Nothing out of the ordinary has happened these last couple weeks, I suppose that’s a good thing. Here at the U I have been surprisingly busy with reference questions, I think because the Master’s students finished up their term and the undergrads are starting to get their prompts for final papers, etc. I mean what does a librarian blog about when she’s just answering questions steadily? Sometimes they appear to be the same old questions.
Finding specific articles from half of a citation. Stuff about business culture and internal structure is asked a lot, very common, but difficult to find unless published in corporate reports that give clues to the culture. Communications breeches with the military that led up to the Pearl Harbor attack. We had to replace the homecoming display wall yesterday, that killed about 4 hours. It was actually kind of fun.
I did have a great moment on Friday when I helped a doctoral student find EXACTLY what she was looking for. She was looking for a dissertation within the last 10 years that was a quantitative study and examined African American women as leaders that grew up in homes with an absentee father. After milling around in our dissertation database, google scholar and some other creative commons for about 30 minutes we changed one little keyword and boom: “An examination of resiliency factors of successful African -American women from father absent homes” from 2008 came up and we literally both shrieked out loud. And guess what it WAS quantitative so it was perfect. I emailed it to her with the subject THIS IS THE ONE (in all caps because I felt like yelling it to the heavens). It almost felt like finding that perfect man, or car, or pair of jeans. Quite satisfying. That doesn’t happen too often, sometimes it’s like finding a needle in a haystack that you aren’t really sure exists. Moral of the story here is keep on trying, change those keywords and keep on trying. Could this be metaphorical for life? Probably.
I guess that may be my only story for now. The holidays are coming up so that means a lot of slow time for libraries. Today I’m reading a bit of Fitzgerald’s poems, didn’t even know that he wrote them. I suppose anybody who writes takes a stab at poetry first or even last. A lot of his poems published when he was in college read like songs, or seem to have assigned characters to them I’m not really sure. Here’s one that he wrote in college I found especially interesting:
The Vampires Won’t Vampire For Me
Percy and Sal
Often I have seen on the screen,
Pictures living and snappy,
Girls quite a fistful, ingenues wistful,
Loving I look at that makes me unhappy;
Tell me why girls that I meet,
Always simple and slow?
I want a brunette like those I met,
Back in the seven-reel show.
Liking striking blondes as I do,
Hair that’s golden and rippling,
Why don’t I meet a few that aren’t sweet but
Act very much like the ladies in Kipling?
Dolls are very numerous now,
Many wonders I’ve seen;
But I’d like a wife early in life
Someone who learned on the screen.
Theda Bara they say,
Drives depression away,
What Olga Petrova knows
Won’t go in the censored shows!
Why are ladies I meet
Never more than just sweet?
Girls seem to be Vampires,
But they won’t Vampire for me.
-F. Scott Fitzgerald
Fitzgerald, F.S. (1981). Poems 1911-1940. Bloomfield Hills, Michigan: Bruccoli Clark.
The title is what caught me at first. I get it though, the frustration of trying to find somebody that lives up to your ideals. Ideals that often come from screens, edgy femme fatales and the rugged male structure of perfection that is so often portrayed in the movies/television/social media. He ended up finding the ultimate femme fatale and muse in his beautiful, young, sought after wife Zelda. But as the story there unfolds (as with many others) Crazy and sexy is only fun until crazy turns out to be ACTUALLY crazy and sexy gives way to age and responsibilities and mental problems. The interesting thing to me here is that Vampires not only are charismatic, sexy, bloodsucking creatures that lurk in dark corners, but they also live forever. I wonder what he means by that with this poem, or if he means anything at all by it. Things to ponder on a Sunday afternoon…