EATING sense. More like bubbles, glow sticks, and balloons. These ARE all things that will be thrown away eventually, but they're only MEANT to be enjoyed for a short period of time, and IN that period of time, they will be enjoyed THOROUGHLY. My daughter actually just said, about a balloon she got yesterday, "This balloon makes me so happy, I love it so much." Personally I think balloons are a bit MORE fun if they're punching balloons, at least.

WRONG: Toys that are consumable only in the sense that they're so poorly made they don't last, not toys that are MEANT to be used up.

RIGHT: My friend Mandy gave out Lego Mixels as a party treat recently. There are other small building kits that are actually decent that you can buy in bulk around, too.

WRONG: Cheapo building sets that don't fit together, foam airplanes that break when you TRY to put them together, things that come in many tiny pieces but are stored in a thin cardboard box that never shuts again once the shrink wrap comes off. This includes tiny little puzzles. Tiny little puzzles SEEM like they'd be a cool treat, but usually you just end up losing pieces immediately because of the crappy box. Also, the puzzles themselves aren't much sturdier, so the pieces tend to warp and stop fitting, anyway.

WRONG WRONG WRONG: Plastic spider rings. WHO WEARS THOSE, anyway? And even those who DO, WHO WEARS AS MANY OF THEM AS GET ACCUMULATED EVERY HALLOWEEN?

Also wrong: gift bags. I mean if you stick with one DECENT nonedible treat, instead of several crappy ones, you won't need a gift bag, anyway!

If we all follow these guidelines, it's possible that EVERYONE, candy lovers and people with food issues and underpaid factory workers in third world countries and parents that just have to clean up, will have a Happy Halloween.****
----

*Though if I'm REALLY honest, that IS part of the reason I appear to be something of a hoarder. I really DON'T like throwing things out. Waste really DOES disgust me.

**In the sense of "#1 Good Stuff, #2 Nothing, #3 Garbage," of course, not in the sense of "Garbage is the undefeated #1."

***And yes, there are some poor souls who can't eat EITHER, but this is extremely rare and I'm pretty sure those souls will just avoid trick-or-treating period.

****We're not going to please the people who don't celebrate Halloween out of the conviction that traditions started to scare away demons are actually about worshipping demons, but there's nothing you can do about that. Except call it a Harvest Party. I do outreach at a super-conservative-fundamentalist school that was originally scheduled for an outreach yesterday, and I was like, "Oh, good, at least I know THEY won't cancel on me to make room for a Halloween party," but NO, they cancelled on me for their HARVEST PARTY instead. But as it turned out a couple of coworkers had called off so they needed me on desk at the library anyway, so I guess it's all for the best.
rockinlibrarian: (sherlock)
First of all, I would like to apologize to everyone else whose blogs I "follow," because unless you've posted a review of a relatively new children's or YA book (which I then make note of on my extensive collection development spreadsheet), I most likely have not read your blog for the past month. Unless you're Angie. Angie gets instant-read privileges on account of being Angie. NO OFFENSE, PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT ANGIE, you're all lovely too, but we can't all be Angie. And it seems hypocritical, because I like to think that all the people who follow ME actually read what I post, but when I can't manage to read other people's posts and I ACCOMPLISH NEARLY NOTHING ELSE, EITHER, I'm sure the much more productive people out there with their actual lives can't make time for this blog that only rarely actually says anything useful.

But that works out nicely, and brings me to my actual introductory paragraph, because today I have even less actually useful stuff to say than usual. I'll be going back to old-school LiveJournaling, emphasis on the "Journal"-- a ramble. The only reason it's not in my paper journal instead is I'd like to toss these thoughts out there, see what they bounce off of, instead of having only me to look at them and think the same old circular things about them. So right, busy folks, there are no useful librarian-esque tips, no life-changing philosophical pronouncements, and no gratuitous pictures of Martin Freeman in the rest of this post, so you can go about your business. But if you have a quiet evening and an open ear (well, eye-ear. Unless you're using voice software to read the internet which I suppose you could be doing), or if I am in fact YOUR Angie (in which case I am touched, honored, and a little worried by the responsibility), come on in! Here's what's been going on in my head lately.
Read more... )
rockinlibrarian: (beaker)
I'm getting more online-journaly than bloggy this evening. I just wanted to get something off my chest that doesn't fit so well on Facebook or Twitter. It's not thought out, and will therefore probably be full of hypocrisy and things to say "Why on earth did I put that on the internet?" about later. But sometimes your paper journal doesn't cut it, because you really want to bounce it off other people, you know?

Anyway, remember last fall when I posted this Manifesto,, and then a couple weeks later I elaborated on the train of thought/emotional-spiritual-psychological growth/whatever that inspired it?

I'm still coming to grips with this "I can be Right, too" concept, but I do think I made a permanent change in this past year-- that I've moved forward somehow and even if I may fall back EMOTIONALLY at times, my BASELINE has moved permanently up. I've grown and I can't very well shrink.

Lately though it's like I'm suddenly SUPER-AWARE of how many people Talk Like They Know What They're Talking About Even When They Don't-- it's not a matter of I'm Right and They're Wrong as much as Why are these people so sure of themselves and yet they say things that are wrong but they say it in such a way as to make impressionable people like I was believe they must be right? It makes me-- ITCHY to look at the Internet, when there's so much great stuff interspersed with so many people talking PASSIONATELY and missing points, so many SMART people, not, like, a bunch of stupid teenagers asserting the legendary status of One Direction over some dumb band nobody's heard of called The Who. I mean maybe not ALWAYS smart people. I think the word I'm looking for is "sophomoric." Wise fools. They know a good bit of something so they let it go to their head, and then talk like if anyone's got a different opinion it's because that anyone is just not as ENLIGHTENED as they are... see where I said this was most likely going to get hypocritical? I'm trying not to be. I'm just trying to express my feelings, my frustration.

I mean on one hand it's the extremists that bug me, smug you're-all-delusional-and-I'm-not atheists and right-wing pundits who say they speak for Christians but seemed to have missed a lot of important tenets of Christianity-- and even though they're extremists to my mind they've still convinced loads of innocent followers that they must be right. On another hand, also-- I STILL NEED TO GET USED TO THIS-- there are people I admire and look up to who will every so often express some passionate-yet-flawed opinion, or respond to other people in ways that strike me as less-than-professional or downright childish. It's always made me a little squicky. None so bad as the time an author I really love internet-yelled at me when I-- not even begged to DIFFER with her opinion, but tried to gently point out that there might be more angles to the issue than she was acknowledging. I STILL can't quite think about her books (WHICH I LOVED) without the taint of that. But I just felt like They Were the Experts, I was this scatterbrained mom with a part-time job and no writing career, therefore THEY MUST KNOW SOMETHING I DON'T ABOUT EVERY SUBJECT, and if what they said didn't sit right with me then the problem must be me.

But now that I can see these things clearly, can SEE that even though people may be really good at some things and really smart in some ways it doesn't mean they know everything-- well, after awhile it just bugs me. Makes me ITCHY, like I said. What it really means is, probably, that I should take a break from the Internet. But I wish there was a way I could still communicate with people I like and still see funny tweets and pictures (for some reason lately I've been really partial to dogs making ridiculous faces. This may be an issue I should bring up to my therapist) and maybe have some kind of All-Martin-Freeman-All-The-Time feed I can keep up with, and not have to be inundated with the stuff that makes me itchy, which comes from some of the very same people I like hearing from so it's not like I can just block them.

But then, people do enough of that as it is. People follow people who agree with them. People insulate themselves with THEIR TRIBE and then become confused when faced with evidence that NO, NOT everyone agrees with them and those people aren't just ignorant. So we've GOT to be exposed to a wide variety of people and opinions and can't just filter in Stuff That Makes Us Happy.

But still, I'm uncomfortable, and I'm not sure what to do about that feeling. How do I speak up when my words can make a difference? How do I learn to let be when there's nothing that can be said? And how do I know the difference? Slightly reworded Serenity Prayer.

So right, I'm a sophomoric hypocrite who's talking in circles, but that's what my brain and emotions are swirling around over today. Has anyone else ever felt confused like this?
rockinlibrarian: (sherlock)
*AHEM* So I was about to go off on a fangirl rant on Twitter, when I realized it would be so much easier if I just wrote a blog post.

As we've discussed before, I'm not really SURE why I can accept some movie adaptations of books, and not others. It's not a matter of QUALITY-- as I said in that linked post, I enjoyed the Wrinkle In Time made-for-TV movie just fine even though it hardly did the book justice (or anything close), but the adaptation of Prisoner of Azkaban, widely regarded as the best of the Harry Potter movies (and sometimes as the ONLY good Harry Potter movie), made me grouchy just because it WASN'T RIGHT. It's not a matter of how closely it keeps to the book, either-- I'm not a stickler about that; in fact I thought the Hunger Games movie SHOULD have strayed a bit more from the book plot, and, aside from the lack of Faramir being swoony and romantic, every other change Peter Jackson made to the Lord of the Rings movies possibly made the story BETTER. I've gotten the basic impression, though, that it's the portrayal of the characters that makes-or-breaks an adaptation for me. I understand plot changes for the sake of a story arc, condensing a book into a movie-- but if you change the CHARACTERS then how can you say you're telling the same story at ALL? I mean, there ARE only, like, three different plots in the world or something, so the characters are what make the story what it IS.

I'm also not sure why I can speak calmly and balanced...ly about some adaptations, good or bad, but others compel me to SHOUT THE SAME POINTS OVER AND OVER. Well, I did figure out that my automatic "ARTHUR DENT WAS PERFECT!" outbursts every time somebody says the Hitchhikers Guide movie sucks are probably caused by the actor actually having been my Soul Mate all along (but I will say Marvin-the-Paranoid-Android in that was ABSOLUTELY ALL WRONG. THAT I can rant about. Don't you dare touch my Perfect-Arthur-Dent though). But I don't have any such excuse with Studio Ghibli's Howl's Moving Castle. And yet you cannot so much as mention it around me (you can't even PUT A COPY OF IT IN MY LINE OF SIGHT) without me shouting "THAT'S NOT HOWL!" at you.

What's funny is that otherwise it was a lovely movie. It was beautiful and psychedelic. The castle was better than I'd imagined it (except for Howl's room, which was Wrong, but I'm getting to that). I had no problem with the plot changes, even though some of them were major: the book is so complex that it only made SENSE they'd have to condense it, and it worked for me. Most importantly, they GOT SOPHIE RIGHT. Sophie, my beloved #3 Fictional Girl-Crush! I'd been worried about Sophie, afraid they'd turn her into a bland Typical Movie Heroine-- either too much of a wide-eyed innocent, or too kickass and invincible. But no, Sophie was just right, even if her (young) hair wasn't the strawberry blonde it was supposed to be.

I hadn't even THOUGHT to be worried about how they'd portray Howl. After all, he was SUCH a striking, utterly unique character, how could anyone NOT get him right?

Now look, I'm not a Howl fangirl. He's got loads of people who are in love with him, and Diana Wynne Jones said that people asked her ALL THE TIME if they could marry him, to which she always wanted to reply "WHY? He'd be AWFUL to live with!" (I still think the answer is, "Because what they don't realize is that it's NOT that they want to marry Howl, it's that they want to BE SOPHIE.") My crush is on Sophie, and as I'm a heterosexual female that's saying something. But I somehow can NOT get past movie-Howl's COMPLETE LACK OF HOWL-NESS.

First off, and this may seem entirely too nit-picky and superficial, but I was DREADFULLY disappointed that movie-Howl wasn't Welsh. It's PART OF WHO HE IS! I hear him in my head and he's got this melodramatic tenor Welsh voice, but the guy in the movie has got a generic deep tormented MOVIE-HERO voice instead. AND HERE'S THE IRONIC THING, which I only just found out the other month: he's played (in the English overdub, which is all I've seen) by Christian Bale, who as it turns out IS WELSH. WHY couldn't he have used his REAL voice? Instead he turned him into BATMAN!HOWL.

Which is also wrong. In the movie, instead of sneaking off to watch rugby and visit his Welsh family, Howl sneaks off to GO FLYING AROUND A BATTLE ZONE. Uh, Howl's most plot-affecting character trait IS THAT HE'S A HUGE COWARD. He slithers out of everything. He has to trick himself into doing what he doesn't want to do, and the LAST thing he's going to do without someone needling him about it is go anywhere near a war zone. It's VITAL to the heart of the story that Sophie inspires him to be brave, that he'll do things for her that he'd NEVER consider doing for anyone else.

And THAT'S important to the story, REALLY important, because in the book the romance is so subtle you could miss it UNTIL you realize that it's so seamlessly woven in and perfect and Howl and Sophie are THE GREATEST FICTIONAL COUPLE OF ALL TIME... or, they're up there, at any rate. They FIT. They bring out the best in each other. They also bring out the worst in each other, but the best wouldn't have happened without each other, either. They have a true RELATIONSHIP, not the kind of shallow "the main boy and main girl character of this story are IN LOVE because they're both the main characters AND I SAY SO" thing that far too many stories show. And in the movie's misguided effort to make Howl into a more conventional HEROIC HERO, they destroyed that perfectly orchestrated relationship and turned it INTO one of those shallow "because they're the main characters and I SAY SO" things.

It's like an adaptation of Pride and Prejudice where Mr. Darcy's a drunken playboy party animal. It ceases to make sense.

Perhaps my disappointment wouldn't be SO pervasive if I hadn't watched the special features. One of my favorite things to look for in special features for shows based on books are the details of the adaptation process-- why did the screenwriters make the choices they did in adapting? Why change this, why keep that, what were they most passionate about showing? (To be honest, storytelling details are one of my favorite parts of NON-book-adaptation special features, too). And there was NOTHING about Diana Wynne Jones. It was as if all the people working on the movie thought whats-his-face came up with this whole thing on his own-- it was all from HIS imagination, not hers. And THAT offended me most of all. Do they not even REALIZE the awesomeness that is Diana Wynne Jones?

I know lots of people who love both the book and the movie, and they all say that they just see the two as Two Separate Entities, and don't compare them. Which is perfectly sensible! In fact that's exactly how I feel about Peter Jackson's Hobbit movie(s)-- I hear people say "that is NOT an adaptation of THE BOOK," and I'm like, "yeah, so? It really isn't meant to be. It's a dramatization of stuff happening in Middle Earth that uses the story of The Hobbit as a framing device." Notice, here, that I'm not even reflexively shouting "BILBO BAGGINS* WAS PERFECT!" even though obviously he was-- this is one of those movies I can speak rationally about. So WHY? WHY can I not be sensible about Howl's Moving Castle? Why am I unable to forgive what is otherwise a really nice movie for this ONE FATAL FLAW? It's a really HUGE Fatal Flaw, is all.

I'm starting to develop a theory I NEVER would have thought I'd espouse-- maybe it IS better to see a movie before reading its book. Because people who saw the movie first don't have this problem, and when they read the book, WOW, so much more awesome to discover! A movie can peak your interest, and then the book fills in the blanks and is AWESOME. Whereas when you read the book first, you go into the movie with PRECONCEPTIONS, and then you're likely to be disappointed. There are some exceptions: I think it's a mistake to watch the Holes movie first because then you know all the plot twists and you don't get the elation of watching them all unfold in the book for the first time-- the movie just doesn't have the same "OHHH!" effect, even if it will spoil you for the book. And obviously, it's HARD for me to NOT read a book first because usually I read books before they're even OPTIONED for movies. But I do wonder if doing HOWL the other way around would have completely changed my opinion. I may have still decided Book-Howl is a way more interesting character than Movie-Howl, but the movie wouldn't have that stigma of disappointment tied to it, so I wouldn't feel compelled to CORRECT everyone every time they bring it up.

So, I'm sorry I'm so hard-nosed about this movie. I really don't understand quite why I can't get over it. But, there it is, I've got it out of my system, so maybe I'll feel compelled to shout about it less.

---
*Completely unrelated: how does my spellchecker recognize "Bilbo" but not "Baggins"? Does anyone have any idea what might have possessed the spellchecker programmers to include one without the other? This is going to bug me all night.
rockinlibrarian: (hi maddie)
Dear, dear neglected blogreaders. It's been a fascinating few weeks. I just haven't had the time to sit and type up a proper blog entry. Sure, I've been READING blogs-- or skimming-- but I can do that on my Nook. I've been Tweeting and occasionally Facebooking, but those are those in-between short-attention-span things you can do while, say, manning a reference desk or parenting small children. Within reason. At least much more than typing a proper blog entry is. So let me catch you up on the past, um, month. Ish.

In Which I Give You a Real-Life Update

First, the personal news: Jason has a new job, finally-- if you know anything about him, you've probably figured out that this has been something he's been looking for for a LONG, LONG TIME. It's still just machine operation, but the pay, benefits, working conditions, and apparently management is SO much better that we can't even fault it (much) for being 2nd shift. I'm working out a new work schedule-- since mine is based around him being DAY shift-- and if the 5-year-old goes to afternoon kindergarten in the fall (likely), we'll have mornings as our family time and lunchtime as our Dinner. At least until first grade.

In MY workplace, on the other hand, we have a new director coming in. I met her last week, and we pretty much laughed the entire time, so... that's possibly a good sign.

The bad personal news is I've had a mysterious and horrendously painful sore throat for the past week and a half, which two different doctors have looked at and determined that I, well, don't have any DISEASE that they can see, and the strep test was negative. The second doctor decided I probably just have something STUCK IN MY TONSILS which is being irritating, and I'm just supposed to gargle a lot and take painkillers when needed. This is NOT SOLVING ANYTHING. If it's still a problem by Monday I'm calling for a referral to an actual ear-nose-and-throat specialist. Jason said, "I hope you don't have tonsillitis," and I said, "I hope I DO have tonsillitis, so they can just take those tonsils out and BE RID OF THEM." Better than "gargle a lot and hope it goes away soon."

...in good personal health news, my antidepressants are back to being Straightened Out. Actually I'm not even sure I mentioned to you (on any of my social media outlets) about the week I got a dosage increase and started having anxiety attacks. Yeah, fun stuff. Told you, it's been an interesting few weeks.

In Which We Wander Into the Bizarre Depths of My Imagination

I had this great nightmare last night about a satanic cult posing as a church (of a completely different sort) camp, and there were exploding snakes and bloody demons and people who appeared to be nice who WEREN'T and undercover sabotage-of-their-facilities and rescue missions and dramatic escapes by boat and antique car and a secret meeting posing as a premature labor. It was really scary! But it was so very plot-filled that I really didn't mind, once I woke up.

See, my brain chemicals are balancing out, but I haven't quite rid myself of the Negative Thought Processes. I SEE, logically, that I can make up stories, that my subconscious mind is CONSTANTLY making up stories, but then real life intrudes and I can't justify it. There's always so much else I SHOULD be doing, and none of my story ideas is calling to me SO much that I can make myself sit still and focus. My husband, frankly, doesn't understand. He's not an artist, so can't believe that writing is anything more than a hobby, and why should I write when there are so many other things not getting done? His mother is even worse. And I just don't believe in myself anymore, period. I'm too scared to start again. I can't devote the time and energy to it because nobody really wants me to be a writer. That's one of those negative and probably wrong thoughts, but I have lots more concrete evidence to support my No One Needs Me To Be a Writer stance than I do concrete evidence that Anyone Cares For My Point of View, or even that Anyone In My Real Life Understands. But at least I can see where the problem is, now. Maybe that's a start.

In Which I Go Off on Librarianish Topics

On the other hand, I've been oddly aware of an actual skill I DO have, lately-- I'm a dang good reference librarian. I still feel awkward and like I ought to be coming up with more programs and that I'm just not AMBITIOUS enough (I've got a younger coworker, just starting library school, who is SUPER ambitious and is always starting projects and I always feel like she's looking at me thinking "Why aren't YOU doing all this?"). But someone needs help finding something? I am good. Not just talking a quick catalog search and a call number lookup. I'm saying, for nonfiction or topic-based searching, coming up with lots of different ideas of where to search and what to use. For fiction, excellently helpful readers advisory-- I find stuff people LOVE. In general, giving people a little more help-- and a lot of friendly respect-- than they're expecting (it's one of those times I'm actually good with people-- because I know what I'm doing). One thing about my new work schedule coming up-- I hope to still get to work some evenings, some after-school time, because that's when people really need help with the Finding Stuff... and dang, it feels good to have something I know I'm good with, when the rest of my life is a long hopeless process of convincing myself that I don't Suck.

In Which I Get On The Topic of My TRUE Self, Which Is General Fangirl

Of course, in real life, all these serious real life things take up most of my, well, real life. This is why I often distract myself by thinking about and caring about things that Technically Aren't Important In The Grand Scheme of Things, but Nonetheless Interest and Amuse Me. Take, for example, the subject of my last real post, The Fuse #8 Children's Book Poll Countdown. I am still obsessed with it, but possibly a little disappointed. I should have seen that coming, because I DID change my votes around from last time, and the WAY I changed them around was by adding MORE OBSCURE stuff I'd discovered, and stubbornly still voting for Ghosts I Have Been even though I was the only person who voted for it last time. But we're up in the 30s now, and there are a LOT of my votes I know I'm going to have to give up on showing up by this point. Now, there are votes I KNOW are going to show up later, way at the top of the polls-- I suspect about half my ten novels will end up in the top ten of that list (Wrinkle, Secret Garden, Anne, Holes, and Harry Potter, specifically. They were all in the top ten LAST time, at least), but so far not only have I only gotten ONE of my votes on that list (at #31... which still seems low to me. How is Alice not Top Ten for EVERYONE? This may be my own brain issues), and even my Almost-votes have been few and far between. Though, there's also been more titles I've never read... which may mean more exciting discoveries!

Anyway, I've had much more luck with the Picture Book list: I've had at least three votes make it already, and lots more I love. Though I know by now I probably need to give up on seeing my biggest new pick, Barbara Lehman's The Red Book, make it, and though I was shocked to see Daniel Pinkwater's Big Orange Splot actually make the list last time, there's no way it's getting past #30 this time. But that's only two of the picture books. The others I suspect I'll be seeing eventually.

...of stuff I've read lately...

But speaking of good books, I've had good fortune in the reading department lately, after my long dry spell of being burnt out. The LAST FOUR BOOKS I'VE READ have all been getting-caught-up-in, not-wanting-to-put-down, attempting-to-get-away-with-reading-at-more-times-of-day-than-just-before-bed books. It's been awhile since I've encountered even ONE of those in a row. Granted, it's still taken me an entire month to get THROUGH these four books, and actually I'm still not done with two of them (one's nonfiction, one's fiction, one's on my Nook, one's a real book from the library-- so they're two completely different reading experiences. That's how I can read them both at the same time).

There was, of course, The Dark Lord of Derkholm, which neatly encompassed everything that is so great about Diana Wynne Jones, and I have a bit of a new literary crush on Derk. Which is funny because my other DWJ crush is Chrestomanci, who, aside from being a magic user and a father, is UTTERLY COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. But Derk reminded me a bit of a character of my own that I've had brewing-- for that possibly turning The Pipeweed Mafia Saga into something Useful-- and in general that whole idea felt oddly DWJ-ish-- so as usual, she sparks my imagination. I LOVE THAT WOMAN. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE HER.

There was Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor, an upper-middle-grade fantasy that REALLY needs more attention, because it's so delightfully unique-- actually, speaking of which, it was blurbed by Diana Wynne Jones, and you can see why. It's thoroughly CREEPY (the bad guy is a serial killer, and there's something so REALISTIC about that in the middle of a fantasy that it makes it a thousand times scarier than some fantastic monster would be) and yet laugh out loud funny at times, full of unique magical twists. Also, it takes place in Nigeria. The only other SFF I've read set in Africa and incorporating African mythology (not counting Egypt-- Egypt gets done) is another of my favorites, The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm, which as I've said also makes me say "Why on earth is there not more SFF set in Africa?! It's so rich with possibility!"

The two books I'm in the middle of reading are actually adult books, because that happens sometimes. The one on the Nook-- which I try to confine myself to little bits of off and on, to make it last longer-- is the ever-delightful, unbelievably hilarious, kindredly (and vocally-supportively) mentally ill Bloggess's memoir Let's Pretend This Never Happened. And look, people, I was never AGAINST eReading-- using the Internet is, after all, eReading, and I do a lot of that-- but after only the INTRODUCTION I regretted not having the book in hard copy, if only because a hard copy is much easier to throw at Jason (maybe not literally) and say "READ THIS. Just this chapter at least. And the next chapter." Not so easy to share on a Nook. Unless the other person has a Nook. So somehow actually OWNING an eReader has made me MORE of a luddite about paper books. (Though I do love it for Internet reading, and interesting apps. I got a thesaurus app. It's pretty awesome).

The other book is kind of ironic because it's by Shannon Hale, who mostly writes YA, but somehow I've NEVER read any of her actual YA books (except the graphic novel Rapunzel's Revenge which is debatably Middle Grade anyway), but I've now, counting this one, read ALL her ADULT books. WEIRD. And this one is probably my favorite of said adult books, even over her Austen-themed ones: The Actor and the Housewife, which is, *ahem,* frighteningly similar to, uh, some of my own fantasies, only involving very different characters. Actually, just recently Hale blogged that the main character was probably her "most controversial character" and that lots of people didn't like her because she was "hard to relate to" or something. As I started READING the book just a few days later, I thought "WHAT?!" I friggin' LOVE Becky Jack! Granted, she might be a little much to take in person in real life (I would feel utterly inadequate in her presense), but as a book character she is hilarious and unique and I love her SO THERE, WORLD.

...and of film and such lately

Speaking of *muttering* inappropriatefantasiesinvolvingactorsandhousewives */endmuttering,* you do realize what television thing happened in this past month, right? I'M AFRAID MAYBE YOU DON'T. Sherlock series 2 finally made it to PBS! And now it's over again! It zipped by in three weeks with entirely not enough fanfare. Where WAS fandom? Oh, right, they'd all already pirated the show or bought UK DVDs for their Region-Free players. :P I felt utterly lonely-- once more, it was like nobody cared but me. BUT, somehow, I managed to get Jason hooked too. He probably STARTED watching just to poke fun of Martin Freeman whenever possible (he never stopped with that)-- also he claimed he was there to keep me from licking the TV-- but after very little time he was actually enjoying it properly, laughing in the right places, exclaiming about plot twists, and NOT BEING DISTRACTED BY ANYTHING ELSE, which in itself is amazing for Mr. ADHD. And no matter what Jason says, MARTIN WAS AWESOME. He was SO UTTERLY PERFECTLY WONDERFUL. That's how I review things, all balanced and objective, like. Anyway, I don't know why Jason was so offended when I burst out how desperately I wanted to hug John Watson at the end. WHO WOULDN'T WANT TO HUG HIM? I'm just saying. Anyway, so if you, once again, MISSED IT, I'm pretty sure PBS is still streaming it on their website. SERIOUSLY I'M NOT KIDDING, GO BASK IN MY IMAGINARY HUSBAND BEING AWESOME. And everyone else being pretty much awesome, too, but that's just a bonus.

Okay, right, in other TV news, sort of, did you know The A.V. Club is now retroactively reviewing Animaniacs? It is even MORE AWESOME THAN I EXPECTED, bringing back so many laughs I'd forgotten about. Like this one somebody brought up in the comments: "Okay one time, see one time, Randy Beaman's aunt was sitting on her porch, and she felt her dog licking her feet, only it wasn't her dog, it was some crazy guy who liked doing that. Okay, bye." I'D COMPLETELY forgot about the Randy Beaman bits, PERIOD, and THAT one was like my FAVORITE LINE EVER. I laughed so hard reading that comment that I was forced to de-lurk myself just to comment how excited I was about it. Seriously. Best cartoon ever. NO ARGUING.

In Which I Try To Wrap Things Up

So, is that it? Is that the past month, or at least, everything you need to know about it? Kids are all right. So's everybody. We's getting on at least. And now I'll go make sure the kids aren't destroying anything or each other. Maybe, MAYBE, I'll post more often after this.
rockinlibrarian: (beaker)
This is going to be one of those posts where I just ramble a lot, because that's pretty much all I have the brain capacity for doing right now and I'm out of things to read (says I, in a library, with Internet access)-- actually maybe I lack the brain capacity for reading and that's why I'm writing, but it's rambly writing because I lack the brain capacity to make sense.

See I was GOING to write you my belated Valentine's Day post on the romantic elements of A Wrinkle In Time-- YES, THEY EXIST, just ask the billions of Calvin fangirls who are all apparently coming out of the woodwork for this 50th Anniversary thing. While plotting THAT out in my paper journal, though, I started thinking about a DIFFERENT love story-- the one between ME and THE BOOK. And I decided to write an ADDITIONAL post about the experience of Falling In Love With Ones Geekdoms. But could I write EITHER of these when I actually sat down at the computer this afternoon? No, I could not.

I never know exactly how honest to be, emotionally, online, because on one hand I feel there's an inherent NEED TO BE MODERATELY ENTERTAINING in my online presence, because why else are perfect strangers reading what I have to say unless there is something moderately entertaining about it? And if you're going to be depressing, you ought to at least be a bit snarky or ironic or at least beautifully poetic about it. But sometimes you don't have the energy for that, and you realize that you talk to all your friends, whether Real Life OR Strictly Online, through social media, and when you want to say Hey, HELP ME, I'm dysfunctional, to your friends-- or SOMEBODY, just in case somebody CAN help you, or maybe just so you have that CONNECTION, that SUPPORT SYSTEM that everyone's supposed to have-- what else are you going to DO but post something online? If you're the kind of person who is deathly phobic of the telephone, that is, and has no friends in your actual town.

So then I get hung up, torn between the need to make a connection and the need to Not Be Whiny. And end up not typing anything.

But it's later now-- quieter here-- and I've napped and private-journaled a bit since this afternoon, so it could be safe for me to talk in public again. Keyboard-talking. Actual verbal talking is hindered by me being REALLY FREAKISHLY THIRSTY AND I LEFT MY WATER-BOTTLE AT HOME. But keyboard talking is easy enough because there's not much I have to do except keep signing off on this girl's AR quizzes. Sixth grade, reading a pile of picture books just to rack up points by the half point. Oh, AR, how I still loathe thee. I haven't complained enough about AR in awhile.

But at the moment I'm still mostly preoccupied by how freakishly thirsty I still am. There IS a water fountain. Way at the other end of the hall. By the time you get back, you're thirsty again. AND THERE IS PIZZA WAFTING FROM THE TEEN PROGRAM ROOM. WAVES OF GREASY, SALTY, NITRATE-LADEN NON-THIRST-QUENCHING AIR. And Maureen Johnson and Kiersten White keep talking about milkshakes on Twitter. I should stop looking at Twitter. Until it comes with a milkshake dispenser. I did mention this library is named after a man who made his fortune selling chocolate and ice cream? Which includes milkshakes? They're good milkshakes. We don't actually sell them at the library though. I got a spontaneous Frosty with my Wednesday Wendy's Lunch Stop yesterday. It was just one of those days where you say, "You know? Today I just REALLY WANT A FROSTY." So I did.

Now that I've gone off on my stream of consciousness posting, I'm obviously required to tell you what I dreamed about last night at some point now. EXCEPT I CAN'T REMEMBER WHAT I DREAMED ABOUT LAST NIGHT BECAUSE I FORGOT TO WRITE IT DOWN FIRST THING. AND SO NOW IT'S GONE. Also it probably wasn't as interesting as usual. Oh, that reminds me, does anybody remember the name of the Indian professor/scientist from Heroes? Because he was in my dream the night BEFORE last, and the fact that I CAN'T REMEMBER HIS NAME has been bugging me ever since. I kept bumping into him and accidentally kicking his jacket which had fallen on the floor, because I was stuck in a time loop that kept having me run down the stairs that he happened to be walking up, and it always seemed to loop back to just that spot. I was stuck in a time loop in order to prevent some revolutionaries from detonating some weird little bomb in this shopping mall, except every time time relooped it turned out a DIFFERENT revolutionary had the bomb, and it was all very confusing, and I kept kicking Dr. Whatshisface's jacket, who by the way didn't have anything to do with the revolutionaries, he was just there. Before that they'd let the giraffes out of the zoo to rescue people who'd been stuck in an avalanche. They cleared the snow with the heads on their long necks, much like backhoes.

Now my friends, I have passed enough time with idle banter. I have to start closing up shop. So I'll leave you with this: which post do you eventually want to get first: the Actual Romance IN A Wrinkle In Time, or the Romance I Have With Things I Love In General, which will include discussion of the Hierarchy of Geekitude? Or, would you like me to ever rant about Technology vs. Ecology, which I intended to possibly a month ago? Or, some other post I said I might type but never did? What would you, dear friends, ACTUALLY READ?
rockinlibrarian: (Default)
[Note: I started writing this yesterday, so the dates don't line up. So you should think of this paragraph beginning as "YESTERDAY morning." I'm not going to change it because I'm just like that]

This morning, just before I woke, I was having what seemed at first glance to be a remarkably realistic dream: I sat down to write for you all a yearly-retrospective blog post,* and the date was even today's date-- how often do dreams actually get the date right, let alone remember that this is also the birthdate of one of my best college friends and J.R.R. Tolkien, which it also acknowledged? Good calendar-following, subconscious. "I am sitting in a lovely new house," I typed-- it was, it was gorgeous, and there was a game room and a Jacuzzi and the kitchen was large and warm and homey-- "and I've just discovered an extra bag of Sarris' pretzels I had no idea we had. That about sums it up: 2011 was a pretty good year."

In the light of morning-- or the twilight of near-morning in January, when before the sun had even risen I'd already had my morning journaling interrupted by a small girl wailing about an ear infection and a call from the husband warning me that the roads were awful and I'd need to plan ahead to make sure the driveway was clear before attempting to take small girl to the doctors'-- this dream was utterly puzzling. 2011 a good year? Really? Off the top of my head I would have called 2011 a pretty Sucky year, seeing that I spent over half of it in various degrees of depression and pretty much nothing got accomplished. For the most part, listing what was great about 2011 seems primarily listing the stuff that at least didn't go wrong. We have water. We're all relatively healthy. We're not starving. We're not living in a war zone. No one I cared about died tragically... except Diana Wynne Jones and the unborn child I only knew about for three days... but that tips us precariously toward the "things that outright Sucked about 2011" side of the issue, and certainly isn't helping me figure out what my subconscious was thinking by "pretty good."

So how was what, at first glance, was a pretty crappy year pretty GOOD instead? THIS IS AN IMPORTANT EXERCISE IN POSITIVE THINKING. We'll start with a biggie: the Beautiful New Library. The Beautiful New Library for which I now work COMPLETELY in the children's and young adults departments, my specialty. For which I am now IN CHARGE of the YA collection! Why, this summer I ran delicious teen cooking programs and introduced elementary-school kids to the joys of gory fairy tale retellings! If we ignore the stresses from confused job duties, and the juggling of child care, and juvenile delinquents on my watch, that's a pretty good thing, is it not?

On the homefront, my son started preschool and appears to be thriving. My daughter got herself potty-trained which means I NEVER HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT DIAPERS AGAIN.

And while I'm inclined to put my writer's block on this year's list of Suckiness, the objective truth is I've actually written more THIS year than I did LAST year. Granted, most of that was journaling, and most of that journaling was whining about how I'm too tired to journal. But I did have a bit of fun writing to prompts for awhile, and actually, the twenty-some pages of Pipeweed Mafia Saga I managed to squeeze out (while completely useless and Utterly Wrong in an able-to-share-with-the-world sense, and I've had TWO separate episodes halfway done for months without finishing) were SO much fun to write and in the end brought me so much insane joy-- and I honestly think I MAY be able to turn them into something useful, someday, if I can figure out a way to not tie them so closely to real people, movies, and books (though SOMEHOW I have to keep the Aslan-in-a-Bucket. I MADE MYSELF A DATABASE OF CONTEXTLESS ASLAN QUOTES just to help me write the Aslan-in-a-Bucket. That's dedication for a story that only one other person has ever read), I think that may be one of the highlights of the whole year. It made Andy Serkis admitting his pipeweed problem in the latest Hobbit production video THAT MUCH MORE HILARIOUS (Oh, I have done such horrible fictional things to Andy Serkis. This is why the Saga is not fit for public consumption). Speaking of, HOBBIT TRAILER! Definitely among the year's Awesomeness. Also all the trailers and clips released for Sherlock Series 2! Okay, basically anything I saw this year starring Martin Freeman. Or, just him, period. Definitely part of the Awesomeness of the year, and the Awesomeness of the universe in general for his existence, though the universe is not so Awesome for refusing to acknowledge that we are Soul Mates. Stupid universe. (It's debatable whether having the World's Hugest Stupidest Crush on a movie star is Awesome or Sucky in and of itself, though). *AHEM*

Speaking of Awesomeness Achieved Through Movie Trailers, we'd be amiss not to mention OMG THE HUNGER GAMES TRAILER, which is impossible to refer to without tagging that "OMG" onto the front. Perhaps I'm setting myself up for a Sucky Birthday 2012 (I've decided to celebrate my birthday a week early by going to the movies. Who wants to go with me? We'll make it a PARTY) by getting my EXPECTATIONS SO TOTALLY BLOWN OUT OF PROPORTION, but as far as 2011 was concerned... dude. Did I mention I COULDN'T GET MY HEARTRATE DOWN FOR FOUR HOURS AFTER WATCHING THAT TRAILER?! And yes, that's evidence of "Awesomeness" not "Suckiness" in this case.

Though that brings us back to the subject of books, which has been a freakishly Sucky subject for me this past year. Not that the books were Sucky, just my ability to enjoy them was. But there were SOME moments of glorious book-loving, so we'll be sure to mention Those Good Times here, too.

Of course the Awesomest book-related event of the year was probably Michelle Cooper sending me an autographed, personalized book. From Australia. For no reason other than she thinks I'm Awesome. This actually has been a fun year for interacting with authors, period. Partly this is the result of Twitter. Hmm, Twitter. Where can I put you on the Awesome-to-Sucky continuum? On the one hand, you are so dang addictive. On the other hand... you are so dang addictive. *AHEM AGAIN*

But this reminds me that I have made a lot of very nice online friends-or-at-least-acquaintances this past year-- particularly [livejournal.com profile] elouise82, @easyqueenie, and @beckiezra. The Internet is nice in the Virtual Friendship department, and it has been very nice indeed this past year.

Finally... I got awesome Christmas presents. Is this worth listing? Probably. Whatever it takes to highlight the Pretty Goodness of 2011.

So in the end, this is a rather long list of decent-to-Awesomeness found in 2011. And whatever the true Awesomeness value of the past year, it's this NEXT year that matters, anyway. And we all know that, at least on this blog, 2012 will be a VERY GOOD YEAR INDEED, because it's THE YEAR OF THE TESSERACT!!!!! I'm halfway done with next week's post, and I do believe it rocks. At least, I think it rocks. And if I am the only person who actually enjoys The Year of the Tesseract, well... I WILL HAVE THOROUGHLY ENJOYED MY YEAR.

So all is well. Have a Virtual Sarris' pretzel.

--
*(Do you remember when every year people would post a survey that was supposed to be your yearly retrospective post? I miss surveys, but looking at this one it's clear what I have done here is a much more interesting and productive retrospective. Who really needs me to waste space on how I continued to not hate people and have no one-night stands?)
rockinlibrarian: (beaker)
I was going to post something utterly different today, should I have time to post, but I've been reading these things about Technology of the Future and how the trend is toward more voice-recognition-command stuff-- you know, you tell your phone to walk your dog AND IT DOES and so forth. Now, sometimes when people talk about Technology of the Future it sounds kind of creepy and soul-killing and brave-new-world; but this theory--not so much theory as THIS IS WHAT IS BEING DEVELOPED-- fills me with an entirely different sort of dread: a my-lord-tech-developers-how-can-you-be-so-ANNOYING dread.

I already HAVE this problem, when you get those phone trees that want you to speak your answers and don't give you the option to push buttons? Look, speaking out loud to a phone tree does not give me the friendly sensation of interacting with a human being! It's not fooling anybody! Instead it makes me feel self-conscious, and annoyed that I could be waking the kids from their nap (this of course assumes that they're actually NAPPING, but it's the principle of the thing), and curious if this is discriminatory against people with thick accents or laryngitis and if I can file suit, and I JUST WANT TO PUSH THE BUTTONS AND GET IT OVER WITH!

This may not be obvious to those of you who only know me from the Internet, because I can't seem to shut up here, but I actually have a dread fear of opening my mouth. Okay, POSSIBLY that is an exaggeration: I do love to sing, and I used to have a radio show for cripes sake (also: I was awesome at it), and I will read aloud and give tours to groups and stand onstage directing preschoolers in blockbuster productions of "The Three Little Pigs" (I haven't done that it in a long time, but I WOULD)... but in general everyday interactions, I'm ...a very quiet person. Unless I bump something, or almost bump something, or something falls down near me, in which case I will yell "OW!" But I HATE having to speak when I could just as easily NOT speak. I LIKE just pushing buttons to get whatever effect I want. It's quieter! If you want me to communicate with my appliances in a LOUD fashion, you will have to develop technology that runs on Zeppelin samples or something.

I mean I'm sure OTHER people find talking to machines SO much easier than pushing buttons. I imagine for some people it's a lifesaver. As long as you allow the OPTION of NOT using voice commands! I don't mind the phone trees that say "Say yes OR press 1!" It's the ones that just say "Say Yes," and you stubbornly push 1 on the off-chance that that works, and it says, "I'm sorry, I didn't catch that. Could you please repeat that?" and you groan, and it says, "I'm sorry, I didn't catch that. Could you please repeat that?" again, and you say, "CAN I PUSH A BUTTON?!" even though this is a whole five syllables more than "Yes" anyway, and it says, "I'm sorry, I didn't catch that. Could you please repeat that?" and you cry aloud in agony, and then it says, "Please hold for the next available representative," and you say "BUT I JUST WANTED TO PUSH A BUTTON!"

This could be something that just happens with me. But still.
rockinlibrarian: (christmas)
I'm typing this post to stave off apathy. I'm having a terrible problem with apathy lately. Just now I was consolidating all the Best Books of 2011 lists I could find --official ones, not people's personal ones, because that would just take too long-- and I'm glazing over these titles and descriptions thinking "That sounds like something I would have used to like-- back when I liked books like that-- which was, let me see, um, possibly a few months ago." Earlier this summer I suspected this was a bad side effect of antidepressants, but it obviously isn't, because I'm not on antidepressants. Although it COULD be a side effect of me NEEDING to be on antidepressants, just obviously not on whichever antidepressants make it impossible for me to read.

And anyway, it's sad because it's almost time for MY Favorite Books of the Year list, and last year I was SO excited by this prospect and had SO much to write about that my list ended up being really, really, really, and also really, long. But this year, I AM NOT EXCITED ABOUT IT! I may be able to produce only ONE Top Ten list, and that NOT broken into categories such as new books or old books or sequels, because I just DO NOT CARE too much about most of the books I have read!

But NEXT year-- by which I mean, in two 1/2 weeks-- I will have a PROJECT for my blog, in which I will OFTEN and REGULARLY post with MUCH ENTHUSIASM. At least that's what my plan is. I'm hoping I can WORK up an enthusiasm.

I just read this post at Writer's First Aid on how your first step in writing should be to Have a Reason to Write. Well no WONDER I can't write anything, either!

So anyway, I've come to the conclusion that the only cure for my general apathy is to break it on some kind of challenge/project that is TOTALLY DIFFERENT FROM USUAL, because I'm too emotionally tied to the idea of writing or reading or whatever to break out of my apathy by force of will alone. I need to build up my self-confidence in some other area of my life and let it run off into the rest of it, but none of the actual current areas of my life are doing the trick, which means the only solution is for me to learn to play rock drums so as I can start my all-girl Beatles Tribute Band, Lovely Rita and the Meter Maids. Really, this is the most simple solution. It does not require me to run away to England or New York City. It does not require a huge amount of child-free time to accomplish. It does not require all that much of a financial investment, for the time being, though I am not sure what happened to the drum sticks I used to have. Let alone, you know, DRUMS. But that's what furniture is for! Also, I believe LESSONS would come in useful. But in all seriousness, I feel learning to play the drums would be a satisfying and affirming accomplishment for me to strive for. If anyone is still struggling to come up with a Christmas present for me, drum lessons might do it. Also new sticks, since I don't know what happened to mine.

Granted, six years of piano lessons as a child didn't make me anywhere near likely to be a decent rock keyboardist, so I can't guarantee SUCCESS in the endeavor, let alone the eventual existence of Lovely Rita and the Meter Maids. But I will GET TO BEAT ON THINGS. And that will be satisfying enough.

Just typing this has made me significantly more cheerful by the end of this post than I was when I started. Hooray for theoretical beating on things!
rockinlibrarian: (rebecca)
There are lots of things I don't like about standardized testing-- or, more accurately, the way standardized testing is used-- but at the moment I'm thinking about the aptitude test we took in high school, the one where I got back the results and as usual I'd scored in the 98th percentile or higher in all the academic subjects, a bit-- but just a bit-- lower in some clerical or abstract subject I don't remember now-- and in the section headed "What your scores suggest would be good career paths for you" was a paragraph saying (and I paraphrase only because I can't remember the exact wording, but it basically amounted to this), "You have high scores in every subject area. You will excel at being WHATEVER THE HECK YOU WANT TO BE!"

Putting aside the problem that, no, I CAN'T necessarily be whatever dang thing I want to be, because this test didn't test for my complete lack of social skills, the question I'm thinking about NOW, at this PARTICULAR moment, is WHATEVER THE HECK DO I WANT TO BE IN THE FIRST PLACE?!

(Aptitude tests also don't test you on how long into an all-caps sentence it takes you to figure out you have a caps-lock button).

See, it's increasingly obvious that my general dissatisfaction with life may have something to do with my complete inability to make decisions. Which they also don't really test you for on aptitude tests, even though technically the whole thing is deciding between A B C and D, because on those tests there is always one right answer. In real life there are billions of possible right answers, billions of possible wrong ones, and most of the time they're all a mix of the two. Everything is a decision, including what word I'm going to type here next, which is why I keep drifting off, looking at my One Book notebook and thinking vaguely that my doodle lady looks like she's wearing a diving mask even though that was Maddie's contribution and probably isn't anything, and Norah Jones just came on my Media Player, and I once decided Billy 'Arrison has a huge stupid crush on Norah Jones, and speaking of huge stupid celebrity crushes wouldn't it be nice if Martin Freeman was here right now I mean RIGHT NOW, HERE? and now "Getting Better" is on, and I thought about writing something about being a Beatles geek this morning, and my head hurts a bit, and now there are seven new Tweets on my Twitter tab why do I even have that thing open when I'm trying to do other things, and THIS IS ALL BECAUSE I COULDN'T DECIDE ON HOW TO START THE NEXT SENTENCE (but I did remember caps-lock that time).

But no, I think much of my life is wasted in indecisiveness. I debate what to make for dinner, and then end up just making spaghetti again anyway. I debate what I want to do with naptime, and end up doing nothing. I debate what writing project to work on and write nothing. I debate what WORD to write next and-- well, you already heard that one. I debate WHETHER TO GET UP FROM WHATEVER CHAIR I'M IN AND DO SOMETHING, BUT I DON'T AND DO NOTHING INSTEAD. This is a real time management issue, and I must fix it by, like, Doing Something, but I still haven't decided what that Something is.

So I asked myself What is it I WANT out of Life, anyway? If I'm going to start Doing Something, I need goals. But honestly? I can't even answer that question. I've got a family to be family-oriented for. I'm a librarian. I want to be a writer. There are lots of other people who have been all three of these things, so I don't know why I should HAVE to choose, but at the same time I feel unfocused at all of them. I need to strive to be GOOD at something instead of just mediocre at everything. I want to live like I have a CALLING, like it's my MISSION to be as awesome as I can be at what and who I am, but I can't quite figure out what that IS....

Problem is I like being told what to do. Not how to do it, but what to do. I want other people to decide what I'm supposed to be doing, and then I'll do it, and I'll do it quite nicely! Much of my life I've been accused by well-meaning friends of being a doormat, a pushover, of letting people take advantage of me, and I've never seen what they meant, but THIS IS WHY NOT! Because being a pushover implies that I WANTED something different than what I ended up doing-or-not-doing. And I didn't. I didn't know what I wanted. I didn't CARE what I wanted. I just rolled with whatever everybody else wanted of me.

And so now I've decided I don't want that anymore. I want ownership of my life. I want to live FOR something. I want to LIVE rather than EXIST, in other words. I'm tired of rolling with it. Except now I have no idea WHAT to live for, WHAT paths I could Actively Pursue, WHAT decisions I can make about my life and where I can point it. I'm too used to rolling with it. And too overwhelmed with what Everyone Else wants of me.

I think I still want to be a proper writer, as opposed to someone who thinks best on paper/screen (what's the word for that, besides "in written form"? I'm going for something that's the opposite of "orally"-- does such a word exist?) but doesn't actually write enough. But then I think I have nothing to write. Nothing at all that needs to be said. Not really. Nothing anyone needs to hear. No real stories I'm dying to tell. Probably it's just because I can't decide what to write. But I can't justify making myself write crap when my house is a mess and my kids are alternately vegging in front of the TV, destroying the furniture, or locking themselves outside in the snow in their pajamas (yes that happened the other day). I can't write OTHER things when I've got One Book I could be working on. I can't write letters when I could be writing stories, and I can't read books when I could be writing letters, and I can't read the Internet when I could be reading books, and I can't ... I'm not even sure what I'm talking about now. THIS IS WHAT I MEAN. And none of these things get done because I spend all my time worrying about the things I'm not doing. Or at least, waffling about the things I could be doing. Or at least, staring blankly into space not doing anything.

Anyway, there have been a few things on my mind this past week that I thought of writing a post about, but I didn't do that either. I've decided that I OUGHT to, next time, just to have made a decision, and be an active BLOGGER at least. I could live for blogging! Just to DO something! But...



...here I drift off, vaguely...

...because it's an appropriate way to end...

...and otherwise I wouldn't know when to stop...

...I still don't, apparently...

Now I'm dancing to Santana. I guess I'll go now.

EDIT: So, then I got all decisive and decided to wear my Ren-Fest dress to work, because dang I work in the kids' room and it's Halloween night and I'm ALLOWED, mostly because I can't think why not, and I TOTALLY FEEL BETTER ALREADY. Like, DANG, LOOK AT ME, I'M SOME KIND OF AWESOME. I think I just need to wear a Ren-Fest dress every day, so I'll be that lady buying groceries in February in a rather smelly and likely yogurt-encrusted Ren-Fest dress, and everyone will be like "So what is with that lady, anyway?" and I'll be like "I AM A SHIELDMAIDEN OF ROHAN!" and... I need a sword. You know, I've decided this is the answer. I just need to wear a costume every day. I'll alternate between Ren-Fest dress and Leia robes. Sword and blaster pistol.

Maybe I need a more practical plan.
rockinlibrarian: (Default)
Sigh. Friends-lock. Why do I even bother with you anymore? I suppose there's no other option, because that last entry was the sort of stuff not appropriate for certain people I actually am Facebook friends with. No offense to all my Facebook friends (now you're all paranoid and wondering if it was you, aren't you). That was pretty much an entry that would have been more appropriate for all the library-ish people that read me, anyway. It just wouldn't be appropriate to have show up on the Facebook account that is also the administrator of my workplace's own Facebook page, WOULD it?

So, to avoid this being nothing but me whining about how nobody reads my friends-locked posts, I'll add that Maddie is getting new bedroom furniture, all handed down from her aunt-- or, actually, her grandparents who want it out of their house. This is so exciting that neither small child has been able to nap properly today, because new beds are for JUMPING, not sleeping, even though they are both still getting over their awful colds. Which I now have myself, although it hasn't (yet) hit me quite as EVILLY.

I've started writing another Proper Interesting Bloggish entry, so never fear, these will happen again. It's just that it's One Book Writing Time, so it happens MUCH LESS FREQUENTLY...

New shipment of furniture at the door, goodbye.
rockinlibrarian: (love)
[Error: unknown template qotd] So... am I the only person who saw this on the home page and now can't get the Bee Gees out of her head?

...possibly.

EDIT: Okay, I admit, when I just look at the TITLE I get frickin' Nazareth in my head, but nobody brought THAT up, either.

I'm not actually going to answer this question. It's entirely not a subject my brain is at all inclining toward lately. Even though I work with YA literature, and that's a staple theme of YA literature. My favorite staple theme of YA literature right now is Being Yourself and Standing Up to Bullies. But anyhoo.

Mostly I was just commenting on the Bee Gees thing.

Say, did you all (except for Emily today) totally miss that I wrote a whole post about Jim Henson last weekend? DUDES! JIM HENSON! Where ARE you people?! Just because you don't write on LiveJournal YOURSELF anymore doesn't mean you can't pop by and say hi! I miss you.
rockinlibrarian: (eggman)
Over the weekend people on my Twitter feed kept Tweeting and Retweeting links to a blog post-- on LiveJournal, even, so you can't blame format-- someone had written on the socioeconomic downside of insisting that Print is Dead, accompanied by notes about how this was Very Important and Genius and Whatnot-- also, the original post had five pages of comments-- and of course I agreed perfectly. After all, I'd said as much myself last winter in my series on electronic media. But instead of being all, "Yes, go people, get the word out!" ... I found myself pouting in adolescent snittiness. I SAID IT LAST WINTER. But nobody LISTENS to ME.

WHY DOES NOBODY LISTEN TO ME? NOBODY LOVES ME! I'M NOT TALKING TO YOU! I AM GOING TO BLAST DEPRESSING MUSIC AND NOT COME OUT OF MY ROOM, EVER, unless I get hungry. WHY IS THERE NEVER ANYTHING GOOD TO EAT IN THIS HOUSE? YOU ARE TRYING TO STARVE ME, AREN'T YOU.

Now I admit I was more than a bit PMSy this weekend, which you might have gathered had you bravely read my last entry. I am aware that raging hormones cancel out all logical ability. I work in the Teen Room of a public library after all. I know, with the cortex of my brain, that the stuff I say on my blog has very little impact on the Internet at Large. I'm an unknown, without a gimmick, a focus, or any authority whatsoever. Why SHOULD anything I have written make any sort of wave? But my amygdala (appropriate name, there) starts up with its panicky "But wait! What about ME? Doesn't anybody love ME? I FIND THE LACK OF ME-CENTERED-NESS DISTURBING!" and the jealousy begins. Why aren't people rebroadcasting MY brilliant wisdom and charming wit all over the Internet? ...probably because I don't often say anything really, truly original. Mostly I'm just ranting, reviewing books that have already been out for, you know, MONTHS, or... well, dudes, seriously, if OTHER people are writing long theses on why Martin Freeman is actually their Imaginary Husband, that would just be frightening. Those people might actually have to be hunted down and exterminated. So anyway, when I AM truly original, it's probably best I remain that way, and it's really not necessary to rebroadcast me all over the Internet. BUT SOMETIMES I'm clever and original and worth sharing, right? Maybe? And maybe I can get credit for it sometimes?

But I know it's all silliness, and I shake my head condescendingly at myself.


But I reassure myself: I have grown over the course of my life. I hear talk of what jealous people writers can be, jealous of other people's sales and successes. And I used to be very possessive of my Writer status, as a child. I was the resident WRITER of the school. Maybe other people liked writing, but I was the one who was going to grow up to be a Proper Author. I pouted when others scored higher on writing assignments than me. I pouted when others got PRAISED for writing. Heck, I even still had a problem when ANGIE came along, Angie whose brilliant stories and poems I read over and over fanatically of my own free will, Angie my first true critique partner. Somehow, in the back of my head, I thought, Okay, I guess I can allow Angie to be a great POET, maybe. But I'm going to write the BOOKS.

I don't do that anymore. Well for one thing there's that problem with, you know, NOT WRITING ANYTHING PROPER LATELY IN THE FIRST PLACE. But it's also because I've accepted that everyone's outlook is UNIQUE, and there's no such thing as too many writers. Now when I find out someone writes, I'm excited, because I CAN'T WAIT TO READ WHAT THEY'VE WRITTEN. (With some exceptions. Girl from my hometown came out with a YA book the other year. Got good reviews. Made the BBYA list. I ordered it for our library. Girl's older brother was in my class. He was a complete psychopath. Book involves main character's complete psychopath older brother. I cannot read this book). How can I possibly be against MORE GREAT STORIES BEING PUT INTO THE WORLD?!

So I've grown. I'm not a selfish I-Am-The-Writer anymore. I'm all for cheering on everybody else, too.

...it's just the green-eyed monster has snuck off to chew on OTHER issues. Like writers who are somehow able to write productively even though they have small children (I'm sorry, [livejournal.com profile] elouise82. I know you are totally one of these people, and I love you dearly. BUT HOW DO YOU DO THAT?!). And the ones who say, "I couldn't have done it without my super-supportive and totally understanding spouse, who is either a wonderful first reader or at least makes a big effort to make sure I get ample writing time to myself!" I glower at you all.

Kiersten White is totally one of those writers. She's drafted three whole novels this year even with two small children, and she even wants another, and she's got lovey-dovey odes to her husband all over the place. I should hate her, except a) she's too freaking hilarious to hate, and b) she wrote this absolutely perfect post the other day describing exactly the sort of thing I'm talking about. We all get a little dumb about stuff and people on the Internet sometimes. So I'm sorry. Have a unicorn.

Except I don't like unicorns. Flowers. I'll be the flower person. You can have lots and lots of flowers.
rockinlibrarian: (rebecca)
WARNING: I've been in the habit in recent years of Friends-locking the Depressing posts as well as the Posts-Where-I-Need-To-Protect-The-Innocent, but any more half the people who USED to read my friends-locked posts can't even log in any more and the other half just doesn't care and the three or so people who magically don't fit into either half who DO still read friends-locked posts, well, they're awesome and all, but I sometimes wonder what the point of posting at all is if nobody (except the mathematically impossible three people) can read it, so anyway, while I DO still intend to friends-lock the Incriminating and Privacy-Wrecking posts, I'm afraid the depressing stuff is going to make it out here occasionally. SO, IF YOU DON'T FEEL LIKE LISTENING TO ME BE DEPRESSING, STOP READING NOW and go find some LOLCats to look at instead.

They say everyone's got a story to tell. They say write the story you need to tell. I keep looking for fictional stories to tell and lately I just don't care enough. It occurred to me that maybe the only story I want to tell is my own life story. Maybe actually all I want to do is barf it all out so it's out there and I can die in peace. Not that I am, as far as I know, dying. But if I AM having some psychic moment that is inspiring me to prepare my autobiography in a great important hurry and I DO suddenly die, at least you'll have had fair warning here and will know where I have went. And my autobiography will be out there, because I will have gathered all the bits I've already written and put them together propery and filled in the blanks and put it OUT.

This is the Prologue to My Autobiography that I wrote yesterday:

I want to share my life with you.

Not live with you, do stuff with you, argue about money and furniture and child-rearing. I just want to take my life-- all of it, every nuance of my past, every hope of my future-- and hand it over. Here it is. This is me.

I think of what my life is not: I was not an abused child. I did not struggle with learning disabilities or poverty or war. I wasn't non-white in a white world or non-straight in a straight world or left-handed in a right-handed world. I know those viewpoints are important to hear about. But then I start to think that maybe
I'm not important, then, that maybe my life is meaningless, that maybe my joys and tears and loves and hates are all for nothing, because they're just like Everybody Else's.

Except they're not. And I'm not. I'm not saying I'm anything special, but I've LIVED, and I'm worth something, because just like everyone else, I've got an entire multiverse wrapped up in my skull, and you can't just ignore that, belittle that, because I seem so dull. People are always so much more than they appear. They each carry the whole universe of their lives around and you, stuck as you are in your own little universe, never see it.

Well, I want you to see mine. Here is life as I know it.


I'm just desperate to reach out there. Desperate for some real contact, some real understanding. I want to get that whole multiverse that is inside me OUT there, save it, immortalize it, share it.

My husband said a terrible thing last night, and I'm not sure I've forgiven him, even though I know he's been thoroughly depressed himself lately so his ideas of philosophy should probably not be relied upon as "uplifting." But when I said "I just wish I knew what I'm supposed to DO with my life!" he said, "You and I have reached the point in our lives when we begin to fade away, and now all we can do is pass it on to the kids so they get to shine."

But WHAT? What's being passed on? I haven't shined yet! What kind of torch are we passing if it was never lit in the first place? It's survival of the species, that's all. Meaningless.

"But this is why I don't Get the Arts," J continued, pointing out how the great artists weren't considered great until after they DIED. Which was exactly the point I was trying to make from the other side. I want to DO something BEFORE I die. I want to MEAN something. I'm not looking for fame, I just want to have ADDED something to the world. Not just perpetuated the species. Not just survived, day to day. I want a POINT.

I feel stagnant. I've wanted so badly to just run away, run off to NYC or Boston or London and live in some horrible bohemian artists' flat being some totally different person while finding myself. But, you know, I won't. Much as I don't want my ENTIRE life to REVOLVE around my kids, they still are the most IMPORTANT thing in my life, and I have got to get them raised properly. The trick is somehow making the best of this depressing wastehole I'm stuck in in the meanwhile.

And hope I get my act together before I die.
rockinlibrarian: (hi maddie)
It's an odd day because the public school is closed because downtown has been taken over by Oktoberfest.

People still insist on thinking it's weird that we have Oktoberfest in September. FOR GOSH SAKES ALREADY THAT'S NOT WEIRD, THAT'S JUST WHEN OKTOBERFEST IS. See, Wikipedia explains it, which makes everything right. What IS sort of weird is that this town has such a huge Oktoberfest in the first place. It's not like we have an overwhelming German/Bavarian population in the town, no more than usual for Western Pennsylvania (which, I'll grant you, is still fairly large), not like the Italian and Greek populations we boast. But we have THE hugest Oktoberfest in at least this half of the state, kind of like how we also have THE hugest July 4th parade in this half of the state, and I'm not ENTIRELY sure why my community has taken to these two events as ...HUGELY as it has.

But it has, which means starting from the library and going up three blocks or so there is a FULL-BLOWN CARNIVAL BEING CONSTRUCTED, and all the kids have off school...

...which means they ARE hanging out at the library... but they're also not, because there's a HUGE CARNIVAL out there to go hang around instead, even though it's not technically open until later this afternoon.

So... odd day. I'm not even sure where I was going with those paragraphs. I actually thought I had more to write about this when I started this entry. Actually, I thought I had more to write about, period. Didn't I post three times last week? Why don't I suddenly have loads of brilliant things to post THIS week?

Has anything of interest happened to me lately? ...No, probably not. Have I read, watched, or listened to something of which I have an opinion I can force upon you all? ...probably, when you include "listened to," because I can't listen to the radio without having an opinion on it, but I don't have much to TYPE about it, either. Oh, except that I've recently decided I hate radio commercials even more than I used to.

I KNOW. How is that POSSIBLE, you are saying, at least if you are among the people who has ever ridden in a car with me while I have access to the stereo controls? The difference is, in the past I didn't want to MISS ANY OF THE MUSIC that was happening on the other stations. Now, THE COMMERCIALS ARE ACTUALLY PAINFUL IN AND OF THEMSELVES. The jingles are annoying, the voices grating, the humor appealing to the lowest common denominator, and the serious ones-- well, also appealing to the lowest common denominator. AND THEY REPEAT OVER AND OVER AGAIN.

Of course the easy solution to this is Don't Listen to the Radio, but the radio's all I've got in the kitchen usually, and definitely it's all I've got on my clock radio. Well, the other option there is a buzzer alarm. I'll stick with the occasionally infuriating radio.

When I wake up in the morning and do my morning journaling, most of it usually ends up being what I was just dreaming (selection from last night: I'm sitting looking at these historical books with my dad and some other girl and this lady who looks like the lady with the annoying voice on Will and Grace, but with less of an annoying voice, and we're discussing the sorry state of society today or something of that nature when the other girl says, rhetorically, "Well, you know what they say...." And the other lady replies, " 'Living is fatal'?" And the first girl does a double-take and says, "Um, I guess." And I thought the whole thing was very funny, but then again I was sleeping at the time), anyway, so most of it ends up being what I was dreaming, but entirely too much of it also ends up being a running commentary of whatever is happening on the radio.

...okay, again the solution here appears to be Don't Listen to the Radio, at least when you're trying to write; but even when I'm NOT listening to the radio, my morning journaling will go into great detail about whatever song is in my head at the time, and then about whatever song that reminds me of, and then I may feel compelled to turn the radio on just to get a song OUT of my head.

At the moment I don't have any songs in my head, oddly enough. I am hearing nothing but the swelling rumble of a large industrial HVAC system and the clicking of my own computer keys. I don't even hear any teenagers. They've appeared to have gone out to stalk the Oktoberfest setup again.

But as I wasn't actually saying about the morning writing, because I hadn't gotten this far when I felt compelled to inform you that I didn't have any songs in my head, my original Grand Goals for Morning Writing-- you know, how I was going to write productively and write to prompts and so on and so forth? Have definitely taken a hit lately. Part of this is because the days are getting shorter, which means it's staying darker longer, which makes me less inclined to wake up at a decent hour. That or I'm exceedingly lazy lately, I'm not sure which. But ANOTHER part of this is because, three days a week, I've got to get Sam off to school. I look like much less of the lazybum in comparison to Sam. I've got to get moving early, which means skipping out on a lot of my former Morning Writing time, just so I can more conveniently get HIM moving, which is EXCEEDINGLY DIFFICULT, and he tends to be eating his breakfast on the way most days. He is DEFINITELY NOT a morning person. I've always thought of myself as a morning person, but I'm not really, I'm just DEFINITELY NOT a night person. I'm a ten o'clock in the morning person. Actually, that's probably my only alert and productive hour of the day, except that most days I'm using that hour to toddler-wrangle.

...so as I was saying. You know how I was moaning recently about how I don't read as much as I used to? And I was thinking about how somehow this has made me even pickier about what I WANT to read, and how therefore there are lots of titles I may have gladly picked up in the past that I WON'T now because I JUST DON'T CARE enough to make the time to read them. Anyway, I started to wonder if maybe (now that my ability to CONCENTRATE has returned. Not that you can tell from this post) I'm actually SHIFTING MODES. That maybe I've been on Input Mode for the past few years, wanting just to read and read and read, but NOW maybe I'm shifting to OUTPUT MODE! MAYBE I HAVE HUGE PILES OF STUFF I'M GOING TO WRITE NOW!

...except, um, I see very little evidence of that happening. Possibly I've stalled out between modes.

CAN there be a stalled-out mode? What exactly is the POINT of a person who is neither inputting or outputting?

Honestly, I'm not sure WHAT'S happening in my life. I feel like I am mediocre-ly involved in various realities, fully and completely present and active NOWHERE. And I'm including my imagination in this. Even my imagination is mediocre lately. I'M NOT EVEN DAYDREAMING WELL LATELY!

I HAVE been puttering ahead on One Book. I include it in the list of things I am accomplishing only mediocre-ly, but I nonetheless am progressing slowly but... slowly at it. It's pretty much the only thing I can point to tangible evidence of me MAKING progress at, so at least there's that. Mediocre progress though it may be.

So anyway, probably I should stop typing this now and attempt to be marginally productive in some less mediocre way.

And this post is so mediocre I can't even find a userpic that feels appropriate for it. There's always the default of course. Which is an utterly mediocre choice. Although it's so dang FRIENDLY, it still doesn't seem right....

*I'm not just saying this in some effort to appear squeaky-clean for the Internet's benefit. I don't. It's disgusting. I don't like wine either. I prefer a sweet mixed drink that tempers the alcohol with nicer-tasting ingredients such as ice cream.
rockinlibrarian: (sherlock)
Oooo, thunderstorm. And I am the only person on the second floor of the library. Oddly delicious.

Now that things have slowed down after the initial Everyone-Go-See-the-New-Library-NOW! rush, and summer programs are all underway, I find myself sitting patiently at the children's circ/reference desk completely catching up on all my blog reading, and the reading of LINKS from blog reading, until I really just end up ravenously collecting links to pictures of Sherlock filming (this one was particularly awesome today) and melting into a puddle of Martin-Freeman-induced fangirl goo for several hours (OMG, Martin, STOP being so adorable already! That level of adorableness should come with some kind of warning label! Every dumb little face you make sets me one step closer to leaving my husband and murdering your wife!... or... something. *ahem*) (of course the Hobbit pictures are even worse. Seriously, is he not the most adorable hobbit in the history of the world? AND THAT'S WITH SEAN ASTIN AND BILLY BOYD AS COMPETITION! Dangit I do have a thing for hobbits, don't I); SO obviously I need to use this time to start writing those brilliant blog posts that took several days to compose and were actually ABOUT things again.

Though last week I did give you a delightful recipe for tabbouleh (which, by the way, if you copied it down exactly the first day I posted it, I should point out that I edited it since because I forgot the cucumber. DON'T FORGET THE CUCUMBER, FOR GOSH SAKES. It's TABBOULEH. It NEEDS CUCUMBER!). That was actually a pretty good entry, if you like tabbouleh.

But what I mean is, I had all these brilliant philosophical bits going for awhile there, posts that took some manner of thought and drafting, or at least required me to list a whole bunch of books and characters and write entirely too much about each. I think I may even still have some of these potential blog posts in partial draft form, somewhere. But the library move threw me off, and now I've lost my train of blogging-thought. As if my blog ever had a train of thought.

Still, here I am, and I enjoy chatting with you, and I hope you also enjoy chatting with me, and that you actually READ me. I know I say that with self-conscious whiny-ness fairly regularly, but I'm here thinking of my family and friends who are mostly on Facebook and don't have time to read blogs anymore. I wonder, does anybody LOVE me? just like when we used to get home from someplace and there'd be no messages on the answering machine and my sister would go "NOBODY LOVES US!" (She hates when I bring that up, by the way. She claims she never did such a thing. But she did. Really).

So the question is, if you ARE here and reading this, what kinds of posts would you like to see more of in the future, that you would actually take time out of your busy Farmvilling to read? Toss me some subject matter! It will be fun!

And if you AREN'T here and reading this, leave a comment anyway! It's always good to know when someone isn't reading you.

Also, I'll give you candy. I won't, actually, but you can pretend I am. Virtual candy. Step right up!
rockinlibrarian: (eggman)
I realized something mildly depressing the other day: I have no idea how to do something Completely For Fun anymore. Oh, I'm great at incorporating fun into whatever I DO do, but if something doesn't have some Practical Purpose BESIDES fun, it makes me antsy. I shouldn't be doing something without a Practical Purpose! What's the point? How can I justify that use of my time?!

It started when I was thinking about, as I mentioned to Liz in the comments of the last entry, how I used to write FOR FUN, and now apparently what's blocking me from writing is that I feel like I ought to be writing For Real, instead of For Fun. Something happened about the time Sammy was born-- I don't know if it's the feeling that I ought to be using my writing to pull in income, and so writing that is not likely to become something that will pull in income seems extraneous-- or, more likely, motherhood is just so draining on my time that I can't let myself do anything Not Practical.

The latter seems to be it, because it's more general. What do I do for fun? Read. I would choose reading over every possible use of my time. But even that carries with it, anymore, a tinge of Ought to. I'm not just reading because it's FUN. I'm reading to add to my Long List of Books I've Read So That I Will Have Read Massive Amounts of Books Bwahahaha! I'm reading because I'm a Book Nerd who wants to be that librarian who perpetuates the myth that we HAVE read every book in the library! I cannot let a halfway interesting book sit unread by me! And dude, that's already cutting out all the books I DON'T personally find halfway interesting, and most of the adult fiction (although I am reading an adult fiction book right now, but this is because it is by Terry Pratchett, and I also Have to read everything he writes because he is a Genius so there is no avoiding it), because I Need to reserve all my reading time for building my Massive Have-Read list!

What other hobbies do I have? Blogging? Professional reasons. That's why most of the blogs I read are related to books or libraries. Gardening? I garden to, in the backyard, stock up on homegrown yummies, in the front yard, keep the Ordinance people off our back. I enjoy it, yes, but only because it has a Practical Side. Remember how I used to sew? Yes, sewing was fun. But I haven't done much lately, mostly because we don't really Need anything sewn right now. As soon as a practical purpose comes up, I'll probably start sewing again.

I canceled my Games Magazine subscription, although it is my favorite magazine ever, because I have a Huge Pile of Incomplete Back Issues to complete. I keep them by the toilets now. Other people have bathroom reading; I have bathroom pencil puzzling-- because otherwise I would NEVER SIT DOWN AND DO IT anymore. Notice, I have pretty much also not joined in any of Jason's (usually online) attempts to start a role-playing campaign post-kids, either. This was the hobby that brought us together in the first place, and has no practical purpose. Seriously, who has time for gaming? Jason does-- even the more impractical Reading-Role-Playing-Books-and-Making-Extensive-Notes-on-Theoretical-Campaigns-That-Will-Probably-Never-Happen. He has NO problem having completely impractical fun with his spare time. Perhaps this is a gender thing.

I did find one thing I do absolutely, purely for fun, and that's play the piano. There's no point to me playing the piano. I'm not even any GOOD at it. But I love doing it, and do it whatever the kids think (Sam will occasionally say "No, don't play the panano,* Mommy!" But he will also occasionally say, "That's a good song!" Often about the same song). Now, if only I could harness that attitude into other hobbies of mine! Specifically, WRITING! But it's much easier to walk past the piano, reach over to the keyboard, and let it suck you down to the bench for the course of a whole song or so. It's harder not to fight the suction of more complicated fun.

Does anyone have any tips on fighting this mindset-- particularly as it applies to writing? Because maybe all other Fun things ARE just wasting time. But I can't let this inability to do anything for fun continue to hinder my one greatest lifelong dream.

*You think "panano" for piano is amusing. He also calls umbrellas "underbellies."

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