Books and Movies, Musings

More Than Just Books

“I’m not going to cry. I’m not going to cry. Don’t cry. You won’t be able to stop. Don’t start.”

It seems like lately I’ve walked into many places thinking this. I get anxious before tests and decision making, two things I have been doing quite a bit lately. But I don’t often leave a place with this running through my head. There was no crushing medical diagnosis. No loss of a much needed job. No one died. You may laugh, but I was leaving the library. I’ve been volunteering there for over a year now, and this afternoon was probably my last day. I’m starting college next week.

When I told the children’s librarian that this was my last day she smiled and said “Well, I guess I knew you would get a life some day.” But I didn’t work at the library because I didn’t have a life. I worked there because I loved it,library and it was part of my life. It was a hard year for me. I was figuring out life. Who I am. I was hard on myself, even cruel at times. My future went from set and definite to this current state of flux and uncertainty I’m in now. But no matter how rough of a week I was having, or how tired I was, every week I would have the library. Two hours when it didn’t matter what else I did with my life. All that mattered was that J comes before K and 4 comes before 5. It reminds me of in A Wrinkle in Time how Meg goes through the multiplication tables to calm down, because it is steady and unchanging. Alphabetizing and shelving books is the same for me. There’s nothing trivial about it, Bab goes before Bac, and when it feels like your world is doing backflips, that is a very comforting thought.

When the branch manager heard that I was going to school she said “Isn’t this enough education for you?” We all laughed, but I learned so much in those two hours a week. I’ve never really kept any kind of job that wasn’t super flexible for a very long time. Even though I could tell them I couldn’t come one week or that I needed to change from Friday to Thursday, I was still expected on a certain day, at a certain time, unless otherwise specified. I took debate and bible quiz, but those were both things that I did in school and I couldn’t change the time that classes and meetings were. Volunteering was the first thing I did where I was in charge of deciding I was going to do something, and then do it. It sounds weird, but I kind of learned how to adult. I was expected to be grown up. I was expected to not make a mistake. I was expected to straighten up other people’s mistakes when I noticed them. I learned that I can be liked by people who don’t have to like me. Maybe these are both odd things to learn from working for free at a library, but that’s where I learned them.

I can’t believe I’m starting school on Monday. It will be an adventure unlike any I’ve ever taken. I’ve traveled alone all over the country. I’ve witnessed firsthand the birth of 3 of my siblings. I’ve been pseudo-mom to around 20 girls. Getting up in the morning, driving, sitting through classes of more than 10 people, studying, and interacting with people I’m not related to on a daily basis. I’m not sure how I’m going to handle this, but I bet I’ll end up back at the library.

Books and Movies

Volumes of Rows

A young woman wandered through the shelves that seemed to go on and on for an eternity. Now and then, sliding a volume into the rows. It was slow business. Finding the home of each soft leather or crinkled paper binding. She had been walking for hours, but time never seemed to move. The soft carpet and reams of paper dampered any and all sounds. It was peaceful.

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The books never seemed to run out, and the silence never seemed to end. The monotony began to make her feel uncomfortable, she hummed quietly.

She walked on, humming and sliding books into place. There was a creak behind her, like the sound of paper being compressed and then quickly released. She whirled around, only to find a single large book lying open on the floor several yards behind her. Curious, she slowly made her way back to it. There had been no sound of it dropping. She looked at the pages. There were few words and a place were a picture had once been, but was recently erased. Carefully closing the book, she slipped it back into position and carried on with her stack.

On and on, row after row. All was silent for what felt like hours. Then, a rustle of pages, but nothing to see. She started walking faster.  A quiet footfall. She looked, the sound was gone. Faster. A brush of fibers on a shelf.  Running. Another creak. She stopped, but didn’t turn around. Warm, moist air puffed against the back of her neck. Heart racing, immobile, she stood with her eyes shut. Her armload of books tumbled to the ground, and her knees sank to the floor.

The breathing stopped as she turned to face her tormentor. Behind her lay the large book, again, lying open on the floor. She crawled to it, hoping for an answer, but only finding the same few words and missing picture. As she looked at the words, they swam around the page. Never holding still long enough to be read. Slowly leaning in to get a better view and trying to make sense of the markings. She found her hands attempting to grasp the words. A tear dripped onto the page. The words flocked to the drop, and were still just long enough for her to read them. “Beware the empty page.”

A rustle of paper. A suppressed scream. The page was no longer empty.

Actions in Activities, Books and Movies

Help Not Wanted

Or at least not my help it seems. Not even McDonalds will call me back. It’s a vicious cycle. They don’t want to hire you if you have no experience, but since no one will hire you you can’t get any experience. Wah. Pout. Stop whining, Annie. 😦 I’m hoping my time at the library will help.

Speaking of which! I’ve now gone to volunteer at the library 4 times= every full week in the month of May! Perhaps the new hasn’t worn off yet, but I am still loving the work! I feel like I have gotten faster at shelving, and have now done pretty much everything having to do with copious amounts of flyers and pamphlets. (That word looks so wrong. Way to many random consonants in a row.) I can make color copies and black & white copies, double-sided copies (I actually explained to the librarian why you feed the originals through the scanner the way you do, while she was teaching me! She basically said “Oh that’s why!”), fill the paper hopper on the copier, and use the giant paper guillotine (Terrifying and Tedious) to make the paper submit to your will.

Today I got asked twice about books! Unfortunately, I couldn’t answer either question. One was about popular YA books, which I know absolutely nothing about. The other was a little boy looking for the Star Wars comics. I liked him. Start ’em young I say. Although, I wouldn’t call Star Wars comics wonderful literature, you just gotta like a nerd in training. And, hey, he’s reading! Have you ever noticed how few boys read? Anyway, do you wonder why this made me so excited? I looked official. I looked like someone who would know something.

I have discovered I LOVE working in the children’s library! The little kids just learning to read, saying their ABCs, coloring a picture for Miss Sara. They are just beginning a wonderful journey! Beside the marvel of young life, that is where most of my favorite books are! I’ve never been much of one for Young Adult fiction. The best books are the super old books classified as  Juvenal Fiction. Swiss Family Robinson, Kidnapped, Anne of Green Gables and so many other classics are right in there with Captain Underpants! While this boggles my mind, I also think it is utterly awesome. By having the hard, but good books completely mixed in with the fun, shallow books you normalize the classics and make them available. I’ve actually only read a few books from the YA section (although more now that they categorized a bunch of classics). Most of the books I read are either in J or Adult.

Right now for book club I’m reading the diary of Anne Frank. A few years ago I was on a historical-fictional-diary kick and I read a bunch of the Dear America books. These are really cool because they work real history in, telling the story with only realistic journal entries. There are some that just say things like “had potatoes for lunch”. One thing that is so different about Anne Frank is that you don’t get much of a sense of what is going on with the war. In the American Girl books based in that era they have news of the war all the time. But if Anne did get much news, she doesn’t mention it much. She mainly focuses on life in the Secret Annex. For some reason I find this much more appealing. Maybe it drives home how real she was and how real life their situation was. I have to keep reminding myself that this all really happened. It is stunning how, well, all teen girls are the same. She wasn’t so different from girls today. She fought with her family and was moody at times. She had crushes and was fascinated by movie stars. The more I read the more I see every girl I’ve ever met. Maybe once I finish it I will have a different deduction, but I’m getting close and I’m not seeing my view changing. I’ll let you know when I get done. Unemployment