It’s OVER!

This NaNoWriMo bit ends tonight!

Here’s what I learned:

It’s possible to write 50,000 words in 30 days

It feels a bit more like torturous boot camp until you get into the habit

Dear God I hope I don’t fall out of the habit

Now that I’m here I think I need to keep doing this to stay sane

Books are hard as hell to write

Students don’t want to write 50K words on top of all their other finals they have to do (not surprised)

 

But, I did it! I put myself up to a challenge and I did it. I hit that old word count: 50,000.

Here’s the proof…

IMG_2541

My story has taken me some interesting places, ones that I didn’t even know I was going. I was worried I wouldn’t have anything so say, but here I am done with word count and nowhere near the end of the story. I would say maybe a little over halfway, and most of the meat hasn’t been dug into yet. But I have a promising idea of how I want to flush it out. So, what’s next with this strange little story of mine?

Next is printing it out and doing a read through this weekend. I know I’m sorry, it’s killing trees, but I need to go through it hard copy. I’m old school I suppose. Another part to this is that the story weaves through people over the course of some days, and it’s getting a little hairy lining everything up. On paper I can separate them and do them as long streams. It wasn’t necessary before, but I may have to write the second half this way, we’ll see.

Then the next part is just getting the rest out. I don’t know if I can keep up the pace of 1600 words per day, but I need to try to get something down at least every other day. I was able to put off some work goals and demands but now I may have to pay some attention to academic style writing. It will be a gear switch, but I won’t abandon my story. I hope that by my birthday (a little under four months) to have something more cohesive.

Something I didn’t realize is that you have to research a lot of things that you need to see to explain. Here’s my list so far. I need to think about melting metal, and how fires spread. I need to watch something burn. I need to talk more with the younger students (18 or so) to see how they interact with friends, how high school was for them. I need to go to Viva Madrid and watch my friend bar tend, see how she makes watermelon juice, watch her make a Spanish coffee, note the weekend crowd and takes notes on the owner. I need to learn about relationships between older men and younger women, my best friend suggested a movie and I already forgot it. But most of all I need to keep reading, observing, and ingesting words and images and keeping these characters in my head and close to me.

Another thing I plan to do is clean it up a bit and apply for some MFA fellowships, actually just one. I’m putting all my eggs in one basket and seeing if it works out. I may do more later, but for now I’m pooped, and not even sure this is a degree I want. All I’ve learned about grad degrees is that they open doors, but I may need that if I want to be “serious” about writing. Am I ever “serious” about anything? Do degrees really mean anything? All I know is I’m NOT paying for it.

I’m so tired of writing now, so this is a short one. I just wanted to brag a bit and hope that it inspires somebody, anybody, to try something they really want to do. It’s possible, anything is possible, but it’s always WORK. Well I guess that living without food or air isn’t possible, but don’t be a jerk, you get the point. Stop using your excuses and just get out there and do something that moves you forward, even if it’s a little step and nobody cares. I bet that nobody really will care, but you will, and that’s the most important care of all. I promise. It may even take you somewhere you never thought you could go.

I was so excited I wanted to celebrate, then realized that I have nobody to celebrate with and that I’m really tired anyways and just want soup. So, I made soup. *insert party horn here*

The end.

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Love in the Upside Down

So you know how I mentioned I started using some online dating apps?

I quit. It kind of looked like this.

hs

I only lasted a week and a half and I just couldn’t do it anymore. If you watch stranger things you will understand this reference (If not, sorry and you should totally go watch it). I couldn’t help but feeling like I was in the “upside down” aka this odd version of reality that was kind of dark, confusing, and gave me nightmares. No really, it gave me nightmares.

So let me explain. It’s not that I make myself super accessible to the opposite sex but I’m out there in the world, and ringless. I work in two very public buildings full of all kinds of folks, I go out to bars with friends, or sometimes even solo. I attend weddings, and functions for both work and a vast network of friends from all walks of life and nobody even talks to me let alone asks me on dates. Every person who talks to me wants something, a book, an article, headphones, for me to help them edit their paper randomly at a Starbucks, you get the idea. Ok, I’m not counting the 2 or 3 weirdos that kissed my hand or slipped me their number at the public, sorry it just isn’t valid as being something worth pursuing on my end that could lead to anything.

You can imagine what it feels like to suddenly have people interested in you. Or, what they think you are or could be, or whatever. As I mentioned in my last post, is that the right kind of attention? Well, it may be the only kind we have immediate access to. I got asked a lot of questions, and the one that kept coming up was “What do you want?” I wasn’t trying to be snarky or anything but what I really wanted to say in my heart of all hearts was “To NOT meet a man online.” But that wasn’t going to get me anywhere, was it?

So I had some conversations with amazingly candid dudes that were looking for love. I appreciated the forwardness and truthfulness of it all, but at the end of the day it felt like more of a business transaction or interview, and it was not fun. Some people may have fun, I’m not knocking it for all but just saying for me there was nothing fun about it.

Let’s sift to my two actual (kind of) transactions. I talked with one guy for almost the whole time, and really it was good conversation. He seemed like a really great person, and had a good sense of humor and I kind of got all weird on him once about needing time before we met and he even talked to me after that, which was a major plus. But then, the meeting thing came up again, and I felt like maybe he didn’t really hear me the first time about needing time then said something kind weird that I thought might be one of those passive aggressive cryptic things so I just kind of cut it off there. I mean, I could have been wrong and maybe just jumped ship out of fear and my own personal issues, but I guess I’ll never know. That’s ok though I’m learning to trust my gut a bit more these days. We wished one another well and that was that.

And then, I agreed to meet up with somebody because something about them piqued my interest. Weird thing about this profile is there were 6 pictures that all seemed to look different. I actually on first instinct thought it was somebody that goes to my hot yoga on Sundays based upon one of the pictures and his description. But, who can be sure right? We made plans to meet for coffee on a Wednesday and guess who never showed? Yes, yes, my first actual step out of the box and I got stood the f* up. Ugh.

I waited 15 minutes, then took my coffee on a walk and actually was a bit relieved. I went home and thought, eh, I’ll give the app another night see if this guy actually says something about the no show. Crickets. I deleted that app, and the other one I had and have since been able to resume a semi normal but still rather lonely life. Well almost normal. After the great stand up I couldn’t shake the feeling that this guy is the same person that, two weeks ago, was half naked next to me in a room that was 105 degrees struggling through eagle, camel and locust pose right along with me. Maybe I’m just being paranoid, but it was distracting and it threw off my practice. I told some people about my suspicion, and they said to check the sign in list and see if his name is on there. (From our very brief exchanges I do know his first name). I never got around to this, and honestly it seemed a bit weird to do. But this morning…

My regular yoga teacher is amazing, and she knows everybody by name, and will often talk to us in class. So when she was welcoming a certain suspiciously tall 30 something who came in late by first name I almost fell over laughing. Yep, I was right!! It’s the dude that didn’t show, unless by the biggest coincidence in the world this other guy just happens to have the same name. She said his name a couple more times during class and each time I wanted to laugh so hard I just had to hold it all in. I have no clue if he recognizes me, my bangs are back, and I have workout glasses on and horrible outfits and am covered in sweat, but he may…

I’m not mad. In fact this is one of the most hilarious and eye opening things to me about online dating and the “upside down” world. I don’t even have the idea of how I can communicate with this person and perhaps share a laugh about the whole thing. I wanted to but didn’t, what am I scared of? What if he just pretends it all never happened and I’m some crazy lady? What if I make him feel horrible? What if he tried later to hit me up and I was gone? AH! Who knows, we don’t really know one another and we don’t owe each other anything but it’s just so darn ODD. In the alternate universe of the “upside down” where neither of us ever really existed we could complement one another, make plans to meet up with the possibility and intent of seeing if we could actually have a friendly, and/or physically intimate relationship. While here in person, in flesh and the vulnerability of our sweaty yoga practice we are complete strangers. The plane we connected on disintegrated with the push of a delete button.

Online dating is a reality for so many people, and I’m sure there’s many more stories such as this one. I found some interesting stats on online dating in an article that cited a source called Statistic Brain. I’m a bit weary of the site, seeing as it has ads throughout but, the article that used it IS published in an academic journal so… anyways here’s some numbers…

According to this site, there are 54 million single people in the US. The total number of people who have tried online dating is almost 50 million. That is incredible. The online dating companies are becoming quite the lucrative business profiting about 2 billion per year collectively.

71% of the people surveyed believe in love at first sight (yes!), blonde is the most desired hair color for females at 32% followed by brown and black both at 16% (I’ll call that a half and half since those add up to 32) and guess what, 38% of women prefer “nice guys” and the top kind of preferred lady is the “modern career girl” at 42%.

(Statistic Brain, 2017)

For the full site and more info click here

Statistic Brain Research Institute. (2017, May 12 Published). Online dating. Retrieved from http://www.statisticbrain.com/online-dating-statistics/

 

NaNoCryMo

I’m participating in NaNoWriMo this year. I’m eight days in, one thousand words behind, and I kind of want to cry. I don’t really want to give up, but this challenge is no freaking joke. Even for somebody who likes to write and has a pretty regular journaling habit.

For those of you who haven’t heard of it NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month. Every November there is a semi-gimmicky writing program that urges aspiring writers to pledge to write 50,000 words in the month of November towards a novel draft. Check out the website here:

https://nanowrimo.org/

It’s totally free. You can sign up for a region, go to local meet ups and find inspiration and possibly some writing buddies. If you are doing it friend me…

LRyhs is my name, and please don’t judge me my title and synopsis are not the best, no picture either I’m basically just signed up to be buddies with the works peeps that are also writing this month.

50,000 words doesn’t sound so terrifying when you break it down its roughly 1600 words a day. Well, here’s my first word of advice…

Don’t get behind.

Just don’t please don’t it makes the whole thing too daunting. I took one day off yesterday while already 1,000 words behind. That meant today I was supposed to write 4,000 words. Which I didn’t do in fact, I only wrote about 3,000. It was easy to do though, as I had the day off and was able to hole up in a coffee shop for 3 hours mid-day, that helped. Tomorrow I’m still at the 1,000 lag plus my new 1600 for the day, and guess what, it’s almost tomorrow. Tomorrow just doesn’t stop coming in this challenge. There just comes a point in the day where your writing and attention turns to crap and you just should stop. I think I wrote a line to the effect of Lydia had large brown eyes, the gentlest eyes Nora had ever seen. This made me gag ever so slightly, and I made sure to highlight it and remind myself to go back and rework it later , and hung up my hat for the day.

That’s the thing, you can’t get in your own way here, and as much as you want to hit a number you should try at least, to not just be pumping out trite BS. I know what you are thinking, that’s not writing, that’s not creative, that’s encouraging people to just write garbage so they can hit an arbitrary number and convincing them that anybody can and should write.

Let’s look at it in a slightly less cynical light. NaNoWriMo is a great way to help people get started, to give people a glimpse into how much work the writing process is and to get them in a habit of writing daily, even when they don’t want to. Like starting a gym routine, it’s work, and unless you are some big name person, or a professional novelist this is work you are NOT getting paid for and there may be no external rewards for doing it, ever. But if you want to do it, do it, go for it. Do the work, don’t let anything stand in your way and find others who support you in this.

There are so many layers to writing a novel. The planning, research, mapping, outlining, then the actual writing. I mean the most I’ve ever written was in the 35,000-word range and not only did the writing of it take about four months, and the attempts at self-editing that followed the writing were just atrocious. There’s all kind of consistency issues, voice issues, syntax errors, jumbled grammar, notes to self I forgot to take out, so many things. Which direction was the store? What was that street name again? Do all the timelines match up and make sense? I think that I had like 3 different names for one character at some point and two different names for the same street. These are things that you don’t really think about if you’ve never done a long piece of fiction. I tried to get some pals to look at it for me, but that’s just asking way too much of somebody who already has way more important things to do than read your silly novella. But hey, you have to learn somewhere, and NaNoWriMo is a great way to do just that. To practice, to learn, and to DO something rather than just talking about it. There’s much respect in that.

The reason I committed to this one is that we are trying a pilot program at the U to see if the students are interested in something like this. We put everything together kind of last minute and it’s a bit all over the place but it hasn’t been shall we say “successful” as a program. There is a ridiculous amount of signage in the library, a display case, and a sign with upcoming events. A couple people came to the kickoff party, I wasn’t there to see it I had my job at the public that day, but so far, we have had 0 people show up to our drop-in events. I mean there’s myself, and my co-worker who showed up to write but we were staffing the events so does that count? I say yes, but only to beef up our numbers to 2. Sigh. I mean, it’s tougher in an academic library to do these kinds of programs. These students are already reading tons for their classes and working on midterms and projects and papers and all sorts of things. Maybe asking them to write in this crazy boot camp style just isn’t appealing to them. I thought that maybe we would have a taker or two, but not so far. Oh well, we learned and maybe there will be a next time, maybe not. I suppose the month is only about 1/3 over and anything can happen.

The struggle is real, but so are dreams and goals. There’s leg work, work and work, and more work. There’s mistakes, rejections, doubts, and breakthroughs. I think the trick here may be enjoying the journey, allowing yourself to be a beginner, and having fun while you are at it. I’ll keep you updated on the progress, god bless it if I finish I’m going to throw myself a party. Honestly, a party, even if it’s just me that shows up. I’ll invite the cat, who knows maybe he’ll wake up.

Wait, I just wrote my 1000 words. So what if it wasn’t part of the story, I’m giving myself the W for today.

image obtained from: http://andimjulie.blogspot.com/2012/06/camp-nanowrimo-laundry-popsicles.html

 

Ways to become a better Librarian Product…

I received news on Friday, after a very positive annual review that I am NOT going to be moved forward as a candidate for an open position here at the U. *Insert sting here* And let me tell you it hurt, a lot. I am convinced that truly, there is nothing worse than being an internal candidate.  This time, it was the fact that I wasn’t a strong enough candidate, and that I didn’t really “sell” myself, and that my application materials weren’t the best. I get it, I mean I really do.

After the news broke, and I sat in my boss’s office holding back tears because nobody wants to be the one to cry at work,  I went through my stages of internal grief. Sadness, anger, denial, hopelessness, back to anger. All the things that happen to you when something you were really hoping for falls through, or an opportunity or person leaves your life. But finally, this morning, after sweating it out and finding my inner buoyancy in hot yoga, I have reached.. acceptance.

Another big part of finding this acceptance, was writing out a semi-sarcastic, slightly passive aggressive list of things that I need to do to make myself for marketable so that I may “sell” myself on this job market that seems to not take well to me in these last couple of years. I will post it here to remind myself of the things that I can control, and how I can have fun and still be myself while navigating the “system”.

Things to do so that you can become better Librarian product/package and make that sale

  1. In December or January when things calm down, meet with archivist and write the article about the Digital collections. Hope to god it is good and gets published somewhere so that you have something you can write down on paper under your “publications” heading.
  2. By March 15th– Apply for the SCELC first time conference grant. First you have to choose which one you want to attend. This is for 7/1-12/31 so find something that is somewhere you’ve always wanted to go and that has good beer, maybe Colorado? Pray that somebody has mercy on you and gives you the award.
  3. Re-do everything because your resume is not academic, use the CV format. Think of how you will fill in all the parts that say conferences or committees since you have not been on any because you are too busy working two jobs to even scrape by and barely have enough money to live let alone spend 500$ on a conference that people go to just so they can have something to complain about (see above #2 might be the solution). Think about signing up for an online committee just so you can get your name on one (CARL was suggested). Once there, be apathetic about what you discuss, however try to ACT interested. Maybe you can get this done by March 15th as well.
  4. Find some class for LCC numbers OR metadata. Maybe both. Get the U to send you. This could actually be enjoyable so take your time and find the right ones.
  5. Maybe read more of the 30 weekly emails you get from the CALIX listserv, remember to add co lib-1 and lita-1 google ALA or CLA listservs and see how many emails you can flood your inbox with. At least 1 or 2 of them might lead somewhere that can make you more marketable on paper.
  6. Focus on the “goals” you set for yourself on your performance review. But remember, even if you hit them, nobody really will care but you. Get it through your thick skull that hard work within an institution doesn’t make you a stronger candidate if any positions open up.
  7. Stop taking it all so seriously and/or personally, and be happy with the jobs that you DO have and the people you have formed relationships with and how you have grown and can continue to grow. Remember why you are here in the first place. To help people, to connect them with the information and resources that can help them better themselves. Although these items 1-5 may seem forced and part of some gigantic game and sales pitch that you hate, you may have to do them anyways because they will make a better you in the long run. So chin up, shut up, and get going.

With that being said, now I think I can enjoy the rest of my Sunday, and I hope you do too.

One… is the loneliest number

Death cold has been going around at both the U and the public. What this means for somebody who is out there all day with these people who are sneezing, coughing and touching all the things that you touch it means, well. You are going to get sick. It’s inevitable. Just 10 minutes ago I had a kid cough directly into my La Croix, have to remember to NOT have them out on the desk when I’m on children’s.

With that being said, feeling that tired drag of the half sick working with demanding patrons is a drag. Then you are on hour 7 just thinking, I can’t wait to get home and just go to bed and eat soup and do nothing. Then you realized you have no soup because you’ve been too busy to shop. Then you realize you are too tired even now to do anything but go straight home, but dang, you really want some chicken soup. Then you realize there is absolutely nobody to call that will actually do this for you. Then you want your mommy. Then you realize you are an adult and your mom lives in a totally different state. Then you realize that wow, you actually ARE incredibly lonely even though you have been trying to fill that space with work, or self-improvement, or fictional characters in books and you think that if you just don’t do something about it now what if you look around and wake up and realize your 40 and nobody will even look at you anymore and your eggs have rotted out of your body and you’ll never have sex again and, and, well there it goes.

Another beautiful anxiety spiral. As I’m descending down, down and down I try to catalog books, which is a mundane task that usually keeps my mind away from that chatter. Then I come across this book:

Can I tell you about loneliness? A guide for friends, family, and professionals. By Julian Stern.

IMG_2337 - Copy

This is a book for our parenting section, for a parent to explain what loneliness is to a child who may be experiencing feelings of loneliness or separation from friends and family. I thought, hmm, why not read it? It was very helpful, and I could see how it could be excellent to read to a child who may feel like nobody gets it. I think the worst kind of loneliness is the one that we experience when surrounded by other people. The author explains it like this:

“Sometimes I feel lonely when there are lots of other people around. Then, it’s as everyone is happy except me, and none of them like me.” (Stern, 2001, p. 13)

It sounds so simple in the language of a child, but truly, I do believe that is how so many of us still feel today as adults. I guess the point of my story is, how do we help ourselves feel less lonely? The author suggest playing with a pet, going on a walk, or listening to music in a spot where you feel safe, like your room.

Another thing that loneliness drives us to today, more so as adults, is social media and dating apps. I will tell you that after 2 years I finally broke down and got on some dating apps last night. There is no more stigma to it anymore really, but what disappoints me is just in the 24 hours or so I have been on it I already have 80+ likes and have had some men with very suggestive screen names say ask me if I like to be adored. Well, I guess?

What it has done for me so far, other than to offer a bit of mild excitement, and the opportunity to be judged on a picture and a few short lines of a blurb is that there are so many people out there looking for something. Yes, yes, there are the creepos but I really feel a lot of these people on these sites but some are just normal everyday people that are looking for some kind of love or companionship or whatever. 80 something likes? Nobody even talks to me in real life, unless they want a book or an article, or help with some sort of tech stuff. Can we now only ever communicate to one another in an online platform where we can hide behind filters and quirky one line icebreakers? Maybe. I mean as I’m typing this I just got a message from some guy that just says one word… beauty. Should I be happy about this, I mean I guess it’s nice and all but it just feels like some sort of game, and in a way it feels sincere and in another, more believable way, it doesn’t. How many girls a day does this guy message, does that make a difference? Isn’t this what I wanted some attention, well brother here it is but is it the right attention? Right or wrong it may be the only kind of attention that dating millennials are able to get these days. Well, wish me luck, I’m sure you will be hearing more of it here.

Stern, J., & Lees, H. E. (2017). Can I tell you about loneliness?: a guide for friends, family and professionals. London: Jessica Kingsley .

The Discomfort Zone

It’s Sunday, my summer day off, and instead of blogging from the library as I usually do I am blogging from the comfort of my own couch while I re-watch season six of Game of Thrones and have a series of mini heart attacks. Life has been quite chaotic lately, and I feel like I’ve been neglecting my self-imposed duties as a z list blogger. Well If I don’t give myself the job, nobody will, so I should keep it up.

What’s been keeping me so busy you ask? Well that Skype interview I had about a month moved me on to second round, which in the world of academic librarianship is a big to do. So what, a second interview, what’s the big deal? I already work at an academic library, but I’m only part time, I’m staff not faculty, and the hiring process for part time people is nowhere near as intensive as the hiring process for a full-time librarian.

Most Universities will do a national search, meaning they look at the best applicants from all over the country, and will usually select a pool for a first video chat or phone interview. After the first round (some may have more this is just my experience so far) they will invite a few to the campus for a second all day interview process. This is my first time doing the big all day one, although I have a couple of friends who have done it multiple times. There are even some horror stories of being picked up from the airport by other library staff and whisked immediately to dinner with everybody, no downtime to clean yourself up or take a rest. It seems intense, but I guess it’s what you make of it.

The interview itself involves meeting basically everybody in the library, campus tours, library tours, a workshop or presentation that the applicant gives, a sit down with the dean and the associate dean (the higher ups), a short talk with HR and what I can only assume is a whole lot of repeating yourself, smiling, and just hoping that the day would end. There is an actual interview schedule which I got emailed a couple of weeks ago, times, places to be. Think of how nervous you are in a job interview (most last an hour or so) then stretch that out to 8 hours, then add to the mix that you are in a strange place, a city far from home and probably sleeping in a hotel with no knowledge of the city. At least here it’s in my very own home town, so I feel like I have a bit of an advantage. Not in the sense that I think I stand a better chance of getting it simply because I live close by, but in the sense that I know the turf, I know the city and the campuses like the back of my hand because I’ve lived here my whole life, so that aspect of the nerves gets to fall away. It’s a smart process because if you are going to choose somebody to join your team you really need to get to know them, especially for distance candidates, you only get one chance to hang out with them, so you should cover all bases.

So I guess long story short, I’ve been a nervous wreck, prepping my workshop, practicing my workshop. Fine tuning my workshop, researching the library vision plan, yearly report, the staff they recently hired and pretty much just freaking the heck out about the whole thing. It has disrupted my world completely, but mainly only because I have let it. From experience, the best way I know to combat nerves is preparation, so it has been getting all my energy. It all goes down tomorrow so at the very least, it will be over and done with and I can return to my regularly scheduled program, at least for a bit. There is a welcome dinner tonight, which shouldn’t be too bad, I think it’s just with 2 ladies from the search committee.

In the meantime, lots has been going on at the U as well, there is a summer lull with the students, but an influx of donations I’ve been copy cataloging and a surprising number of reference questions through the email and chat functions. Over in the public it’s the same old song. So many patrons, not enough staff, a million passports and carts and carts of cataloging for children’s. Busy, busy and more busy.

On the writing front, I’ve obviously NOT been blogging. But I have been trying to submit to more lit mags, so far 2 more rejections, one was a short story and one creative non-fiction, I have one other poetry submit out, so just waiting on that rejection to come through shortly. Had an interesting talk with a friend who is an artist (in sense that he draws, went to art school and has recognizable, measurable talent) and he really said what I did wasn’t poetry but more of a “writing”. Instead of saying I wrote a poem I should just say I wrote something.  It was well intention-ed and a way to change perspective of what it is that comes out of me and lands on paper, but it discouraged me quite a bit. I think I’m seeking validation from others, but I don’t think I will ever get it. Not in the sense that would ever make me feel comfortable anyways. Maybe really putting out your “art” should make you feel uncomfortable, maybe it should make others feel uncomfortable. Discomfort could be an indicator that you are on the right track.

Seeing as how I try to make these entries part life experience/part research I threw a quick google scholar search using “comfort zone” +personal growth to see what was out there. Most of the stuff talks about social justice, and cross-cultural immersion which is very interesting, but what I’m thinking of for my situation focuses more on individual experiences we seek out that can push us into new realms of existing that are less governed by fear. I came across an article Musings on Adventure Therapy by Alvarez & Stauffer which caught my eye. I’ve never heard of adventure therapy, sounds amusing. Reading the article doesn’t give me much so I thought I’d get a background on it.

Turns out that “Adventure Therapy” is a technique to explore both group and individual outcomes after being given challenging tasks in which the outcomes are based on the choices made by the person or group of people making them. Adventure therapy often takes place outdoors, in nature, and consists of games and challenges that are meant to be metaphoric for things we may encounter in everyday life.  According to the Encyclopedia of Counseling most of the evidence to support adventure therapy is anecdotal and there is no well-defined or widely accepted method to implement adventure therapy. (Martin & Ashby, 2008)

I would do it, it sounds interesting. Although I’m more attracted to individual kinds of therapy it may just be because group stuff is new to me. But getting in touch with nature, problem solving, challenging yourself, all sounds good to me. I also found another new concept called ecotherapy in my digging which is equally interesting, but that’s for another day.

It kind of reminds me of that Simpsons episode where Homer tries to teach Ned how to “live” and they end up marrying cocktail waitresses in Vegas. Reason number 1,432 why I think Homer Simpson is one of the best characters in the history of characters.

Las_Vegas

 

Martin, J. & Ashby, J. (2008). Adventure therapy. In F. T. Leong (Ed.), Encyclopedia of counseling (Vol. 4, pp. 13-14). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications Ltd. doi: 10.4135/9781412963978.n4

http://simpsons.wikia.com/wiki/Las_Vegas

Get confident, stupid

I had a job interview this week at a place that I’ve been applying to for years that I really want to work at. On top of this, I haven’t had a formal job interview for about two years or so AND I’m dying to get out of working at the public, it was all so IMPORTANT I don’t mess this up.  Was I nervous? Yes. Could I probably have done better on some of my responses? Yes. But all in all do I think I presented myself decently? Also, yes.

Stuff like this is hard for me, I get so wrapped up in the thought of being judged by strangers I’ve never met. But we all do, don’t we? Then I get the fear of what happens if I don’t get this job, or what if I DO get it then I suck at it and nobody likes me. It’s like I’m screwing myself on both outcomes and the anxiety, oh the high anxiety waiting for the day and time of the sit down. Interviewing is part of the game if you want to get a job that you don’t create yourself. If we have to make a living out there in the world, then we just have to do it. I meditated a bit on it after I was done, attempting to get to the bottom of the fear and anxiety that surrounded it all. What scares me most about interviews, and even deeper down what scares me most about new situations and changes in life?

For me, it boils down to feeling inadequate or like I am perceived as foolish or stupid. Do I think that the four lovely ladies who panel interviewed me turned off the Skype cam and talked about me a little, absolutely you know they did, that’s part of the decision process. But, were they making fun of me, talking about how stupid I was and that I was in no way qualified for the job I was applying for? No way, I was just like anybody else they talked to that day. A long, tedious day of asking people the same old scripted questions. Worst case scenario is that they were saying that I was a complete idiot, even though the chances are narrow, if they were then at the end of the day who really cares?

Society sets us up to perceive failures, or rejections, or any kind of “imperfection” as a bad thing. Just recently I have stepped back and examined myself to realize that I am totally and utterly a perfectionist. I have been for so many years, and the only person that was really judging me all that time was actually me. Don’t mess this up, don’t fail, don’t look stupid, have perfect skin, teeth and hair and make sure that your outfit matches, and that you say the right things to not upset anybody. Get good grades, look good on paper, impress those classmates you run into that you haven’t seen in 10 years, do it all and don’t mess ANY of it up.

When did we get so serious about ourselves anyways? Lately, I’ve been trying to loosen my grip on perfectionism and just have fun with things. We all get caught up in our own heads and think, I’m so weird, but really most of us are very similar because we are these imperfect humans, made up of the same organic materials who function in very similar basic ways. We all think, breathe, eat, produce waste, have bodies, seek love, need shelter, and participate in intimate relationships with ourselves and others in many different forms.

With that being said, I follow this super cute YouTube channel called The School of Life. They have short shorts narrated by an amazing sounding English guy that sum up lots of important life lessons in under 5 minutes or so, accompanied by a cartoon. I have no idea how I stumbled across it, but I have been watching all sorts of them before I go to bed at night. Last night I came across this one called: How to be Confident, which I will post below. It’s short, I think you will laugh if you watch it, and you may even become addicted to the channel like I am.

 

So yeah, basically that’s it. People are idiots, I’m an idiot, you’re an idiot, and so are all the other people in the room with you right now. We are all in this ridiculous boat together, but at the end of the day are the ones that give concepts of appearing foolish a good or bad connotation, so if you think of it as not being a bad thing and just accept it, it’s easier to deal with. Some of the best moments in my life have happened because I gave up the fear of looking stupid and just did what I wanted to do. Those are the moments that have moved me forward, and will continue to do so for the rest of my life. We forget as adults too we need to play, and play requires imagination, creativity and the ability to be silly.

Another good thing about the video is I found a new book to read! I got it here at the U, but for those of you who like to e-read and want the book;

In Praise of Folly by Erasumus can be found for free HERE.

Courtesy of public domain and the good people at project Gutenberg. Read what somebody had to say about the foolishness of human life in Europe in the 1500’s, it’s probably insightful and applicable to the same aspects today.

If you are looking for a more contemporary non-fiction style read on the subject of embracing your imperfections, here’s a great one, it’s called:

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let go of who you think you’re supposed to be and embrace who you are by Brene Brown.

Find the Goodreads reviews HERE

Brown is a shame researcher who has written multiple books on the subjects of shame, vulnerability and imperfection. She is also pretty well known for her TED talks, which I have also seen a few here and there. She’s worth checking out, I read the book many years ago, but it sticks with me today, and I often recommend it to patrons that are looking for self-helpy kinds of things. So if that’s NOT your bag, maybe dip your toes in by watching one of her TED talks.

And I know, if you have been following for a while I feel like I talk about failing a lot. But, it may just be a common theme to take into consideration, sometimes in life we just fail and fail and fail, until one day we don’t. And if you think haven’t failed yet in life, then do something off Pinterest. Get an idea of how the rest of us feel from time to time. In parting, here’s my ultimate favorite Pinterest fail, I laugh hysterically every because mine wouldn’t even look at good as the fail ones.

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Image obtained from: https://iowameetnyc.wordpress.com/2012/07/24/pinterest-fails/

 

Patron Muses

There are times when I feel a bit lost, or bored, or just lacking some sort of hope or direction.

When this happens, I often like to play this game with library patrons (I use them because they are the most random and know the least about me personally), but the same can be done with anybody really in your everyday life. Ask for a message, some encouragement, some direction, and wait for it.

I often find these “messages” in situations that entail something that I normally wouldn’t do or in a place where I go out of my way to be especially kind to somebody. I have 3 such occasions this week after thinking over the weekend that I needed some sort of “shove” in a direction or a reminder of something

One: An older man comes into the public often and gets study rooms. I am usually salty with him a bit because he is annoying and weird. But, Monday I moved his room around for him, changed his name on the paper because he said it was spelled wrong, and talked with him about his ex-wife a bit. When our conversation ended he looked at me and said, “You’ve been such a good girl, this is for you.” –yes I know that sounds a bit creepy and I didn’t agree with being addressed as if I was a dog, but the oddness of the remark made me realize this was my first thing to pay attention to- He reaches in his bag and pulls out a fortune cookie from panda express. I waited until later and opened it in tech where I didn’t eat the cookie but found this fortune:

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I’m not crazy and I know that fortune cookies are so generic in nature and only say about 5 things, but seeing this just reminded me that I am on the right path. Today is not forever, and things will change for me, as much as there is frustration today, life is a turning wheel, and tomorrow can be success and happiness. Keep at it me, keep at it.

 

Two: Yesterday at the U a lady who often comes in approached me and told me that her headphones weren’t working. I went over to the computer, messed with the volume and tried a different computer. Turns out her headphones were shot, and I told her I could check her out a pair with her ID. She then told me that she’s not a student so I let her know I couldn’t do that without an ID. I could have just been like, sorry, but I felt like helping her so I went to the lost and found, got a clean looking pair of cheapie ear buds, cleaned them off for her, and told her that she could borrow them for the time being. She was so grateful and looked at me and said: “You know it’s all about being in the right place, at the right time, with the right people.” I smiled and walked away, but the message stuck with me.

Sometimes it is just that random. Some act of magic that can happen when these things line up and you can’t really force it, just try to notice when it does and capitalize on the possibilities that con come of it. Most magic moments, I think, are accidental in nature, and come from mixing the right amount of place, time and people.

 

Three: A month or so ago I had one of those seemingly random interactions when a person sits with me for a long while and talks with me about life’s purpose and our passions, and all that fun stuff. This particular person was somebody applying to be a professor here, and she had just uprooted her life to do so based upon some signs she had received. When we first met she was just checking out the University while trying to make the move up here from San Diego. She was inspiring, and intelligent, and just all around great to talk to. We ended on a hug and kept loosely in touch with emails. When I got into work yesterday she had stopped by and left me a nice note with her phone number:

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I did smile, and I called her, and we have plans to go on a walk next week. I’m going to be all ears to what she has to tell me, because it’s what I asked for, after all.

Sorry, not sorry…

I have had two co-workers in the last week tell me that they are thinking of going to grad school to get an MLIS (Master of Library and Information Science) degree so they can pursue librarianship. Many people are surprised this degree even exists, but if you want to be a librarian pretty much anywhere in the United States you eventually will end up needing to get this degree. It’s one of the standard minimum requirements for a lot of places, but not all, especially the more private or special interest libraries or museums.

My two co-workers are very different people with very different interests, but the degree seems to fit well for both of them. One works at the public library, she focuses on children’s services, and the other works at the University mainly focusing on tech services. My advice to both of them… GO for it.

When I first decided to go to grad school about 7 years ago, it was a big decision. I didn’t know anybody who had been to grad school before; I had never even so much as volunteered in a library, so I wasn’t sure if it was a good investment. I didn’t get in my first year, since I applied late, but got in the next year for fall 2011. It seemed to start out well; I felt a bit underachiever-y compared to my classmates, some of which already had successful careers in libraries, with blogs and volunteer projects. All I had done up until then was work in a totally unrelated field of real estate investment and stone shipping. In 2012, after my first full year of the program Forbes magazine released their annual list of the worst master’s degrees. Guess what #1 was??  Yep, the MLIS. In fact, even last year in 2016 Forbes still thinks that it’s in the top 5, rounding out at #4. So, am I sorry I chose this route? Nope, not one bit, not at all. If I were to listen to Forbes I would be somewhere getting a degree in statistics and being miserable. It’s just not me even if it appears to be profitable.

2012 Forbes list here

2016 Forbes list here

It seems that the things that I love in life most won’t make me any money (according to these list and most people I talk to). The MLIS rounds out at 4 and creative writing at 12. But you know ,even though it can seem bleak at times; I wouldn’t trade pursuing my interests and the things I love for a bigger paycheck, or for something that seems more “secure”. Everybody is different, some people don’t find fulfillment through their careers, and they choose to just work to get money and support families, and find joy other places in life. Which also works, but when I hear that a student here is pursuing a particular degree just so they can make money, it just makes me a little sad.

So where am I going with all this? Well, number one; always follow your dreams people!  Two, as I’m having this conversation with my co-worker at the public I look up at the new bookshelf directly in front of me and find a book titled: This is What a Librarian Looks Like: A Celebration of Libraries and Access to Information by Kyle Cassidy.

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It’s a collection of pictures of actual librarians from all walks of life across the United States talking about why they got into librarianship and why they love it. It also includes excerpts about libraries by authors such as Neil Gaiman and George R.R. Martin. Obviously, as somebody who shares a passion for libraries it was great to read what like-minded professionals like myself had to say in defense of our libraries and how they affect the communities that they serve, so I get it, but if you are one of those people who doesn’t understand why libraries exist then maybe it could shine some light on it for you.

A while back I applied with the California Department of Corrections with the thought that maybe I would like to be a librarian in a correctional facility. After talking with some people in my life and researching online I don’t know if it’s a path I am interested in any longer, but something about being a librarian makes you want to help out those that need it most. There’s a Correctional Facility Librarian from Colorado named Sam Leif that put it into words that really touched me the most, he said:

“Libraries can help stop a generational cycle of abuse, victimization, or anger. They can rehabilitate, help people grow and change in life.” (p. 112)

One thing that I’ve noticed in this profession is since we don’t generate revenue we are constantly keeping stats on how many questions we answer. We need to generate reports that remind people that we are still relevant and to fund us (pleeeassseeeee??). As much as we have proof on paper in the form of tick marks or computer generated data from online sheets I think that our biggest success stories can be in the form of the lives we change and opportunities that we can provide for people who otherwise might not have had a chance.

Can you think of any ways that a library has changed your life, influenced you positively, or just gave you a place to hang out for a little away from it all?

 

Cassidy, K. (2017). This is what a librarian looks like: a celebration of libraries, communities, and access to information. New York:  Black Dog.

Saint Valentine (love lessons)

I’m feeling really, really, gushy tonight. (Can I blame it on the full moon that just passed, or the sappy songs I’m listening to?) I just got home from work at the U about an hour and a half ago, I don’t want to watch TV, I don’t want to clean, or read, or do anything really. I’m just in this mode where I’m thinking about love and life and all these deep things, this happens to crazy single cat ladies from time to time. Not brotherly love, platonic love, or the kind of love you have for your pet, friends or family. I’m talking about THAT kind of love, that love you spend most of your life searching for, dreaming up, seeing in movies, reading about in poems and novels. Romantic love has always eluded me in a sense, I don’t know if I really understand it, but for the first time in a long time I feel a slight bit of clarity in the matter of my own heart. Because of this, I felt compelled to write a love letter, to my past, present and future, and even more strangely compelled to share it here. Love is an important thing, love is life, and we all need it no matter who we are. It may even be what separates us from the machines that will one day run our world. (what?!) Ok here goes, if you are not feeling sappy, do not read on, because it goes there.

To all the loves of the past,

I hope that I haven’t done much damage to any of you emotionally, if I have I’m sorry and I hope you will accept my apology. For a very long time I didn’t have much love in my heart to give, I didn’t love myself, and I was sad and angry all the time, stifled by addiction and pain. I’m not blaming you, my happiness and emotional and physical health are all my responsibility, not any of yours. I wasn’t capable of love in the past, at least not the way that I think love should be now. Also, that’s not to say that I didn’t love you, I did, but just in my own fucked up, muted, and disillusioned way. Again, nothing to do with you but more to do with me. We had some good times, some milestones were met, the first 30 years of my life seemed turbulent and confused in retrospect. I’m thinking it was a time when we were all just trying to find out who we were and where we fit in this life. I hope you had some fun, and learned some things. I learned a lot from all of you, some were hard lessons, some were easier, some hard to decode and some clear. I wouldn’t be the person who I am today without all of you that’s for certain. I’m not good at being friends with past lovers, now that I think of it I’m not friends with one of you. I don’t ever plan on being friends with any of you down the road. We all didn’t end things so well, and I feel like now, the lessons we needed to learn from one another have been taught, and our karmic candles have been snuffed out. That doesn’t mean you don’t exist in my town, or even in the distant corners of my mind and heart. I see you, I know you are there, I’m not trying to hide, but I draw my boundaries for my own safety. As of today, you all are no longer an active part of me, just a whisper or slight breeze of you will cross my path from time to time but that’s it. You don’t define me, or the way any of my future relationships will pan out, the dysfunction and pain I faced in the past won’t be doomed to repeat itself because I have learned from it, and again, I hope that you learned from my dysfunction as well. I hope you are all doing better today than you ever have in your entire life. I hope you all find the grand love that you deserve. I hope you find peace, understanding, and stillness in your life and that all your grandest dreams come true. Thank you for loving me, knowing me, and ultimately sharing in this experience of life with me.

To my present love,

Hey you. I’m glad that you took this time out, away from the madness to pick up the pieces of your old life that shattered so hard around you. You are strong, you are amazing, and you are on the right path to being the best version of yourself that you can be. You are me. I am my greatest love at present, and I’m insanely happy about this fact. You hear about loving yourself, that it has to come first, you know you have to try, so you do, but self- love doesn’t come from merely saying the words. Just how you can’t force yourself to love a stranger. You have to fall in love with yourself, and it’s a process. First, get to know yourself. Listen to what you are telling yourself through your emotions and intuition. Feel all those fucked up and painful emotions that you have been trying to run from for so long. Feel every ounce of pain that you’ve carried around your entire life, that’s the only way it passes through you is to feel it all undiluted. Second, find all the dark corners of your soul, sit in those corners, alone. Even if you are afraid of the dark, sit there, and know them, know they will always be there, and be ok with this. Get help, go to therapy, find a spiritual guru, do it, it’s worth it.  Go and sit and cry your face off in front of a professional that you are paying to listen to you bleed out your soul, be open to them and don’t lie to them it helps a lot. Third, know that it’s alright to be alone. Understand that it’s simply because if you don’t love yourself as cliché as it sounds you know that you really can’t love anybody else. Not in the pure and true way that you’ve been craving, that you deserve. But you can’t get lazy, you need to stay in love with yourself. Like in any relationship this takes commitment. Continue throughout life to treat yourself like a precious object, and only surround yourself with people who do the same.

To my future love,

I’m so glad I waited for you. I’m glad that I get to meet you as a whole and complete being, full of light and love and ready to share. I don’t know who you are right now, or where you will come from. Maybe I already know you, maybe you run over my foot at the grocery store, you put my braces on, or rear end me while you are texting, maybe you work with me at a new job, or you walk straight into one of my libraries and ask me where the poetry books are. Life doesn’t tell you how these things happen. You may be the last person I expect, or the opposite of what I thought I wanted. That’s ok, it’s more than ok, it’s perfect. Here’s a couple of things that I wanted to share with you preemptively. I’m so glad you chose to hang out with me, life with me will never be boring I promise you. I want to get into all kinds of trouble with you, I want to play and dance and sing with you, jump in piles of leaves in the fall, get dirty, go places I’ve never been with you; geographically, physically, spiritually and mentally. I want to stay up with you when you can’t sleep, I want to look at the stars with you, I want to dream alongside you. I hope to create things with you, whether they be small humans, books, works of art, or just memories. Our union will be able to bring something new to the world, open doors that we didn’t even know existed. In this, we will find that we are much better together than we could ever be apart. I don’t expect you to fix everything for me. But I do expect for you to hug me when I’m crying, to sit with me when I’m depressed or anxious. I expect you to tell me when you need something, or when I’m not doing something that I should be. I want to give you everything and tell you everything, and I want the same from you. I understand there is a dark side, but I want all the parts of you. I really do hope that you like books, and to read them and discuss characters in these books and their motivations. It’s ok if you have a dog, but they should get along with my cat. This may sound like a tall order, but if things are as they should it will all fit together naturally. I’m not afraid to work, I know it’s work, all the best things in life are work. But I’m happily willing to do it for you. See you soon… (somewhere?)