Saturday, July 31, 2010

Reading Reptile

We went to Brookside today and picked up some children's books that I want to send to someone who has just had a baby. The Reading Reptile is the best children's book store in the world. It had been a while since I'd been in the store. I got to tell Pete I'd quit my job and was going to work on my great American YA novel. He suggested, what if I made it about an 8 year old girl--because one of my story ideas involves vampires and werewolves--and there's nothing for tweens about vampires. So they end up reading the stuff aimed at high school readers, like that dreck, Twilight.

Well, it might work. In reworking my NaNoWriMo novel from 2009, I changed it from an adult story to a YA story.

But anyway, I want to say a few really good words about the Reptile. Because if you're in town, I want you to go there. And buy stuff. Not just books, but they have cupcakes now, too. And Pete's, I mean, Albert Bitterman's book is coming out soon. It's a children's book, illustrated by Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Chris Raschka...oh wait, it's not the Nobel Peace Prize he won--it's the Caldecott. But in my not so humble opinion, it's just as good. Maybe even better.

Bill Harley, in his blog, writes about the Reading Reptile, and the sense of both comfort and vitality one can find in the store. Long may it flourish. And the cupcakes are delicious!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Those who support us

While we're thinking of entering writing competitions, here's a look at classical music competitions. The author reminds us of the time Martha Argerich walked away from a competition in which Ivo Pogorelich was competing. The judges eliminated him but Argerich championed him.

What do we do without those who champion us? Mentor us? Now, Pogorelich is brilliant and there's no question about it, but what would have happened if Argerich had not stood away and stood up for him?

Barbara Sher, the author of Wishcraft: How to get what you really want points out that people who achieve their desires have support: from cheerleaders to naggers to spouses who do the household stuff.

I thought about this as I wrestled our aging cat into his carrier for his annual trip to the vet, thinking all the time, "I'd much rather be writing and reading." I thought about how my spouse had never taken our kitty to the vet--he'd picked him up once, but never had he wrestled him into the carrier, made sure the A/C had been blasting in the car, attempted to soothe the kitty by singing and making small talk.

The point is, I am seamlessly slipping into the role I had when I was "just" a stay-at-home mom: Errand-Runner/Grocery-Getter. And it all takes time--but even when I was working 40-plus hours a week, I served in that role. I would have made the kitty's appointment for some time before or after work, or during a time when I might have had a morning off.

Now how do I get this out of my head?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Salve atque vale, O JCL!

The Corinth branch of the Johnson County Library is where I've spent my days since February of 2004. I started there in Youth Services and moved up into the world of branch management--which is where I thought my passion should be.

I was wrong. I spent 3 1/2 years spinning my wheels trying to right (my) wrongs and be a good manager. I am not. I could not. And with all the changes lately in the library, I felt I could not even put on my team-player-manager hat with a smile and equilibrium and go out into the branch and say, "Do it this way, it will be good for you."

I am not a leader. Obviously. I'm probably the only person who took the JCL Leadership class and failed. Well, not exactly fail--just did not emerge confident and a "leader."

Ironically, it was the session led by Denise Upah Mills, that gradually led me to make my decision and to understand that being a "leader" is not the only thing in the world to be. I could be happy being a great person on my own and the dedicated follower of a "leader."

I liken it to singing in a choir. Each choir member has her own beautiful voice--or his own beautiful voice. Each one of us sings as best and as beautifully as we can--together. But we do take direction from our conductor. If our conductor can't lead us, we still have our beautiful voices, our appreciation of the music but maybe the piece doesn't come off as perfectly as it might.

Understanding that I have my own beautiful voice, my own talents that I can nurture has been the treasure to me during these rough months of deciding and saying farewell in my heart.

But now I sing it. Or rather I let someone singing under Ned Beatty as Josef Locke:


Tuesday, July 06, 2010

40 hours a day for what? A rant

I think it sucks, frankly.
The 40-hour work week. You spend 37.5 to 45 hours in a place that is not your own, with people you might never have chosen to spend all that time with. That is hell, my friends, true hell.

I mean most of us in this work cycle spend more time at work than with the people we love: our family and friends, our support network.

Now, you can love your job. Nice work if you can get it, but I think for the majority of us with many interests, doing any one thing for 40 hours a week is stultifying.

I offer this song:

Friday, July 02, 2010

Something Else

I have been working for the Johnson County Library for a little over 6 years. It's time for me to move on.

Whether I will still write a library-related blog, I don't know. I may get more personal here in Z Words or I may move it all over to another blog.

All I can think of are the words of that haunting Led Zeppelin song, "Babe, I'm gonna leave you": "...I've really got to ramble
I can hear it callin' me the way it used to do
I can hear it callin' me back home."

For sure, I'll be home some of the time. Life demands that.