The End of Day Ramblings of a Library Girl

This morning I sat at the knitting table in my hometown library with the handful of ladies--all like second mothers, or maybe close great-aunts, to me--that make up our Tuesday morning Coffee and Chat. Somewhere between the director's youngest son's graduation from medical school, and the benefits of air-drying laundry, the inquiring voices turned to me, the second youngest member of the group (second youngest, only because 10-year-old Sophie made her rare visit today).  "How's the new job?" "Oh! you found a job? Where?"

I have to parcel my answers out to the various corners of the table. "I'm a part-time assistant at the Cheatham Library" I point north, to the county seat. "I start this afternoon, and I'm really looking forward to it!"

The ladies--the great-aunts--they know a few things about me: that my hands will try any needlework that my eye takes a fancy to, and that my heart lies in libraries. They congratulate and cluck over me, agreeing that I couldn't have taken a more suitable position. One of the aunts saw the joy in my smile and eyes as I talked about my excitement for this job in particular and libraries in general, and brought it to my attention. This is what makes me think that I've made the right career choice: I feel most alive when in a library.

***

And the first night on the job was great.

I was given a drawer for my things, (with my very own name on it), a schedule, a rundown of operations, and a "don't hesitate to ask questions" and was set free. I stood in the middle of the circ-desk, turning 'round acclimating, feeling slightly awkward for all of two minutes; then, a family came and left armloads of returned books--that, I knew how to handle.

First night and I didn't even have to shelf read-- that's a good omen. Shelf-reading means there's nothing else to do, and I'm desperately trying to be useful on the clock. Despite what people may think, just because I work in a library, doesn't mean I get to sit and read when I'm not scanning your card and books. Though, when I did shelve returns, I found my hands falling back into the natural rhythmic moments of spine-straightening and book-end adjusting. These books and I will know each other well soon.

There was a mockingbird in the fireplace chimney, singing sweetly for our benefit. Just one of the perks of a country library.

I defined "geek" for a child-patron, who was wondering about our "Geek the library" campaign.
He geeks comic-book superheroes.
I geek libraries. And Doctor Who. And John Green. And Knitting. And... maybe I shouldn't get started on my obsessions.

Name me another library that plays Happy Trails on a boom-box right after the 15-minutes-till closing-warning. Seriously, I want to know if there's another that does that. Honestly, when the Abby, the assistant director hit play after her announcement to the handful of computer users, I had one of those surreal moments where I could have sworn I was in a movie (the one that Nora Ephron wrote and directed about my life--I know its out there) as I shelved Veronica Roth books in the YA section with the beautifully orchestrated strains of that old cowboy song swelling about me.

I live a glamorous life in my own small way.

Treasures, Letters and Library Cards

Dearest Reader,

This has been a ridiculously chilly day for May, one that I've spent tidying about my room, nursing a cup of coffee, organizing my yarn stash, and inevitably, coming across boxes to look through and get lost in. Today it's the small pink rubbermaid tote that holds years of memoribilia: birthday cards, letters from my longest standing penpal, scraps of cloth that came from who-knows where, and other trinkets. A small pink chiffon gift bag with ribbon drawstrings hold a smooth rock--once a worry-stone that I kept in my pocket--and two bits of sea glass, scavenged from somewhere on the Gulf coast.The stone heft in my palm, admiring its ideal roundness before slipping it back in it's bag. 

Here's three library cards--the ghosts of libraries past--Onondaga, Gadsden and Cheatham. The signatures on the back, "accepting responsibility for all material borrowed on this card" range from childish to teenager-y. I pull out the Cheatham card, as I've just been hired at that branch and I'll need it.

A glow in the dark star and a canceled stamp float around in the bottom of the empty tote as I begin to dive into the letters.

Inside a 5"x8" manila envelope I've found three delightfully sappy letters-to-be-delivered-Someday. This is a long standing tradition of mine, to write to future versions of myself or friend, or to people I haven't met (or so I believe) yet. Even among my present folders and papers that fill my writing crate, I keep an envelope To My Someone. These old letters, however, are addressed to myself and two of my oldest friends on our wedding days, and were written when I was 15. (Which, by the way, was my favorite age to be, and the age that has probably most shaped present Me). Despite the strict instructions to not open before the set day, I've read mine over and over, laughing at myself more and more as I grow older. 15-year-olds have funny ideas and inclinations, but I love my 15-year-old self all the more for recording the dreams I had then of getting married... Someday. The only reason I don't shred and burn this this letter out of sheer embarassment is the last paragraph, which I will not be sharing with you. Suffice it to say that despite the immature imaginings of a 15-year-old girl that pervade the majority of this letter, there is yet a hint of knowing and wistful sweetness that I will most definitely want to revisit on my wedding day.

Over 80 percent of this totes contents are letters from one of my oldest and dearest friends. When we lived in the same state, she and I began write letters even though we saw each other at least once a week at church, and sometimes more. When my family moved away, I don't know who took it harder, me or Erica. The habit of letter-writing, which had been merely a novelty till this point, became a necessity as my family had no computer and emailing wasn't much of an option. I'm so thankful for these letters now, as they mark so much growth and becoming, and immortalize the little girls we were together. We had a silent period for a few years, where the mailboxes weren't as frequented, but we've ended the hiatus recently, picking up pens and paper again even though we both have facebook and cellphones and all the modern communication conveniences. Nothing beats the thrill of tearing open an envelope to read the words that your friend put on the page with her very hands. You just don't get more personal than that... and "whatever else anything is, it ought to begin by being personal," isn't that right Ms. Kelly?

Till next time friend, I'm yours.

Sarah

Visiting With Old Friends

There are times when what I need most is to hear from my oldest and dearest of friends... the ones that have been with me since childhood, go with me no matter where I move, and will stay with me no matter what happens in life. We're so close that we can just pick up from wherever I am in life and just go, no matter how long I've neglected them. They always have something to say that reminds me of who I am, and what I'm about.

Meet Alice, Anne and Luna: three of the kindred souls who have long helped me be me.

What have they had to say recently? Well, here are a few words from them that have Named me of late:

“I can't help flying up on the wings of anticipation. It's as glorious as soaring through a sunset... almost pays for the thud.” --Anne
I always find myself gaining an exhilarated sort of hopefulness when faced with a new possiblities--lately, this has most pertained to job interviews--no matter how hard I fell in disappointment after the last failed attempt, I rise just as high the next time. Being an eternal optimist can lead to a lot of bruises for sure, but I've found that they heal fast. 

“It will come sometime. Some beautiful morning she will just wake up and find it is Tomorrow. Not Today but Tomorrow. And then things will happen ... wonderful things.” --Anne
 I mentioned being an optimist? Yes. I look to Tomorrow with the greatest hope in my heart. Tomorrow and Someday are two of the nicest words in my language.

“All life lessons are not learned at college,'she thought. Life teaches them everywhere.” --Anne
Girl, don't you know it. Though some of the most important ones I've learned have been at college.

“Tears don't hurt like the ache does.” --Anne
Sometimes it just helps to cry. Cry it out, friend. 

"I can't go back to yesterday because I was a different person then." --Alice
I look to Yesterday so often, wishing to have it back in one form or another, but Alice is right... no matter how much I want to I can't go back because I'm the same as I was then. 

"Curiouser and curiouser." --Alice
Plot twists. Life is full of them. Acknowledge them and move on.

"I can't explain myself, I'm afraid, sir, because I'm not myself you see." --Alice
Those days are wretched, aren't they, Alice dear? But we always come 'round in the end.

"She generally gave herself very good advice, (though she very seldom followed it)." --(about Alice)
I've the same bad habit; however, I'm learning to listen to myself. It's slow going, but at least I'm making progress. 

"You're just as sane as I am." --Luna
Yes, you, reader. You may think I'm a little odd with my friends and all, but look at yourself--how are you odd? Embrace your inner quirky every once in a while. You might like it, and I won't judge. 

***

The Anne of Green Gables Series is by my beloved L.M. Montgomery
Alice in Wonderland is by the inestimable Lewis Carroll
The Harry Potter Series (in which you meet Luna in book 5) is by the queen of fantasy, J.K. Rowling

If you haven't read any of the above, I suggest you start now. MAKE HASTE!

23 // A Random Assortment of Facts About the Author

1.) Sometimes I wake up in the morning and wonder if I actually exist..... then I snap out of it.
2.) I have a red speck in my right eye and a freckle on my right index toe. If you ever need to positively identify me, those are the keys.
3.) I believe in fairy tales. 
4.) My favorite word is "archipelago" (Mmm... just say it, let it roll off your tongue... don't you love it?)
5.) My cinematic soul sister is Kathleen Kelly.
6.) I had an essay published in a young writers anthology last year. Kinda proud of that.
7.) I speak fluent Fangirl, specializing in the dialects of Whovian, Nerdfighter, Potter and Austen.
8.) I share my birthday with Tchaikovsky (also, I can never spell Tchaikovsky right the first time.)
9.)Favorite author: Madeleine L'Engle
10.) I over-think things, 99.9% of the time.
11.) I plan to go to grad school to be a librarian (and yes, you have to get a degree to be a librarian.)
12.) I am really a superhero. When I am not being the mild mannered blogger that you know and love, I am called Dewey Decimal girl, and there is no bibliographic emergency to big, (or small) for me. (Superpowers include: Bookfinding, and Super-Glare)
13.) I am an unabashed Celtophile (thanks Da!)
14.) I love the old fashioned feminine arts of needlework (knitting, sewing, embroidery... you name it)
15.) I have a thrift store armchair named Lucy Maud; sit in it at your own risk; I will probably kick you out.
16.) My personal style: Either Jane-Austen-Librarian-Chic or Confused-Pseudo-Hipster or Just-Fell-Out-Of-A-Children's-Story-Probably-One-That-Involves-Talking-Animals. It depends on the day.
17.) I'd rather take a Shelfie than a Selfie.
18.) Coffee is my love language (next to words of affirmation and quality time... seriously, if you take the time to bring me coffee and talk nice to me, I'll love you forever.)
19.) I love writing, but I hate proofreading. I'd rather fold a basket of my brothers mismatched socks than proofread even my shortest blog posts.
20.) I'm addicted to parenthetical statements (and dashes--I do love a good dash)
22.) I'm incredibly happy with a rainy day
23.) I love making lists.


And there you have it. Maybe you'll get 24 more facts this time next year. We'll see.

~S

On How To Be Lovely

Like many girls (and yes, many guys too) I am a big fan of Audrey Hepburn, looking up to her not only as one of the most beautiful and talented women to have graced the silver screen, but also as a beautifully wise human being, and excellent role model.

My favorite of her characters is Jo Stockton, the book-shop girl and amateur philosopher of  Funny Face, who suddenly finds herself smack in the middle of the fashion world.
You'd have that dreamy look too, if you'd just been kissed by Fred Astaire. *swoon*
One of the lovely Gershwin songs of this movie musical, a duet titled "On How To Be Lovely" in which fashion magazine editor Maggie (played by Kay Thompson, the author of the Eloise books!) is instructing the newly blossoming Jo on how to respond to reporters after the fashion show, echoes many of Audrey's own philosophies of how to be, essentially saying that a cheerful spirit is the best way to win people over.


Musing over this, I have to agree; there is nothing more becoming than a smile and a cheerful attitude. I find it easier to like and be likable with a sunny disposition, rather than a rain-cloud spirit, and its a philosophy that we could all stand to hold to more often.  In the words of the wonderful Roald Dahl:
 "If you have good thoughts it will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”

Thank you for your wonderful influence, Audrey, and Happy Birthday!
~S